The yearning and the longing and the pretending can only going on for so long. Yeon-soo and Choi Woong’s feelings for each other are put to the test once again. Who will fold first? Who will give in first? Who will do the talking first? How long can Yeon-soo and Choi Woong play pretend? Can they really resist the urge to be together?
Our Beloved Summer Episode 11: Our Nights Are More Beautiful Than Your Days
Choi Woong films for the documentary and shares a story about a puppy named Jjongjjong who belonged to the owner of a stationary store in Choi Woong’s neighborhood. When Choi Woong was in college, he would often see the owner and Jjongjjong around town, but never actually witnessed the puppy walk around outside. Jjongjjong’s owner explained the possible reasoning for this behavior: Jjongjjong was abandoned by his former owner while out on a walk so the puppy had been hesitant and afraid of the outdoors ever since.
We transition to the conversation that Choi Woong had with his professor before he and Yeon-soo broke up. Although Choi Woong originally denied his professor’s opportunity to live and study abroad, he gave it a second thought in hopes that maybe he and Yeon-soo could go together. She was successful in high school and they could both study together abroad. It would have been a great opportunity for the both of them. Of course, the plan never came into fruition since he and Yeon-soo broke up shortly afterwards. Feelings and emotions of abandonment just like he felt as a little kid ran through Choi Woong’s mind during his break-up with Yeon-soo and he couldn’t help but ponder why she abandoned him too.
Back in the present, Choi Woong remains distracted by the thought of the break-up, but he proceeds to explain his story about puppy Jjongjjong. Essentially, Jjongjjong reminds Choi Woong of himself. How exactly did the little puppy cope with the pain of being abandoned? After watching documentary footage of Yeon-soo in Ji-woong’s editing room, Choi Woong knew he had to do something. He couldn’t just sit still and expect things to change.
Ji-woong returns home after running into Yeon-soo in the neighborhood and having a good talk with her. He discovers a lunch bag in his fridge upon arriving home and assumes Choi Woong must have stopped by his place. Choi Woong is too busy drawing and painting to reply back to Ji-woong’s text while Yeon-soo catches up on the dating articles of NJ and Choi Woong. She doesn’t like what she sees and she slams her laptop shut 😦
NJ has a talk with the CEO of her entertainment company about the dating rumors. She’d like them to refute the dating rumors since she and Choi Woong aren’t actually dating, but CEO Kang has another plan of her own. She won’t do it just like she did all the other times. Things are different this time. Choi Woong has a good reputation and image and he’s different from all the other guys that NJ was involved with. Plus, if NJ wants to keep seeing Choi Woong, she can. But NJ disproves of CEO Kang’s words and plans. She pleads that they leave Choi Woong alone. She also demands that her CEO stop treating her like a little kid.
Eun-ho basically dissects the dating rumor articles with Choi Woong at his house. What is this all about? Are they actually dating? What’s going on? Choi Woong doesn’t seem thrilled having to refute the rumors to his manager, but he has to in order for his manager to actually do his job. He confirms that he and NJ are not actually dating which sort of surprises and disappoints Eun-ho, lol. Choi Woong adds that Eun-ho can just mention that he’s a fan of NJ’s and just leave it at that. Speaking of NJ, Choi Woong gives NJ a call shortly afterwards.
She updates him about her company’s stance on the dating rumors and articles. They’re not going to refute it so it’ll be up to Choi Woong to get the word out on the truth. But Choi Woong changes his mind as well and stops Eun-ho from refuting anything. They’ll just leave it alone and wait for the articles to come out. Eun-ho informs Choi Woong about the rest of his schedule for the week, including a few interviews that were originally postponed as well as a shooting for the documentary. Their final one to be exact. Yeon-soo will be there, too.
Ji-woong stuffs himself with the food that Choi Woong delivered to his house the night before. He calls Mom on the phone to thank her and the two catch up with each other before Dad joins Mom. The married couple chat about the dating rumors with Choi Woong, but come to an agreement that Yeon-soo is the better one for Choi Woong (I AGREE MOM AND DAD. I AGREE!). It’s hard to believe that it’s already Fall which means that it’s that time of the year for the family. Mom will contact Choi Woong to let them know that they’ll be visiting the countryside later on that week. Reasons to be determined.
