Joon-young and Song-Ah continue to explore and navigate the newly founded friendship they’ve developed with each other as they deal with everything else going on in their respective lives. Though the two want to let go of their past as soon as possible, they find that it’s harder to do than they thought and they experience this inability to forget, together.
Do You Like Brahms? Episode 4: Non Troppo, Not Too Much
On his way to the Kyunghoo Cultural Foundation building, Hyun-ho catches Jung-kyung outside of the main entrance for a few seconds before she hops into a taxi. When asked about Joon-young, the employee at the front desk answers that a visitor who had stopped by for Joon-young just recently left. Hyun-ho can’t help but grow suspicious of the situation and ponder over whether it was Jung-kyung who visited Joon-young. Inside the office, Song-Ah prepares to leave after packing up her belongings. She encounters Joon-young on the way out and the two leave the office together. Since it’s pouring, Joon-young volunteers to take Song-Ah to her birthday dinner. However, she second guesses her decision in going and grows uncertain as to whether she should attend or not. Joon-young encourages her to think about herself and reaffirms her decision in not going if she doesn’t want to.
Just when Song-Ah’s made her decision, Dong-yoon and Song-Ah’s friend encounter the two on their way to the birthday dinner and suggest they all go together. Song-Ah can’t bring herself to tell them about her new decision. Her friend is also surprised to see Song-Ah with Joon-young and grows curious about their connection to each other. Song-Ah is close to introducing Joon-young before Joon-young intervenes and introduces himself as Song-Ah’s friend (AHHHHH, HE SAID IT FIRST). And so that’s another reminder that Joon-young and Song-Ah are now friends. Joon-young too is invited to the birthday dinner and he agrees to go as well.
Although Song-Ah is surrounded by friends at her birthday dinner, she really only focuses on Joon-young and they sneak glances at each other at every chance they can get. Things get awkward for a few seconds when Song-Ah’s friend attempts to video call Min-sung to show her all the fun, but once that passes and they all sing Song-Ah a happy birthday, things get better. Song-Ah steals another glance at Joon-young afterwards and she mouths the words “thank you” to him. His presence at her dinner party meant a lot to her. Omg, so cute. I’m gonna cry.
And so the dinner party finally ends and Song-Ah stays behind with Joon-young by using the excuse of “work.” Dong-yoon ends up heading home by himself while Song-Ah and Joon-young agree to grab some fresh air (an idea they suggested right at the same exact time. Great minds think alike!). While hanging out by the Han River, Song-Ah shares about her complicated relationship with Dong-yoon and how she developed feelings for him over time. Because he was really the only one who supported her dreams and goals to pursue music and, therefore, began to spend more time with him since he was tutoring her, it all began from there. Min-sung is just as precious and valuable of a friend to Song-Ah as Dong-yoon is though and she knew how things would end for her once Min-sung and Dong-yoon became a couple. Now that that ending has finally arrived, Song-Ah’s unsure as to what to do or how to feel. Where does all the time she and Dong-yoon spent together go? What does she do with all the shared memories?
Listening to Song-Ah’s dilemma, Joon-young adds that love becomes painful when you love someone too much instead of at a moderate level. He encourages Song-Ah to find a balance next time she loves someone and to not love too much or too little. If the same thing happens again as if it did with Dong-yoon, things will only get difficult for her. Jung-kyung comes home that night and stares at her mother’s piano, Joon-young stares at his phone later on that night and checks the birthday notification he’s gotten for both Jung-kyung and Song-Ah who happen to have the same birthday. Min-sung sits at the bus stop on campus with tears in her eyes. Hyun-ho grows envious of two high school boys exiting the convenience store he works at together while Dong-yoon becomes distracted while at his workshop. Song-Ah too has many thoughts on her mind that night. Each of our characters are going through their own situations and concerns.
