Haneul remains silent in front of the mic until the door swings open. Geurin rushes in. She nods encouragingly, prompting him to sing. He starts, his voice going stronger and stronger. Geurin tears up, while Seokho, silently enters and watches Haneul, looking incredibly conflicted and moved.
Haneul races out after the audition ends to catch Geurin who’s already leaving. He asks where she’s off to. She hesitantly says she has some business to take care off, and asks him to have lunch with the others despite his protests that he could come with her. She turns to leave but looks back with a smile, congratulating him on having done well. He smiles in return. Seokho witnesses the scene.
Haneul and Kyle can’t help but stare at Seokho’s bruised face and split lip over lunch. Manshik, Seokho’s coposer friend’s raving over how stunned the judges were by the boys’ performance, not shutting up even after a not-so-discreet kick under the table by Seokho. The boys look askance at Seokho who insists that the other contestants were pros as well and not to get too ahead of themselves. Haneul finally asks whether Seokho borrowed money from a loan shark or has woman problems to have gotten beaten up to his extent. His tone doesn’t go over well with Minjoo who somewhat condescendingly says that the world of a highschooler and adult are quite different. Seokho doesn’t take offense, knowing that it’s concern but smirks nevertheless at Minjoo’s comment (sometimes I honestly want to slap him). Meanwhile, Geurin heads on over to KTOP where she meets with Kim Joohan, Seokho’s former friend. She asks if there’s a trainee named Lee Jiyoung under their agency but Joohan feigns ignorance, citing the number of trainees they have. Geurin, nevertheless gives her his number in case he finds anyone by that name. Joohan barely conceals his nervousness. Meanwhile, Manshik, Minjoo and Seokho have a group meeting, where they discover Seokho’s future plans for the group. He has no plans for letting them advance to the second round evem if they do pass. This entire audition was just a show of goodwill and talent for Minjoo’s CEO (of Ocean Music) to gain their trust and the $200,000 required to produce an album. Manshik’s amazed at Seokho’s duplicity (and his shirt says precisely what I would like to say to Seokho)
but Seokho challenges him, asking him as a composer, as to whether these boys can truly succeed. Manshik thinks so, as Haneul has both the talent and the ability to move people with his voice. Seokho’s reply is forestalled by a call from Joohan to informs him that Geurin arrived at KTOP, but spins it such that she seems to be trying to force her brother to join KTOP. He warns Seokho not to blame him if he loses one of his ‘players’. He ends the call and turns to the girl sitting beside him. Lee Jiyoung. He asks her if she still lives next to Geurin, revealing that she’s been coming by to inquire about her. Jiyoung’s eyes harden as she flashes back to a darkened house or warehouse of sorts, her screaming and huddling in a corner, Haneul opening the door and later being dragged away by the police while screaming. Joohan orders her to hurry up and move. She calls someone upon leaving, certain that she’s going to debut soon and asking for a favour. Joohan tells KTOP CEO Lee Joonseok of Seokho’s plans of a band, and promises to take care of him.
Seokho, meanwhile, looks worried that his potential cash cow could be snapped up. He calls Haneul and doesn’t know what to say upon hearing that he’s on his way back to Busan, simply saying he’ll call back later. He’s busy brooding at night in his office when the door unexpectedly opens and a guitarist enters. He introduces himself as Venus 7080’s Na Yeonsoo. Seokho’s all ‘who?’
Turns out that he plays at a club of that name, where he basically provides background music to gatherings in private rooms. Before Seokho’s recent fall from grace, he was there with Mr. Jeong, Minjoo’s CEO at Ocean Music. Both were drunk, and Jeong wanted to prove his supposed musical skills on Yeonsoo’s guitar. He got more and more irritated as Yeonsoo refused to let someone else fool around with his instrument. He tosses money at Yeonsoo but he still refuses. Seokho drunkenly dives in and defuses the situation, saying that Yeonsoo’s entitled to treasure his instrument as an entertainer. Those moved Yeonsoo tot the point were he sought Seokho out even after hearing about his fall from grace. Seokho’s amazed that this kid wants to work with him despite everything that’s happened, aka his not-so-great reputation, and happily asks him to come and meet the other boys tomorrow. He’ll be playing bass given that they already have a guitarist. The next day, Seokho over-exaggerates the reason for Yeonsoo wanting to join the band.