Sol-yi calls up Yeon-soo who’s busy driving back to the office after a meeting. She wants the latest gossip on the dating rumors between Choi Woong and NJ, but Yeon-soo pretends to act as if she doesn’t care about what’s going on between the two. After the phone call, Yeon-soo stops at a traffic light only for NJ to pop up on the billboard of a building at the intersection. Haha. So much for not caring. It’s a sign, Yeon-soo. It’s a sign.
Ji-woong arrives at work and is greeted by Chae-ran who has a handful to update him on. She prevented a surprise work birthday party for Ji-woong from happening, received a visit from Choi Woong the other day, and would also like to treat Ji-woong to a birthday dinner. She’s persistent with the birthday treat so Choi Woong gives in and agrees to the idea. Chae-ran heads out with Imtern Tae-hoon for some filming with Choi Woong.
Choi Woong participates in an interview with a reporter, but he has a difficult time focusing. When asked about the intentions of excluding people in his drawings, Choi Woong struggles to respond to the abrupt question. Eun-ho attempts to lighten up the dull mood by suggesting the reporter ask Choi Woong about his exhibitions instead, but the reporter isn’t opened to the idea. She’s always found it difficult to interview Choi Woong and leaves the site. Chae-ran follows up with Choi Woong after the interview. She’s already aware that the dating rumors with him and NJ are false; he’s too busy thinking about Yeon-soo to even think about anyone else. Chae-ran knows!
First the billboard and then the office. Yeon-soo just can’t seem to escape the dating rumors involving Choi Woong and NJ. She hears it from Mr. Bang to two random girls at the bus stop on her walk home from work. Yeon-soo tries not to pay too much attention to it, but she can’t. She purchases two bags worth full of jujubes from a grandm and somehow ends up finding herself in front of Choi Woong’s house again. LOL. I love it. Eun-ho opens the door, but he leaves right after so Yeon-soo is left alone at Choi Woong’s house while the owner is out. The jujubes end up falling out of the bag in the living room so she picks them up.
Chae-ran and Ji-woong stop by a restaurant for his birthday dinner, but wait, it’s not just the two of them there. Surprisingly, Mr. Park, Imtern Tae-hoon, and Writer Lee are also at the same restaurant. LOL. Awkward! They end up sitting at the same table and Writer Lee is a bit buzzed. She and Ji-woong get into another small bicker so Mr. Park and Tae-hoon leave the table for a bit. Of course, they chat about the documentary and Writer Lee has no issue in exposing Ji-woong in front of Chae-ran. She knows he likes Yeon-soo. But that’s the thing. He shouldn’t let his personal feeling and emotions influence the outcome of the documentary. Cameras are great in that they can be objective observers, but they can also give you insight into a person’s personal life. Writer Lee suggests that Ji-woong go back and edit the documentary clips again. Follow the gazes of the cast members, not his.
On his way back home, Choi Woong comes across a few random pieces of jujubes on the ground. Although confused as to why there’s pieces of jujubes around, he continues. The jujube cameo continues as well and Choi Woong discovers them leading up to his house. He picks up some more jujubes outside his house along with a handwritten card from NJ. Choi Woong’s even more confused and flustered when he finds some inside of his house as well. Who could have been behind this? *WINK WINK*
Yeon-soo takes the jujubes home and spreads them out on a mat in the front yard. She reflects on the conversation she had with NJ back at Choi Woong’s house who showed up to his house unexpectedly. Just as Yeon-soo was about to leave, NJ inquired about Yeon-soo’s relationship with Choi Woong and if she was getting in the way. Although Yeon-soo answered that there was nothing between her and Choi Woong, it didn’t seem like NJ was really one to care. She declares her affection for Choi Woong and would hate to fight with Yeon-soo over him. Yeon-soo is well aware of NJ’s feelings for Choi Woong; it’s not like the idol singer was going to stop even if Yeon-soo asked her to.
