Bubblegum: Episode 7
Korean Drama Casting & News | November 20, 2015 | 294 viewed
Director: Kim Byung-Soo
Writer: Lee Min-Na
Starring: Lee Dong-Wook (Park Ri-Hwan), Jung Ryeo-Won (Kim Haeng-A), Lee Jong-Hyuk (Kang Suk-Joon), Park Hee-Von (Hong Yi-Seul)
Release Date: 20th November, 2015
Bubblegum: Episode 7 [Recap]
It’s a night out for all of our players, with nearly everyone discovering new things about themselves and their relationships. Some decisions are made, feelings declared, and relationships cemented as people stop dancing around their emotions and decide to act on them. The consequences of this night could be life-changing for everyone, but what’s life without challenge?
EPISODE 7 RECAP: “In the Mood for Love – What You Couldn’t Know”
It’s kimchi-making day at Secret Garden, and Haeng-ah and Ri-hwan joke around as if he’s about to perform surgery, scrubbing up and gloving him uber-seriously. Haeng-ah notices Ri-hwan’s long fingers, and suddenly she’s noticing a lot of attractive things about him, like his pretty eyes and lips (Ri-hwan: They’ve always been that way!).
Ri-hwan knows what’s happening, that Haeng-ah is starting to feel attracted to him like he is to her. She denies it, swearing that nothing’s changed, but Ri-hwan just grins at her, knowing better. They bicker adorably, neither realizing that Uncle Gangster can hear them from downstairs.
He tells Aunt Princess that they finally have feelings for each other, but she’s worried for Ri-hwan’s mom. Uncle Gangster points out angrily that the children aren’t responsible for their parents’ feelings, and must live their own lives. I love Uncle Gangster.
Things are tense outside when Tae-hee and Ji-hoon run into each other, and Tae-hee says that one of them has to leave. Ji-hoon thinks she must still feel something for him or she wouldn’t have gone to the police station to help him, but she says that she only went because she felt sorry for a pitiful drunkard. Ouch.
Ji-hoon still wants to try their relationship again, but Tae-hee gets angrier and says there’s no point – and anyway, she wants someone that doesn’t have to try hard to be with her. Ji-hoon complains that the new guy she likes isn’t even that impressive, but Tae-hee thinks that after Ji-hoon, anyone looks good.
She does admit that she’d rather still like Ji-hoon and forget about that other woman, and that he could be happy without alcohol, but she doesn’t want to be cruel and give Ji-hoon hope. But Ji-hoon wants hope, and doesn’t find it cruel at all.
The kimchi-making gets underway, and when Ri-hwan runs inside for something, Uncle Gangster trips him to the floor and peppers him with questions: Whose fault is it if Haeng-ah cries? If she’s hungry? If she falls? The correct answer to all of these is that it’s Ri-hwan’s fault, which he answers without hesitation. But Uncle Gangster is still annoyed and wants to know why Ri-hwan made her wait so long, so Ri-hwan promises to be good to her from now on.
Ri-hwan’s mother looks into an assisted-living facility, choosing not to correct the nurse when she assumes that Mom is interested on behalf of a parent. The nurse says that the patients are usually happy once they stop trying to remember what they’ve forgotten – it’s the family members who suffer more.
Ri-hwan and Haeng-ah bicker some more, with Haeng-ah threatening to touch him with her kimchi-covered gloves and Ri-hwan trying to sneak a kiss. But they hear a crash of dropped dishes, and look up to see Dong-hwa, Aunt and Uncle’s daughter who harbors a massive crush on Ri-hwan, watching them with a look of horror.
Se-young and intern Joon-soo go to eat after seeing a movie, and Joon-soo tries to get up the nerve to put his arm around her, but chickens out. They see Haeng-ah and Ri-hwan in the restaurant together and hide behind a car, then realize that they had no reason to hide, hee.
Ri-hwan brings up his mother, and they agree that they should both talk to her sooner rather than later. Haeng-ah even vows to work on her aversion to hospitals so she can visit Mom at work. She mentions a guest on their radio show, a psychiatrist, who mentioned Oriental neuropsychiatry and asks if Ri-hwan has heard of it. He gives her an incredulous look, and deadpans, “That’s my line of work.” HAHA. Oops.
He’s hurt that she’s so uninterested in his work, and while he’s complaining, tells her to change his name in her phone (he’s listed as Park Dongsaeng, when he’s actually older by a few months). He grabs her phone and changes his number to something that makes Haeng-ah laugh, though we don’t see what it is.
Ji-hoon stops at an udon restaurant, where he runs into Dong-hwa. He starts to order a soju and changes his mind, and Dong-hwa asks if she can stay at his place tonight, knowing that Ri-hwan lives there too. HA, the whole restaurant overhears and gives him dirty looks for being with such a young girl.
