First things first, Lee Jung Hyun, consider yourself blacklisted. Now go stand in the corner and reflect on your actions! Secondly *lips quivers* this was the episode before last and that means there’s not nearly enough Heartstrings left for all the Heartstrings I still want to watch!
The episodes opens mid-centennial performance. We flash back to the meeting between Kyu Won and Hee Joo, where the former had convinced the latter to take the stage. We then get to see what goes through Hee Joo’s mind, memories of all the hard work she’d invested into the performance and her career in general, which is meant to show us it’s an emotional moment for her as well. In the audience, Kyu Won’s dad realizes that she’s the one doing the singing, and points it out to grumpy gramps. Behind the curtain, Kyu Won is giving it her best, mesmerizing everyone in the audience with her singing. Next to her, Shin is proud but also sad that she couldn’t shine on stage like she deserved to. After the performance is over, he goes and congratulates her, saying she was a great leading lady, then pulls her in for a hug. Shin Hye’s acting in this scene is absolutely amazing. There are countless emotions visible on her face from sadness to disappointment to relief and joy, it’s all there, and it really shows the full weight of the gesture Kyu Won made.
After the show, everyone’s partying at Cathrsis. The Scene Stealers join the rest of Heartstrings’ female viewership in fangirling over Ki Young. They commend him for his… dedication to his craft, making Soo Myung jealous and leading him to say Ki Young’s got nothin’ on him. I bet you weren’t so jealous when you were out partying it up and he was putting in long hours at the gym… I mean taking singing lessons, were you, Soo Myung-sshi?
The director rejoices in the fact that he now has two leading ladies whose hair he can muss up and proceeds to do so to the discontentment of both. This attack on the integrity of their hairstyles gives the girls a new chance to bond, that is, until Joon Hee comes by and takes Hee Joo away. Finding Kyu Won by herself, Shin too attempts a hair mussing but that gets her to confuse him with the director. Naturally, this makes him jealous, but hey, this is what happens when you steal another man’s moves.
Suddenly, Hee Joo’s mother shows up with a bunch of reporters, praising her daughter’s performance and hoping to extract some good press out of everything. See, it never occurred to her that she could force someone to sing instead of Hee Joo, but now that it’s happened, why not take advantage of it, right? Except Hee Joo has since grown a conscience and tells the reporters that in fact it was Kyu Won singing and not her. This sends the reporters in Kyu Won’s direction and makes Hee Joo’s mother give her the “you’re no daughter of mine!” look before dashing off. It was about damn time, if you ask me. But that’s okay because unbeknownst to us, Hee Joo has a younger sister who has just been promoted to Joo-bot-in-training because of her older sister’s… forfeiting? Poor girl.
Shin is walking Kyu Won home, with Kyu Won still worrying about what might happen to Hee Joo now that she’s gone against mommy dearest. As they get to her front door, Shin takes the bear accessory off his phone and hands it to Kyu Won. She’s less than pleased, thinking he’s sick of using it, but he grabs her phone and says he now wants to use her accessory instead. Awwww! I love that these little things have a chance to build up, step by step. In most dramas, characters are so busy bickering or angsting over breakups and misunderstandings that couple stuff like this either doesn’t get a chance to happen, or when it does it has to carry tons of weight to make it worth their while. But here, we get to see all the silliness and the hide and seek and the teasing, with each episode bringing a new layer of depth to the relationship.
Hee Joo is in the hospital, waiting for her operation and worrying about its outcome. Joon Hee is there to cheer her up, with her mother tolerating his presence and ending up being amused by his antics. I guess your kid undergoing surgery is enough to make even Model Mom soften up a bit. That, or now that she seems to have given up on Hee Joo as a vehicle for realizing her own ambitions, allowing the girl to be a person is no longer a problem.
The manager that wanted to get Suk Hyun back to Broadway has now returned with a record proposal, a Stupid and Windflowers collaboration, with Kyu Won as the singer.
Elsewhere, Kyu Won is in the Windflowers’ practice room with Bo Woon, and just as Bo Woon is about to leave, Shin walks in. She rapidly excuses herself, saying she has no intention of interrupting and that she was on her way out anyway. Haha, as much as Shin has a Bo Woon interruption phobia, it seems like Bo Woon has a Shin’s reaction to interruptions-phobia as well. Don’t worry Bo Woon-ah, you’re not the Interruption Queen THIS episode. Not by a long shot.
Shin and Kyu Won go on another ice-cream date. Shin playfully smears some cream on Kyu Won’s nose and then laughs at how silly she looks (Now see, if Shin had watched Secret Garden, he would know that he just missed a great opportunity, or rather, he wouldn’t have missed it in the first place). As revenge, she takes some cream as well, wanting to smear him, but he dodges and the cream lands on his shirt. She apologizes, he demands that she buy him a new shirt and she agrees. No, no, no, NO! You don’t offer to BUY him a new shirt, you offer to WASH it. You know, at home? Obviously, Kyu Won never watched City Hunter(or any other drama for that matter). Pfft. Okay, fine, I’ll let the missed opportunities slide this time because I actually love the clothes buying that follows, it’s such a couple-y thing to do. They also don’t get to shop for very long because they get a phone call requesting them to return to school. Come to think of it, if my above-hinted-at scenarios would have come to pass, this phone call would have probably interrupted those too, so whatever.
