It’s finale week! Things haven’t been the easiest for Song-Ah and Joon-young and they surely have faced many bumps in their road to self-discovery and love. Just what will come out of the adversity they’ve faced and how will they navigate these difficult moments in their lives?
Do You Like Brahms? Episode 15: General Pause, G.P., Stop Abruptly and All Rest
After the stressful and heartbreaking rainy day, Joon-young tries to loosen up the next day. He confronts Professor Yoo and expresses his wishes to cut ties with his piano teacher. Professor Yoo doubts Joon-young’s ability to survive without him, but Joon-young is confident he will do just fine. There were some things Professor Yoo didn’t teach him as a piano teacher that he feels regretful about. Hae-na attempts to change Song-Ah’s mind about quitting Professor Lee’s chamber orchestra. Song-Ah needs to be on good terms with Professor Lee again if she wishes to pass her graduate school entrance exam. Song-Ah reassures Hae-na that it wasn’t her fault that she decided to quit working with Professor Lee. Song-Ah made the decision for herself and she will still proceed with the graduate school entrance exam regardless, even if she’s not on Professor Lee’s good side at the moment.
Jung-kyung learns that Hyun-ho has left for the U.S. after getting accepted into a symphony orchestra in New York. She’s surprised and heartbroken at the news and even reminisces about the moments when he would cheer her up and comfort her during sad times. He’s no longer there to be there for her. Song-Ah encounters Team Leader Cha and Director Na so Song-Ah and Director Na go on a casual walk together. They chat a bit about Joon-young and Director Na seems at peace with how Joon-young has been feeling lately. She assumes he must be feeling content with where he is in his life and she hopes that Song-Ah will be there for Joon-young like how she has been doing. Of course, Director Na is unaware of Song-Ah and Joon-young’s break-up, but Song-Ah doesn’t mention anything to the director. While Director Na walks off to visit her daughter’s grave with Jung-kyung’s Dad, Song-Ah proceeds to walk at the park near the palace that Joon-young frequents. They freeze upon seeing each other, but Song-Ah quickly turns around and walks away.
In a meeting with Team Leader Cha, Song-Ah announces her break-up with Professor Lee’s chamber orchestra. She’s quit working for Professor Lee so she won’t be involved with the chamber orchestra anymore. However, the separation from the chamber orchestra isn’t the only thing that Song-Ah shares with Team Leader Cha. She also updates Team Leader Cha on her break-up with Joon-young. She’s afraid she won’t be able to help plan and work with Joon-young for Kyunghoo’s 15th year anniversary concert scheduled because of that.
Min-sung and Dong-yoon meet up with each other for a bit. It’s been a while since they’ve last met alone so things are a bit awkward, but Min-sung is putting in forth the effort. Things aren’t going to be easy for now, but at least she’s trying. When Song-Ah’s meeting with Team Leader Cha concludes, she uses one of the umbrellas from the office to protect herself from the pouring rain. She’s reminded of the moment when Joon-young used his umbrella to protect her in front of the building on the day of her birthday before walking off home. Things don’t end there. Even when Song-Ah gets home, she finds Joon-young’s umbrella at the entrance of her house. Joon-young is picked up by Team Leader Cha for a dinner date. He doesn’t have his umbrella with him since he lended it to Song-Ah to use the night they broke up (*cries*).
They first briefly chat about the recording incident with Professor Yoo which Joon-young isn’t so concerned about any longer. The video has been taken down so he doesn’t feel as stressed or worried about it. They transition to talking about Hyun-ho and his new job with the orchestra in New York. Just like Jung-kyung, Hyun-ho too didn’t update Joon-young about his new situation and left them both in the dark about things. Thanks to Team Leader Cha, Joon-young was able to find out about Hyun-ho’s move to the U.S. As if things weren’t bad enough, Joon-young opens up to Team Leader Cha about his break-up with Song-Ah. He talks about how he gave his umbrella to Song-Ah to protect her and her violin from the pouring rain on the night they broke up. As Joon-young reflects on what happened that night, he grows sad just thinking about the reason as to why they broke up: Song-Ah wasn’t happy because of him. Song-Ah takes a good look at the CD that Joon-young autographed for her and puts it away in her desk drawer. She stays up that night thinking about Joon-young. Joon-young grows conflicted while practicing the piano. Will he truly survive and suffice without Professor Yoo?
