It’s a one for the price of two kind of deal with this show, meaning that it makes more sense from a narrative viewpoint to watch two episodes at a time instead of watching them one by one. It’s a little sad that the structure of the episodes and the buildup to climactic points seems to have suffered because the footage that was filmed with a certain flow in mind was divided differently from what was first intended. So basically I have decided that instead of recapping the episodes one by one, I will recap them in pairs because as a viewer, it makes more sense to me that way.
When episode 2 ended, Mi Soo was about to give up golfing and John Lee wasn’t about to let her, so he challenged her to a match with Hae Ryung. The rules are simple, one club, one hole, as few tries as possible. Mi Soo uses her number 8, the only club she has left, while Hae Ryung uses a putter, which is a far less powerful but much more precise club. With this advantage, Mi Soo quickly takes the lead, but Hae Ryung puts on a rather awesome display of skill and eventually defeats her. John Lee asks her if she’s going to give up just like that, but she replies that he doesn’t know anything and runs off.
She goes to one of her regular training places and starts randomly sending off balls, just as her father and one of his friends were taking a break from work. When her father comes to ask her what’s wrong, she answers, teary eyed, that she doesn’t want to give up golfing. The next morning she wakes up to find a brand new set of clubs and a letter from his father, saying that he took a job on a ship and that while he may still not understand her desire to pursue golfing, especially considering the strain it puts on the family, he has decided to support her as best he can. I find the letter thing a little too melodramatic and somewhat unnecessary, I think a face to face goodbye would have been more honest and accurate in this situation, but hey, maybe they wanted to make it short and teary instead of long and angsty/teary, which I totally support.
Even though the separation (and the reason behind it) is painful, life quickly gets back on track, especially since it’s time for Mi Soo’s pro competition. Mi Soo and her mother take a shortcut to avoid traffic but end up with one of the tires of their truck stuck in the mud, forcing the mother to get out and try pushing the truck, while Mi Soo remains behind the wheel so as to not get mud on her competition outfit. Mi Soo looks as her mother gets splattered with mud stops the car but her mother urges her to keep on.
Contrastingly, Hae Ryung is holding a press conference talking about her reasons behind returning to Korea and about her new coach, John Lee.
Eventually, Mi Soo and her mother get to the competition, and the mother hilariously passes Mi Soo a lucky pair of underwear, guaranteed to get her to win first place. Now, the first thing I think about when I see them is that the skirt Mi Soo is wearing is way too short to be sporting that kind of underwear and get away with it, but apparently, there are ways. Mi Soo sees the press trailing John Lee and overhears them talking about his identity – she can’t believe her ears, hair guy is THE John Lee. Me, on the other hand, if I thought the dreads sort of worked with whatever he had been wearing so far, it’s pretty obvious that when he tries to wear PGA-appropriate clothing, they stand out even more, and not in a good way. I hope he gets rid of them soon, for the sake of all the hotness they are covering up. The hair, not the PGA clothes. Although…
Mi Soo and John Lee run into each other and he begins teasing her again, but Hae Ryung shows up, giving Mi Soo a chance to bail. However, Haw Ryung is quite intrigued by John Lee’s attitude towards Mi Soo and calls him on it. It’s obvious he’s interested in her, I’m just not sure which side of her yet, the golfer or the girl. Then again, the two are pretty much inseparable so things are about to get interesting.
The game has begun and Mi Soo is doing a great job, distancing herself as the only one to be considered competition for Hae Ryung. John Lee looks on, and her family and friends cheer from the resort lobby where they are watching the game.
After the game and the amazing result (Mi Soo and Hae Ryung are tied in the lead), it’s time for the victory celebration(which was offered by the people in her village), except Mi Soo is in no mood for partying, she has way too much on her mind. She runs off but is followed by loyal Jun Ki, to whom she confesses that it’s hard enough to play carrying her family’s expectations, but that the added pressure of having the villagers’ expectations riding on her as well is too much. That playing golf has become her family’s lifeline and that losing or giving up would be the same as dying. That night, her mother tries to encourage her, but she seems lost in her own thoughts and later dreams about being in an impossible game. She wakes up scared and looks at her mother, then snuggles next to her like a child looking for comfort.
The next day, the competition continues but Mi Soo is no longer in top shape. She seems anxious and acts recklessly, making a lot of mistakes. Before the days is over she is down several positions compared to yesterday, while Hae Ryung’s game seems to have gotten much better, living up to her status as a world class golfer. Pushed into extreme strategies in order to keep her position, Mi Soo risks a shot, but the ball lands in a group of trees. Instead of going back and wasting two shots, she decides to try getting the ball out, but whenever she tries a shot, the ball ricochets from the branches, coming right back to her. She’s trapped and she knows it, and not just within the game. She becomes obsessed with getting the ball out from between the trees, taking shot after useless shot and losing the game. John Lee checks up on her and then walks away, realizing she had lost (I never would have pegged you for the silent lurker type, Mr. Lee). Her mother told Mi Soo when she first began that golf is a game you play with yourself and have to win against yourself, and Hae Ryung repeated that to her the other day after their little match. Turns out that’s exactly who Mi Soo lost to, herself, and all the expectations and pressure she had riding on this game.
