I think I should just finally admit it to myself that I’m pretty much in love with this series right now. I don’t know why it’s always so hard to take that first step in admitting love… whether you’re in your teens, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, or umm, talking about an inanimate object, such as a tv drama.
EPISODE 9: “Highway Romance”
The title for episode 9 is “고속도로 로망스” (“Highway Romance”). It’s a 2004 song by Kim Jang Hoon about going away to the beach and away from the city with your lover.
Along with Psy and DJ Doc, Kim Jang Hoon is known to be a popular guest singer on college campus festivals and events for his live antics and ability to work the crowd, especially with his signature high kicks. He’s also made a name for himself for his generous charitable donations over the years.
Song by Kim Jang Hoon
Lyrics translated by Blue1004
I’m going to run without stopping, baby
I want to show you the blue sky at that place, baby
Will you tightly hold my hand once, baby?
Oh, how we anticipated for this day to come!
I even like the scorching heat and the burning sun
When I’m running with you like this
How far have we come, our love is heating up
Just a little (a little) faster
Open the window and shout, we’re heading to sea
We’ve long since abandoned the suffocating city
We’ll be back with a dark tan
Open the window and shout, we love each other so much
And on that day, we went crazy
Because it was good to be away, summer dream
Like the sweet ice cream, a child’s pure drawing
In that drawing inside my head
We are happy, as if we own the world in our hands
Laughin’ even if it’s not funny
Just to look at your face all day until morning
I want to look at and be with you alone
At Shin’s request that Kyu-won not stop liking him, she carefully asks him, “What do you mean? Do you… like me?”
Shin puts his head down, unable to answer her.
Kyu-won interprets his silence as a “no.” In disbelief, she asks again, “So you don’t like me, but you want me to continuing liking you? Is that what you’re saying? Don’t make me laugh! Who do you think you are? Did other girls fall for you when you did this? There’s a limit to how arrogant you should be!”
Shin is at a loss of words on how he could be so misunderstood.
Over the phone, Kyu-won asks Bo-woon to hurry over and take her back to the hospital.
Then facing Shin again, she tells him not to play with people’s heart. She’s not a slave to like him or not like him on his command. He tries to explain himself, but she refuses to hear him out. “I don’t even want to hear your voice,” she says.
Back at home, Jung-hyun follows her brother into his room. She has run out of allowance money and pleads Shin to sign five autographs for her to sell to her classmates.
But that’s when he thinks to get some advice from his little sister. He asks her how she would feel if someone told her not to stop liking him. She responds that she would tell him, “What a joke! Who said I liked you? How ridiculous!”
Jung-hyun: Oppa, you don’t know romance. That’s not the way to win over a girl. There needs to be something eventful that will sweep her off her feet!
Shin: I wasn’t talking about myself.
As Kyu-won thinks back to Shin’s words, she indeed exclaims as predicted by Jung-hyun, “What a joke! Does he think I’ll cling onto him forever?” She wonders if he’s possibly scheming to boss her around again, and reminds herself not to fall for it.
Her monologue gets interrupted by Suk-hyun, who has brought her the script and the music sheets for the role of the female lead. He tells Kyu-won to prepare for them as she will be the understudy for the lead. He jokes around, telling Kyu-won not to harm Hee-joo to play the lead herself.
Suk-hyun then teases her with the announcement that the musical team will be going on a MT*, but she probably can’t go because of her injuries. Kyu-won pouts and insists that she’ll tag along with them no matter what happens.
(*Note: “MT” stands for “membership training.” It’s like an orientation retreat when you first join an organization, whether for a job or a student group, for the older members to train and help the newer members to better acclimate to the organization, and give them the opportunity to bond with each other. As such, it involves a lot of ice breaker games, cooking and eating together, and alcohol!)
Meanwhile, Shin tosses and turns in bed that night, unable to fall asleep as he remembers and replays in his head Kyu-won’s reaction to his misunderstood confession.
As none of the other professors can make it to the MT, Suk-hyun more than gladly asks Yoon-soo to join them, as suggested by the University president. He persuades her by arguing that it would be good to recharge some energy at the beach. She agrees to go.