Where ever and whatever Joon-young and Song-Ah does, they are constantly reminded of each other. Whether it’s Song-Ah overhearing some classmates talk about Joon-young in the restroom or Joon-young breaking down to his mom about how hard things are for him, there’s a lot going on for both musicians. Song-Ah proceeds with classes and lectures and she continues to practice for her graduate school entrance exam with her new piano accompanist. She also spends time hanging out with Min-sung and catching up with her best friend. Joon-young, on the other hand, spends time reflecting on his life and being reminded of Song-Ah where ever he goes. Ultimately, Song-Ah’s violin skills are put to the test during her rehearsal for her graduate school entrance exam. Both Professor Song and Professor Lee are present for the performance and just as expected, Professor Lee isn’t so impressed with Song-Ah. She gives her a not so nice score.
Regardless, it’s a day to celebrate and Song-Ah and Min-sung meet up that night to celebrate Song-Ah’s successful practice. However, as Song-Ah will quickly find out, they’re not the only ones there. Dong-yoon joins the two friends shortly afterwards and it’s as if the three are back to the good old times. Our three friends are reunited at last and back to like how they used to be. Team Leader Cha meets with Professor Yoo at a bar and reminds him of his roots. He might have been too ambitious as Joon-young’s piano teacher which could explain as to why Joon-young no longer wanted to work with him, but Professor Yoo can always learn from his mistakes. He should be the teacher that he is — if not to Joon-young then to other students.
After bidding farewell with Min-sung, Dong-yoon and Song-Ah stay behind to talk for a bit. Before walking home, Song-Ah asks Dong-yoon about his experience in quitting the violin. How was it? How did he feel back then? Dong-yoon reasons that he felt okay at first, but got sick after a while. He was in love with playing the violin for so many years so it only made sense that he got physically sick. Song-Ah compares Dong-yoon’s situation with her own and how things are going for her in regards to her break-up with Joon-young. She thought she was doing fine at first, but she’s not. Both she and Joon-young are struggling. They both get sick physically and it takes them a while to recover from falling ill. After recovering, Song-Ah and Joon-young also make big and heavy decisions that will affect their lives and many others. Song-Ah shares with her family her decision to quit the violin. Joon-young too relays the same news to Sung-jae: he plans on quitting the piano and everything else.
Sung-jae panics and immediately meets with Team Leader Cha to discuss the urgent situation. He can’t afford to have Joon-young sit out on playing the piano. That’ll mean a huge loss for everyone (especially him) and he doesn’t want that. He pleads for Team Leader Cha to talk things out with Joon-young and attempt to change his mind. Team Leader Cha doesn’t promise anything, but she also reminds Sung-jae not to tell Joon-young’s Mom about his decision. She shouldn’t know about Joon-young’s decision to quit the piano just yet. Meeting with Team Leader Cha wasn’t enough so Sung-jae goes to Jung-kyung to also make a plea. As his best friend, Sung-jae assumes that Jung-kyung can also work some magic to change Joon-young’s mind. So with that, Jung-kyung meets with Joon-young and they discuss his decision as well as her feelings for him.
Jung-kyung pleads for Joon-young to not quit the piano. She was so used to him playing the piano and became consoled with his playing at one point in her life that she mistakened love for what was really jealousy and envy. Despite Jung-kyung’s plea, Joon-young sticks with his decision. He wants to be happy in his life even if it’s a bit too late. He simply isn’t happy playing the piano. After the meeting, Jung-kyung glances over photos of her and Hyun-ho when they were still in a relationship. She really was happy with him when they were together and that’s something that she now misses. Song-Ah prepares for her official graduate school entrance exam performance, but is interrupted with the sudden news of Director Na’s death.
