Did someone order a serving of angst? Well, here you go. A big, heaping, bubbling pot of angst coming right up. This is the first episode where I don’t think I LOL’d once. Well, except for a certain face meets tennis racket moment. Otherwise, episode 7 of Playful Kiss (Mischievous Kiss) is straight on emotional trauma territory we’re headed smack into.
Get ready for a bumpy ride, folks. And tomorrow doesn’t look any better. My forecast: stormy clouds ahead, with a high chance of thunder and heavy rain. But that only means once the storm passes, we have a rainbow and blue skies to look forward to. Keep that long-term goal in mind, because it’s starting to get tougher to watch Seung Jo emotionally neglect and verbally shoot barbs at Ha Ni.
This was also the episode where Joon Gu transitioned from cartoonish worshipper of Ha Ni to genuine potential future partner. And I love it! Whatever hurt Seung Jo dishes out to Ha Ni is only going to come back and bite him in the arse later, and I cannot wait to see Seung Jo feel his own heart break. Because that will be the moment this genius realizes that he’s just an ordinary man, with a woman who loves him extraordinarily much.
Episode 7 Recap:
Ha Ni and Hye Ra have a mini-staredown, but Ha Ni is the first to look away while Hye Ra walks after Seung Jo. Ha Ni comes home after school, rather down and droopy. She walks up to her room as Seung Jo walks out of his room. She asks him about the girl in his class. Seung Jo tells her the girl is Yoon Hye Ra. Ha Ni asks if she is a sunbae (i.e. elder classmate), and Seung Jo queries if Hye Ra looks like a sunbae.
Seung Jo tells Ha Ni that Hye Ra is considered a goddess in their class, which makes Ha Ni understand that Hye Ra is also a freshman. Then Seung Jo nonchalantly says that Hye Ra is the second place incoming freshman at Parang, and Ha Ni notes that Seung Jo is the first place student. Ha Ni wonders aloud why someone like Hye Ra decided to come to Parang.
Seung Jo then asks Ha Ni whether she’s jealous, and then brings up their “kiss” from before. He tells Ha Ni that she can be jealous if she wants to, since they have already kissed before. He leans down and Ha Ni scrunches her eyes closed thinking he’s going to kiss her again, but Seung Jo just laughs and walks away. Dude, you don’t have to purposely be such a jackass, you already are even when you don’t try.
At school the next day, Ha Ni hangs out with her two friends discussing her love woes. The aspiring hairdresser friend tells them that she got a job, and won’t be able to have lunch all the time anymore. The other friend also has to ditch Ha Ni for lunch today, since the sunbae in her major is taking all the freshman out to lunch. So Ha Ni tries to work up the courage to text Seung Jo asking if he wants to have lunch with her.
As Ha Ni is deciding out loud what to order at the school cafeteria, Seung Jo comes up behind her. He asks her whether she can read something if she doesn’t read it out loud. He orders first, and she tells the cook behind the glass that she wants what he’s having. Seung Jo’s plate of food is rather rudely put in from of him, and it has less than half the amount on Ha Ni’s plate, even though they ordered the same thing.
Of course, it’s because the cook is none other than Joon Gu, who has taken a part time job at the school cafeteria. Joon Gu tells them he wants to earn more money so that Ha Ni can marry him at any time, and he want to be close to the woman he loves because he doesn’t trust Seung Jo around her.
Joon Gu asks Seung Jo whether he’s surprised to see him at Parang, and Seung Jo wonders whether Joon Gu isn’t tired from following in the footsteps of a girl. Joon Gu responds that he’s not tagging along, what he is doing is called L.O.V.E. Seung Jo gets a pissy attitude and walks away with his tray to go sit with another group, while Ha Ni sadly sits to eat her meal alone (with Joon Gu gesturing for her to enjoy the meal).
Later, as Ha Ni is walking with her classmates, she sees Seung Jo sitting alone by the park bench reading a book. She stealthily sits down at the bench behind him, and is about to turn around and talk to him when suddenly another guy sits down next to Seung Jo and the two begin to talk.