Ri-hwan and Haeng-ah stop at his office, and they decide to have tea on the roof patio. But first Ri-hwan kills the lights and tries again for that kiss, getting himself slapped instead.
Dong-hwa and Ji-hoon end up talking about Ri-hwan dating Haeng-ah, and Dong-hwa calls it a waste. Ji-hoon agrees that love makes no sense – opposites are attracted to each other, then can’t make it work because they’re opposites. Dong-hwa guesses that he likes that angry ajumma, and asks if he’s a pervert that likes getting beatings, too. And again, the whole restaurant stares, hee.
Se-young and Joon-soo are also out, getting drunk as lords and discussing dramas. Joon-soo says that his parents owned a video store when he was growing up, which is when he saw Se-young’s embarrassing debut drama. She squeals at him and covers his mouth, and he quotes the famous line from When Harry Met Sally, “I really hate you.” Suddenly the mood changes as they remember that that’s when Harry and Sally kiss.
Haeng-ah swings in the hammock on the office roof while Ri-hwan pouts about the slap, and she apologizes but wonders why they have to do that kind of thing. Ri-hwan mutters that if they don’t, then what’s changed from before? Haeng-ah asks for him to wait for her to be ready, just a few months, but Ri-hwan is worried she’ll change her mind.
Haeng-ah says that she won’t run away, and finally says what Ri-hwan’s been dying to hear, “I like you.” She hides in the hammock while Ri-hwan grins like the happiest little boy ever. But still, he can’t wait months.
Talk turns to their first meeting, when Haeng-ah had burst into the room while Ri-hwan was having a bath and asked why his face is so pale. She points at his groin and crows that he was covering himself up there (which he does again now, ha), and says that he was pretty little then. Short, she means short!! But then she immediately defends that they were kids and there’s nothing wrong with looking. Ha, she did see something.
Manager Jo and Suk-joon are also out tonight, like everyone else, and Suk-joon weirds Manager Jo out by actually answering his questions for once. They both moan over their bad fortune lately, with Suk-joon especially fixated on Haeng-ah. He wonders if he should let her go, since she seems happy now, and Manager Jo says that nothing is lonelier than having a person with you, but not their heart.
Ji-hoon now seems to be getting relationship counseling from the teenage Dong-hwa, who tells him that sending someone off to be happy without you is bullcrap. People only say that when they don’t like the person enough. He should hold onto Tae-hee no matter what.
When Suk-joon is ready to head home, Manager Jo tries for a hug and gets shot down, hee. Manager Jo is all Fine, be that way, and Suk-joon almost, nearly cracks a smile. I love their friendship, it’s so cute.
All that talk of kissing has inspired Se-young and Joon-soo, and they make out in her car under a bridge until she gets a phone call. Joon-soo (who’s covered in lipstick) throws the phone out of reach and tackles Se-young again, and she doesn’t protest.
Manager Jo is surprised again at work (where he’s been sleeping/living) by Tae-hee, who looks a bit stricken and blurts out her real reason for being here: “You like me, right?” Manager Jo is totally flustered and slams the door in her face, and relaxes when he peeks and sees that she’s gone.
When Ri-hwan takes Haeng-ah home, he assures her that he’s not trying to get in again, and gives her a bag that he claims she left in his car. But she swears it’s not hers, forcing him to nervously admit that it’s a gift. When she warns him that it better not be a new purse because she’s picky, the poor guy just stares, then tells her to go in. Awww.
Once inside, Haeng-ah sees that it is indeed a new purse, and he’s even included some little goodies like pink handweights inside. There’s also a book, with a pretty postcard tucked in it’s pages.
In the morning Ri-hwan and Ji-hoon go jogging, which makes Ji-hoon sick. He admits that he drank last night, and Ri-hwan offers to get him some herbal medicine to help him stop drinking, if he’s serious. They discuss Tae-hee’s latest rejection, though Ji-hoon has no intention of getting lost as she suggested.
He wonders if he should move since Haeng-ah will probably be over a lot, now that she and Ri-hwan are dating. Ri-hwan says that won’t be a problem since he told her to move to the third-floor apartment, though she’s still considering it.
Suk-joon is accosted by reporters, having chosen to testify in a court case, despite keeping silent in a similar situation three years ago. Well that’s… mysterious and sudden.
It has something to do with Yi-seul’s latest date, who mentions that he was running late because of an issue at court. As it turns out, Suk-joon used to be a TV news anchorman, and he’s suddenly decided to give testimony on a case, as an insider. Yi-seul’s date natters on about nothing, not even noticing that she’s distracted, thinking about Ri-hwan and his kindness.