They find out the reason for the emergency meeting when the director shows up introducing them to the manager. Everyone’s happy about the offer, except for Kyu Won who is seeing this as yet another thing grandpa will oppose. They start practicing for their studio test, just as grandpa is wondering what is taking Kyu Won so long to get home to her gayageum practice. He calls her and she semi-dodges his inquiries so they can keep practicing, but grandpa wises up to her cover attempt and shows up to drag her back to the world of gugak.
In the meanwhile, Suk Hyun has other plans that involve Yoon Soo and require some help from Ki Young and Soo Myung. Suk Hyun goes ring shopping as the guys, with the help of Suk Hyun’s credit card, are supposed to set up the “stage” for the big proposal. He probably should have sprung for a new set of wheels for Soo Myung because his car breaks down before they reach Yoon Soo’s place. Suk Hyun’s call reaches the two bromantics just as they are in the middle of bickering over who gets to (not) push the car.
Obviously, this means the mission is aborted, but this leaves Suk Hyun in a bind since he had promised Yoon Soo he would take care of everything that evening. She’s a little confused when he says the plans he’d hinted at are canceled, but offers dinner in the form of some ramen. Disappointed that his plan fell through, he sits down and looks at the ring, thinking better luck next time. But next time happens to be now because he forgets the ring on the chair and Yoon Soo finds it.
I love that it turned out like this because it’s so in tune with Suk Hyun’s character. He’s a brilliant director and artist, but aside from that he’s just such a childish goof. So as to not let things be completely ruined, he decides to sing Yoon Soo a song to go with his proposal. The answer is YES! I will marry you, Suk Hyun! Yoon Soo agrees to it too I guess. After finishing his song and popping the question, Suk Hyun goes in for the kiss. And that, my friends, is how it’s done. It’s not a kiss that will go down in television history, but it’s tender, intimate, sweet and fitting the moment. What more could one ask for? Oh yes, that it happen between the main couple of the show?
Shin receives a call saying that the studio test has had a change of date and calls Kyu Won to let her know. Grandpa answers the phone and tells him to stop bothering her. Fortunately, Shin is a smart cookie, so he calls his mom to get in touch with Kyu Won’s dad. Shin and the dad meet up and Shin tells him all about the opportunity and the way grandpa is blocking it and asks for his help, which dad promises to give. However, when the dad gets home, he gets into an argument with grandpa, forcing Kyu Won to once again choose the solution that brings peace to the household, i.e. do what grandpa says. The next day she tells the gang that she’s out of the record test.
After Hee Joo’s surgery, the Scene Stealers along with Ki Young and Soo Myung visit her in the hospital. Joon Hee is there, tending to her every need, to the visitors’ comedic shock. They ask Joon Hee how come he’s doing it and he answers he’s used to taking care of his mother(who had been sick) this way. Bah, never mind that I (still) don’t like Hee Joo. He’s cute enough for the both of them.
The Scene Stealers’ leader whines about being boyfriendless and pathetic, so Soo Myung asks her to go to a show with him. She wonders if he really means it, just in time for the other two to invite themselves to the show as well. He tries to say there are only two tickets, but buying their own doesn’t seem to inconvenience them. Wow, and we thought Kyu Won and Bo Woon were a package deal. Poor Soo Myung, just you try getting some action with ALL of the Scene Stealers hovering over you. I don’t care how lonely it gets, I wouldn’t wish that on anyone(especially with the show ending and thus not getting to witness the hilarity).
Kyu Won is getting ready for her Gayageum competition, all prettied up in her hanbok, but her mind wanders to the enjoyment of being in the musical. Grandpa is watching her like a hawk but she excuses herself to go to the bathroom, and on her way there, she runs into Shin who has come to take her to the test. At first she doesn’t know how to react, but decides to go with him and calls her dad and grandpa to apologize. On their way out, she trips on her hanbok and falls down, along with Shin who had tried to help her. Shin lands pretty badly on his hand, injuring it. NOOO! Not Shin’s hand. God, the producers are evil. They know how to throw the punch in the exact spot where it would hurt the most. He brushes it off as nothing and says he is okay when Kyu Won asks, but he is obviously in a lot of pain. They get to the studio and as they start playing, everyone notices that something’s wrong with the way Shin is performing. Aaaah, this kills me. I know it’s the episode before-last conflict that is meant to create the final episode conflict and also to hopefully get resolved, but still, this is the one thing that could have shaken Shin to his foundation, threatening the very thing he identifies himself with. I hate that he has to go through this kind of pain. Gaaaah!
After the test the gang goes out to celebrate but Kyu Won says she’d rather change out of the hanbok before making further public appearances. She asks Shin if he’s sure he’s alright, especially since his hand looks swollen and he repeats that he is, except, he’s not. I’m not sure if it’s macho “I’m invulnerable” pride or him not wanting her to think it’s her fault(although she didn’t exactly take a baseball bat to his wrist), but it’s really annoying that he’s playing the “I’m okay” card. Then again, so has she, all episode(s) long, so I guess maybe it’s a couple thing?