Both Joon-young and Hyun-ho make it to Director Na’s funeral and they pay their respects to her. Just like they did with Jung-kyung’s Mom’s passing, Jung-kyung and her dad embrace each other at Director Na’s funeral (oof, the comparison between young Jung-kyung and adult Jung-kyungn hugging Dad was beautiful). Joon-young and Hyun-ho shower Jung-kyung with their support and Hyun-ho spends some time alone with Jung-kyung to briefly catch up. She congratulates him on his new success and just like the old times, Hyun-ho holds Jung-kyung’s hand to check in on how she’s feeling. They quickly separate after realizing the situation and Jung-kyung proceeds to returning to the funeral. Song-Ah too stops by the funeral to pay her respects to Director Na and to show her support to Jung-kyung. After her visit, she encounters Joon-young waiting in the lobby for her so the two take some time to talk to each other.
Things are awkward at first, but it doesn’t take long for Song-Ah to share with Joon-young on how she’s been doing. She plans on quitting the violin. She’s had an unrequited love with the instrument for too long and things aren’t really working out. However, she would like to think that she was happy during her time as a musician and that’s enough for her. Song-Ah also talks about her graduate school entrance exam scheduled for later on that night. She’s changed her piece to a song by Brahms which surprises Joon-young. However, it also inspires him to do the same. He chases after Song-Ah after bidding farewell for a few seconds and pleads to play with Song-Ah for her graduate school entrance exam. He might not have liked playing Brahms in the past, but he’s changed now. Things have changed. He wants to play with Song-Ah.
Song-Ah accepts and Joon-young takes on the challenge. They both walk out onto the stage when their time arrives and they put on a splendid performance with Hae-na as Joon-young’s page turner. Song-Ah’s family is there as well as Professor Song and Professor Lee. Min-sung and Dong-yoon also watch on proudly as their best friend wraps up her career as a musician with her graduate school entrance exam. After the performance, Song-Ah and Joon-young thank the audience by bowing at the same time. They grab each other’s hand and bow, mark their presence on the stage, and drown themselves in the support and love felt by the audience’s applause. Afterwards, Song-Ah thanks Joon-young backstage for playing with her. She reasons that Professor Yoo must have stolen Joon-young’s recording for ‘Träumerei’ because it was the recording that touched his heart the most. Joon-young’s rendition of ‘Träumerei’ is the most touching because it’s a piece that Joon-young plays with his entire heart. With that, Song-Ah hopes that Joon-young will continue to follow his heart and do what it is that makes him happy. The piece they played together on stage, ‘F-A-E Sonata’, translates to ‘free but lonely’ but Song-Ah wishes that things are different for Joon-young. She hopes he’s able to live a life where he’s free and happy.
After sharing her genuine thoughts and feelings to Joon-young, Song-Ah turns around to pack up. The moment is too much for Joon-young and he boldly declares the words “I love you” to Song-Ah. Song-Ah stops in her tracks and she turns around at Joon-young’s confession. He repeats the words again to her as if the first time wasn’t enough. He loves her. He knows it might not be what she wants to hear or that he can possibly hurt her in the future, but Joon-young wants to think of himself for once. He’s afraid he might regret things if he doesn’t take the time to say it to her at the moment so he reminds Song-Ah again that he loves her. He’s following his heart like Song-Ah recommended and his heart leads him to her. Song-Ah is close to tears as she listens to Joon-young pour all his emotions out. Upon exiting the building that night, it begins to snow lightly and Song-Ah extends her arm to catch the pieces of snow falling from the skies. She notes that even though the piece she and Joon-young played that night was ‘F-A-E Sonata’, Brahms himself preferred the phrase ‘F-A-F’: free but happy. Song-Ah herself would experience what it’s like to be free and happy much later on in her life.
I might or might not have freaked out when Joon-young boldly and confidently and unexpectedly declared the words ‘I love you’ to Song-Ah at the end of this episode. You probably were expecting it, but I definitely was not so I totally panicked and hyperventilated when he said those words to her. I don’t think the confession was impactful as say when Dong-yoon said it to Song-Ah (I STILL remember this scene and I probably will never forget it), but it sure was still one impactful of a scene for me for many reasons.