Sung-jae announces Joon-young’s participation in the upcoming talk concert at his old middle school hosted by Kyunghoo’s subsidiary, Kyunghoo Credit Card, to Team Leader Cha. She’s not so happy with the news, but since Joon-young’s already confirmed, she has no choice but to respect his decision. In a team meeting, she assigns Song-Ah as the lead for the talk concert while she gives Hae-na another assignment. Song-Ah gets right to it for the talk concert and she contacts the staff at the credit card company. Like all the other times she introduces herself, Song-Ah has to correct the other person and clarify that she’s not apologizing (the words ‘I’m sorry’ sounds similar to her name). There’s only one person so far who’s gotten her name correct on the first try and it’s Joon-young. Song-Ah appreciates that.
While heading out of the house, Jung-kyung has a conversation with Director Na about Kyunghoo Cultural Foundation. Jung-kyung has no plans whatsoever to work at the foundation so Director Na (aka Jung-kyung’s Grandma) attempts to persuade Jung-kyung to change her mind. She should think about her mother and work at the foundation for her mother, but Jung-kyung argues that none of this would have happened in the first place had her mother still been alive. Director Na notices just how harsh Jung-kyung speaks like her mother and that’s the point that Jung-kyung wants to prove. She’s similar to her mom and has already set her mind on playing the violin. She’s going to do whatever it is she wants to do. At one point, Director Na brings up Jung-kyung’s mom’s marriage with her father, but Jung-kyung argues that they shouldn’t reach conclusions so easily. No one knows how her parent’s marriage would have ended had her mother still been alive. With that, Jung-kyung leaves the house while her dad returns from his business trip.
Before heading to the rehearsal room at Kyunghoo Cultural Foundation, Jung-kyung and Hyun-ho spend some time together at a cafe. As a birthday gift, Hyun-ho presents Jung-kyung with couple rings and they put the ring on for each other. Hyun-ho senses this strange feeling and behavior from Jung-kyung and he continues to grow suspicious of her. When Hyun-ho enters the rehearsal room, he finds Song-Ah and Joon-young inside. Song-Ah was updating Joon-young on his talk concert, but Joon-young is distracted by the text message he received from Jung-kyung seconds earlier so he doesn’t pay much attention to Song-Ah. Eventually, Song-Ah leaves the room and heads to the restroom where she encounters Jung-kyung. They greet each other before Song-Ah runs after Jung-kyung to catch up with her again. She returns Jung-kyung’s ring to her that Jung-kyung left in the restroom. Jung-kyung hesitates for a few seconds before responding that yes indeed, the ring belongs to her and she takes it back.
In the office, Sung-jae instructs Ha-nae to find a new accompanist for the event she’s assigned to. The musician and her accompanist were a couple, but broke up so plans have changed. Song-Ah takes note of the situation and steps outside to the restroom when she spills some water on herself. Back at the rehearsal room, Joon-young and Hyun-ho check their respective instruments when Hyun-ho suddenly makes an announcement: he’s thinking of getting married. Joon-young gets nervous and he questions what Jung-kyung’s response was, but it’s obvious Hyun-ho only posed the question to test Joon-young’s reaction. When Jung-kyung enters the room, Hyun-ho immediately notices that Jung-kyung isn’t wearing her ring and he’s upset. But he remains quiet and the trio begins to practice. Things start off smooth at first until Jung-kyung voices her disproval. The music just doesn’t sound right and she’s not satisfied with how they’re playing. Hyun-ho is curious as to why Jung-kyung feels that way so he waits for an explanation. Joon-young doesn’t necessarily care as long as they tell him what to do.
That’s when Jung-kyung takes her anger out on Joon-young and criticizes him for his lack of decision-making. Has he ever done anything that he’s wanted? He never thinks for himself. Upset and speechless, Joon-young leaves the room and is trailed by Jung-kyung. She’s desperate for his attention and she requests for a birthday present. In the past, he used to send Jung-kyung CD’s of him playing Brahms, but Joon-young no longer plays those pieces so he can’t do such a thing anymore. Song-Ah overhears the intense conversation between the two as she quietly exits the restroom, but a notification on her cell phone interrupts the moment and she shows herself upon getting discovered. Just as she’s about to leave the two behind, Joon-young stops her and requests to have a meeting about the talk concert.
