How to Buy a Friend: Episode 3 Recap

Our team continues their hard work to solve the mystery behind their beloved friend’s death. Though things still remain challenging to accept and process, our team is also one step closer to getting revenge and seeking justice.

How to Buy a Friend Episode 3 Recap: What Rhythm Has Taught Me

The episode starts off with a rough conversation Don-hyuk had with his friend, Sang-pil, back when he was still at a detention center. Sang-pil attempts to convince Don-hyuk that Seo-jung was the one behind a dating post that she made on a website, but Don-hyuk refuses to believe that she was the author of the post. He is eventually dragged away by an officer. Fast forward to the present, Chan-hong and Don-hyuk are eventually picked up by Chan-hong’s parents at the police station. They invite Don-hyuk over for dinner and the four sit down to eat dinner together. Though Chan-hong and his parents act kindly in front of Don-hyuk at first, their true colors eventually come to light and the family isn’t the picture perfect family that they painted themselves out to be. Haha, I love it.

Don-hyuk also ends up sleeping over at the house. After preparing the boys for their sleep, Mom leaves the two in Chan-hong’s bedroom alone. Don-hyuk then seizes the opportunity to confront Chan-hong about having Seo-jung’s phone the entire time. Why did Chan-hong lie to Don-hyuk? However, the two boys quickly break apart when Mom reenters the bedroom to feed them some kiwi. LOL. She grows suspicious of the two, but tries not to think too much about it. However, her mind races at the thought of Don-hyuk formerly being stationed at a detention center. Why was he placed in a detention center before?

Chan-hong eventually comes clean to Don-hyuk about the cellphone. Se-yoon only had it at first because Seo-jung had placed it in her locker before committing suicide. It’s unknown and uncertain as to why Seo-jung did so or why she mentioned the same exact line to all three of them before her death. Don-hyuk carefully hangs onto Seo-jung’s cellphone that night and even reads over text messages that they had exchanged with each other before she passed away. Aww.

The next morning, Don-hyuk prepares to bid farewell with Chan-hong’s parents. However, Dad isn’t so ready to let Don-hyuk go just yet. Along with Kyung-pyo, the four of them head to a bathhouse together to have some fun, clean themselves, and well.. just take a break. Before heading off to school, Don-hyuk is gifted with food and snacks from both Mom and Dad as well as some coffee from Kyung-pyo. He has finally found his family (I’M GONNA CRY).

Kyung-pyo, Don-hyuk, and Chan-hong are left with the task of cleaning up the school as a consequence for causing trouble. Before splitting up to complete the tasks, the trio brainstorm on what could have potentially happened to Seo-jung the night she was drugged. Kyung-pyo assumes that she met with her date’s friend first and was drugged while waiting for her date to arrive. That’s when she was taken advantage of and had photos of her unconscious and passed out taken.

The three resume with their plans of cleaning after discussing about Seo-jung. Don-hyuk still feels conflicted about the post that Seo-jung supposedly made on the website. However, Chan-hong reassures Don-hyuk that it wasn’t Seo-jung who made the post. It couldn’t have been her so there’s no need for Don-hyuk to worry. After cleaning, Chan-hong and Se-yoon meet up to catch up with each other. She encourages him to return to their tutoring academy, but Chan-hong admits that he won’t be able to attend any longer. Though he doesn’t reveal the reason why, the truth is that he doesn’t have enough money to pay for tuition fees since he spent it all on Don-hyuk’s rent.

Teacher Woo praises Chan-hong once again on his poem assignment. However, Chan-hong isn’t he only student who Teacher Woo was in awe of when it came to poetry. Seo-jung was also incredibly talented and gifted as a poet. Teacher Woo permits Chan-hong to take home one of Seo-jung’s poems which he studies later on in his bedroom that night. While reading over her poem, he arrives at a grand conclusion which he immediately shares with Don-hyuk. By comparing and cross-referencing the dating post on the website to the poem that Seo-jung penned herself, Chan-hong confirms that it wasn’t Seo-jung who made the post. Someone merely pretended to be Seo-jung while writing that post. Don-hyuk is relieved at the discovery, but is still pained at the thought of Seo-jung: the subject in the poem that she wrote for school was about him (I’M GONNA CRY).

Don-hyuk tears up while reading Seo-jung’s poem about him. After having some alone time to read her poem and to process his feelings, Don-hyuk drops Chan-hong off to Se-yoon. Not too far away, a hidden Dae-yong updates his boss, Sang-pil, on the whereabouts of Don-hyuk. After dropping Chan-hong off, Don-hyuk returns to his high school and retraces Seo-jung’s steps up the stairs to the rooftop of the building (OMG I CAN’T. I had to pause the scene). Don-hyuk’s last conversation with Seo-jung replays in his mind as he walks through the hallways of the school and eventually onto the rooftop. While shedding tears, he promises to find the people who committed the cruel act to Seo-jung (GAAAAAH, SOOOO SAD).