Unbeknownst to Suk-hyun, who assumes that Tae-joon and his accomplice professor will no longer attempt to start a separate musical team now that Hee-joo has become the lead, the two jealous losers are busy trying to search for any dirt on Suk-hyun to get him fired from the musical.
During the musical rehearsal, Suk-hyun goes to the piano himself and demonstrates what it means to sing with your emotion. All the female students swoon over him, and Shin overhears Bo-woon remarking that had Kyu-won seen Suk-hyun, she would have fallen head over heels for him. (Uh oh, the exact advice given to him by his sister!)
As Shin register the lyrics in his head, the memories shared between him and Kyu-won flash before him.
“Love” from the musical “Love Comes Riding On the Rain”
The night keeps getting deeper
Before I knew it, time has flown by
In my lonely and empty heart,
Only the candle is burning.
As I see my past self, I waver
One day I shall fly
Without anyone knowing
Before I knew it, only time has flown by
I can’t recognize myself
At that place of time gone by, those immature days
I think back to them
I think I finally now know
That that was love.
The seven-colored rainbow,
I see in front of my eyes.
Once done singing, Suk-hyun singles out Hee-joo and asks if she understands now what it means to sing with your heart.
After the rehearsal, Hee-joo sulks by herself sitting on the (oh so amazing looking!) swing set on campus, fully conscious of the sting of being singled out by Suk-hyun. She then receives a call from Suk-hyun himself, who she is not aware is standing right behind her.
Suk-hyun: Aren’t you hot?
Hee-joo: It’s not hot at all. I’m at a well air-conditioned cafe.
Suk-hyun: Really? Then order me a cup of iced coffee.
Before she can respond, Suk-hyun sneaks up on her from behind her. He asks her why she is so down when she even got the leading role that she wanted so badly.
Suk-hyun explains that Hee-joo is good and sings even better than Kyu-won. But because she has never experienced the feeling of being in love, she can’t convey that emotion to her listeners. The ability to touch others comes not from her brain, but from her heart. He advises her that she needs to first experience that. Hee-joo retorts back whether Kyu-won has experienced such a feeling.
At the mention of Kyu-won’s name, Suk-hyun is reminded to tell Hee-joo that Kyu-won will be her understudy. Hee-joo doesn’t like that idea, afraid that Suk-hyun will wish for something bad to happen to her so that Kyu-won will get to play the lead. No matter what happens, even if her leg breaks, she insists that she will be the one standing on stage.
Suk-hyun sincerely asks Hee-joo that she prove wrong the prejudice he may have about the well-groomed doll-like actresses. The lead has to shine in order for him to shine as the director.
So what does Hee-joo do? She goes to ask Ki-young’s opinion on whether he too thinks she’s an emotionless doll. He’s surprised to find that she cares about these things, but she surprises him even further when she asks that he teach her how to sing with emotions and feelings.
Hee-joo: No matter how hard I try, I can’t improve these things. So you teach me.
Ki-young: I don’t know… If you ask me to teach you something I do not fully understand either…
Hee-joo: But you’re at least acknowledged for your talent by others! Just tutor me, without telling anyone else! Once you tell me that I’m doing well, I feel like I can be self-assured.
Ki-young: You really must have received a shock this time. Fine! Since we have to practice together anyway, I’ll make some time out for you.
Now that that’s been settled,
the emotionless doll Hee-joo offers to pay Ki-young for the tutoring, if he wishes.
Meanwhile, after overhearing the Windflowers girls talk about how furious Kyu-won is with Shin and now even more fully conscious of his feelings for her thanks to Suk-hyun’s song, Shin goes to visit Kyu-won at the hospital to receive his “tutoring.” Kyu-won suggests that he change his tutor to someone else, but he refuses.
As she goes over the notes in an angry tone, Shin eventually gets frustrated too.
Shin: Can’t you talk without being angry? I don’t get why you’re mad.
Kyu-won: You don’t get why? Shall I tell you? It’s because you don’t understand even after I explain them to you over and over. Listen attentively. Or are you just dumb?
