Expectations vs. reality. It’s important to temper and manage your expectations in life, but that’s always a lot easier said than done. Just when you think there’s a beacon of light, a glimpse of hope, a hint of optimism, something else happens and reality tells you otherwise. It’s not easy to accept this new reality, but sometimes, that’s the only thing you can do and the only choice you are left with.
Our Beloved Summer Episode 9: Just Friends
Ji-woong catches up with Chae-ran as she packs up her belongings at the trunk of her car. He asks for the whereabouts of Yeon-soo and repeats the question again after avoiding Chae-ran’s question. Did he decide to film the documentary because of Yeon-soo? Ji-woong doesn’t answer Chae-ran’s question and goes off to search for Yeon-soo. While walking up the hill, he bumps into a flustered Yeon-soo. They stare at each other and no words are spoken between the two.
Ji-woong doesn’t like it when things don’t go according to plan. He hates taking risks. To him, Yeon-soo is that risk. It all started back in high school from the moment he met Yeon-soo to when he developed feelings for her while she was together with Choi Woong. To maintain his friendship with Choi Woong, he had to avoid Yeon-soo and any coincidental encounters with her. Even when Choi Woong ranted to him about his break-ups with Yeon-soo, Ji-woong had to hide his true feelings and emotions. Just when Ji-woong thought he was doing well, Yeon-soo appeared once again in his life and his plan began to break down. But now he has second thoughts about his plan. If things don’t go according to plan, does he even need one in the first place?
After the trip, Yeon-soo and Choi Woong have a hard time focusing and getting sleep. Yeon-soo gets up from her bed to rearrange and organize her bedroom and waits for some kind of communication from Choi Woong. Meanwhile, Choi Woong occupies his mind by drawing. He eventually falls sick due to the rain from the trip and Mom is brought in to take care of him.
Yeon-soo has a difficult time focusing at work and she steps outside from a team meeting to get some fresh air at the company rooftop. She takes another peek at her cellphone and receives a phone call from Sol-yi a few seconds later. Sol-yi wants Yeon-soo to come in to test out a new menu item for her restaurant and it doesn’t help that Eun-ho is already at the restaurant trying it out, lol. That leaves Yeon-soo with little to no choice but to visit her best friend later on. Eun-ho’s not busy at the moment since Choi Woong is taking a break.
He sure is taking a break from work since he’s sick. Choi Woong wakes up after suffering a nightmare where he’s a lonely and abandoned and scared little kid on a busy sidewalk (ahh yes, it’s not a k-drama if the male lead doesn’t have some kind of childhood trauma). When he finally steps out into his living room after what appears to be forever, he discovers Mom sitting by the window at his studio. She feels guilty for not having been there for Choi Woong whether as a little kid or as an adult with a successful drawing career, but Choi Woong isn’t resentful. He’s used to it. But what he’s not used to is being alone after having been with someone. That’s not something he wants to experience a second time around.
Imtern Tae-hoon informs Mr. Park on what they ate and did for their trip, but Mr. Park isn’t as intrigued. It takes him a few attempts to get some spicy details out of the Imtern to see if anything interesting happened. Lol. A memory sparks inside of Tae-hoon’s mind and he shares how during the last day of filming, Chae-ran ended up coming back to the lodge alone while Ji-woong and Yeon-soo came back together. Choi Woong was seen shortly afterwards drenched in the rain. Filming for the documentary was eventually cut back short as everyone returned back to Seoul the next morning. Tae-hoon notes how the atmosphere and vibe of the place felt weird. Even Chae-ran and Ji-woong’s behavior felt out of place and they had a long talk privately that night. What could have happened?
While in the editing room, Ji-woong receives a text from Chae-ran who informs him about dinner. She’s bought some food so he should eat. As much as Ji-woong wants to pretend like nothing happened between them, he can’t ignore it. He debates on a few text messages to send back to Chae-ran, but nothing works. He ends up contacting Yeon-soo instead and the two go back and forth with each other through text. His conversation with her only lasts for so long once she disappears into Sol-yi’s restaurant.
Mom finally returns back to the restaurant after taking care of Choi Woong. She provides Dad with updates and grows concerned about their son. Dad reassures her that Choi Woong will be just fine. He’s not a weak person; he can take care of himself. Speaking of Choi Woong, he revisits an old portfolio with drawings from what he termed his “dark times.” He glances at a few of the drawings, but eventually closes the portfolio just as quickly afterwards.