Seung Jo calls the guy sunbae, and asks how he’s been. Sunbae jokes around that Seung Jo is so cold to him, but then dives right into the topic at hand, asking Seung Jo which club he is planning to join. Seung Jo says he hasn’t thought about it, and sunbae tells Seung Jo to join his club. Seung Jo demurs, saying he hasn’t practiced in a long time. Sunbae brings up helping Seung Jo find a missing notebook back in high school, and other past interactions, and Seung Jo agrees to join his club.
Seung Jo sees Ha Ni sitting behind him and asks her whether she has class or not, remarking that all she seems to do is follow him around. Ha Ni queries which club Seung Jo is planning to join, and Seung Jo declines to tell her, noting that she will simply tag along as usual. This makes Ha Ni stalk Seung Jo as he goes to the club meeting, accidentally walking into the martial arts club (where the boys are super excited to see a girl and try to give her a nun-chuck), before tracking down Seung Jo in the tennis club.
Seung Jo sighs loudly upon seeing her, and who else walks to sit down but Hye Ra. Hye Ra asks Ha Ni whether she plays tennis, and when Ha Ni says she’s never played before, Hye Ra tells Ha Ni she shouldn’t be here since she is looking down on the club. Ha Ni retorts that the tennis sunbae said that anyone is welcome as long as they have the heart to learn and will to practice.
Tennis sunbae gets up and introduces himself as a second year student at Parang, at which point Ha Ni blurts out “second year!” incredulously. Everyone laughs as tennis sunbae concedes that he looks wayyyy older than a 21 year old, noting that his own mother uses jeondamal (formal language) with him and is afraid to use banmal (casual language). Mwahahaha, love this wink wink nod to the fact that the actor playing the tennis sunbae is like 40 years old in real life.
At the first practice, Seung Jo and Hye Ra come walking onto the court. Ha Ni tells them she thinks tennis sunbae is like tofu, a gentle and kind person, NOT like someone else that she knows, staring at Seung Jo. Hye Ra remarks that Ha Ni clearly doesn’t know the whole picture, and walks away. Seung Jo follows with a smirk at Ha No.
Ha Ni swings the racket and succeeds only in accidentally hitting a ball that hits the tennis sunbae’s forehead. Once they start practicing, the nice tennis sunbae turns into psycho tennis sunbae, as he hits serve after powerful serve at the new recruits who dive, dodge, and duck at his flying tennis shots, unable to return them. Hye Ra is the first to be able to return his shots. Seung Jo is equally as good.
When its Ha Ni’s turn, she just squeals and runs around avoiding the incoming shots. When the tennis sunbae yells at her to stay put and hold her racket up, she does so but the first shot hits the racket, which then smacks her full in the face. Ha Ni falls down with a bloody nose, but is praised by the tennis sunbae for her conviction.
The tennis club goes out to have drinks afterwards. A classmate tells Ha Ni that tennis sunbae is actually a very gentle guy, until he holds a racket in his hand. The other club members enviously note that both Hye Ra and Seung Jo are not only super smart and fabulously good looking, they are also have athletic prowess, which is so not fair.
They ask if Seung Jo and Hye Ra were very popular in high school, and Seung Jo says not so much. One guy remarks that Hye Ra must have dated a lot, and Hye Ra says that she has no interest in love. They discuss being in love, and Hye Ra has a very clinical approach to it. Seung Jo mentions that love means losing one’s identity, and once that happens it becomes very distasteful. It appears that Hye Ra and Seung Jo share similar views on love.
The next day, Ha Ni sneaks into Seung Jo’s English class, and Joon Gu tags along. Miscommunication ensues when the teacher asks her why she has a band aid on her nose, did she hurt herself? Ha Ni thinks he is telling her to be quiet, and she states that she will “shut your mouth.”
Joon Gu jumps in to defend Ha Ni, and Hye Ra tells the teacher Joon Gu isn’t a student and works in the cafeteria and is attending the class because he likes Ha Ni. She then tells Joon Gu he should leave because other students paid an expensive tuition to attend class and he shouldn’t disrupt their studies. Hye Ra is a serious cold beyotch.