Except.. there is no meeting. Although Joon-young and Song-Ah sit together in the meeting room, they don’t talk about work at all. Joon-young just merely needed a reason to escape so he used Song-Ah. Song-Ah is fine with it as Joon-young too did the same for Song-Ah. So after the practice session, Hyun-ho bids farewell with Jung-kyung as she heads home. Joon-young returns to the rehearsal room to practice some piano, but his mind is focused on Jung-kyung and he stares at her piano songbook that he’s had since middle school. Song-Ah encounters Dong-yoon on her way back home and the two greet each other for a few seconds. He checks in with her and asks if she’s okay. Before Song-Ah can give a response, Dong-yoon clarifies if her violin is okay since it sounded funny a while back and Song-Ah answers that yes, her violin is okay.
While on his way back home, Joon-young finds Hyun-ho waiting outside his apartment complex for him. He’s brought some soju bottles with him so the two have some drinks together back inside Joon-young’s apartment. Hyun-ho addresses the elephant in the room and questions the situation earlier in the rehearsal room with Joon-young and Jung-kyung. Joon-young brushes it aside and doesn’t say too much about it so Hyun-ho moves on to his next question: when does Joon-young plan on leaving Korea? Joon-young plans on staying in Korea until the next summer so there’s still plenty of time left. However, Hyun-ho voices for Joon-young to leave even earlier for his sake. Joon-young ends up taking Hyun-ho home who drinks a bit too much and gets drunk.
Song-Ah and Team Leader Cha take a field trip to Joon-young’s former middle school first to prepare for the talk concert. On the drive there, Team Leader Cha stops to talk with Joon-young’s Mom for a bit before heading to the school. Once they arrive, Song-Ah and Team Leader Cha greet Mr. Joo, the same employee who Song-Ah spoke to on the phone with and he hands his business card over to Song-Ah. He expects one back from her and grows shocked when he learns that Song-Ah is an intern. His attitude towards her changes and it’s clear he doesn’t respect her as much. Team Leader Cha indirectly puts him in his place and stands up for Song-Ah. She has another meeting to attend so Song-Ah is left behind to take care of the event.
Joon-young meets with his mom at a cafe who once again requests for money. Unlike what she mentioned last time, Dad hasn’t quite changed and they’re not in the best financial situation. Although Joon-young is disappointed at the news, he can’t say no to his mom and he’s willing to give her money. Eventually, Joon-young bids farewell with his mother. Back at the school, Song-Ah and Mr. Joo are given a tour of the auditorium where the concert will be held. The two are left alone for a few seconds so Mr. Joo takes the chance to not only look down on Song-Ah by forgetting her name but also making fun of her for “apologizing” to him when they spoke on the phone. He also credits his company for hosting the concert as it wouldn’t have been possible if not for them and their money. Before Song-Ah can even let a word out, Joon-young shows up to put Mr. Joo in his place. Budget talks is one thing, but to look down on employees like Song-Ah is another. Joon-young isn’t happy with Mr. Joo who grows speechless and shocked at Joon-young’s bold statement.
After the meeting, Joon-young bids farewell with his teacher who encourages him to come back and visit with Jung-kyung and Hyun-ho. As Joon-young and Song-Ah leave together, Joon-young explains his reasons for intervening earlier. He didn’t like the way Mr. Joo was treating Song-Ah so he felt like he needed to say something. Mr. Joo is one who thinks money is everything, but Joon-young isn’t any different. Money is everything when it comes to his parents. Team Leader Cha meets with a professor at Seoryung University and chats about Joon-young. Speaking of Joon-young, he himself meets with Jung-kyung at a cafe. He first brings up the couple ring that Hyun-ho had gifted Jung-kyung. He notes that Hyun-ho seems a bit worried since she isn’t wearing it, but Jung-kyung assumes Joon-young is the one worried since he brought it up first. Joon-young grows irritated with Jung-kyung’s behavior and he leaves the cafe. He doesn’t say much to her other than for her to get married.