Yeonsoo arrives then and Seokho’s all about to show him off when he freezes at the sight of the child accompanying him.
Seokho calls for a time-out and drags Yeonsoo away while Haneul adorably decides to babysit. Outside, Seokho demands to know with Yeonsoo didn’t reveal he had a child and that a father can’t be a celebrity (I’m dying, giving that this is Ji Sung saying this). Yeonsoo says he wants to be a musician not a celebrity, but Seokho rightly yells that they’re the same thing in the entertainment world. He says he can’t have a married man and Yeonsoo digs himself in further by admitting that he’s not a married and a single dad. Seokho nearly has a fit right then but fishes out his wallet first and pays him for having come to the agency, saying it must have been hard. (I get what he’s trying to do but honestly Seokho, money isn’t everything). Yeonsoo sadly stares at the bill before bowing and thanking him for the opportunity and for saying back then that entertainers had the right to treasure their instrument, no matter how low on the ladder they stood. Seokho looks conflicted as they return to the room where the two boys have very different opinions on how adorable Yeonsoo’s son is.
Yeonsoo takes his son and leaves with a sad smile. The kid, Chan Hee, doesn’t get what’s going on and waves cutely at Seokho who can’t help but smile in return as they leave. Kyle is happy with the decision, agreeing that they can’t have a married man in the band, but Haneul wonders why an ex-convict is okay then. Seokho freezes while Kyle wonders who they’re talking about. Seokho just mutters that being married is just like being an ex-convict and makes ‘don’t-say-a-word’ faces at Haneul who just shrugs. He walks them out, saying they’ll meet next week. Kyle goes off but Haneul remains, following Seokho while singing the same children’s song he was singing to Chanhee’s son. Seokho wonders what he’s up to but Haneul insists that he’s just doing what he learned.
I love how he even does a little hip-shake, which horrifies Seokho
Aww. But Haneul didn’t have to try to get Seokho to go after Yeonsoo because he sits, more conflicted than ever, in his office. He finally heads out to Venus 7080, muttering to himself on how this isn’t right.
He walks away several times before finally going in. He pauses at the sight of a guy yelling at Yeonsoo and walks into the room. It’s no grand rescue and Seokho doesn’t a say a word, simply inclining his head outside, but gratitude wells in Yeonsoo’s eyes at the chance he knows he’s just been given. Seokho watches him pick up his son, sleeping in the practice room in the same building, and sighs at how miserable their lives are. He plasters a smile on his face and asks Yeonsoo to come to the office tomorrow to hear him on a bass. The smile freezes further when Yeonsoo says he’ll trying to find a bass guitar, and Seokho manages the fakest of all laughs before leaving, promising himself that he’s going to regret this tomorrow.
Kyle arrives the next morning to find Seokho fast asleep on the couch. Seokho’s too late the break the news that Yeonsoo’s now part of the band and Kyle stares in horror when Chanhee appears with his father. Seokho asks Kyle to write music for the band. It should be simple enough, given that he’s from Juillard. Yeonsoo looks really impressed upon hearing that. They decide to go to Busan for a group meeting with Haneul. (Does anyone else think it’s a really bad idea for them to be meeting in Haneul’s hometown? Especially if Seokho doesn’t want it revealed that Haneul’s an ex-convict?) Kyle’s more horrified than ever at the thought of Chanhee coming along but Seokho tells him to behave nicely, after all Yeonsoo is his hyung.
Haneul meets them at the station and lights up to see Chanhee, knowing that Seokho must’ve decided against dropping Yeonsoo after all. The boys compose outside under a cafe umbrella. Kyle comes up with three melodies. Yeonsoo likes the second but Haneul likes the ballad-like feel of the third. It’s sounds like love to him. Kyle snickers at that, saying he must have dated a lot. Haneul closes up a bit at that but Kyle goes to reveal that he wrote this when he’d first met with his now-ex girlfriend. Yeonsoo grins that he must have someone he likes. Haneul doesn’t comment but we cut appropriately to Geurin who’s all smiles that Haneul must be with his fellow members. She calls in and inquires about where they’ll be sleeping for the night. Haneul thinks they could go to a motel but Kyle says they can’t take a child there.