Shin: That’s enough. Stop now. As you suggested, I’ll look for another tutor, so you stay out of it. And don’t you remember a word of what I said to you last night.
He has Kyu-won shout “jerk” after him as he walks out of her room.
Hurt and angered, he returns to his band rehearsal studio and announces that they won’t be rehearsing with the gukak team anymore. He has the direction figured out on what to do with the song arrangement.
Later that day, Shin and Kyu-won run into each other again as Kyu-won returns home after being discharged from the hospital. Shin greets the elders politely, and Kyu-won’s dad is excited to finally meet the “Prince of Conceit” who he has heard so much about from his daughter, not realizing that he’s the son of his ex-girlfriend.
After hurriedly sending his son off, Grandpa says he wishes to have a word with Shin. He has heard that Shin is working on mixing traditional with modern music, and thinks he’d be a better tutor than his granddaughter. Kyu-won tries to stop them, and tells Shin to go home for she will make up an excuse for him. But Shin doesn’t want to give Kyu-won’s grandfather a bad impression of him (awwww!). And besides, he argues that Grandpa would be a better tutor than Kyu-won.
Unfortunately, Shin doesn’t know of Grandpa’s tendency to go on and on and on about his life story and how he became to be a pansori master. Shin suffers in pain as he has to sit in a kneeled position through what is presumably hours and hours of Grandpa’s story. Kyu-won is delighted to see Shin suffer, cheering on her grandfather to continue.
Although Grandpa tells Shin to stop him if he ever gets bored, Shin can’t get himself to admit it in front of him. Rest assured, Grandpa continues on.
But Kyu-won decides to have pity on him, and finally comes to stop them while Grandpa is at year 20 of his life. Poor boy limps as he walks out. As he leaves, he asks Kyu-won whether she will be going on the MT trip, but she lies that she can’t go.
Once alone, Grandpa chuckles as he mutters to himself that Shin reminds him of his younger self, although not as good looking. Heh! Grandpa is suffering from some narcissism too!
But it appears that Shin has at least won Grandpa’s favor through this ordeal. Grandpa contemplates on which of the two would be a better match for his granddaughter. He’s bothered that Shin is in a band, whereas Suk-hyun is old. Who’s better?
When Madame Gu learns about the musical team’s upcoming MT trip, he’s upset to learn that Suk-hyun did not invite his friend. He suggests that maybe he tag along too, but when it is met with a lukewarm response by the Windflowers girls, he changes his mind.
Instead, he asks what they plan to do for the talent show portion of their MT trip. He advises them to go for something sensational. For example, when he and Suk-hyun were students, they did the “full monty.” Bo-woon asks for clarification on whether he means that they stripped, and Madame Gu confirms that they indeed took it all off. (Wait, doesn’t “full monty” imply both the top AND the bottom?)
On the day of the MT trip, Kyu-won packs up ready to go. Her grandfather tries to stop her, but she convinces him to let her go, with the warning that she be careful of accidents, (drowning in) water, men, and alcohol. (Kyu-won is one gutsy girl, telling him about an overnight stay on the day of the trip just as she tries to walk out.)
After she has headed out, Grandpa is excited at the prospect of going to the beach himself. He calls Suk-hyun, dropping hints that folk songs are best heard at the beach. Oblivious to Grandpa’s intent, Suk-hyun merely says that he will make sure to do so at the next opportunity. This time, Grandpa even mentions the word “MT,” but Suk-hyun just answers that they’ll have a safe trip so Grandpa need not worry. Angered that his plan to tag along failed, Grandpa decides to eliminate Suk-hyun from his future grandson-in-law candidacy.
Kyu-won bumps into Shin as she heads out the door. He walks way ahead, upset that she had lied to him about not going.
But just admit it, Shin! You’re excited to go on a trip with your newfound
stalking target crush.
With Hee-joo literally dragged over by Joon-hee, and Sa-rang, the leader of the Three Mean Girls, carrying two large suitcases, all the relevant parties are here ready to go.
Everyone aboard the bus!