Kyu Won gets home to find out that she doesn’t live there anymore. The punishment for skipping the competition and betraying the gayageum is, it seems, exclusion from the sanctuary. Kyu Won finds herself needing a place to stay, and her dad figures that no place is better than the home of his ol’ chum, Shin’s mom. Ooooh, I like where this is going. I like it lots! Shin’s mom welcomes her to her home but then excuses herself because of some engagements and leaves Kyu Won home alone. You know how I said I liked the situation? I’m actually loving it!
Shin comes home (after making a stop at a drug store to get a patch for the pain in his wrist, the same wrist that was, like, totally fine earlier) to find Kyu Won there. She greets him, all “honey, you’re home” – like and I’m so loving the domestic look of the scene.
Much like the shirt buying scene earlier, this is totally belonging to a new stage in the couple’s development, even if it is just coincidental, not unlike the shirt buying was. She sees the patch on his hand but he decides to say the elephant in the room is in fact not there and once again claims to be a-ok. She reluctantly lets it go and they proceed to cook, eat and bicker about ramen. Awh, I love me a good ramen eating scene. Scratch that, a good food-sharing scene. Unknowingly, I’ve been wanting for these two to have ramen together all show long. And no, ramen is not another word for kiss.
After the ramen, they both go to Shin’s room, and I rub my hands together in anticipation like a cartoon bear in front of a big jar of honey. She looks around his room and comments that it’s nice. Yes, it’s nice, now stop fussing around and just kiss already! He shows her his father’s record and she puts it next to his face saying they look alike. Yes, they do, now stop fussing around and just kiss already! He plays his father’s record for her and it’s a very touching moment for them both. He talks about how special the record is to him, how he had wanted to listen to it with her, his music and that of his dad. Then he gives her the record, and asks her to give it back to him when he will one day become a great guitarist. Forget rings and necklaces and all the other stuff usually given as promises of faith or whatever. This is better than anything. Because with this gesture it’s like he is giving her a huge part of who he is, as well as his hopes and dreams for the future and saying that he still wants her to be next to him when they get to the other side of what their dreams are now. And that just… *lip quivers*… just… OOOH! He’s going for the kiss! The atmosphere is perfect. They’ve had kisses before(ish), be it on the lips or the cheek or the forehead, but this, well, they are IN the moment. There’s palpable tension there. BUT it doesn’t happen because Shin’s sister walks in and ruins it. And that, in case you were wondering, Lee Jung Hyun, is why you were blacklisted.
Kyu Won runs off and Shin goes after her. They get to a park and sit down on a bench. Hey, maybe all is not lost after all, I mean, the night sky, a romantic setting… but no, unfortunately the moment is ruined. The do get to talk a little bit about Kyu Won and her plans for the future, gayageum vs. musicals, and she admits that she wants to give musicals a try now. Well, at least that’s a small consolation. The voyeur in me isn’t pleased by the lack of kissage, but I am glad Kyu Won finally admitted to herself that she does in fact wants to be in musicals.
The next day, the manager comes in with the verdict on the test. They decided to pass on the group, but they want Kyu Won to sign with them because they love her voice. Everyone is surprised by the decision, but they all end up being happy for Kyu Won. Shin and Kyu Won discuss how this might impact their future, seeing as it would mean her becoming very busy and traveling abroad, but he is totally supportive of her plans, which, let’s face it, is expected but rather swoon-worthy none the less, especially since she just got something he has been wanting as well.
All that’s left is convincing gramps that leaving the gayageum does not mean she is betraying him. Unexpectedly, all he asks is that she doesn’t do anything that would shame her grandfather and allows her to come home.
Shin finally decides that the pain in his wrist can’t be ignored and goes to see a doctor about it, and the doctor decides to run some tests.
Kyu Won shares the good news with Suk Hyun and Yoon Soo and they all make happy plans of future collaborations that will include Shin. They decide to go see Shin perform at Catharsis, just as Shin asks Joon Hee to perform without him that day. When he sees Kyu Won enter however, he changes his mind and gets on stage.
The band begins performing, but Shin has to stop because of intense pain in his wrist.
AAAAH! I hate what they are doing to Shin! Hate, hate, hate it! And I hate what this is doing to Kyu Won’s chances for the future. The situation is impossible, whichever way you look at it. If she is to stay true to everything that she’s been built up to be throughout the show, she isn’t going to take the offer to go after all, even if Shin does break up with her to get her to do it. In ways, I want that to be the case because I don’t want Shin to suffer through this alone, especially since he’s been so supportive to her all this time. In other ways, I don’t want Kyu Won to keep up this self-sacrificing streak because, well, she deserves to do what she wants and be happy instead of continually trying to accommodate other people’s wishes or needs. Having her wings cut off now that she’s just gotten them is too cruel. So maybe she’ll stay behind with Shin, star in the 101 Anniversary performance, get an offer again and THEN go and realize her dreams? Maybe? I hate you, PD-nim. Almost as much as I hate Shin’s sister. But more than anything, I hate that tomorrow is the last episode of the show.