Geurin asks them to come over. She walks home, happily planning what she’ll make them, only to freeze at the sight of the school bullies spraying the walls with graffiti, calling Haneul a rapist, trash, and a disgrace to the community. Her hands ball into fists as they scatter upon seeing her, laughing uproariously. She tries to pull herself together, knowing that the others shouldn’t see this. She calls Haneul to no response and hurriedly starts to scrub at the graffiti to no avail. Haneul comes up with the others as she valiantly scrubs away fruitlessly, sobbing in frustration. She pauses upon seeing them and tries to pretend that everything’s okay, and that some idiots just spraying graffiti for no reason, but Haneul’s more concerned with her hands, bleeding from rubbing steel wool for so long.
The situation’s out of his hands as Kyle puts two and two together, after yesterday’s ‘ex-convict’ comment by Haneul. Haneul says he’ll buy them a meal in Seoul and leaves, taking Geurin inside with him to bandage her hand. Kyle growls in frustation, saying that Seokho must be crazy to have included Haneul in the band. Meanwhile at KTOP, Joohan’s brought Mr. Jeong, the CEO of Ocean Music. He promises Jeong a chance to work on one of their stars’ albums so long he drops the promised $200,000 album contract with Seokho’s band. Jeong looks ready to capitulate. In Busan, Geurin tries to convince Haneul that she’s okay and worries that she should have tried to make the other band members understand that he wasn’t at fault. They hear clattering at the gate and exchange worried glances, going out to deal with whoever’s there. Only…
Geurin’s incredibly moved and nods in thanks at Yeonsoo who smiles in return. Haneul looks as though a great burden’s been lifted from his shoulders. Or half of it at any rate. Someone else believes in him.
Meanwhile, every bit of equipment in Seokho’s agency is covered in ‘Property Seizure’ tags. Seokho sits in a daze amidst a whole whack of stuff he now doesn’t own.
Minjoo arrives and asks what happened. Seokho doesn’t know himself. They decide to ask Jeong together and head over to Ocean Music only to hear that he’s gone home early today. Seokho knows what this means, but asks Minjoo for his home address, saying he’ll go see him alone.
Geurin helps Chanhee brush his teeth and is surprised at how mature the five-year old is and that he can do it in his own. She’s asked both father and son to stay the night. Haneul has to head back to his re-education dorm that the court ordered him to stay at. Yeonsoo accompanies him outside and says he believes him. Haneul nods and leaves. Kyle on the other hand, heads back over to Mango Agency, which is now locked. He calls Seokho, who’s pacing outside Jeong’s home. Seokho sees a car coming up and hangs up. He goes stockstill to see Jeong and Joohan climb out, both drunk, but happily vowing eternal partnership after screwing Seokho over. A mirthless smirk plays about Seokho’s lips. He doesn’t bother talking to them.
He meets with Kyle who’s furious at Seokho’s omission of information. How are they supposed to even get famous if one of their members is a sex offender? Seokho gets to the point and asks him if he’s ever been unfairly accused of anything his entire life.
He thought it over and over but decided to trust in Haneul. Kyle can’t believe it but Seokho asks what he’ll do if Haneul stays as vocalist. Kyle says he’ll quit and Seokho nods. Fine, he’ll find him another agency. Given his talent, it shouldn’t be too hard.
But if he really can’t work with Haneul then he’ll make sure Kyle gets to go somewhere else to work on his future. That’s his responsibility as casting director (so what part of this is real and what part is manipulation, Seokho?) Kyle growls in frustation, but Seokho seems aware that Kyle knows, deep down, that Haneul would never have done such a thing.
He tells Kyle to give it a few days. If he still can’t bear to work with Haneul, then they’ll amiably call it quits. Seokho walks home, pausing at a Jackson poster at a bus stop. He stares at it, thinking back to when Jinwoo was a no name back-up dancer, working part-time jobs and eating expired food, and how he’d been there for him then He’d munched on caramels then, and promised to make Jinwoo a star. In his room, Jinwoo stares a box of caramels morosely as well. The next morning finds Seokho hunched over in his office, staring at all the red-taped objects once more. Minjoo comes in and sits beside him. He asks what the deal was and she reveals the offer Kim Joohan made, noting that it was a good one. Seokho meets with Joohan, with all pretense gone. He says that this must have been what Joonseok (KTOP’s CEO) felt like when Seokho took Jackson behind his back. Joohan notes that all things do come back circularly like this.