Apparently, Yoon-soo is popular with the boys. All the boys reserve the seat next to them in hopes that they would be the lucky one who Yoon-soo will sit next to.
By the time Shin boards the bus, all the seats with his bandmates are taken and all the others are refusing to sit next to him as they’re still waiting for Yoon-soo’s decision.
With no choice, as he so aptly points out, he sits in the empty seat next to Kyu-won. And then he closes his eyes to pretend to sleep.
Yoon-soo finally boards the bus, and all the boys shout and scream enticing her to sit next to them. “Professor, I’ve prepared a seat cushion for you!” “Professor, I’ve prepared a cooler for you!” She smiles as she goes to sit next to the empty seat next to Soo-myung, much to the jealousy of Sa-rang, who has just earlier been rejected to sit next to him.
Tae-joon learns from the other traitor professor his discovery that Suk-hyun had a scandal while back in Broadway. Suk-hyun dropped the original lead actress of a production he was directing and brought in a completely unknown actress. Although the unknown actress turned out to be extremely talented, the nasty rumors had already spread that Suk-hyun chose her because they were dating or that he was bribed. Eventually, the actress dropped out from the production and Suk-hyun left as well.
Although Tae-joon doesn’t believe the rumors to be true, he decides to go forth with using them to his advantage through the use of media. He finds it to be perfect timing as Suk-hyun will be away for the MT trip. Hee-joo’s mom is pleased at Tae-joon’s efficiency, and reminds him that Hee-joo must remain unharmed through all this.
The musical team arrives at the site of their trip, where the boys and the girls are split up into two separate houses. Sa-rang tries to have Soo-myung help her carry her suitcases, but is flatly rejected. Instead, he runs over to Yoon-soo to help carry her tiny purse.
In fact, Sa-rang had brought all the necessities that they would need on the trip in those two bags – toothbrushes, shampoo, conditioner, goggles, everything! The little things that the younger and inexperienced underclassmen would have easily forgotten to bring on a MT trip. And then, she sells them to others way overpriced in order to earn money and save up to prepare for a nose job.
Suk-hyun arrives separately with Ki-young. They have brought food and supplies, but forgot to bring any fruits as Yoon-soo did not write them down on the list provided.
He gathers everyone on stage and have them shout at the top of their lungs the dreams they hope to achieve.
Hee-joo: I will become the greatest actress in Korea!
Ki-young: I will go on Broadway one day!
Kyu-won: I will do on my best at the 100th year anniversary show!
Sa-rang: I will become Soo-myung oppa’s girlfriend!
Soo-myung: No way!
Suk-hyun tells everyone to do their best, never forgetting about their dreams. And now, it’s play time!
Shin runs into Yoon-soo as he takes a walk outside the compound. He proceeds to pass her by, but is stopped by Yoon-soo trying to make small talk with him. Yoon-soo tells him that she’s happy to see Shin has finally found his rightful place again, and he apologizes for pestering her in the past.
Shin finds Kyu-won taking a break and resting up by herself.
Shin: Does it hurt?
Kyu-won: What is it to you?
Shin: If it doesn’t hurt, move over.
Shin: My legs hurt.
Kyu-won: Go sit somewhere else. There are plenty of seat cushions around.
Shin: No! (pointing to the seat cushion that Kyu-won is sitting on) I want to sit on that one.
Kyu-won scoots over for him to sit on the cushion that she was sitting on, whereas she moves to the bare floor. (And this is exactly why Shin is not having much luck in love!) She tries to tell herself to calm down and relax. But Shin provokes her once again, remarking that she is the dumb one (for not understanding his earlier love confession).
On the other side, Hee-joo and Joon-hee also take a seat on the floor leaning against the wall, as Joon-hee rushes over to lay down a seat cushion for Hee-joo to sit on.
The four “lovebirds” are interrupted by Soo-myung. He needs people to be in charge of cooking, and another to run an errand to go buy a watermelon. Joon-hee volunteers himself and Hee-joo to cook, and so the remaining two, Kyu-won and Shin, are forced to drive to the marketplace for the watermelon errand.