Ha Ni confesses to Mom that there are lots of pretty and smart girls at Parang, and that Seung Jo must also like those types of girls. Mom worriedly asks Ha Ni whether such a girl has shown up, and Ha Ni nods. Mom tells Ha Ni that she may look young, but she is an adult. With her experience she knows that Seung Jo and Ha Ni are perfect for each other, like a lid that fits perfectly on a canister. Mom tells Ha Ni that it doesn’t matter how perfect the other girl is if she’s not the perfect fit for Seung Jo. Mom then switches the lids on two different size canisters, and one is too small and the other now too big.
Eun Jo calls Mom to ask her to bring supplies to school for him, and Ha Ni drops it off. She sees that Eun Jo has a crush on a classmate at school, and Ha Ni invites her over to the house. Mom and Ha Ni are super excited to see this. Eun Jo doesn’t know how to woo his friend, who wants to leave until Seung Jo comes home. The little girl meets Seung Jo and immediately crushes on him instead.
Ha Ni grumbles to Seung Jo that he’s a flirt, who pretends that he doesn’t know what is going on. She tells him that he purposely confuses her, being nice and smiling at times, then cold and distant at others. Eun Jo is heartbroken. Mom and Ha Ni take turns consoling him. Eun Jo is angry at Ha Ni, saying its all her fault since she invited his friend home which is how the friend met Seung Jo.
Ha Ni tells him that she alone exactly understands what Eun Jo is feeling, liking someone who doesn’t like you back. Ha Ni says that she watches as the person she loves smiles at another woman, and never looks at her. She tells Eun Jo that it must be a miracle when two people fall in love with each other. Her dad overhears this conversation, and is rather saddened by it, seeing his daughter hurting over Seung Jo.
Ha Ni’s dad is teaching Joon Gu to make noodles, and Joon Gu is enthusiastic and making good progress. Dad overhears Joon Gu remarking that he wants to learn quickly so that he can make noodles for Ha Ni to eat as soon as possible. When Dad asks Joon Gu if he really likes Ha Ni that much, Joon Gu gets embarrassed by such a direct question. Joon Gu confesses that he could not have graduated high school but for Ha Ni. Everyone avoided him since he had the worst grades, and was always getting into trouble. Except for Ha Ni, who was willing to befriend him.
Hye Ra comes over to study with Seung Jo, they are a team for a class and need to complete an assignment together. Ha Ni sneaks behind a panel when she sees Hye Ra and Seung Jo come out into the study area, and she wants to avoid them. However, this means she can’t leave until they leave, and they decide to finish up the class project there.
Joon Gu thinks about people his age, who are taking classes, joining clubs, and wonders if he’s a loser. But then he tells himself that he can only continue to work hard to become a chef as soon as possible. He wonders what Ha Ni is doing, and picks up the phone to call her. He notes that he’s actually nervous, since he’s never called her at this time before. Except Ha Ni is still stuck hiding behind the panel and misses his call.
Hye Ra notices Ha Ni hiding outside, but doesn’t say anything to Seung Jo. During the tennis practice, Hye Ra tells Ha Ni things about Seung Jo that Ha Ni doesn’t appear to know, and Hye Ra coolly notes that even though Seung Jo and Ha Ni live together, they aren’t very close.
Ha Ni’s dad decides that it’s time he and Ha Ni moved out of the Baek house. Ha Ni is shocked, and her tears well up but she tells Dad that it’s because the food she is eating is too spicy. Ha Ni’s dad informs the Baeks about moving out, and both parents try to change his mind. He tells them Ha Ni will soon forget Seung Jo, and Mom is distraught, saying that she will continue to work on them.
Mom cries, saying that she adores Ha Ni’s bright personality, hardworking ways, and caring nature. She says that Seung Jo is sure to fall in love with her in time. Mom wonders if it can all be resolved if she can simply get Ha Ni to marry Seung Jo. Ha Ni’s dad is touched that someone loves his Ha Ni this much. Eun Jo overhears this conversation, and promptly tells Seung Jo.
Seung Jo, who is reclining on the sofa reading a book, immediately sits up upon hearing this news. Eun Jo tells his brother that this is great news, since Ha Ni has only brought them both trouble since she moved in. Seung Jo’s face falls and he walks outside, about to peer into Ha Ni’s room. Ha Ni walks out of the bathroom and he asks her if she’s moving out. She says yes, and asks if he’s going to miss her.