He asks Joohan why he’s doing this but Joohan has no intention of revealing anything. He wonders why Seokho doesn’t retire from the industry seeing as he’s as good as done. He remembers Seokho saying that all he wanted was to open a little restaurant by the beach (really? Him? Shin Seokho? Can’t imagine it.) He says he’ll help him with that. He could even pay off the 200,000 Seokho now owes Jeong. Seokho quietly looks him in the eye and says he won’t have to pay that money back. But when Minjoo joins him as he eats a popsicle outside he asks her to buy her own because he’s broke. He hands her an envelope, telling her to give to to Jeong. It’s to get back at Joohan. And boy does it work because Jeong flips out, much to Minjoo’s amusement (and her eardrums’ irritation).
Turns out that when Seokho was at KTOP, he cajoled Lee Joonseok into getting investment from a particular company, GM, as a favour to a friend needed to bring in more clients to keep his job. So GM already helped produce a singer’s comeback album for KTOP, the same singer who Joohan promised Jeong that he would produce a comeback album for. Joohan hangs up and calls Seokho, thanking him for the present. An unusally serious Seokho says it was his pleasure. Minjoo applies the right amount of pressure then (I’m beginning to see why she’s friends with Seokho. They’re peas in a pod) telling Jeong that he should probably make up with Seokho or he’ll be framed as a bully in the industry. Jeong capitulates. Seokho settles in for a well-earned midday nap, after the morning’s hustle.
Kyle meets privately with Minjoo, revealing Haneul’s past and asking what he should do. Minjoo promises that she’ll talk to Seokho and asks Kyle to pretend that everything’s fine for now. When Haneul arrives for the day’s group meeting, Kyle blocks his path for an instant, staring at him consideringly.
He wonders what side of Haneul he should trust. Haneul asks if he made his choice and Kyle frustratedly says he doesn’t know. Seokho amusedly watches Kyle go through the same process he did. The group’s all there, Chanhee included, when Minjoo comes in with food. Kyle reveals his newest composition, saying it’s fit for Carnegie Hall. (I wouldn’t go that far, but it’s pleasant to listen to) Haneul lights up and starts humming while Seokho smiles (seeing moneybags, probably).
Minjoo walks in on this scene with food. With her is a certain Ms. Park, aka here comes Park Shinhye’s cameo. Seokho encourages her to sit with them and she seems to have been hoping for an invitation, but Minjoo orders her off. She shoots Minjoo a glare, and Seokho a smile before leaving. Manshik comes in and freaks out at the sight of Chanhee, asking Seokho is he’s ‘his’. Seokho hilariously responds that his parents would be over the moon if that was the case. Haha. Minjoo orders him outside. Seokho confusedly follows. She reveals that she knows everything about Haneul’s past, and that Kyle came to her. Seokho taken aback, not having expected her to find out, but insists that Haneul was framed.
Minjoo rightly notes that netizens dig up artist’s pasts all the time. If they succeed, this’ll hit them even worse, even Kyle and Yeonsoo will be affected. It won’t just be Haneul. Seokho says they’ll just say that he was framed and that they’re searching for the actual culprit.
Minjoo asks if he really thinks that the police would re-open an investigation for him.
Haneul stands by the door, having heard every word. Seokho returns to find him gone and mutters that sister runs off to KTOP all the time and her brother just vanishes. But he looks worried and calls Haneul. He, on the other hand, walks home, remembering how to it felt to perform, and when Seokho reached out to him to make music. He finally slumps against a wall. His phone vibrates and (awww he’s saved Seokho as ‘Caramel’ must be a major habit of Seokho’s then) a tear escapes once he sees who’s calling.
Seokho hangs up with a sigh and texts him Manshik’s arrangment of Kyle’s son. Haneul writes lyrics for it late into the night in his dorm. Meanwhile, Geurin enters Haneul’s now-empty room and thinks back to seeing him perform. She calls Seokho, who’s sleeping at the agency as usual and asks him to come over to Busan. She can’t skip her job but she has to talk to him. Seokho hightails it over their the next day, certain that Geurin’s going to say that she wants KTOP for Haneul as opposed to his barely-surviving agency. She starts off saying that she didn’t know that Haneul could sing so well, and Seokho mutters that family apathy can destroy dreams (if only you knew the truth, Seokho). Geurin says that Haneul will need a proper support system. She means emotionally but Seokho takes that to mean promotionally and starts to ramble on and on about how she thinks that his career ending for stabbing KTOP in the back but that doesn’t mean that he didn’t put effort into chasing Haneul around Busan and that going with KTOP isn’t right. She asks how he knew that she went there.