But the jujube love is strong and Choi Woong pieces together a drawing of the fallen jujube pieces that night in his house. He receives a visit shortly afterwards by a buzzed Ji-woong who has a lot on his mind. Particularly about Writer Lee’s comments and how obvious Ji-woong is about his feelings when he’s filming. When Ji-woong shoots, he shoots with his emotions and he can’t hide how he really feels even though he tries his best to do so. Has Choi Woong noticed? He was in the editing room and saw what type of footages Ji-woong was filming. Does Choi Woong understand what Ji-woong’s trying to say? Choi Woong plays pretend; he brushes off Ji-woong’s comments, but Ji-woong isn’t in the mood to be dismissed. He assumes Choi Woong doesn’t want to hear the truth which is why he’s acting indifferent. He assumes Choi Woong is too scared to hear the truth so he’s playing it off. But Choi Woong knows and Ji-woong knows. They know what the truth is. For how much longer can they ignore it and pretend as if they don’t?
It’s the final day of shooting. Choi Woong is nowhere to be found and Chae-ran grows impatient. How could he just disappear on the last day of filming? It doesn’t help that Choi Woong stopped by Mom and Dad’s restaurant earlier that morning only to find the restaurant closed. Yeon-soo knows the context behind Choi Woong’s disappearance and teams up with Eun-ho to go find Choi Woong. She knows something about this particular day related to Choi Woong that no one else does.
And so while Yeon-soo (and Eun-ho) go off to search for Choi Woong, the artist himself stops by the stationary store in hopes of reuniting with Jjongjjong. Choi Woong is at first informed by the owner that the puppy has “gone far away”, but he means it in the literal sense. A few seconds later, Jjongjjong enters the store with two students who took him out on a walk. The puppy is a changed puppy now; he actually enjoys walks and the outdoors now compared to years ago which the owner credits the puppy for. Choi Woong, now it’s your turn.
Of course, Choi Woong and Yeon-soo end up missing each other by just a few feet and seconds away and the search party continues. Ji-woong returns to the editing room and takes Writer Lee’s words to heart. He reviews the footages he filmed for the documentary. On her way home from grocery shopping, Grandma runs into Choi Woong and she doesn’t seem so thrilled to see him. But she also can’t avoid him and Choi Woong volunteers to help her carry her bags to her house. Choi Woong is close to leaving, but he’s curious about the jujubes laying out on the mat in the front yard. Grandma has no idea what Yeon-soo is up to with the jujubes and who it’s for.
Choi Woong pieces together the hints and realizes that it was Yeon-soo who was behind all the random jujubes that he saw near and inside of his house. He now knows that Yeon-woo was the one who bought it and why she got them (this is my second time watching this episode today and I’m going to cry again. TRY NOT TO CRY AGAIN CHALLENGE ATTEMPT #1). Grandma transitions to talking about Yeon-soo and apologizes on her behalf. If there’s anything that Yeon-soo did to hurt Choi Woong, blame Grandma for it. Not Yeon-soo. It’s all Grandma’s fault for having raised Yeon-soo a certain way. But Choi Woong doesn’t view Yeon-soo in that way nor does he blame Grandma for anything. If anything, he feels as if he doesn’t deserve Yeon-soo because she’s too brilliant and good for him. But if Choi Woong knows this, then what are the two of them doing? The only ones stopping them are themselves. They should take advantage of the opportunity while it’s there.
It’s Chae-ran’s turn to watch Ji-woong’s clips of the documentary in the editing room so she sits down to take a peek while Ji-woong is away. Sure enough, there’s more to the clips than you think. It’s in the gaze and look in Yeon-soo’s eyes, such as in the clip where Yeon-soo is filmed smiling at Choi Woong as he attempts to water his plants outside in the front yard.
