Monday, September 17, 2012

K-Drama Review: To The Beautiful You, Episodes 9-10

Read Episode reviews for:

To The Beautiful You--Episodes 1-2
To The Beautiful You--Episodes 3-4
To The Beautiful You--Episodes 5-6
To The Beautiful You--Episodes 7-8
To The Beautiful You--Episodes 9-10
To The Beautiful You--Episodes 11-12
To The Beautiful You--Episodes 13-14
To The Beautiful You--Episodes 15-16

Contains Spoilers for Episodes 9-10

Eungyul ended the last episode by saying he had something significant to say to Jaehee, but he doesn't say anything after all. Fakeout.
Not The Bravest of Fellows.
Taejoon and Hanna are off elsewhere, discussing the fact that Taejoon's about to be sent off to Canada to study with Coach Horton.

Hanna is Crushed, Taejoon is Cool With the Move.
Though we all know he's going nowhere. Ah, but here's a nice development--Taejoon gently asks Hanna why she likes him. Her reply is very telling; he's been around since she was a baby, and he was the only boy she had regular contact with after puberty. So, she's kind of like a baby duck, imprinting on the first likely object.
At school, Eungyul gets a new haircut, but he is sad that Jaehee doesn't remember it as a style she once told him would look good on him.
At Last, the Dreaded Bowlcut is GONE!!!
I wonder, did they give Eungyul that awful bowlcut just so we could have this dramatic reveal of a much cuter hairstyle, later? I wouldn't put it past the show's stylists.
Taejoon comes across Jaehee playing basketball with some other classmates, and he happily snaps a jillion photos of her, like she once did for him, all with a dreamy smile on his face. Gosh, he has fallen so hard for this girl. After basketball practice, some guy shows up out of the blue and pulls Jaehee into his car. Thinking it's a predator, Taejoon gives chase.
But It's Hard to Be Afraid of a Kidnapper in Leopard/Tortoiseshell Glasses.
It's Jaehee's old buddy Junghoon, a major prankster she knew in America. He's played by Kim Woobin, a guy whose character I loved in A Gentleman's Dignity (though I didn't love the show itself and barely made it through 12 episodes.) Anyway, this guy seems like a fun type, but Taejoon sure isn't going to like him if Junghoon's idea of a fun time is kidnapping Jaehee.
At lunch, Taejoon's hands ball up into fists when he sees how close Junghoon is to Jaehee. And when Junghoon teasingly says he was Jaehee's first love, Taejoon is ready to Hulk-smash his face. By the time Junghoon is saying, "I bet I was your first kiss, too," Taejoon is bursting with fury as he chokes down his lunch.
Taejoon, in His "Boderline Perturbed" Phase.
Junghoon thoughtfully asks Jaehee if Taejoon knows she's a girl. She says no, but Junghoon says he'd have to be an idiot not to notice that his own roommate is a girl.
Taejoon, Contemplative Phase.
Junghoon comes around for lunch the next day too, insisting to Jaehee that he's hanging around because he misses her.
Taejoon and Eungyul, Concerned Phase.
Junghoon is going to hang around campus for awhile because he's a semi-famous photographer and he'll be capturing the spirit of the school. Taejoon stalks over to Junghoon to ask him to stop taking his picture, but Junghoon is every bit as stubborn as Taejoon and only Jaehee's interference makes him stop picking at Taejoon.
Taejoon, Frustrated Pushup-Doing Phase.
Junghoon decides to take Jaehee out sightseeing around Seoul, which he privately refers to as a "date" so we know that this old buddy has clear romantic designs on our heroine. When Taejoon hears about this plan, he volunteers to go sightseeing with them--because Jaehee doesn't know her way around Seoul, yanno. All that we need now to complete the romance-blocking is for Eungyul to tag along.
I knew it! Eungyul demands to come with, so Junghoon's date with Jaehee becomes a 4-person class trip.
Jaehee, Having Juice With Her Three Suitors.
Care to share the wealth, Jaehee? K-Drama Lesson to Be Learned: Apparently all a girl has to do to draw the men toward her in droves is to dress like a dude herself, but to give a rather unconvincing performance of dudeliness. Make a note of it, ladies!
The younger guys change their drink orders, moving from juice to espresso in an attempt to out-man each other. If two of them weren't in high school, they'd probably move down to a 포장마차 and resolve the issue with shots of soju. But if I thought Taejoon's jealousy was awesome, this triple dose of jealous posturing is cute times infinity. And Jaehee remains oblivious. Junghoon takes them all to his photo studio, and Taejoon walks upstairs to find a lovely ginormous black and white photo of Jaehee.
Bro, You Have Got it Soooo Bad for Her.
Junghoon walks upstairs and admits to Taejoon that Jaehee only smiles this brightly when she's around Taejoon. Junghoon also reminds Taejoon that Jaehee still thinks that he thinks she's a boy. Junghoon reasonably asks why on earth Taejoon is not letting on that he knows.
At night after they all return, Jaehee is falling sick, coughing and running a temperature. Taejoon's quite concerned, and the next night, he's finally overcome by his feelings for Jaehee. Conveniently, his feelings overcome him just as she is changing the lightbulb in their room.
Taejoon, Acceptance/Hugging Phase.
But he just tells her he "slipped" and he leaves for awhile. He goes to see Junghoon to tell him that yes, Taejoon knows that Jaehee's a girl and yes, he wants to keep her near him. Junghoon then challenges Taejoon to a basketball game. So he can prove his devotion?
Junghoon and Taejoon both warn each other that they tend to play basketball a little rough--then they proceed to have the wimpiest game of b-ball ever. I have fouled people I liked much, much harder in random pick-up games, and I'm a girl. Ultimately, Junghoon says he won't step down from pursuing Jaehee--if Taejoon intends to keep her here, he'll have to fight hard, because Junghoon is intent on bringing her back home.
Ailing Girl Doesn't Know She's Being Bargained Over on the Court.
When he returns to the dorm after the basketball showdown, Taejoon finds Jaehee so sick she can barely stand up. He makes her sleep in his bed, which is on the lower floor of the room, so that he can better take care of her. He tends to her fever all night, which leads to...
Next morning, a stunned Eungyul walks in on Jaehee and Taejoon cuddled up like two puppies in a basket. Eungyul is scandalized, and Jaehee and Taejoon are also scandalized--their eyes are just a little too crazy-worried for the level of innocence, here, and that can probably be blamed on bad direction.
Taejoon and Jaehee are awkward with each other thereafter, and in Jaehee's nervousness, she drops a pile of tampons on the floor. Taejoon pretends not to see them. Oy. Then Jaehee goes to the bathroom and tells herself that she can't keep developing feelings for Taejoon.Wait a second. Jaehee is only just now realizing that she's got romantic feelings for Taejoon? WHAT.  How can a girl be so oblivious about her own feelings--who does she think she is, Katniss Everdeen?  :-)
There May Be No Hope For Our Heroine.
Taejoon announces to the newspapers that he's not going to go to Canada because there's someone here in Korea that he wants to show his jumping to--but he won't say who. Jaehee feels blue over Taejoon because she wants what's best for him, which is to study overseas with the Canadian coach. Junghoon takes her out for a drive to cheer her up.
Junghoon tells Jaehee that actually, he has a business dinner today and he needs her to change into girly attire to be his date.
Shopping Trips Apparently Require a Wig Purchase.
Jaehee and Junghoon unsurprisingly wind up at the same ritzy event that Taejoon and Hanna were headed to. Junghoon shows her a little photo exhibit that is nothing but his photos of her. It actually comes off as artistic and not stalkery, partly because they've been best buddies for a long time. He tells her that he's been at her side for many years, and he'd like to continue being with her. It's a for-real love confession, and I'm more than a little touched by it, even though it's coming from a 2-episode guest star, and not the hero.
It's Probably Just the Effect of Kim Woobin in a Tux.
She can't give him an answer. Of course. Because she's way too decisive about things like moving across the world to masquerade as a boy, but way too waffly about things like deciding who she likes.
Later that night, Junghoon gently challenges Taejoon to back away from Jaehee if he's not going to commit to making her happy. Junghoon's smart enough to know that his beloved girl has somebody else in her thoughts, even if said girl can't vocalize that fact herself. So the next day, Taejoon takes Jaehee out for a fun outing of sightseeing and taking pictures of themselves.
It's Heart-Burstingly Cute.
Taejoon doesn't confess his love on this trip, but he does tell Jaehee that he's not going to Canada, and in exchange, she can't go anywhere either.
Thank goodness Hanna finally discovers Jaehee's a girl! It's by looking through her old high school yearbook, the one that shows a clearly female Jaehee. I'm so tired of this secret, so it's thrilling that we're finally getting it outed.
At Last, She Has a Purpose in This Show!
But the School Doctor gets Hanna to stay quiet when she learns that revealing Jaehee might have negative consequences for Taejoon, who might be accused of concealing her identity.
In a sort-of revenge move for being forced to keep Jaehee's secret, Hanna announces on national television that she and Taejoon are dating. Good. I hope Jaehee is spurred into action by this.

