SHE TELLS HIM SHE KNOWS HE'S CHEATING!
Finally! Wish it hadn't been done at the moment it was done and in public like that, but yes, No Ra finally lets Dirty Rat Husband know that she knows about his girlfriend. He tries to deny it and come up with some lame excuse as to what he was really doing at the theater, but she counteracts with more evidence against him until he finally admits - sort of - to it. He lies and says that it has only been going on a couple of months since their separation instead of the years that it has been. Now, we don't actually know just what the relationship between Rat and Homewrecker has been, but we do know that whatever they have started years ago and inspired the original "we need to break up" declaration. Granted, No Ra doesn't come completely clean in her dropping of the infidelity bomb in that she tells him that it was Yoo Young that spotted him and told him, not that she saw it with her own eyes. Minor detail, not important enough. I love that he is weirded out that she has known for so long and is only just now saying something. So fun to watch him squirm. Sure, I could always go for more kicking to the nuts, but watching him squirm is still satisfying in its own way.
Min Soo Starts to Switch Sides
First, Woo Chul is a nasty rat for trying to involve his son in his nefarious crap in the first place. Pitting son against mother, not cool dude. So not fair to this poor kid to be put in the middle. May I just point out that his mother would never do something like what his father just did? Woo Chul, made impotent in fighting his wife on the whole quitting school thing now that he knows she knows about his girlfriend, turns to his son to enlist his help. He wants Min Soo to convince his mom that she's ruining his life by being there and that she needs to quit. Low down, rotten, horrible, awful thing to do, but he does it. To his credit though, Min Soo refuses, saying that he doesn't mind his mother being there after all. YES! Again, love to see that flumoxed look on stupid Woo Chul's rat face as he doesn't get the response he is expecting. Ha! Min Soo proves that he is a bigger man than his father when he comes back with "She really wants to go to school. I don't think it's something we should stop her from".
Mean Hyun Suk
Hyun Suk is still being a giant turd towards No Ra. He's all bent out of shape upset with her for sticking with Dirty Cheating Rat even after knowing that he's stepping out on her. Obviously, he's not aware of their private "issues" and the impending, contractual divorce coming down the pipes as he's stomping around like a petulant man child. I get it. I get why he is upset. He loves her and from where he's standing, she's not doing herself any favors. And it's true, she hasn't been doing herself any favors for 20 years, generally speaking. But she's turning things around and dealing with things he is unaware of. He tries to brush his obvious disappointment and complete 180 in how he's treating her off by declaring that his being nice was strictly pity when he thought she was dying. Now that she's living, he's going back to being an ass. Except that he can't quit her, no matter how hard he tries. He's going to have to soon admit to what is really going on with him and, oh, I don't know, talk to her about it? Sure, her being hitched makes that more of a challenge. I suppose it isn't appropriate for him to confess his feelings for a married woman no matter what their history. But still...for his sake, for hers, and for ours, I know I'm waiting impatiently for her to finally get the chance to tell him about the divorce. And, you know, get the divorce. Dump the rat!
Despite his attempts to give her the cold shoulder, Hyun Suk's soft spot for her starts to show through his prick...ly exterior. Like when she catches him as the sender of the giant bouquet of roses. She mentions the "flowers", he responds with the more specific "roses", thus showing that he was the sender as she suspected. Ha! Caught you!
The ice thaws a little more when Hyun Suk runs to give her the container of her grandmother's tteokbokki to "throw away". Look at him - still helping her out with her bucket list even after he knows she's not dying. The boy just can't help himself. He's besotted. And the sooner all relevant parties can figure that out, the happier we will all be. She instantly recognizes grandma's special recipe's flavor and flips out, begging him for information on where it came from. He's still being his petulant man child self though and refuses to tell her, and even goes as far as to instruct others from ever revealing the source. Just what exactly is he up to with all this? It's so bizarre. Why is he bent on keeping it a secret? Just because he's, well, him or is there something bigger at play that we don't know about yet?