The search for Choi Woong finally concludes when Yeon-soo finds him sitting by the window inside of a restaurant. They reunite and she notes that it was much harder to find him this time than all the other years. But she remembers how it was usually this time of the year when both he and his parents disappeared for the day. Now that Yeon-soo has found Choi Woong, they can finally sit down and have a face to face talk with each other — something that she’s been looking forward to (omg okay, this is my second time watching this episode so I have to brace myself for what’s coming up next. I’m gonna try my best not to cry).
The former lovers sit in silence for a while. They drink shots of soju and occasionally look at each other, but the silence is unbearable for Yeon-soo. She mentions how Choi Woong doesn’t seem to be avoiding her any longer which he denies ever doing (but really, we all know the truth). Since he’s a bit quiet tonight, Yeon-soo will do all the talking. So she gathers some courage and prepares to voice her feelings and emotions. She’s so nervous she avoids Choi Woong’s eyes as she’s about to speak, but she has to get it done and so she does.
Yeon-soo is in disagreement with Choi Woong’s idea about being friends. She can’t do it. Just as she’s about to explain the reasoning behind her decision, Choi Woong interrupts her with his thoughts. He’s missed her. He always misses her. He missed her so much (TRY NOT TO CRY AGAIN CHALLENGE ATTEMPT #2). He was angry and resentful when they met again after their break-up. But now he knows why. He always wanted to see Yeon-soo love him. So he asks that she keep loving him. To not let him go and, instead, to continue loving him.
With tears in her eyes and down her cheeks, Yeon-soo nods her head. This is her vow that she’ll never let Choi Woong go. Not again. She won’t let the same thing happen again and she won’t make the same decision. It’s a relieving moment for the two as they both finally align in regards to their feelings for each other. This time, they’ll do better. They’ll be better. They both shed tears as the moment that they’ve been waiting for finally arrives.
After they finish crying their hearts out at the restaurant, Choi Woong and Yeon-soo take a walk outside. Choi Woong stops to lie down on the ground and he invites Yeon-soo to join him. He recalls a childhood memory of when his dad teased him to lie down on the ground as a way to see the very top of a skyscraper. Although lighthearted at first, the mood turns serious and somber when Choi Woong adds how his biological father abandoned him while he was distracted by the building. Little did he know that his dad would disappear and never return. He was alone and scared and petrified as a little kid crying for his dad, but his dad was no where to be found (TRY NOT TO CRY AGAIN CHALLENGE ATTEMPT #3).
Choi Woong cries again upon returning to the same spot where it happened. The pain and fear from that incident is still so vivid. Yeon-soo observes Choi Woong as he cries on the ground. She wipes his tears and proceeds to give him a peck on the kiss as if to communicate that she won’t leave him. She’ll be there for him. They’re in the same location from that incident, but this time, it’s different. This time, Choi Woong won’t have to fear that he’ll be alone. He can stand up after lying down on the ground and know that he’ll find Yeon-soo exactly where she wants to be and where he needs her to be: by his side.
Wow. WOW. SO. MANY. FEELS. SO many feelings. I am proud to admit that I was not successful at the challenges. I cried multiple times during BOTH of the times that I watched this episode. I hate this drama because I love it so much. ‘Our Beloved Summer’ is so charming and especially magical during certain scenes. I’ll point out which scenes those were in this episode a little later, but this drama will be the death of me (happily).
There were so many symbols in this episode that were used as devices for the storytelling. You have the jujubes which I never thought would ever be a reason to make me cry. Who knew that I would ever cry over jujubes, but here we are many years (and tears) later thanks to this drama. Jujubes was really that iconic symbol that portrayed Choi Woong and Yeon-soo’s relationship with each other and I enjoy the meaning (and life) that it has brought into their relationship. It seems so simple, but there’s so many layers and impact to what the jujubes mean and why they both view it in such a positive light. Even the small things like jujubes reminds Yeon-soo of Choi Woong which only goes to further prove that he hasn’t really left her mind like how she noted in episode 10. Choi Woong has always been on Yeon-soo’s mind. She’s aways thinking about him. She can’t seem to escape from him. I thought it was so sweet that she bought the jujubes to help treat him his insomnia. It’s the little thoughts that count.