As they get ready to leave, they bump into Suk-hyun and Yoon-soo. Suk-hyun tells Shin to carry all the heavy items himself, instead of having Kyu-won carry them.
Once they drive away, Yoon-soo remarks that it seems Shin likes Kyu-won. Suk-hyun responds that he doesn’t see it that way, but once alone, he gives a “I disapprove” expression. Now is this out of jealousy? Brotherly concern? Yikes, things may be heating up again!
In the kitchen, Hee-joo accidentally cuts her finger while trying to slice the vegetables. Joon-hee rushes over to her and sucks on her finger to stop the bleeding. (Errrrg, so unhygienic.) He then runs to get a band-aid, and after applying it on her finger, he blows on it to heal quickly. He explains that his mom used to do this for him when he was a child, although he now has to do it for his mom.
Hee-joo asks him if his mom is ill, but without answering, he smiles as he tells her to wash the rice and he will take care of the rest.
Over at the marketplace, Kyu-won tries to bargain down the price of the watermelon, going from one seller to another to get the best deal. Shin walks ahead, not realizing that Kyu-won is in pain from her earlier injury. She tries to call him, but he continues to walk away without hearing her.
Kyu-won spots a pharmacy and goes in to buy a pain relieving patch. Shin turns around at that moment and is alarmed to find that Kyu-won is not behind him. He fails to see Kyu-won inside the pharmacy, and frantically goes around the marketplace to search for her.
When Kyu-won comes out of the pharmacy, Shin is nowhere to be found. She tries to look for her cellphone to call him, but realizes that she forgot to bring it.
At dinner, people complain that they keep biting on small pebbles in their rice because Hee-joo did such a poor job with pre-washing it.
And then more complaints follow. Who the heck puts cucumbers in bean paste stew?! Joon-hee insists that bean paste stew tastes delicious with cucumbers, and Hee-joo defends him. Pleased that Hee-joo knows what tastes great, Joon-hee picks out all the cucumbers and gives them to her, as she is begrudgingly forced to swallow them down.
It has gotten late, and Shin finally finds Kyu-won as she is purchasing a watermelon at a price that she finds satisfying. He runs over to her and checks on her to make sure she is unharmed. “Are you okay? You’re not hurt anywhere?”
But when Kyu-won nonchalantly announces the great deal that she got on her watermelon, Shin turns furious. “Do you know how much I’ve searched for you?” He grabs the watermelon and takes off ahead of her.
Back in the car, Shin still remains furious and gives her a silent treatment.
Kyu-won: Why are you like this? Is it something to be so mad about that you had to go around looking for me?
Shin: You’re hurt! I thought you were injured somewhere.
Kyu-won meekly replies that she doesn’t get injured all the time, but Shin just tells her to sit back on her chair so that she can return comfortably.
Suk-hyun and Yoon-soo are worried that Kyu-won and Shin are running late. When the two finally arrive, Suk-hyun notes that Shin is in a bad mood and asks Kyu-won if they had another fight. She explains that they lost each other in the marketplace and had some trouble finding each other again.
Once they leave, Suk-hyun remarks that it is petty for Shin to be mad over such a trivial matter. But Yoon-soo notes that Shin didn’t look mad but worried. Again, Suk-hyun gives his displeased look.
Dinner is over, and it’s now time for the talent show! One group lip-syncs to CN Blue’s “I’m a Loner.” (Hehe, I wonder how Jung Yong Hwa and Kang Min Hyuk felt about that.) Another guy does a interpretative dance to Kim Tae Woo’s “Love Rain.” One group of girls dances to Orange Caramel’s “A~ing.”
It’s finally time for the Windflowers girls to go up. But noticing that Kyu-won still suffers from discomfort, Shin tries to stop her from going up. The rest of the girls go up on stage, but Shin grabs Kyu-won’s wrist and won’t let go.
Soo-myung, who is the MC for the night, asks for Kyu-won, but Shin shouts out that Kyu-won won’t be performing tonight because of her back pains.
Looking a bit frustrated again, Suk-hyun announces to proceed without Kyu-won. Everyone cheers as the Windflowers girls dance to 2NE1′s “Fire.”