Joon-young has a meeting with Song-Ah later on that day to go over the concert, but Joon-young is still occupied by the thought of Jung-kyung. He doesn’t pay attention to Song-Ah and it doesn’t take long for our intern to notice. So instead of talking about work, she revisits the statement that he mentioned earlier about disliking people who act up after giving money or help. It’s natural to feel that way sometimes. Whether it’s giving gifts or helping someone, everyone wants to see what the reaction of the other person is in hopes that they like it or that it was helpful. Joon-young gives Song-Ah’s words a second thought and places himself in that situation. Director Na gave him a scholarship to fund his piano career without expecting anything in return and Song-Ah notes it was probably because she wanted him to live happily while playing the piano. Joon-young pauses for a moment to think about her words and then proposes that they have dinner together that night (why did his question totally remind me of the drama haha).
Although taken aback, Song-Ah agrees and our two friends have dinner with each other. They enjoy each other’s company at dinner, but the bonding and fun doesn’t stop there. They stop by the Han River again just like before to spend even more time together. Joon-young admits that he stopped by the school earlier that day because he missed Song-Ah and wanted to see her. He knew he would feel happy and would smile more if he spent time with her and indeed, he did become happy upon meeting her (yoooo why are they so cute, I’m cryinggg). A day that had its ups and downs ultimately ended with positivity and hope thanks to a blooming friendship.
It’s the day of the concert! Joon-young and Song-Ah meet up first to head over to the middle school together. On the drive there, they chat a bit about Joon-young and his outlook on his performances. He admits that a lot of his pressure stems from the fact that audience or critics judge him solely for his performances, but he tries his best with every performance. All the performances he used to do in the past when he would perform every 2 or 3 days was so he could make a living. Years have past, but his attitude in performing hasn’t. When our two friends arrive at the middle school, they’re greeted respectfully by Mr. Joo who walks them into the auditorium where the concert will be taking place. They find Jung-kyung’s Mom’s piano on the stage which Joon-young will be playing with for the actual concert. Joon-young grows hesitant upon seeing the piano and he can’t bring himself to play anything on the instrument during the rehearsal.
Jung-kyung attends a birthday party for a music professor, but it’s clear she wants to attend Joon-young’s book concert as she keeps track of time. Eventually, the concert starts and Joon-young is called out onto the stage. During the interview, the emcee asks a question about Joon-young and his ability to constantly participate in competitions for more than six years without a break. As the emcee asks Joon-young questions about his pianist career and experiences, Song-Ah is reminded of the honest answers that Joon-young gave when they met to go over the questions. Unlike the talk concert where he’s positive and optimistic and only speaks of good things, Joon-young was honest about his experiences during his meeting with Song-Ah. He hated competitions, he was lonely and couldn’t do much even when he was sick, he survived by taking medication, playing the piano even became a burden to him eventually, and if given the chance, he would do something that would allow him to be freer if he never continued his pianist career.
Song-Ah recalls all these answers to the questions as she listens in on Joon-young’s responses at the talk concert. Just as the concert is about to wrap up, a photo of Jung-kyung, Joon-young, and Hyun-ho when they were younger is brought out to the stage. Joon-young explains the history behind the photo and he’s teased for his friendship with Jung-kyung who they assume is his girlfriend. Though Joon-young is quick to deny the accusations, he admits that he has experienced unrequited love. Speaking of Jung-kyung and Hyun-ho, Jung-kyung makes her way to the talk concert while Hyun-ho is seen waiting at a bus stop.