My initial reaction to this episode wasn’t the most positive and I had many mixed feelings about it, but now that I’ve re-watched the episode for this recap, I can see why certain things happened in this episode. I’m gonna try not to be too negative and pessimistic with how things turned out (given that we are in the second to last episode and not everything can be perfect with the finale week). I do like that the drama gave us a performance between Joon-young and Song-Ah. It was an idea that the two were sort of committed to a while back, but then it of course died out when Song-Ah and Joon-young broke up. I’m glad that the drama ended up coming back around to make it happen. I think I would have been okay without it, but I can see why the drama had Joon-young not only play with Song-Ah for her graduate school entrance exam (which meant a lot to her personally) but also have him play (of all things) a Brahms piece with her on stage.
Just like how Song-Ah wanted to wrap and close this chapter of the violin in her life, Joon-young too wanted to do the same with the piano. What better way to do it than to play a Brahms piece with the woman you love for a performance that means a lot to her (and just as equally important to you)? I think both Song-Ah and Joon-young had their own reasons for coming together and performing on stage for her graduate school entrance exam. It was their way of bidding farewell with the instruments that played a huge role in their lives. The violin and piano provided them with as many wonderful and grand moments as it did sadness and frustration and ultimately, they decided to go with what would make them happy. There were many things that both Joon-young and Song-Ah learned in their pursuit of music and they both had their own reasons for playing the instrument that they played, but we can all agree that they both chose to quit for the same reason: to be free and happy.
I liked the theme that this episode emphasized on which ultimately was the theme of being free and happy. Prior to their collaboration, Song-Ah and Joon-young felt free and lonely. Song-Ah and Joon-young were able to pursue their dreams of music thanks to several factors, but they also felt isolated and lonely in many different ways. They then met each other along the way and learned so many things about themselves thanks to each other. Like Joon-young said, he wants to be happy in his life even if he might have started a tad bit too late. It’s better late than never and he’s taking the initiative to think about himself and do what it is that he wants. For far too long, he’s lived in the spotlight for other reasons than himself and he wants to place himself first now. He wants to follow his heart and his heart leads him to Song-Ah who makes him happy.
I’m not gonna sit here and say that I agree with the direction that the drama took in regards to Song-Ah’s journey. The optimistic and naive side of me wished she somehow succeeded and excelled as a violinist, but I also can see why the drama went the other way and stayed realistic with her character. Just because she enjoyed playing the violin doesn’t necessarily mean that she will earn immediate success especially when there’s so many other violinists out there with just as much passion and so much more talent. I didn’t want to see Song-Ah quit playing the violin entirely, but I also understand that the violin wasn’t making her happy which was why she quit. I hope she doesn’t give it up entirely (like how Dong-yoon did) and maybe play the violin on the side as a hobby or somehow still stay affiliated with the instrument if she gives things a second thought (even if it’s just for a little bit). Is it something Song-Ah’s going to give up forever or is this just merely a phase in her life where she might return to playing the violin on the side?
Song-Ah and Joon-young’s relationship hasn’t been the smoothest and if the pacing of this drama was better, I wished we could have gotten a complete make-up between the two in this episode. I’m positive the two are going to be on good terms in the final episode, but I wished we had gotten to see that now instead of later. The two sort of took that step in making amends in this episode, but we were sort of left hanging by the very end of this episode. As we saw, some time away from each other was what the two needed to reconsider everything going on in their lives and everything around them. While not a decision that many people expected or appreciated, it’s what Joon-young and Song-Ah thought was best for themselves. With or without music, they can be free and happy because they have each other.
P.S.: I often watch the BTS clips released on Youtube for the off-screen chemistry between Park Eun-bin and Kim Min-jae (they’re super cute and adorable together!). While I for the most part just watch it for funsies, the latest BTS video that was released of the two made me squeal a bit too much with just how close (literally) the two were with each other. Judge for yourself by watching the video below:
Extra screenshots from the episode~