We move to Hong Kong where we are introduced to a new character, a Mr. Park who is set to return to Korea as a promoter, even though his assistant mentions that he never thought Mr. Park would ever be returning to Korea and is worried about the outcome. Apparently he also knows John Lee because he’s been keeping an eye on his movements. What’s your deal, Mr. Park?
Speaking of John Lee, he goes to visit Mi Soo’s former coach. The coach takes one look at him and his hair and tells him that he’d have to put in 3 or 4 months just to get started with golfing, but John Lee only smiles and asks about Mi Soo. The coach replies that it’s no wonder Mi Soo got eliminated from the contest if she’s been fooling around with men. Turns out Mi Soo hadn’t showed up for practice after the elimination and had been hiding out at her house. John Lee looks concerned and leaves, saying they’ll talk about the lessons later. The coach picks up his paper and browsing through, he sees John Lee’s picture with a headline deeming him the god of coaching or something equally impressive. Needless to say, the coach is impressed.
Hae Ryung’s mother is having a reception to celebrate her daughter’s victory and Mr. Park is there, as well as an overzealous journalist. When she tries to take a picture of him, his secretary stops her, saying Mr. Park doesn’t like showing up in newspapers – naturally, that is why he took a job as public as being a promoter… right?
Instead of going to the reception, John Lee shows up at Mi Soo’s family’s door bringing food offerings. Mi Soo still refuses to leave her room, but the smell of frying meat draws her out. John Lee teases Mi Soo some, but it’s obvious he had worried about her and she’s grateful. All this time, Hae Ryung is on the field arranging golf balls into a heart shape and thinking about John and how they had first met. Awh. Everyone falls asleep next to the dinner table, as if they had had the same brand of Soju as what John Lee had in the first episode and had developed his same intolerance to alcohol, except for John Lee himself (who is smart enough not to touch the stuff anymore?) and Mi Soo’s mom (who has more endurance?). Either way, Mi Soo’s mom talks about understanding Mi Soo’s feelings, that she had a lot on her mind the day of the competition and that she feels guilty for losing, and John Lee replies that he can tell she is very gifted, so the mother asks him to help Mi Soo train and he agrees.
After learning that caddies get to use the golf course to practice for free, Mi Soo is flirting with the idea of becoming a caddy. The only problem is that when she goes to look into it, she meets Hae Ryung, who teases her about how she can tell she hasn’t practiced for a whole week, which puts Mi Soo off the whole caddying business, at least for the moment. Elsewhere, John Lee shares his plan of grooming a new golf talent with a friend and mentions something about needing the help of his old teacher, whose forgiveness he must seek.
Mi Soo’s mother gives her some sweet potatoes to bring John Lee, in gratitude for accepting to help with her training, but when Mi Soo gets to his trailer, he sees him and Hae Ryung looking very chummy and turns to leave. Hae Ryung, who was also leaving after hearing that he had been over at Mi Soo’s house the day of her party sees Mi Soo heading home from the same direction and realizes she had come to see him.
The next day, Mi Soo goes in to enlist as a caddy but once again runs into John Lee. She tries to avoid him but he notices her and asks her to have noodles with him. She refuses and tells him to mind his own business when he asks her if she started practice, but because he mentioned them, she gets the urge to have some noodles and goes to get some. Incidentally, it’s the same place he had wanted to go and they run into each other again. He sits down next to her and grabs her phone to give her his number, asking her to call him so he can give her some tips (that’s what they call it these days). She gets annoyed and asks him if he likes her since he always seems to be following her around. He pauses and smiles and then he asks her why she hates him so much, making it her turn to be on the spot.
Ahhh, finally an episode that ends at the appropriate time. And it only took us four episodes to get here. Incidentally, that adds up to three hours, which means this episode’s ending was designed as such from the beginning, when the show was meant to have 60+ minutes installments.
To be fair, I wasn’t as great a fan of these two episodes as I was of the first two. I mean sure, they were necessary to establish a few things, and they did their job in establishing them but still, it feels like they lacked a certain bit of punch that the previous episodes had. Hot Rasta Guy’s performance was a liiitle bit on the awkward side in some scenes and that didn’t help. It’s like he doesn’t know what to do with himself in certain situations and that shows, but then again, I think things have time to improve in this respect and I dare say, having also watched episodes 5 and 6 as I am typing this, they will. Also – and this isn’t really a spoiler because it’s shown in the preview – he cuts his hair! So HRG becomes HG, which I am more than happy with.
I’m admittedly confused about the OTP deal. I wouldn’t be(because so far it’s really obvious, at least to me) had I not read somewhere that the OTP is supposed to be John Lee and Hae Ryung – but I’m not sure if that information is correct because the strongest OTP vibes I am getting are from the Mi Soo-John Lee pairing. I know the show isn’t about romance so much as about personal growth and overcoming obstacles and becoming a champion, but they are obviously playing the romantic angle so I’m curious about who will end up with whom. I’m rooting for Mi Soo and John Lee, obviously, not just because it works within the story but because the chemistry between the two actors is SO much better than whatever John Lee and Hae Ryung are sharing. Story-wise, I could totally see it going the other way as well, considering the friendship and history, not to mention likeness John Lee and Hae Ryung are sharing (both growing up more or less alone, both solitary by nature, both champions in their own right), I’d just be sorry if it went in that direction because of the aforementioned lack of chemistry.