I know Yeon-soo and Choi Woong deserve praise and credit for finally sitting down and having a heartfelt and honest conversation with each other (much more on that later), but there’s two characters in this episode who I really have to give it to. The first being Jjongjjong. I mean, come on. The puppy was not only so freaking adorable, but also motivated and pushed Choi Woong to do something. To make a change. To finally take that first step again in approaching Yeon-soo and opening up to her. Jjongjjong’s courage in doing something that he had been so afraid of doing for the longest time symbolized to Choi Woong that he should do the same. It’s time that he step out of his comfort zone and grow.
Choi Woong had sort of shut himself down the past few episodes in an effort to learn more about himself and to explore, but he found himself back to Yeon-soo because that’s just the simple truth. As much as Choi Woong avoided Yeon-soo and tried to see what life was like without her (meaning: life without Yeon-soo as a lover and only as a friend), he realized that it wouldn’t be possible. Similar to Yeon-soo, he can’t be just friends with her. As least not that type of friend. He wants her in her life as more than just a friend. He wishes that they can be the type of best friends who are also lovers. Who know each other best. Who complete each other. Who are there for each other through it all. Who work through the up’s and down’s and everything in between. Who understand each other like no one else does. Who can be best friends as they work their way back into loving each other.
Along with Jjongjjong, Grandma really stood out to me in this episode and I love how she protected Yeon-soo so carefully. It’s not just in the way that she acted harshly towards Choi Woong over dinner, but it was also in the way that she embraced her granddaughter as Yeon-soo told her the truth and cried on her shoulders. It was also in the way that she was willing to take on any blame for what Yeon-soo might have done to Choi Woong. It was how Grandma blamed herself for raising Yeon-soo in such a way that might have hurt Choi Woong. Grandma wasn’t shy to address it with Choi Woong and she also wasn’t shy in taking any heat or blame for Yeon-soo’s actions.
I love Grandma for standing up for her granddaughter and protecting her at any cost, but I also love Grandma for taking care of both Yeon-soo and Choi Woong. As much as she doubts Choi Woong for the pain that he caused Yeon-soo, she also understands how much Yeon-soo loves him. Grandma has a soft spot for Choi Woong because she knows and understands just how much he means to Yeon-soo. How could she even fathom to treat him so rashly when she knows how much Yeon-soo cried both in the past and in the present because of him? Grandma wants things to work out between Yeon-soo and Choi Woong as much as they do.
It’s scenes like the one with Grandma and Choi Woong that really carries this drama and allows it to be so magical. This drama, somehow, has this amazing and humane way of executing that always gets to me. There’s at least one scene in each episode that feels especially magical. There’s always that one scene in each episode that really grabs at your heart. In this episode, it was the scene with Grandma and Choi Woong. In episode 10, it was the scene where Yeon-soo greeted Choi Woong outside her house to receive her pouch back from him and memories of when he would wait for her in high school flashed in her mind. In episode 9, it was the scene when Yeon-soo confronted Choi Woong in the living room of his house and he confessed the idea of being just friends. I could go on and on, but my point being is, most of each episode is enjoyable, but there’s always certain moments and scenes from each episode that transpire into something more. With episode 11, there wasn’t a whole lot going on. The search party for Choi Woong was a thing, but it was what happened during that search party that stood out. And it was the scene in particular between Choi Woong and Grandma that really got to me. The drama is so effortlessly good at tugging at your heartstrings with simple moments and conversations like these. It truly is so magical.
I’m not the biggest fan of the drama occasionally bringing up sub-plots that it didn’t focus on in the beginning of the show, but I do give the drama credit for at least spending time on it eventually even if it’s much later on. Ji-woong’s mommy issues wasn’t a big thing at first until just recently with episodes 9 and 10. Choi Woong’s odd relationship with his parents was always sort of hinted at throughout the drama, but the drama never really focused on it. Then the whole childhood trauma and abandonment incident was sort of previewed in episode 9, but that was really our first glimpse so we weren’t even aware about Choi Woong’s background story until this episode. Personally, I enjoy it when a drama gives us hints from the very beginning and gives time for the sub-plot to develop with every few episodes. ‘Our Beloved Summer’ took my least favorite approach which was not focus on it at all then suddenly throw a few hints in the middle of the drama to start that build-up and then eventually dedicate a whole episode to it.