Yeon-soo stops by Sol-yi’s restaurant, but she doesn’t have an appetite. She plays around with Sol-yi’s new food item because there’s something else on her mind. Choi Woong. Specifically, her kiss with Choi Woong. Yeon-soo’s bothered by how he hasn’t contacted her yet. Did the kiss mean nothing to him? Is Choi Woong acting as if nothing happened? Sol-yi remains blunt and honest with Yeon-soo. Maybe it’s because he’s already made his mind that he doesn’t want to get back together with her. If he did, he would have already made it clear by now.
Yeon-soo’s silence speaks volumes and Sol-yi’s quick to notice. Yeon-soo doesn’t want to get back with Choi Woong.. right? But Yeon-soo does. She tried so hard not to feel that way. She felt confident in the beginning when she first reunited with Choi Woong at the doorsteps of his house. But over time, she faltered and had less strength to hold it together. She’s not as confident anymore and she’s unsure as to what to do next. Choi Woong stands in his studio and does plenty of thinking himself. Has he made up his mind already or not?
Ji-woong returns home to find his mom inside. He’s not so thrilled at the sight of her and retreats into his bedroom just like all the other times he’s seen his mom sneak into his house. Sol-yi is busy taking care of her restaurant that she doesn’t even notice when Yeon-soo is gone. She assumes her best friend has gone off to create some trouble. And she did create some trouble, indeed.
Yeon-soo shows up at Choi Woong’s house just as he’s about to call her and she sets it straight with him. She lets her emotions out and she expresses her frustration with him. Why didn’t he contact her after the trip? After they kissed? Did it mean nothing to him? Choi Woong attempts to calm her down. He hands her a cup of water and sits him down on the sofa afterwards. Yeon-soo goes on and rambles about his behavior after their kiss. Did it mean nothing to him?
Choi Woong doesn’t beat around the bush. He could apologize and say it was just a mistake, but he’s not going to. So what then? What does he want to do? Choi Woong answers that he doesn’t want to get back with Yeon-soo. That’s his final decision (OMGGGG I’M CRYING RIGHT NOW. THIS ISN’T FAIR). Yeon-soo is in disbelief and she’s flustered. She’s upset. Instead of leading her on and dragging things out, he should have just told her from the beginning (I AGREEEEE). Yeon-soo grabs her belongings and storms out of his house, but he holds her back with a proposal. What about friends? How about they try something new and try being just friends? (SOMEBODY HOLD ME BACK RIGHT NOW. I AM LIVID).
Yeon-soo returns to Choi Woong in even bigger disbelief and anger. Friends? How could he even think of such a thing (I KNOW, YEON-SOO! TELL ME ABOUT IT!)? But since it’s something they haven’t tried before, maybe it might work out. Who knows. Yeon-soo doesn’t want to, but she gives in. Sure. They can try this whole friends thing and see how it turns out. It should be fun. Yeon-soo tests Choi Woong’s limits and invites herself to sleep over at his place that night, since, well, they’re friends now, right? (Omg, Yeon-soo is so petty just like me, I love it. Her level of pettiness is the same as mine!).
So Yeon-soo sleeps out on the couch with a blanket that her new friend, Choi Woong, generously gifts her. He stays in the living room with her for a bit and observes her sleeping until Yeon-soo’s phone lits up with a phone call from Ji-woong. Of course, since she’s asleep, she doesn’t pick up, but Choi Woong definitely notices the call. Choi Woong spends the entire night working and revisits Yeon-soo the next morning only to find his living room empty. She must have gone home. But nope, Yeon-soo didn’t. She’s happy to finally make a new friend other than Sol-yi and it turns out she just went to take a shower. LOL. It’s Choi Woong’s turn to get some sleep. We’ll see if Yeon-soo is gone by the time he wakes up, haha.
NJ returns from the airport and shares her excitement to her manager about an upcoming date with none other than Yeon-soo’s friend, Choi Woong (blah!). While leaving his place to go to work, Ji-woong’s mom attempts to spark a conversation with her son. Ji-woong isn’t buying it though. She does this every time and he’s tired of it. Back at Choi Woong’s house, he wakes up from his sleep to find Yeon-soo still there! LOL. She cooks up some food for her friend and the two agree to hang out all day. It’s not like Choi Woong had an interview or anything that day and had to lie to Eun-ho that he was still sick so that the interview could be cancelled, lol. I love it, I love it.