Seung Jo says he’s thinking only that things go back to the way they were. Ha Ni concurs, telling him she hopes that is what happens. She tells him that she needs to go pack now, and he walks past her into the bathroom. Seung Jo says good night casually, but as he is closing the door, you can see a flurry of emotions flit by. Above all else, Seung Jo looks slightly floored, like he isn’t quite sure what hit him. It’s called FEELINGS, Seung Jo, consult a dictionary.
Ha Ni looks at all her Seung Jo mementos and cries, thinking about all the memories she’s made with Seung Jo since they’ve lived together. In the morning, her dad comes to carry her luggage downstairs, and Ha Ni hugs him and starts crying. As they head downstairs to bid farewell, Ha Ni calmly thanks the entire family for all they have done for her and her father.
Mom is distraught, and Ha Ni thanks her especially for cooking delicious food for her every day, cheering her on and buying her pizza at the athletic competition, even taking her and her friends to the beach for an outing, celebrating her acceptance to college – all of this will remain unforgettable memories for Ha Ni. She apologizes to the brothers for bring them so much trouble. Seung Jo remains mute but he is clearly not jumping for joy.
Mom cries buckets and hugs Ha Ni goodbye, telling her that she doesn’t know how she will live without her Ha Ni. The dads also tearfully hug goodbye. The robot brothers stand back unsure of how to activate their emotion buttons. Ha Ni takes one final look over at Seung Jo, who averts his eyes and seemingly says goodbye with a cavalier attitude, wishing Ha Ni a good life.
After they leave, Seung Jo walks into Ha Ni’s now empty room, and sees that Ha Ni left her beloved little stuffed animal behind. It is the same plush toy that Seung Jo got for Ha Ni from the claw machine after they attended the musical together. Seung Jo looks at the toy with a melancholy expression…..
Thoughts of Mine:
I ain’t gonna lie. I felt tears coming when Ha Ni and her Dad left the Baek household, and a hurty feeling in my heart when Seung Jo walked into Ha Ni’s empty room and saw the toy she left behind. This is the same toy Ha Ni dove back into moving traffic to retrieve, and almost got herself seriously injured.
I can’t say “serves you right, Seung Jo”, because it’s clear that Seung Jo is in many ways much more emotionally stunted and immature than Ha Ni is. So his actions towards her in this episode bespoke so much more than the typical Seung Jo being mean to Ha Ni. This is Seung Jo purposely shutting himself off from Ha Ni, because he is trying to stave off the confusion and need to figure out his feelings with respect to her.
That’s not to say that I condone how much Seung Jo racheted up the cold treatment of Ha Ni in this episode. That is not a way to treat a friend, much less a woman who treats you as number one in her life. Both Ha Ni and Joon Gu broke my heart in different ways today.
Ha Ni for continuing to endure Seung Jo’s ill treatment of her, and then bravely trying to let him go (moving out and clearly leaving the one thing he’s ever given her behind). Joon Gu for each time he stands up for Ha Ni, looks out for Ha Ni, simply thinks about Ha Ni. This is the first time his love and adoration of Ha Ni felt real to me, and now I feel his love for her. It’s absolutely genuine, and makes me realize that no way in hell does Seung Jo ever deserve Ha Ni.
But I still root for darling Ha Ni to find her destiny, and her destiny is current-boneheaded Baek Seung Jo. And since I know Joon Gu will find his special someone who loves him back as well, I don’t feel as bad that I know he’s never going to win Ha Ni’s heart.
Because PK is such a slice-of-life story, watching Ha Ni continuously work hard to be good to Seung Jo, and get the face-palm time and again really hurts like hell. Because its stuff that can happen and probably has happened to most of us. We might never be the leading character in a story about being switched at birth, falling in love with our step-brother, getting cancer and magically getting cured by two humidifiers – but I betcha each of us has experienced rejection before. And boy does it hurt sting like the dickens.
[credit: screencaps from MBC stills and soompi.com].