Apparently the thing Suk-joon has decided to testify about is an unfair dismissal case against his previous employer, the television station where he was a news anchorman. Ri-hwan sees the story on the news and it seems to upset him, and somehow Ji-hoon gets the idea that Suk-joon is the guy that Tae-hee likes now.
Yi-seul comes by unannounced, to ask Ri-hwan for advice. She knows how the world views people like her, as if she’s miserable and scary, but she wants to know what she should do about liking him. Ri-hwan says that he knows how hard it is to like someone — even he was told he was suffocating, like a gas mask.
Near tears, Yi-seul asks what people do in situations like this, when they’re angry and embarrassed but they still want to see the person they like. Ri-hwan softly says that they meet someone else. Yi-seul cries in earnest and asks what to do until then, and she leaves when he jumps up to get her some tissues.
Ri-hwan’s mom packs up her office while her colleague watches, and he asks when she’s going to bring her guardian in to discuss her diagnosis. She just says “soon,” which frustrates him, because they can’t start treatment until that happens. In the meantime he tells her not to drive and to always have her phone on her, and he warns her to bring her son tomorrow or he’ll call him himself. She says she’ll bring someone tomorrow, but not her son.
Mom goes to lunch with Aunt Princess, who asks after her father. She reminds Aunt that when Ri-hwan was little, she always said she would never leave him to her parents if anything happened to her — she still feels the same. Aunt argues that the kids have grown up now and are doing well, and Mom tells her about her diagnosis.
The news hits Aunt hard, and she can barely hold it together as Mom tells her her plans for Ri-hwan, passing the responsibility to her friend. She especially wants him to marry as soon as possible, and Aunt can’t even look her in the eyes as she nods agreement.
The next day at the radio station, Se-young gets snippy with Tae-hee for correcting Joon-woo on a mistake, and Tae-hee figures out that they’re dating. Ha, Haeng-ah is tickled pink at the idea. Joon-woo follows Se-young when she leaves for home and nervously brings up the previous night, but she just giggles and claims not to remember much. Joon-woo pushes through his nerves and says he’ll come to her place later, and sends her off with a list of instructions on being safe.
Amid the furor of his court case, Suk-joon quits his job at the radio station, and Tae-hee goes running to fetch Haeng-ah before he leaves the building. He gives her a warm smile, but doesn’t say anything as he walks out, seeming somehow lighter than before.
Yi-seul sits on a park bench, having composed herself again, and massages her sore ankles from her new stylish shoes. She remembers Ri-hwan checking on her when she twisted her ankle, and fetching her a comfortable pair of shoes, and closes her eyes in pain. Her mother calls to see if she went on her blind date, and Yi-seul just lets her mother nag and sits in silence.
Her mother is currently waiting with a matchmaker to meet another prospect, who doesn’t show. She flounces out in anger, demanding to know if it’s Taeyang Group that’s being looked down upon, or just her daughter in particular. In her fury she actually defends Yi-seul, saying that she’s more than a dumb girl who spends all her time beautifying herself — she’s smart, and she’s even a doctor.
As it turns out, the family they’re waiting for is Ri-hwan’s mother, who’s missed the appointment because she’s having an episode. She stands in the middle of a parking lot, confused and intimidated by the tall buildings surrounding her. The matchmaker calls Ri-hwan to find out where his mother is, and he’s surprised and worried to hear that she forgot an engagement.
He calls his mother, but though she’s holding her phone when it rings, she’s too dazed to even register that she has a call. Instead of calling her son, she calls Haeng-ah for help, though she has to have a passerby tell Haeng-ah where to find her.
Haeng-ah finds Mom and takes her home, and Mom tells her about her Alzheimer’s. She apologizes for scaring Haeng-ah and asks her not to tell Ri-hwan, though he shows up before Haeng-ah can promise. She hides while he confronts his mother, who only says that she has her reasons for not answering when he called.
He’s also upset that she was going to meet with Yi-seul’s mother again, and he demands to know why she’s so determined to get him married all of a sudden. She says honestly that she’s not sure, seeming to drift in and out of forgetfulness, and finally pushes him away by saying that she’s tired.
But Ri-hwan has something to say, that he’s been seeing Haeng-ah — oh no, honey, not now. But he’s firm as he tells his mother that this is what he wants, and that he was the one who grabbed onto Haeng-ah when she tried to avoid it. From her hiding place, Haeng-ah listens and starts to tear up.
When Mom says they can’t do this, Ri-hwan says that they can and they are. They even told Uncle Gangster everything, and he says that what happened with Haeng-ah’s father all those years ago, and all of Mom’s hardships, aren’t Haeng-ah’s fault.