When Ji-woong arrives at work, Chae-ran fills him in on the deets, including a call from NJ who requested to appear in the documentary. When asked why or what reason, Chae-ran simply follows it up by mentioning Choi Woong. NJ wants to be introduced as Choi Woong’s friend in the documentary. Yeon-soo and Choi Woong hang out at his house and play some video games with each other. As if it wasn’t bad enough that Yeon-soo’s wearing their yellow matching couple t-shirt, she also beats him a few times in the video game, hahaha. Of course, she’s also curious about his relationship with NJ after seeing a missed call from the idol singer. Are they close to each other? Are they talking to each other? Since they’re friends, it’s okay for Yeon-soo to ask these type of questions, right?
Choi Woong switches the subject back to Yeon-soo. Since they’re friends, he can ask her about Mr. Jang, right? Did they have a thing? Yeon-soo is just as confused and shocked by Choi Woong’s question as he was about hers. No, there was never a thing. They strictly met just through work. Choi Woong must be jealous asking such a question which he admits that he is jealous. He catches himself a second later though and avoids Yeon-soo’s gaze. The conversation comes to a close when Choi Woong picks up NJ’s second call which Yeon-soo witnessed come through a second time. My heart.
Since Choi Woong is “sick” for the day, Eun-ho goes to visit his other friend, Sol-yi, at her restaurant. He updates her on the situation with Choi Woong and finds it odd that he’s still feeling sick. Sol-yi is quick to process and understand the hints and she’s against Eun-ho visiting Choi Woong. He might have a guest over at his house so Eun-ho should stay and help her with her restaurant instead. Haha, Sol-yi’s a real one.
Ji-woong and Chae-ran have an honest conversation with each other during dinner. He accepts Chae-ran’s nervous request for some dinner together and the two enjoy their food. Chae-ran is impatient and she asks Ji-woong about his feelings for Yeon-soo. It’s an abrupt question that Ji-woong was not expecting to be asked, but he responds back just as quickly. Yes, he does. Chae-ran will help keep it a secret, right? He doesn’t want anyone else to know. He reassures her that he won’t let his personal feelings affect the filming of the documentary. He’ll remain professional about everything.
While Choi Woong is busy taking a shower, Yeon-soo chills on the couch and peeks over at a text message from Eun-ho for Choi Woong (OOOOH girl, don’t you dare touch his phone or do anything with it!). Eun-ho is still worried about his friend and scheduled their interview for the following week. Yeon-soo’s quite confused after spying at the text; Choi Woong claimed that he had no plans for that day, but Eun-ho’s text proves otherwise. What exactly is Choi Woong thinking? When Choi Woong exits from the shower, he discovers Yeon-soo gone once again.
Except this time, she’s not really gone. She’s just in his studio taking a look at some of his drawings. Choi Woong removes the portfolio in her hands from her and places it all the way at the top of the shelf. The distance between them closes and their faces are inches away from each other (again). However, nothing happens this time. Choi Woong warns that Yeon-soo can’t just do anything she wants to him since they’re now “friends.” Yeon-soo has some questions she wants to ask Choi Woong. What’s his plan? From throwing water and salt at her to doing the documentary to get his revenge to kissing her to becoming friends, what exactly is he planning? But Choi Woong doesn’t have a plan. He just simply wants to be friends.
Yeon-soo doesn’t buy it and she feels as if Choi Woong’s lying. The panic in his eyes tells a different story from the words that exit his mouth and he calls Yeon-soo conceited. But she doesn’t mind. She’s going to roll with her own plan. She also selects Choi Woong’s drawing of the amusement park where they went on a date that ended in yet another break-up. Since she won the bet earlier during their video game, she’ll be taking the drawing home. She’ll head home that night.. after she eats some chicken at his house, of course.
While out in the dining area, Yeon-soo answers the door that rang from outside. Choi Woong catches up to her and the two greet none other than their mutual friend, Ji-woong. Ji-woong didn’t want to go home to his mom so he opted for Choi Woong’s house instead. The three are in shock at the sight of one another and everyone’s unsure of what to say. Choi Woong warned Yeon-soo earlier not to steal his friend, Ji-woong, away from him, but Ji-woong isn’t so sure what to make of the sight he’s seeing himself at the moment. Why is Yeon-soo and Choi Woong together at Choi Woong’s house? Are the two really just friends or are they more?
NJ films for the documentary and introduces herself as Choi Woong’s friend. She’s concerned as to how to be presented for the video since, well, her company isn’t aware that she’s participating. Regardless, her attention diverts to Yeon-soo and Choi Woong when they show up a few seconds later to the filming site. NJ notices a strange and odd vibe between Yeon-soo, Choi Woong, and Ji-woong and points it out. Something seems off about the three of them.