Figuring out (at least one reason) why Hyun Suk is mad - grandma's funeral
A big part of the puzzle regarding his initial reaction to seeing her at school that first time and the mean way that he treated her is finally revealed. No Ra (for an unknown reason) was not at her grandmother's funeral. Hyun Suk, on the other hand, was there all three days. He was the principal mourner while her own granddaughter pulled a no show. Now, we know her, we know there had to be a dang good reason why she wasn't there, we just don't know that reason yet, nor does he. And he's held it as a grudge all of these years. He's probably thinking that she wasn't the girl that he thought she was. Or that she changed so dramatically into this horrible person that would abandon her poor grandmother. No one ever told No Ra that Hyun Suk had even been there, let alone stayed the entire time. This is information that shocks her. She had no idea that they had even known each other, let alone were close enough that he would stay through three days of a funeral. She really had no idea his feelings towards her, did she? She was oblivious.
One last little tidbit about the past we pick up later on in the episode -- that beach party where No Ra at least met (and maybe the night she got knocked up by) Dirty Rat? Yeah, so Hyun Suk was supposed to have been there too, but was unable to make it because his dad fainted. Is it just me or did that whole thing reek of "if only Hyun Suk had been there, their fate would have been different"? Maybe he was going to confess to her? Who knows? It is safe to assume that that was a pivotal turning point in their lives and things could be different today had he been there. I'm sure more is to come on that whole angle in the future though.
Thanking him - changes everything
So, Hyun Suk is being a whiny baby and being mean to No Ra. Meanwhile, she's starting to learn all of these things about him from the distant past and the recent past. She goes through her bucket list, marking all the items that he made happen. This leads into a very Romeo and Juliet balcony-type scene where she is standing on a bridge over and in front of him and thanking him. Sincerely thanking him for everything he has done for and meant to her. He's shocked. After all, here's this woman he has been a jerk to thanking him for being wonderful. And she's sincere in her gratitude. It's not some passive aggressive play on her part, she's just recognizing all he did and thanking him for it. And looking happy and radiant and full of life. Like she's supposed to look. Because she's Ha No freaking Ra - spunky, spirited girl and no one's doormat. Things start to turn around with Hyun Suk here....
First up in this transformation back to nice Hyun Suk, a job offer. He shows up at her part-time gig, helps her and then takes her away - all right in front of her boss. He offers her a position working part time as his assistant. He then declares to her boss that she is quitting. After he leaves, she assures the boss that she isn't leaving, that she'll work both jobs (she'd been looking for more work anyway since one part-time job wasn't enough to cover tuition).
Now that the first love competition is no longer dying, assistant Sang Ye is worried. And yes, we know now for sure that she has been holding out a long time, waiting for Hyun Suk. Everyone around them expects it. They hint at it and even encourage it. And dare I say, if not for his lingering affections towards No Ra, he'd probably end up with her? I suspect he was heading that way and would have eventually ended up with her had No Ra not shown back up in his life. Not in a "he's hot and heavy for her" kind of way, but in a "hey, why not?" convenience sort of way. At this point, I still don't have a beef with her. She hasn't done anything to get in the way of No Ra and Hyun Suk. Yet. And she may not. Who knows? Right now she seems like a pretty cool cat. Let's just keep it that way, shall we please dear writers? At this point, after learning that No Ra is going to start working there, Sang Ye's only (verbalized) complaint is that it will be awkward for her to have someone older than her as her subordinate. Gosh girl, just how young are you? Are you even of an appropriate age for our dear professor?
Fighting for the little people (and my noona moment!!!!)
There are benefits to having a classmate old enough to be your mother. Like when your boss cheats you out of a nice chunk of your pay and that classmate pretends to be your mother. Your rich, scary mother. Your rich, scary mother complete with suit-donning driver hottie. This scene was absolutely delightful! It's like old No Ra but with more authority and power now that she's a grown up and not just a kid. Old No Ra supercharged! No Ra 20.0. Let's definitely keep this version of her around please. Especially in front of Dirty Rat.
Apple doesn't fall too far from the dancing tree
I love the little reveal that Min Soo is starting to like (and find he has a talent for) dancing, just like his momma. What do you want to bet that the boy has absolutely no idea that his mom was a dancer before he came along?? He's about to find out though....
It's time for the school's first festival of the year. Bounce, No Ra's dance club, is set to perform. No Ra won't be taking the stage, as agreed upon by all her peers and especially herself, but she's still going to be there supporting her dance crew.
And cooking. This was a little cliche of a moment, but still.... No Ra happens to notice her classmates struggling with their cooking tent, clueless as to how to actually cook. Ahjumma to the rescue. She steps in and helps out. Hey, she's having fun, so I'll let it go and not give her (or the writers) a hard time for it. Besides, it puts her in the perfect position for an encounter with Hyun Suk who shows up to eat. He's all smiles and happy, she's all smiles and happy. Life is good.