Se-yoon and Chan-hong go on a small date that night. Thanks to Chan-hong, Se-yoon’s found some courage to pursue drawing despite knowing how much her parents disprove of it. Just as the two are talking, Se-yoon quickly pulls Chan-hong aside to hide from her dad’s oncoming car. The two find themselves in an awkward position inside of a phone booth, just inches apart from each other. Chan-hong recalls a conversation he had with Kyung-pyo about finding the right timing for a kiss, but doesn’t have enough courage to go in for a kiss with Se-yoon.

Chan-hong and Don-hyuk devise a plan to determine who the person behind the post on the website was. Based on the post, they come to the conclusion that it must have been someone from their high school who wrote it. Along with Kyung-pyo, the trio distract Teacher Woo in order to steal gain access to the rest of the writing assignments from the other students in his class. They manage to escape with the box full of papers and study them later on that night.

Well.. it’s really only Chan-hong who does all the studying. Don-hyuk and Kyung-pyo grow tired after a while so they take a nap while Chan-hong reads over all the poems. After browsing through hundreds of papers anonymously, Chan-hong finds one poem that stands out to him the most. As if that wasn’t interesting enough, the student behind the poem is none other than Se-yoon’s friend, Mi-ra.

While on a date with Se-yoon, Chan-hong nervously attempts to bring up Mi-ra to Se-yoon. However, he refrains from doing so and places his focus on Se-yoon. She gifts him with a poetry book written by an author with the same birthday as Chan-hong. In return, Chan-hong is to write Se-yoon a letter. Whereas before Chan-hong didn’t necessarily have the confidence or push to give Se-yoon a peck on the lips, he’s better prepared this time. He finds the right timing to lock lips with her and Se-yoon enjoys it too. Aww, so cute.

Dae-yong’s bullying comes to a halt at school when one of his victims aims to stab him with a knife. Thankfully, Chan-hong catches on quickly and suffers an injury to his palm to prevent Dae-yong from getting hurt. Don-hyuk also arrives just in time to protect Chan-hong from getting further beaten by Dae-yong. Eventually, the victim shows gratitude for Chan-hong and reveals to him Dae-yong’s plan to find Seo-jung’s cellphone. This grabs Chan-hong’s attention and he shares the news with Kyung-pyo and Don-hyuk. What is it about the phone that Dae-yong is desperately searching for it?

While browsing through Seo-jung’s phone, Kyung-pyo notices a second calculator app which raises his suspicions. As if that wasn’t enough, they discover a bunch of photos and videos after unlocking the password to the calculator app. And sure enough, a video of Lady Jo surfaces which angers Don-hyuk even more. Even without Chan-hong’s help, he plans on catching the people in the video.

Lady Jo warns Sang-pil to hurry up and find Seo-jung’s phone as soon as he can before it’s too late. Meanwhile, Chan-hong can’t shrug off his suspicions about Mi-ra. He eventually confronts her about the dating post which he claims she wrote. Though Mi-ra persistently denies the accusations, it’s obvious to Chan-hong that her writing style is similar to the one in the dating post. Se-yoon enters the same room as both Chan-hong and Mi-ra and discovers the evil truth.

The guilt is too much for Mi-ra and she cuts off all contact with everyone. Even Se-yoon is unable to reach Mi-ra which frustrates her even more. Why didn’t Chan-hong tell her the truth? Why wasn’t Chan-hong honest with Se-yoon about Mi-ra? She storms out of the cafe they’re sitting in only to be informed that Mi-ra has been admitted to a hospital. Thankfully, Mi-ra is okay. She attempted to harm herself, but was rescued just in time. Mi-ra takes the opportunity to be honest with Se-yoon on why she made the post pretending to be Seo-jung. It was an act imposed by feelings of intense jealousy, hate, and fear. She hated seeing Seo-jung and Se-yoon grow closer and was afraid of being replaced which is why she grew hateful towards Seo-jung. Mi-ra and Se-yoon shed tears upon the discovery.

Don-hyuk proceeds with his own investigation to find out the people behind Seo-jung’s videos. To his surprise, he discovers that his former friend, Sang-pil, is the head of the group slated to find Seo-jung’s cellphone. He relays the news to Chan-hong, but Chan-hong once again isn’t willing to risk Se-yoon’s life to capture the group of guys. It’s too dangerous for her even if Don-hyuk vows to protect her from any harm. He suggests they just call the police, but Don-hyuk doesn’t agree with Chan-hong’s idea.

Unable to reach a compromise, the two sit down opposite of each other on an old and dirty street. While conversing about Se-yoon and Seo-jung’s friendship, the two guys form a friendship of some sort themselves. When flashes of lights begin to flicker on and off in front of them, they gain a huge hint as to where exactly Seo-jung was dragged after being drugged. The lights to the titles of certain buildings begin to turn on, eventually highlighting the words “footprint”, “memory”, and “cafe sand.” Seo-jung’s last phrase to Chan-hong, Don-hyuk, and Se-yoon all make sense now: wet sand remembers one’s footprints.