Shin and Kyu-won return to sit at the back of the room.
Shin: Don’t be hurt. I’m worried.
While everyone runs up to the stage to dance along with Windflowers, Shin and Kyu-won sit in silence, entranced in their own world as everything around them disappears. They steal glances at each other, conscious of each other’s presence but not knowing how to react.
Suk-hyun and Yoon-soo go out for an evening walk. Holding each other’s hands, Yoon-soo thanks Suk-hyun for forgiving her, admitting that she would not have been able to forgive her had their roles been reversed. As they joke around that he gave her another chance before she hits it big again as a choreographer, Suk-hyun notes that she has changed over the years. She actually can make jokes now!
Yoon-soo thanks him again, promising to be good to him.
During their down time, Soo-myung hands Shin a guitar and requests that he play for a change of mood. Taking a glance at Kyu-won, he starts singing “Lucky” by Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat.
Excerpt from “Lucky”
I’m lucky I’m in love with my best friend
Lucky to have been where I have been
Lucky to be coming home again
Lucky we’re in love in every way
Lucky to have stayed where we have stayed
Lucky to be coming home someday
Shin glances at Kyu-won as he sings, and Kyu-won is painfully conscious of it, looking at him and then turning away, and then looking at him again.
Kyu-won and Shin sit awkwardly as the electric charge between them is about to make me explode. When Soo-myung asks someone to bring the watermelon, Kyu-won volunteers herself to get away from it.
Flushed from earlier, she accidentally takes a misstep and sprains her ankle on her way to get the watermelon. Shin, who has been following right behind her (why, of course!), kneels to check on her ankle.
But as he does so, their faces come awfully close to each other. He starts saying her name, but is interrupted by Bo-woon calling out for Kyu-won. (Aigoo, I swear Bo-woon is normally so good at knowing when not to interrupt!)
Both Shin and Bo-woon reach out their hands to help her up, but Kyu-won grabs Bo-woon’s and follows her.
That night, neither Kyu-won nor Shin finds themselves able to fall asleep. While Shin heads out to go for a walk, he finds Kyu-won in the auditorium room from earlier.
He asks after her injured ankle, and she replies that it’s doing much better thanks to him. He confirms with her that it’s really okay, and that she’s not just pretending that it’s okay to not worry him.
Kyu-won laments that it’s raining outside. She really wanted to sit outside and make a wish on a shooting star.
Shin: What is your wish?
Kyu-won: It’s a secret. I’m going to make the wish when there is a shooting star.
Shin: Then I’m going to make a wish on it too.
Kyu-won: What’s your wish?
Shin: It’s a secret.
Suddenly, Shin holds out his hand to her.
Kyu-won looks at it confused, and finally holds out her own hand too.
Shin grabs her outreached hand.
Shin: Should I tell you my wish?
Shin: It’s for you to like me again.
Omo, what a way to end the episode!
We can debate for hours on end whether Jung Yong Hwa’s acting is raw or not (it is), but there’s no denying that there’s some great chemistry going on between him and Park Shin Hye. They don’t even need to speak. Every time they look at each other, I’m afraid my ovaries are going to burst.
And what an appropriate song choice for Shin to sing. As shown by that bus scene, Shin is a self-made loner. He has his bandmates, but Kyu-won is indeed fast developing to be his best friend.
Suk-hyun definitely showed some questionable expression every time the topic was brought up about Shin and Kyu-won. I questioned his feelings for her, and how he will factor into the love triangle, if at all. But the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that he will be a non-factor. I see his feelings for her to be no more than that of an overly concerned older brother who is not happy with his sister’s choice of boyfriend and worried that this “bad boy” will end up breaking his sister’s heart.
As for Tae-joon’s plan to sabotage Suk-hyun’s musical, I find it interesting that he is working under the assumption that he will be able to recruit Hee-joo to his own team, when it’s becoming clearer to even Hee-joo herself that she needs Suk-hyun for her growth as an actress and as a person. As much as she is an emotionless doll right now, I trust that she’ll make the right decision.