Things I Loved:

1. Taejoon's Panic. When Jaehee is hijacked by her buddy Junghoon, Taejoon chases down their car and punches Junghoon. Then he has to cool down and think about what his behavior means--that he is terrified at the thought of losing Jaehee again. .

"I'm Talking With the Man in the Mirror..."

2. Junghoon. It's just a bit part, and he's only in the show to make Taejoon even more painfully aware of his own feelings for Jaehee, but I'm glad we have one more character from Jaehee's past in the mix. And I just flat-out like this actor, anyways.

But Sorry, I'm Still on Team Taejoon.


1. Jaehee's Childishness. I think it's starting to bother me that Jaehee doesn't really act like a teenager. Most times, she seems way too girly to pass for a guy, but she's never fully like a young woman, either. She's most like an eager-to-please 8-year-old kid. I don't see any evidence of teenage rebellion, teenage hormones, or teenage anything about the character.

Episode Evaluations:  Minho's suddenly become this acting ace! How I don't know, but I'm not going to question it--just be grateful, because his storyline has been carrying most of this show. I'm thrilled that Taejoon lost all of his mildly jerkish qualities from the early episodes. He's now genuinely one of the sweetest, most caring guys ever, in a stark contrast to most K-drama heroes.

Jaehee's childlike attitude is getting to be too much for me, though I'm still fond of her. The boys around her get all the interesting character development and emotional arcs, while Jaehee just sits there as the precious little sunshiny tomboy that never grows up or changes. I think more could be done, here.

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