He calms a bit and says that Haeng-ah makes him happy, and that it makes him angry that he could have had this happiness earlier if not for his mother. Mom asks, if she still opposes it, will he stop seeing her? In answer, Ri-hwan simply says that she once planned to throw Haeng-ah away.
He tells her that Haeng-ah heard her on the phone that day saying she’d send her away if they ever dated — and to make it worse, it was the first Parent’s Day after her father died, and she’d made Mom a carnation in thanks for taking care of her. But even after that, Haeng-ah never resented her.
Just then, Mom remembers that Haeng-ah is nearby listening, and she says that she still doesn’t approve. Ri-hwan grows a bit desperate as he apologizes for not going to medical school or marrying Yi-seul like she wants, but he’s happy. Never in his life has he felt unhappy, because Haeng-ah was always there.
He begs her to stop trying to put him into the rich world she lives in, and let him be happy simply. As long as Mom is alive, he’ll be happy – he just needs her by his side.
I just love this drama’s way of telling a story. Each episode feels a bit different, and this episode’s series of vignettes highlighting different “couples” out for an evening of camaraderie and introspection was a fun, unique way to show us where each character stands at this point. There wasn’t a lot of plot movement in this episode, but I still enjoyed the chance to stop and get to know everyone a little bit better.
As someone who’s lost a loved one to Alzheimer’s, it’s difficult to watch Ri-hwan’s mother descend into her forgetfulness. I have to commend Bae Jong-ok for her realistic portrayal of what the disease looks like — the way a sufferer can float from full lucidity to forgetfulness and back, even within a short conversation, is eerie to watch. She nails that shifting expression of fear, confusion, and blankness perfectly. Even the way she has of pushing someone away when she’s having a forgetful moment, and the reluctance to make eye contact for fear of them seeing you forget who they are even for a moment, are so familiar to those of us who have seen this before. As hard as it is to watch at times, I’m pleased that this disease and it’s sufferers are being given the respect and weight they deserve by the show, and are not being treated as a way to manufacture angst. Mom’s disease isn’t just a construct to make us feel bad for her or the leads, but actually drives the story and events in a way that makes you feel for all parties — and as Mom worsens, it will change things for Ri-hwan and Haeng-ah almost daily.
It gives the conflict regarding Ri-hwan and Haeng-ah dating a different sort of feel to what we’re used to in dramas, where the hero’s mother objects to the poor girl simply on the basis that she’s poor. Mom clearly cares for Haeng-ah, and though she has reasons for not wanting her to date her son, her objections seem to have nothing to do with Haeng-ah herself. Apparently there’s more to it than just Haeng-ah’s potential medical history, though I’m betting that’s still a large part of it. I still believe that Mom doesn’t want to lose her memory and leave her son, and then have him lose the woman he loves to a hereditary disease. The problem is, Ri-hwan has always loved Haeng-ah, so keeping them apart was a losing battle before it even began.
Can we talk again about how awesome and wonderful Ri-hwan is? I just love him, as a person but also for Haeng-ah. He’s not perfect, far from it — he’s dorky and insecure, but he’s also steadfast and loyal, which is what Haeng-ah needs in a partner. Not to mention how well he knows her inside and out… the scene where they had ice cream while walking, and he just got the right kind while she paid for it without discussion, then he gave her hers first, was simple but telling. These people deeply, deeply know each other. Haeng-ah needs that in her life — she’s such a bundle of insecurities, because everyone in her life leaves her one way or another — her parents died, her “adoptive” mother is willing to get rid of her if it becomes necessary, and she deliberately seeks out relationships where she knows she’ll be left alone. The one person who’s always been there is Ri-hwan, and he’s the one person she truly relaxes around. I think she knows instinctively that she can say or do anything to him, and he’ll always stay with her. But actually hearing it in his confession to his mother will turn out to be important for Haeng-ah, I think, because now she knows beyond a shadow of a doubt how he feels. His only family is his mother, and to hear him defy her, knowing that he may have to make a choice between his mother and Haeng-ah, is a powerful thing. I hope this changes their relationship in good ways, instead of causing her to push him away for his mother’s sake. I’d rather watch them fight to stay together than see Haeng-ah running away from the man who’s loved her literally all of his life.
- Bubblegum: Episode 16 (Final)
- Bubblegum: Episode 15
- "Bubble Gum" Lee Dong-wook, the weight of the drama
- Bubblegum: Episode 14
- Bubblegum: Episode 13
- Bubblegum: Episode 12
- Bubblegum: Episode 11
- Bubblegum: Episode 10
- Bubblegum: Episode 9
- Bubblegum: Episode 8
- Bubblegum: Episode 7
- Bubblegum: Episode 6
- Bubblegum: Episode 5
- Bubblegum: Episode 4
- Bubblegum: Episode 3
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