Wow, I hated this episode, but I didn’t hate it. I hated how funny it was with the whole “just friends” thing. Like I was literally laughing my butt off at how comedic and hilarious it was, but I also hated how heartbreaking it was because of the whole “just friends” thing. I was laughing and crying at the same time towards the second half of this episode and I didn’t know how to feel. Actually, I had many feels during the second half and I didn’t really like it. I’m having a hard time with the path that our two ex-lovers have decided to embark on.
Choi Woong’s decision was not one that I expected from him and it might not be one that I agree with either, but I think I can at least fathom to understand why he made the decision that he did. We saw in the last 2 episodes just how sick he felt about always waiting around for Yeon-soo and not really having his feelings reciprocated from her. Why put in all this time, these emotions, and work if she’s not going to do the same back for him? He was frustrated and he felt like it was a waste of time for him so he quit. And with a potential beginning with someone new, why not take a chance on that? Why not try something different by 1) being friends with Yeon-soo and then 2) getting to know NJ better?
I want to say that his decision felt out of place and very unlike him, but I’m mad at how I can’t even really say that or believe in it. Technically, Choi Woong did throw a curveball at us with this decision to not get back with Yeon-soo, because we saw him be so patient with her for so many episodes. Now that he’s turned it around and has turned his back towards her, it does feel strange for things to be the other way around. We’re not used to it. He’s not used to it. Yeon-soo’s not used to it. They’re not used to this.
As funny as the whole ‘we’re just friends’ shenanigan thing was, it also was so hurtful and made me want to laugh and cry at the same time. I’m over here, pulling my hair out and close to ripping my heart out because I want Yeon-soo and Choi Woong to be able to figure things out so they can get back together. We went through 9 episodes of torture only for the torture to get worse! Maybe I was just so naïve in all of this, but I really did not expect them to not get back together after the kiss. I thought that the kiss may have triggered them to finally and maybe be on the same page again. That the kiss helped their feelings potentially align and that they realized what their feelings were for each other. But as we saw in this episode, it was one-sided. Only Yeon-soo made a much bigger deal about the kiss than Choi Woong did. It actually meant something to her and her perception of the kiss was much different from how Choi Woong thought about it. I think the kiss did mean something to him as well, but it didn’t overcome his emotions and feelings of exhaustion and frustration with Yeon-soo. When she pushed herself away from him after the kiss and ran away, I think that was where he drew the line.
I really have to give it up for Sol-yi for being so real and honest with Yeon-soo, especially during the scene at the restaurant. I honestly wanted to cry watching that scene because I felt for Yeon-soo so bad. She held back from expressing herself to Choi Woong and she stayed stubborn through it all. Now she realizes that she made a mistake and that she does want to get back together with Choi Woong, but she let her pride get in the way both 5 years ago and in the present. Yeon-soo doesn’t want to lose him; she wants another chance with him but she cries because she realizes that it might be a little too late. She realizes that he’s changed and that things have changed and that their situation has changed. It’s not like in the past where they could break up 3 or 4 times and then come back to each other as if nothing ever happened. Yeon-soo doesn’t have that privilege or opportunity with Choi Woong any longer and that’s something that she’s still trying to adjust to.
I think it could have been very frustrating to watch Yeon-soo and the way she behaved and acted around Choi Woong. The way that she played hard to get when really she still had feelings for him. The way she pushed him away every time when really she wanted to be with him. The way she pretended as if she was fine after their break-up when really she wasn’t 5 years ago and still isn’t 5 years later. But for some reason, as a viewer, I never felt frustrated with her. I never felt tired of her repetitive behavior. I never shouted at my screen for Yeon-soo to just be honest with Choi Woong (even though that might not have been the case in this episode).
In fact, I rooted for Yeon-soo. I was on her side. I understood why she acted the way that she did. I was hoping that she would, little by little, let parts of herself go so that she could work things out with Choi Woong like she wanted. I was hurting for her in this episode when she cried at Sol-yi’s restaurant and when she stormed into Choi Woong’s house only to be confronted with the idea of being friends with him. How could she be simply friends with someone she loved and still loves? Maybe she wasn’t honest with him enough; maybe she was trying to be too tough. Maybe she wishes she would have done things a little differently with him. But she never expected to be just friends with Choi Woong. Isn’t that why she held on for so long? She was holding onto the hope that they could be more and return back to like how things used to be. Choi Woong was hoping for the same too, but the two could never just get on the same page.