We saw that with episodes 9 and 10 in regards to Ji-woong’s relationship with his mom. We saw it in this episode with Choi Woong’s childhood trauma and his fear of abandonment. Despite these two arcs feeling a bit spontaneous, I’m glad that the drama is actually spending time to focus on it though. It could have just done what many other dramas do which is mention it for a good minute and then completely drop it never to be heard or seen of again. However, for as spontaneous as some sub-plots and arcs feel, ‘Our Beloved Summer’ does a solid job of 1) spending time on them and 2) executing them to assist with the storytelling and direction it wants to go in.
In this episode, Choi Woong’s childhood trauma was sort of used as a device to connect his and Yeon-soo’s relationship; he fears the feeling of abandonment and he doesn’t want to be abandoned again – whether that’s by Yeon-soo or just in general. It was enough for him the first time around when he and Yeon-soo broke up, but he definitely doesn’t want to relive those feelings and emotions. He doesn’t want history to be repeated. He doesn’t want to go through the same thing again. That’s why Choi Woong was so genuine, sincere, and honest in that restaurant conversation with Yeon-soo about how he wanted her to love her and how he hopes she doesn’t let him go. Once was enough and they both know how they feel about each other now.
Yeon-soo wants Choi Woong to love her like how she wants to be loved and vice versa. He wants to feel her love which she expressed in her own way when they were a couple in college. Fast forward a few years later and they have grown and hopefully learned from their mistakes. They will accept each other but also accept the way that they show their love for each other. Yeon-soo and Choi Woong will understand that they will love each other for how they want to be loved as well as how they show each other their love. They will compromise and they will meet each other halfway. They know now what it’s like to be apart so they’re going to do whatever they can to make sure they’re not. They made that pretty loud and clear in their honest conversation with each other in the restaurant.
To add to that, it’s also the way in which there are just certain aspects and information to Choi Woong that no one else but Yeon-soo knows about. That Ji-woong doesn’t know about. That Eun-ho doesn’t know about. That NJ definitely does not know about. Yeon-soo knows Choi Woong like no one else does. She is attentive to him. She thinks about him all the time. She remembered how he usually disappeared on the same day every year which explains why she didn’t panic when he didn’t show up to filming. She simply went on her way to search for him — just like how she did all the times before when they used to date. There are so many signs that point Yeon-soo and Choi Woong to each other. That point out why they’re meant to be for each other. Sides of each other that only they know about still applies to the present. Even though they’ve broken up, they still remember small details about each other. They haven’t forgotten. These memories and feelings are still so vivid.
I love, love, love that the two could be so honest with each other. Finally. That ending scene was finally what we had been waiting for this entire time. I felt like I’ve aged 4,000 years watching this drama and aged another 4,000 watching Yeon-soo and Choi Woong be apart. So to see them finally sit down face to face, have an honest and heartfelt conversation with each other about how they’re really feeling, and be so willing to listen to each other instead of wanting to be listened to felt so nice. So worth it. No arguing. No bickering. No fighting. They finally communicated and opened not only their hearts but also their ears to give the other the opportunity to say what was on their mind. Yeon-soo doesn’t want to play games anymore. Choi Woong just wants to be loved by Yeon-soo and not be in doubt about it. He wants to feel like he deserves to be loved by her.
They aren’t perfect, their relationship isn’t perfect, things aren’t going to be perfect. But that’s okay. Yeon-soo and Choi Woong doesn’t have to be perfect in order for things to work out. They just have to be true to themselves and to each other. No more beating around the bush and no more painful words or actions. If they can continue to be like how they were that night at the restaurant, they’ll always find their way back to each other – just like how it’s supposed to be and like how they were meant to be.
Extra photos from the episode~