Gaaaah, the pain just never stops. Episodes 9 and 10 of ‘Crash Course in Romance’ continued to hone in on the relationship between Chi-yeol and Haeng-seon and, as a result, gave us so much more angst and yearning than I would have imagined (and could also handle).
Since our main couple and their relationship is one of my favorite things about the drama, I was happy that we got to see more of them in the latest episodes. But as we saw, it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns. And in fact, it was quite the opposite. Unlike episodes 7 and 8 where we watched the two spend extra time together, go to a doctor’s appointment together as a date, and ate at Haeng-seon’s Mom’s former restaurant, the two latest episodes evoked more painful emotions and feelings out of me. No one said that the relationship between the two would be easy and Chi-yeol and Haeng-seon definitely were tested once their special romantic-not-officially-romantic relationship got revealed to the public.
It’s one thing for their relationship to be exposed to the public, but it’s also another thing in the way that it happened. Toxic tiger mom, Jo Su-hee, made a post outing the relationship and came up with a cheating scandal that perceived Haeng-seon in a dehumanizing and disrespectful way. As a result, we saw the negative impact and effects that this rumor had on Haeng-seon including a hit to her banchan store. Then in episode 10, we saw what happened to Chi-yeol once he stepped up to defend his relationship rumors with Haeng-seon, including admitting that he did indeed like her. His feelings for her were real, they were genuine, and he was the one who liked her. Therefore, he warned people not to speak badly about Haeng-seon. His reputation took a dip as a result while Haeng-seon was able to recover after the bold confession and information. In episode 9, Haeng-seon unfortunately took the fall; in episode 10, it was Chi-yeol who unfortunately faced repercussions.
It was heartbreaking to watch Haeng-seon and Chi-yeol navigate this confusing and chaotic situation where they wanted to protect each other (and Haeng-seon’s family) while also wanting to protect their own feelings towards each other. They were at a point where they had feelings and were starting to show interest in each other, but they couldn’t clarify those feelings because of the chaotic and unexpected moment that was thrown upon them. Episode 9 was gut-wrenching to watch in the way that we got both sweet and soft and happy moments between the two and then also a “break-up” all within the span of 10 minutes. Chi-yeol visited Jae-woo at the hospital, then he fed Haeng-seon, and they spent some time at the Han River. But then afterwards, on the drive back to the hospital, Chi-yeol noted that he would stop tutoring Hae-yi and that was the moment that ignited the “break-up.” Their break-up might not have been from a romantic perspective since they were never in that type of relationship, but Chi-yeol’s tutoring served as the reason for the break-up and it was just as heart-breaking to watch.
I love angst in general so I did enjoy the angst between Chi-yeol and Haeng-seon in episodes 9 and 10. But perhaps what I enjoyed more than the angst was the yearning and the way that the two talked to each other not with words but with their eyes. It was in the way they looked at each other. You could tell there were so many things they wanted to say to each other, but they didn’t because they knew they were better off not getting involved romantically.
While I thought Chi-yeol visiting Jae-woo with Haeng-seon there at the hospital was touching or Chi-yeol and Haeng-seon’s drive to the Han River was adorable, I enjoyed the hospital scene where Chi-yeol gave Haeng-seon back the bag of snacks that he bought for her from the convenience store. The absolute amount of yearning that they expressed with their eyes in that moment was such a tearjerker. They bid farewell in the very same location where they first met (the hospital). They had just had an honest conversation in the car leading to that moment about their situation, it was as if they were hoping that the other person would object and speak up. But instead, the two buried their feelings and thoughts; they pretended as if everything was fine and walked away feeling even more hurt and broken. I loved everything about that hospital goodbye scene.
Then, of course, the other scene that I heavily enjoyed and made me tear up was Haeng-seon’s crying scene to Yeong-ju. She had spent the whole night searching for an exhausted and burnt out Chi-yeol and they ended up addressing their confusing situation once again. Chi-yeol admitted that he was just confused and clarified that he actually didn’t harbor any feelings for Haeng-seon (even though we all know he does! I know you do Chi-yeol!). They bid farewell once again and once Chi-yeol’s car was far enough, Haeng-seon broke down into tears and cried into Yeong-ju’s shoulder. It was Haeng-seon’s comments in this moment that made me also want to cry along with her:
Mr. Choi said that he got over me. He said he was just confused. It all worked out for the best, but my heart is ripped into shreds. I must have liked him. I must have liked him a lot, Yeong-ju.