I’m not so sure how I feel about all the love triangles in this drama. With the direction that the drama took in this episode, I feel like it’s only going to get even more overwhelming pretty soon. The drama has been slowly building on the love triangles as seen with Chae-ran, Ji-woong, and Yeon-soo. And then there’s Ji-woong, Yeon-soo, and Choi Woong. And then there’s NJ, Choi Woong, and Yeon-soo. There’s so much going on and it feels like a little too much at times. I don’t think Chae-ran’s involvement was completely necessary to be honest. All I thought of her was just as Ji-woong’s hoobae/team member so her development of feelings for him did feel like an extra sub-plot that the drama just wanted to throw in for funsies.
Again, I get where the drama is trying to go with NJ’s involvement with everything, but it still feels pretty tiring to be honest. Yeon-soo’s jealousy will only increase the more she sees NJ interact with Choi Woong and vice versa, but I don’t know if that was the only way to get Yeon-soo to act on her feelings. I’d rather see Yeon-soo act on her feelings for her own sake and not because she saw Choi Woong with another girl. I’d rather see Yeon-soo fight for Choi Woong because she wanted to, not because of competition. I think she already started feeling things for Choi Woong before NJ even entered the picture; NJ’s appearance only made Yeon-soo want to be with Choi Woong even more, but it’s not like she was the driving force or catalyst to Yeon-soo’s revived feelings for Choi Woong at all. That’s why I’m not the biggest fan of NJ and her connection with Choi Woong even if the drama thinks it’s a good idea to have her in it to affect Yeon-soo. Yeon-soo will be there for Choi Woong through it all, with or without NJ there.
Then we have Ji-woong’s surprise mommy issues which, to be fair, wasn’t all that much of a surprise in the first place since we did get a glimpse of it back in episode 5. However, I thought it was funny how the drama skimmed past it for 3 whole episodes before finally touching upon it again in this episode. And the only reason as to why it did so was so that there could be some progress made on the Ji-woong, Yeon-soo, and Choi Woong love triangle train.
Let’s talk about Ji-woong’s deprived relationship with his mother for a bit in episode 5 and then ignore it for a hot minute and then bring it back in episode 9 just so Ji-woong has a reason to visit Choi Woong’s place which coincidentally also happens to be during the same time that Yeon-soo is over at Choi Woong’s house as just a friend. It all seems too convenient to me and the timing was way too perfect. No way am I going to be as invested in Ji-woong’s complicated relationship with his mother (we already have that with Choi Woong and his bittersweet relationship with his parents), but at least pretend like you care. I’m a little disappointed with the random and abrupt timing of Ji-woong’s mother in this episode just so the main love triangle could keep going. Build up to it with stops along the way.
While this episode was, by far, the funniest episode so far in the drama, it also was the one that got the most reaction from me. For the first time ever while watching this drama, I was shouting at my screen and standing up from my chair for a variety of reasons with a bunch of different feels. I loved that Yeon-soo finally had enough courage and just had enough in general to be the change for once. She finally was the first one to take a step towards Choi Woong when in the past, she was the one who stood still and waited for him to come to her. As surprising as it was to see her show up at his house and invite herself into his house, there was also a part of me that loved it. I loved watching her march into his house and confront him about the kiss. Oh how the tables have turned.
Yeon-soo was usually the one who was more reserved and devoid of emotions while Choi Woong expressed himself and remained more outspoken about everything. Choi Woong had no problem in being emotional and vulnerable in front of Yeon-soo. Credits to him, he was always honest with her. He did give her signs that he wanted to be with her again. He did communicate on how he wanted things to change between them, it was just that Yeon-soo was too scared to let her confidence go. She wanted to remain strong. And then she let the opportunity go and by the time she came back, it was too late. Regardless, I thought the contrast in their reactions with the kiss confrontation was so interesting. She was the outspoken one, she was the loud one, she was the expressive and emotional one, she was the talker.
Then you had Choi Woong who was calm and quiet and the one who tried to calm her down. He remained nonchalant and indifferent to the kiss and to everything after the kiss. It hurt to see how different he was as well as how much effort Yeon-soo was putting into fighting for him. She’s finally stepped out of her comfort zone for once and yet, that didn’t faze him. He didn’t let it impact him too much. My poor Yeon-soo. Choi Woong always mentioned how Yeon-soo was so hard to read, but now, it’s the other way around. Now Yeon-soo is the one having a hard time reading Choi Woong and what he’s up to and what his plans are. The tables have turned and it might be a little too late. But it won’t stay this way forever. Some things will only get worse before they get better. Maybe it’ll take a few attempts at being friends before they can transition into lovers again.