As a way to conclude the concert, the emcee announces to the audience about Joon-young’s performance and questions which song he plans on playing. Just as Joon-young is about to answer the question, he glances into the distance and discovers Jung-kyung standing by the auditorium door. He freezes upon seeing her and the emcee proceeds in giving away the answer to the question for him. The piece he’s selected to play is none other than ‘Träumerei.’ Song-Ah panics upon witnessing Joon-young notice Jung-kyung and she’s reminded of the moment when he asked her during their meeting which song she recommended he play. Joon-young himself is uncertain as to what to say and he contemplates on his next move while everyone’s eyes are on him.
This is the first time in a long time where I felt tempted to watch the preview to the next episode of a drama which is pretty rare since I usually refrain from doing such a dangerous thing. I don’t like seeing the small misleading clips of the next episode because it only makes waiting even more difficult. I rather just not watch and not know than watch and then die waiting for a whole other week. With that being said, I did not watch the preview to episode 5 (although the temptation was real) and I managed to suppress the urge to do so for now (we’ll see what happens within the next few days though lol).
I felt like episode 4 was the most romance-focused episode yet which was interesting to watch. The episode was still showing us little bits here and there of our characters reflecting on their lives and the things that they’re each going through, but we didn’t really see any progress of some sort. Although shameful, even Song-Ah’s personal journey in playing the violin and pursuing music was placed in the back burner in this episode to focus on the complicated love triangle. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike the complicated and dramatic love triangles and it can really tug at my heart when done right, but for now, I want to see more of Song-Ah and Joon-young as they fight for their dreams and their path to self-discovery. I want to watch Song-Ah continue to play the violin and continue to pursue music and succeed in her dreams and I know (or at least hope) this is something that the drama will cover throughout its run, but I want to see it in every episode. Even if it’s not for long, I want to see some kind of action or conversation or step taken to showcase the coming-of-age aspect in this drama. Although I enjoyed episode 4, I felt as if something was missing because we didn’t get much of Song-Ah and any movement on her story and life like how we did in prior episodes.
The friendship between Song-Ah and Joon-young escalated ten times even more in this episode which was surprising but so fulfilling to watch. I didn’t think Joon-young was going to straight up and pretty much declare his platonic love for Song-Ah and how he enjoys spending time with her because she cheers him up and makes him feel happy. Just like Song-Ah, I was taken aback during that scene and confession, but just like Song-Ah, I too fell in love with his sweet words. I could see the look in Song-Ah’s eyes light up as Joon-young voiced those sweet words to her and it was even better because we didn’t have to doubt or second guess whether his comments were genuine or not. We already know that both Joon-young and Song-Ah enjoy each other’s presence and company as well as this new friendship that they’ve developed with each other. They help each other out during both the rough and not so rough moments and can even communicate with each other through just simple eye contact.
If there’s anything this episode really highlighted, it was the development of Joon-young and Song-Ah’s friendship and the beauty of it all. They’re a lot more explicit now in telling each other how they feel or what they’re going through or in sharing details about their lives to each other. There’s this sense of comfort that they feel when they’re together that they don’t feel with anyone else or haven’t felt in a long time. It’s as if they’ve filled a void that they were missing or craving thanks to this new friendship. From Song-Ah’s birthday dinner where she mouthed the words ‘thank you’ to Joon-young to their dinner date to Song-Ah lending her ear to Joon-young as they were prepping for the talk concert, the friendship between the two is that of a mutual one that seems so balanced and peaceful. Song-Ah and Joon-young are there for each other through all the moments — both the right and bad, but they’re able to get through it all because they have each other to lean on during those times.
Things are really starting to amp up since Hyun-ho is now becoming more suspicious of Jung-kyung and Joon-young. While we haven’t gotten too much context or background behind Hyun-ho just yet, I do appreciate how the drama is showcasing his character so far in between all of this. I feel like in any other drama, Hyun-ho would have either turned into the 1) really toxic and possessive boyfriend 2) the really naive second male lead who thinks that there’s nothing going on between his girlfriend and his best friend and that he has nothing to worry about. However, in ‘Do You Like Brahms?’, Hyun-ho’s painted so far as this smart guy who caught on to things, but who’s also treading slowly and cautiously so that he can reach his own conclusion at his own pace.
