Liar and His Lover 12
- So-Rim gets another live performance
- Our OTP stays strong
- CEO Choi pulls a low blow
- Everyone returns to their “proper places”
~ ~ ~
Han-Kyeol asks Chan-Young to butt out, and Chan-Young stands up, asking why he can’t get in the way like Han-Kyeol does to him (…because that’s girlfriend stealing, not just another issue with work?)
They don’t come to blows though (fight! Fight!) since So-Rim herself has woken up and joined the conversation. And now it’s a party in the hallway, with Soo-Yeon in the mix and both boys offering to stay the night at the hospital. Soo-Yeon is the best unnie, and sends them firmly on their way. They look at each other, and I can’t help thinking they both look a bit pitiful walking away together like that.
So-Rim is now the hot topic of conversation, it seems, and Choi talks over the situation with Yoo-Na. She knows So-Rim is dating Han-Kyeol, and CEO Choi reiterates he thinks separating the couple is still best for now. Yoo-Na just nods and takes another sip of coffee.
The next morning at the hospital, So-Rim awakes to find her grandmother gone: she had awoken feeling better and told Soo-Yeon to let So-Rim rest. Soo-Yeon has gifts, too—from Han-Kyeol. He’d returned after being ousted from the hospital to drop off all sorts of snacks, remembering from a previous conversation they’d had that she got hungry between meals There’s cookies and side dishes and I love our hero. That looks so good.
Everyone helps grandma leave, Jin-Woo offering to piggyback her if needed (it is odd she’s not in a wheelchair. Is that not standard procedure outside America?)
Soo-Yeon sends out the news, calling CEO Choi and texting Han-Kyeol and Chan-Young. The latter gets it during his practice with Crude Play, and the band shows concern for So-Rim and her family as well. Pretty soon Han-Kyeol shows up—late for the practice—and Chan-Young belittles him for it, adding in a few barbs about his work ethic and personal character, too.
This fight has been long in the making, and though Crude Play does their best to clear the air—and Han-Kyeol attempts to at least make it private—Chan-Young is bent on having it out in public. He heads for the area that’s sure to get a reaction: So-Rim.
“Is it because you’d hate for these hyungs to hear? The matter that you’re meeting (dating) So-Rim?”
Han-Kyeol makes a beeline straight for Chan-Young, telling him he’d better be careful now. But Chan-Young just wants to get a rise out of our hero, and starts questioning Han-Kyeol’s good intentions when it came to So-Rim. I’d want to punch Chan-Young at that point too, and it takes the rest of the band to keep things below a boil.
In-Ho chases after Chan-Young to find out what’s bugging him, but I think the mention of Han-Kyeol just sets Chan-Young off again, and he brushes off the drummer’s concern: Crude Play ever only wants Han-Kyeol’s side of things, so never mind. In-Ho refutes Chan-Young is still a member of the band, just as important ever since he joined, but Chan-Young smirks bitterly.
We flashback to the moment Chan-Young joined the band, seeing firsthand how upset they’d been a perceived intruder was taking Han-Kyeol’s place. Shi-Hyun had said a few angry, hurt words and those brooding glares from the band sure didn’t help, either. He pulls away from In-Ho and leaves.
Back in the practice room, Han-Kyeol finally admits to the band he’s dating So-Rim. They figure Chan-Young’s just nervous since Mush & Co. is his band now, and dating is hazardous. In-Ho gets a further piece to the puzzle right when he mentions all the pressure CEO Choi is giving him over it, but Yoon’s got the nail on the head with his speculation Chan-Young likes So-Rim. None of them put it all together, that Chan-Young’s feeling misused and displaced in general.
Later that day, Han-Kyeol arrives at the restaurant to see President Yoo dropping his father off… and looking awfully flirty doing so. I hate to admit it, but they’re kinda cute. Han-Kyeol heads into the restaurant after Yoo leaves, but can’t quite bring himself to ask if there’s anything going on between him and a certain woman.
Aaaah In-Woo is so cute!! His lyrics are probably complete adlib, and end up involving too many “I love you’s” for Han-Kyeol’s comfort. He leaves, and In-Woo keeps jamming hilariously about his son (I love them).
Back at Mush & Co.’s new dorms, the boys have to beg Soo-Yeon for use of their phones. She gives them a hard time about it, but eventually gives in. She knows So-Rim has a man, but gives her cellphone privileges too—adding that she’s probably going to bed early so just put it in front of her door when she’s done talking to grandma *wink, wink*. Unnie’s got our girl’s back, yes!