Gaaaah, the pain is truly endless. It just never stops! I enjoyed this scene a lot for the way that we saw a different side to Haeng-seon. She’s a warrior, but she’s also a worrier. She’s always worried for her family, for Hae-yi, for her brother, for Yeong-ju, for her banchan store, for Chi-yeol. She always puts herself second to everyone else and we witnessed the lengths she’d go to to protect her family. But this specific instance was different in that we finally got a glimpse of Haeng-seon who was vulnerable and sad. Haeng-seon is strong and independent and tough, but I also loved that she was so brave in this moment to just let her walls down for once and grieve. Grieve for what could have been. Grieve over what had happened. Grieve over what should have been. Haeng-seon was someone who stuck by her family and close friends and she was very routine-based. Then Chi-yeol showed up out of no where and into her life unexpectedly and she let him in unconsciously. They grew closer and got to know each other better, but before they could even act upon or confirm these growing feelings, they had to end it all. The timing just didn’t match.
But thank goodness for Hae-yi as she will be the cupid and matchmaker for Chi-yeol and her mom. She wants the both of them to be happy and she was well aware that they liked each other. But it was also Hae-yi doing what she thought was best for everyone, including herself. She felt guilty for the ways that both her mom and Chi-yeol were impacted by all of the negative publicity and attention so she wanted to put an end to it all by coming clean and clarifying the nasty rumors and scandals. I also really enjoyed Hae-yi’s character growth especially within the latest two episodes. Do I think it was a bit random? Yes. But do I enjoy watching Hae-yi take control of the situation and being proactive to protect those who she loves? Absolutely. Another one of my favorite scenes from the latest two episodes actually had to do with Hae-yi and Yeong-ju and Hae-yi not feeling so great about her role in everything that was unfolding. Hae-yi had someone to lean on during a time of difficulty and she was also vulnerable and honest in the way that she felt.
It’s sort of unfortunate because the more that I watch this drama, the more I watch it for the family dynamic as well as Haeng-seon and Chi-yeol’s relationship. As much as I want to care about the All Care tiger moms or the police detective investigation with the metal balls or Hee-jae and his mom’s story, I have to be honest and admit that I don’t. Again, I can tolerate these scenes and watch through them, but I’m not as invested in them. I appreciate the drama keeping viewers occupied with multiple sub-plots and stories, but I do feel like I’m watching completely different dramas at times. You have something more serious and grueling with the police detective and murder mysteries and then a few scenes later, you have something funny or adorable with Chi-yeol and Haeng-seon. The drama feels a bit disjointed because of these varying sub-plots and factors and I know they will all eventually relate to one another somehow in the end, but it’s felt so imbalanced this entire time. I felt like episodes 1-6 was more primarily focused on the metal balls mystery and the police detectives while episodes 7-10 dedicated most of its time to Chi-yeol and Haeng-seon’s relationship. Then I predict that the drama will loop in another sub-plot to wrap up the drama since it’s already chosen to highlight Chi-yeol and Haeng-seon’s relationship halfway into the show (maybe Haeng-seon’s sister/Hae-yi’s biological mom will return??). With the sudden shift in tone and energy, I end up caring more about certain characters and sub-plots than I do about others.
That’s not to say that ‘Crash Course in Romance’ isn’t enjoyable, because the truth is that it is. It is a great drama. It’s a fun. It’s charming. It’s lovely. Would I have loved to see a drama just about Haeng-seon and her family (+ Hae-yi’s school friendships) as well as Chi-yeol? Absolutely. Is the drama bad and less enjoyable just because it chose to give us more? No. I still find myself looking forward to each weekend for the newest episodes and I have to remind myself to stop reacting when I watch the episodes while I’m at the gym or else I’ll look a little weird, haha. It’s beyond difficult for me to just keep a straight face when I’m watching this drama either because I want to cry or I want to smile and laugh. But that’s the amazing thing about this drama that has fully captivated my interest and my heart. We finally got the “crash course in romance” between Chi-yeol and Haeng-seon that I had been impatiently waiting for and as we saw, it included all the good, bad, and ugly moments. Relationships and romance are never easy, but Chi-yeol and Haeng-seon can definitely pass – and maybe even ace – that test from all the learning they’ve done. No more hiding; now’s the time for honesty.