Maybe it might be that he had sensed something between Joon-young and Jung-kyung from way before so that could have played a part in how fast he was onto things. However, the more positive side of me wants to believe that Hyun-ho became suspicious because he caught onto the small details right away and instead of brushing it off or ignoring the red flags and warning signs, he’s doing something about it. He’s conducting this subtle investigation on his own to get down to the truth of things which he’s not being overtly obvious or pushy about. For now, Hyun-ho is laying low and keeping things a secret and remaining quiet and maybe a part of it is because he himself isn’t sure if he’s just overthinking things or maybe he’s just denying his reality. Regardless, as things get more intense, it’s uncertain as to how much longer he’ll be able to stay this way. What’s going to happen to the trio? Is Hyun-ho and Jung-kyung going to break up like how Sung-jae predicted or are they going to get married like how Joon-young suggested? It’s not all entirely black and white with the way that Jung-kyung seems to want Joon-young only for herself while still remain in a relationship with Hyun-ho. A part of her wants the best of both worlds and she’s going to learn the hard way that such an idea cannot co-exist. It’s either one or the other and it’ll be interesting to watch who she chooses at the end of it all and whether that affection or attention will be reciprocated in return.
I just ultimately hope Song-Ah doesn’t get pulled into the messy love triangle between Joon-young, Jung-kyung, and Hyun-ho. She already is sort of involved and affiliated with the group, but it would break my heart if she was used by Joon-young to make himself feel better about his situation with Jung-kyung. I sense that Song-Ah is going to fall for Joon-young first (I can definitely see her develop feelings for him first with the way that he’s honest with her and how he admits things like how happy he is around her) while Joon-young is going to struggle a little bit more with his unrequited love and feelings towards Jung-kyung. It doesn’t help that Jung-kyung is sort of tugging at Joon-young and giving him mixed signals and signs as well. That’s why he’s so confused and that’s why I think it’s going to take him a little longer to fall back in love with Song-Ah. Joon-young has showcased signs of maturity and responsibility and he cherishes his friendship with Hyun-ho and Jung-kyung enough to not ruin what they have, but I also do hope he works everything out with them all on his own. I would hate to see him pull in Song-Ah and get her even more involved just to make Jung-kyung jealous or to get back at Jung-kyung for the pain and hurt she’s caused him. I don’t think Joon-young would pull such a cruel and despicable move given all that we’ve seen of him so far and how he addresses the issues in his life, but he’s still clearly struggling to fight against his feelings for Jung-kyung and it’s unpredictable how he will continue to confront those feelings.
‘Do You Like Brahms?’ continues to be an effortless and seamless watch even with all the complicated relationships and twists and turns. My favorite aspect is watching Song-Ah and Joon-young spend time together and get to know each other better. I can’t even count the amount of times I had to pause the episodes because I was squealing or freaking out at how adorable they were together. Like I mentioned in an earlier recap, a big part of this drama is the chemistry between our two leads and it’s not so surprising given that it is Park Eun-bin who we’re talking about. She’s one of those talented actresses who has great chemistry with everyone, but she is also so great as an actress in that she makes her characters hers. She embodies her characters to the point where you completely understand what they’re thinking or what they’re going through, but also to the point where it’s difficult to imagine anyone else playing that character. I’ve never really watched any of Kim Min-jae’s dramas prior to this one so I don’t have any particular thoughts or feelings about him, but I do think he’s playing the quiet, reserved, observational type of character really well and he’s definitely selling his character in this drama. He’s so believable as Joon-young and I think I can enjoy this drama as much as I do currently because of our two leads. Combine that with beautiful directing and good writing and there’s little to complain about. I like ‘Do You Like Brahms?’ so far and I really hope it keeps this up all the way. My only hope is that the quality of the show isn’t compromised if it chooses to focus more on the love triangles and relationships rather than the stories and experiences of our characters.