Min Soo and Girlfriend are doing a couple's contest, Min Soo sure that neither parent will be in attendance. After the first round of sexually suggestive churro eating
(wow! can they show that kind of thing on TV?! ;)), they are one of two finalists, competing for a trip to Jeju Island. While suggestively popping balloons against each other (anyone else getting a little hot here lol?), Min Soo spots his father from across the way, causing them to lose. Does Min Soo notice that his father is with his girlfriend?? They are in a larger group, so I'm sure not, but yikes! That was close! Part of me wants Min Soo to learn about his father's affair and see his dad for the dirty cheating rat that he is, but then part of me wants to protect the poor boy. The rattier he gets, the less I care about the boy finding out though. I want the whole friggin world to find out and for the two of them to slink off into hiding, never to be seen or heard from again.
But back to No Ra at the cooking tent. Yes, this whole entire scene was incredibly predictable. We knew long ago that this was going to happen, but let's just play along. As No Ra and Hyun Suk are hanging out with all the college kids having a grand ol' time, Soon Nam comes running up in a panic. Their token girl dancer's previously injured ankle is worse and she is unable to dance in the big show. They need No Ra stat! She knows the part.
She balks, not wanting to do it, but is dragged into it anyway, mostly at the encouragement from Hyun Suk that says he's never seen her on stage before (this was the part I talked about earlier where we find out he didn't go to the beach festival all those years ago because of his dad fainting)(He was the producer of the show)(In case that becomes important later)(Which it probably will).
After a lot of convincing, (and a lot of guilt tripping courtesy Hyun Suk -- "think of all I've done for you and you can't do this one little thing for me? Something you want to do anyway?") there she is, on stage, 20 years older than she "should" be. On her are all of the eyes that matter - Min Soo's, Woo Chul's beady rat eyes, Homewrecker's...and Hyun Suk's.
Falling deeper and deeper in lurv
As No Ra dances, we see everyone's reactions. The shock of Min Soo seeing his mother on stage. Min Soo's girlfriend seeing her older classmate. Homewrecker seeing her older student. Woo Chul seeing his wife. And Hyun Suk. Hyun Suk seeing his first love up there doing what she loves to do. Up there being who she really is. Shedding off the past 20 years of repression and finding her inner, authentic self. We see his reaction as he is clearly falling even deeper for her.
And I don't think it is only Hyun Suk finding a rekindled love in that moment. I still suspect that No Ra's reemerging zest will rekindle Woo Chul's feelings for her. Remember - he met her and fell for her back when she was "her". She was dancing when he fell victim to her charms. He's not immune to them. Immune to the lifeless sack of snoozefest that she had become over the years, sure, but not the young and vibrant her. I'm fine with him liking her again, just so long as it doesn't interfere with the divorce and Hyun Suk reclaiming his rightful place by her side. Ha. Silly, naive me.... But really, Hyun Suk's face.... Dreamy. He lurvs her. He lurvs her so much. That lurv is just growing and growing and growing..... No Ra, you go girl! Way to reel in those hearts! You go do you and be happy gurl! This is your moment - grab it! Who cares that it is 20 years late? You'll appreciate it more now. You give hope to all us ahjummas missing that piece of our youth..... ;)
Final Thoughts: Cha. Hyun. Suk. Do you know how many amazing close up shots there were of this boy?
Do you know how many times I went back just to watch his expression? This is my first real experience with Lee Sang Yoon as an actor and, well, he's selling me. Those eyes.... That smile..... His age appropriateness.... I'm glad he's back to being nice. I am anxious for everything to be out in the open, for her marriage to be over, for the sweet, sweet revenge that will be her getting her life back as stupid Woo Chul is realizing he just lost his. I love seeing her start to be accepted by not only her classmates, but to begin to gain friends as well as respect from her son. It's amazing the power that is found in someone living their own life and not under the thumb of a pompous idiot.
Thanks for stopping by! Hope you enjoyed our little recap of this week's goings on in the wonderful reawakening world of Ha No Ra and all her amigos. If you are like me, you can't wait for Friday for the next episode to come out. Until then, may all your dramas be happy ones.
Back hugs and fish kisses to you all,