Our duo finally has the answer they needed to know where Seo-jung was the night she was drugged. They enter the same exact hallway that she was dragged in and bust open the door of a room. Meanwhile, Se-yoon reads a letter from Chan-hong that he had promised her he would write. Danger ensues as Se-yoon eventually finds herself trapped and held hostage in a room, shaken in fear and uncertainty.

My Thoughts:

Oof, that ending scene was goosebumps inducing! The realization for our duo and the moment that everything clicked and made sense for them was so cool to see. Now we understand how the phrase Seo-jung wrote to our three leads came about and why she wrote it. She wanted to inform our team about the location of where things took place.

Now we’re back to where we’ve originally started which was Chan-hong and Don-hyuk’s life being in potential danger by Lady Jo and Sang-pil. I’m curious as to how they’re going to survive and get out of things. Things didn’t look so bright for either at the beginning of episode one so I wonder how exactly they’re going to weave their way out of things or if they’re really going to get hurt and threatened to stay quiet in order to be let go. I want justice to be served for Seo-jung and for Chan-hong, Don-hyuk, and Se-yoon to receive some kind of closure to their friend’s death. However, Lady Jo makes that incredibly difficult and it doesn’t help that she has so much power and influence.

I’ve voiced this before but this episode really just affirmed what I had been feeling before all along: I like Don-hyuk as a character and I enjoy his backstory. If I dare to say, I even find him and his background even more fascinating and interesting than Chan-hong. The two are so different but great in their own ways and they obviously feel strongly about the whole Seo-jung situation and their involvement in it. However, I feel so strongly for Don-hyuk who doesn’t have a family, who lives in this old shabby place, who is trying to fight for his former girlfriend who has committed suicide, who is seeking answers as to what really happened to Seo-jung, and so much more. The little of what we’ve gotten to see about him in this series has been so complex and complicated and bittersweet and I am totally enjoying it. I know it’s a given, but I just love seeing how passionate he is in his investigation and how driven he is to find out the truth about Seo-jung. He feels a sense of guilt for not helping her when she was alive so now he feels this sense of responsibility to help her after she’s gone. To him, he feels like it’s a little too late, but it’s also better late than never. Feelings that Don-hyuk was suppressing this entire time has resurfaced and it’s obvious just how much of an impact Seo-jung’s death has made on him. From reading her poem that she wrote about him to reading their text messages with each other that was on her cellphone to even just taking good care of her cellphone because that’s one of the only memories he has left of her, it’s clear that Don-hyuk’s emotions are still so fresh and raw. He’s reminded of Seo-jung in every single way and those heartbreaking emotions still linger here and there. What might have been just dwelling on regrets in the past has now transformed to actions of seeking justice for Seo-jung. Don-hyuk clearly is going to do whatever he can to unveil the truth.

Maybe it’s because the drama can be dark and difficult to watch that I really enjoy when the episodes consist of scenes that are lighthearted and feel good. One of the stand-outs in this episode was when Chan-hong and his parents took care of Don-hyuk and adopted him for a night. I loved everything about this because it gave Don-hyuk a sense of belonging that he didn’t have but might have been craving. It also allowed Chan-hong and Don-hyuk’s bond to grow even stronger and to become even more honest with each other. I wasn’t so sure how Don-hyuk was going to react upon finding out that Chan-hong had Seo-jung’s cellphone the entire time, but I’m glad that the drama didn’t linger on this for too long. In fact, Chan-hong came clean to Don-hyuk about it and was so honest with him about it. He didn’t spout even more lies about it, he didn’t make up any excuses, he didn’t try to pity himself — Chan-hong remained truthful to Don-hyuk about Seo-jung’s cellphone which tightened their bond with each other even more. I loved seeing Don-hyuk have a family of some sort even if it was short-lived. I think we can all agree that the impact it made on his life will last much much longer.

As much as Don-hyuk and Chan-hong want to deny that they aren’t friends and are only bounded by a mutual contract, it’s obvious that they are friends. This contractual relationship between the two might have defined their connection with each other at first, but they’ve now moved on to becoming something more. A huge example of this was when Don-hyuk went to Chan-hong to ask about the post on the dating board. I think a part of it was that Don-hyuk really did want some kind of answer as to whether the post was written by Seo-jung or not, but I felt like the other half of it was that him confiding in Chan-hong and seeking some kind of validation for his thoughts and feelings. Don-hyuk goes to Chan-hong for answers because he trusts Chan-hong enough to be honest and raw with him that he can’t do with others. It’s small little details like this that shows that Chan-hong and Don-hyuk are slowly becoming brothers to each other.

I didn’t know that the Kyung-pyo-Don-hyuk-Chan-hong team was what we needed in this drama, but I’m glad that the drama gave it to us! They make such a good team and they all work well together (even though it might be Chan-hong doing most of the work). Yes, they’re in this together to help solve the mystery behind Seo-jung’s death, but they’re also forming a brotherhood of some sort in between doing all of this as well. Even when they’re not necessarily working on Seo-jung’s case (as seen when they went to the bathhouse together), their sense of brotherhood still remain in intact. Our three musketeers are so interesting individually, but when together, they make for an even stronger team.

Extra screenshots from this episode~

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