Geurin yells that she wasn’t there to calculate whether Haneul’s prospects would be better there but because there could be someone related to Haneul’s case there. Seokho perks up at that before realizing that he was wrong about assuming she was going to take Haneul away. She says she’s going to trust him, and he’s immediately all smiles. Until she reveals the reason.
Geurin says that she can just learn. Seokho asks if there’s a school for managers nearby or something. Geurin says that he can just teach her.
Seokho says it isn’t easy being a manager. They have to remain with the group even if their parents aren’t rushes to the hospital, they’ve not time for a love life and there’s even a manager that goes between Seoul and Busan thrice a day, aka him. Geurin says she has a driver’s license.
Haneul is her only family. Frankly, she doesn’t even need a job interview at this point. Seokho looks at her consideringly.
Haneul calls him right then, asking to meet in Seoul. Seokho admits that he was worried about him after he took off before and is surprised when Haneul hands him the song he wrote. He grins that both brother and sister sure have the right fighting spirit and takes a look at the lyrics, clearly not expecting much but pleased at the effort. He pauses before fixing Haneul with a ‘did-you-really-write-this?’ look. He puts that into words and Haneul nods.
Seokho wonders why he call all the way to deliver this when he could’ve just shown it at their next group meeting. Haneul hesitates but drops the bombshell. He’s quitting music. Seokho doesn’t ask if it’s a joke, seeing the seriousness in his face and voice. At first, Haneul tries to say it’s because of exams but Seokho presses further, saying that it shouldn’t mean that he has to quit music. Haneul says that he thought it would be okay if he just told everyone it wasn’t true but he didn’t count on it affecting others besides himself. Seokho can’t believe what he’s hearing, and doesn’t appear to understand why Haneul’s quitting. He asks if Haneul was always this wishy-washy.
He says it was as if he was having a good dream. He gets up to leave but slides over a box of caramels and a Nirvana CD, saying it’s a present. Seokho stares at them in recognition, then shock.
He races out after Haneul but he’s vanished. Seokho goes to the charnel house where Haneul’s brother’s ashes are housed and stares at the family portrait there.
Shin Seokho or Shin Segi? Sometimes I’m honestly not sure. Especially after that ‘You called me’ in episode 2. did anyone else die? I did.
He starts to tear up, asking Sunghyun if Haneul is his brother. On the train back to Busan, Haneul weeps as well. Seokho slowly touches a much younger Haneul’s face in the picture, smiling through his tears.
And Ji Sung does it again. Honestly look at the mixture of emotion in his eyes in the screencap above. How does he do it? He takes a character that I want to slap and makes his strangely human. There’s no one-note acting here. You’ll see Seokho do something deplorable, and regret doing it while the words are coming out of his mouth, which isn’t an easy thing for an actor to pull off. This drama may be predictable but I like that it doesn’t try to glorify Seokho. He’s not above sleazy tricks to get his way and he does have a tendency to look at dollar signs above everything. However, he also has a strong sense of loyalty to his friends and when he sets him mind on something, it’s nigh impossible to stop him. Just take his episode, in the last episode he was about to use Haneul for a cash grab, but now he’s actually gotten serious. He may not have much humanism but he’s slowly gaining an understanding of how it feels to be at the bottom, now being in that position himself. And watching him grow is going to be fascinating. I’m also loving the budding bromance between Haneul, Seokho and the other members of the band, especially Yeonsoo, who’s such a smiley fellow. I like how Kyle’s unsure of what to do and dealing with that in a reasonable way as opposed to going into I-hate-your-guts mode. This is a drama so there will be random unrealistic coincidences, like Lee Jiyoung being a trainee at KTOP of all places but the interpersonal relationships in this show never feel manufactured, except maybe with the CEO and Joohan, because we haven’t really seen the start or those relationships. We just know how they ended. At first, I wondered why Ji Sung, who brought us the magnificence that is Kill Me Heal Me, would choose a show that seems so obvious on paper. But he did say that he wanted to bring happiness to viewers. And given how heartwarming this show strangely is. I think he’s succeeding.