So-Rim makes sure to call her grandma first thing, though, but call ends quickly and So-Rim has plenty of time left to call Han-Kyeol. He’s at home, worried about Chan-Young and his dad and President Yoo when he receives the call, but jumps at the call to talk with So-Rim. He’s worried for her and her grandma, but So-Rim needs encouragement more: she’s anxious for her performance on the “Music Sketchbook” show they’ve had in the works (the one with Yoo-Na and Crude Play, too).
Han-Kyeol calms her fears immediately: he’s certain she’ll do well, and she promised to only listen to him, right? So-Rim’s ready for bed but she doesn’t want to hang up, aww. So they end up chatting, lol, until 1 AM. We know this because Jin-Woo’s still up from gaming and tries to call her… but the phone’s busy and she only just turned off her light.
Han-Kyeol’s busy recounting a story from his high school days and notices eventually she’s fallen asleep… but he doesn’t hang up either and the call goes all through the night, hee! So-Rim notices this when she wakes up and they asks if he’s still there—he jerks awake and affirms yeah, he’s there. He didn’t hang up in case she had a nightmare, so he could help via phone. That’s so sweet! She smiles at her phone and collapses back against her pillows, on cloud nine.
Later that morning at the company, Gyoo-Sun tries to help a brothah out and gives Jin-Woo the opportunity to carry So-Rim’s stuff—to help him look more like a good romantic prospect. They only end up fighting over who gets to carry her instrument, and his later attempts to look manly fail too. Or rather, they succeed only in tipping off Soo-Yeon and earning a few laughs.
Also at work, Yoo-Na is working out her performance for the “Music Sketchbook” show with Han-Kyeol and a few others—but our hero is easily distracted, staring at So-Rim as she passes. Yoo-Na has to call him back to attention, and we transition.
Even president Yoo is busy, it seems, but she takes a few moments to stop and listen through the window to So-Rim’s performance.
She sets up a lunch meeting with Han-Kyeol, and he arrives ready to talk business—but President Yoo wants to talk around things, and when she won’t reveal who the last guest at the meeting is Han-Kyeol assumes it’s his father. Lol I hope you’re not thinking things are too serious between them. Lol he totally does, and when CEO Yoo mentions musical independence he jumps back with: I have no plans of living with my parents. At all.
President Yoo is understandably confused, but the “boring” talk is shelved quickly when the last guest arrives: So-Rim.
We transition for a moment, however, to CEO Choi and Crude Play, finalizing their performance plans for Music Sketchbook. In an important reveal, it seems it’s only the original three who have to hand-sync their performances normally—Chan-Young always goes live. That’s so sad!
CEO Choi doesn’t even want Chan-Young to practice with the band, since it’ll probably be “uninteresting” for him, but Chan-Young is quick to correct this after CEO leaves. Aww, it looks like they have bonded, at least a bit.
Back at our OTP’s lunch date, President Yoo makes a special offer: President Yoo has a group called Mayvey, and thinks So-Rim would work well collaborating with them. Han-Kyeol would compose the song, of course. So-Rim is understandably hesitant and wants to talk it over with her band first—but President Yoo doesn’t see any reason why they need to be involved. She’ll have to make a decision between them and [musical success] someday anyway. Han-Kyeol knows all about that, right? Don’t talk like you know why left Crude Play, woman.
So-Rim talks it over with Han-Kyeol on the roof later, and decides she’d rather stay with Mush & Co. for the time being. Han-Kyeol is nothing but supportive, but So-Rim has another question: what did she mean earlier, about a choice she’d have to make?
No, Han-Kyeol don’t lie! But I’m almost glad too, since I don’t know what it would do to her knowing that she’s the only one the industry is interested in. He passes it off as a decision between him and Chan-Young, who’s music she’ll sing. So-Rim surprises Han-Kyeol, saying that’ll be a tough choice:
“Really? That’ll be a hard decision.”
“What? Are you torn about this? I’m waiting for the day I can write you a song, and you’re conflicted?”
“That’s why I’m conflicted—because the song you write will be a song made just for me, right?”
“It won’t be for Mush and Co. That’s why I need you to wait for me a bit.”
They smile at each other and we leave them to be adorable on the rooftop. Alone later in his house, though, Han-Kyeol has a serious face and gives CEO Choi a call.
He must have explained everything that happened over lunch, because now CEO Choi storms into Yoo’s office, demanding to know why she offered to essentially produce for So-Rim. President Yoo thinks her fast dealing is nothing compared to how quickly Choi had them debut, and further wonders if his label is even fit then to manage a top group like Crude Play. Choi is quick to remind her he has full control of the sub-company, but President Yoo has another thought: he might have control now, but what about when her father retires? If she takes over the company, unnecessary labels will be consolidated. She’s not saying she’ll get rid of Choi completely, just that he needs a beating or two, so she’ll know she has “control”. Oh boy.
Choi leaves furious, her final words ringing in his ears that he needs to prove Sole Music has value—not to her father, but to her. Cue dramatic, dangerous U-Turn (lol, kdramas).
He arrives at Han-Kyeol’s house with a new plan: how about he gives Han-Kyeol what he wanted, another chance to write for Mush & Co. But Han-Kyeol knows how So-Rim feels about that now: she wants his songs to be just for her, and turns down the offer. CEO Choi misunderstands this in the worst way and assumes it’s the other boys in the band—that they’re not up to snuff for Han-Kyeol’s tastes—and needs a quick correction from our hero to bring him back.
Choi just leaves with a final cryptic warning: Han-Kyeol mustn’t be played into Yoo’s hands, like In-Woo was. Oooh are we going to get more information on that?
I hope so, since Han-Kyeol heads immediately to the restaurant to confront his dad (Cutely confront! Cutely!) Han-Kyeol knows In-Woo’s received an album offer now, and wants to know if In-Woo trusts her. That’s an “eh, yeah probably” from his dad and Han-Kyeol gets his dander up, confused that his father would do such a thing. Is it because they’re dating? Is that why he didn’t want Choi to make everything about the music Yoo-Seok stole public?
In-Woo clears up the dating issue first: they’re not (but you will be, right? Heh), and she’s not the reason he turned Choi down. That was because revealing it now would only hurt people, not help. Han-Kyeol’s adamant however that his hurt is more important, however: that when his favorite song, the special song that his dad made was stolen he was hurt. Why can’t In-Woo just reclaim it, and why can’t he just be the father Han-Kyeol wants? Ouch. I wouldn’t put it past Choi to have predicted all this, and told Han-Kyeol in hopes to tip In-Woo over the edge.
Speak of the devil, the man himself is in his car later, scheming up a new plan for Mush & Co. A new song. Tell me you’re not gonna… but it is. At the test practice later So-Rim recognizes the tune as Han-Kyeol’s. Thankfully Soo-Yeon makes it clear this is CEO Choi’s doing, nobody else’s, and they get to work.
Aaaaah I wanna cry! Chan-Young is hard at work himself on So-Rim’s second song, unaware that spot’s already been stolen. I love the tune he’s rolling out, even if he seems frustrated and disheartened.
At the practice, it’s obvious So-Rim is the only one who can handle Han-Kyeol’s song without practice. CEO Choi makes the big reveal then—this is their song for Music Sketchbook, along with Shiny Boy (really, you’re gonna let them perform two?)
So-Rim wants to know if it’s ok they’re making the change without Chan-Young or Han-Kyeol’s permission, but Choi steamrolls right over any protests, and adds that nobody needs to worry since So-Rim will be the only one performing live. I hate you, CEO Choi. Worse, he makes it seem totally normal for a performance, just another part of the lying she needs to learn… just like Crude Play, except for Chan-Young. Well, that sucked out all of the band’s spirit.
So-Rim stares at the pictures of Crude Play later, and the boys ask if Han-Kyeol ever said anything about Crude Play not playing for themselves. She can’t ask him now since she doesn’t get cell phone privileges, but So-Rim wonders if that’s a good thing. Jin-Woo wants to know if Crude Play feels guilty at all for deceiving the public like this… but Gyoo-Sun has it right, CEO Choi’s the one really behind it. Jin-Woo worries this means it’ll keep happening to them, too, and I worry he’s right.
CEO Choi may not be entirely conscienceless, though, and seems troubled during a conversation with Yoo-Na later in his office. Yoo-Na wants him to feel comfortable with her, looking almost like she’s ready to kiss and make up with him… but CEO Choi just snaps at her to not stress him out any more and she leaves coolly, back straight and strong.
In the lobby she runs into Han-Kyeol and offers to give him a ride, but he refuses. She guesses it’s because of So-Rim since heh, he’s not so good at hiding his love life. She wonders if he was always this sweet to girls, but Han-Kyeol replies it was So-Rim who changed him, breaking through the layers of protection he’d built with his music and making him feel again. He makes a quick exit then, content to take a cab if it means helping So-Rim feel at ease.
Soo-Yeon is also around that night, fingering an electronic of some sort. Shi-Hyun scares the living daylights out of her when he shows up to chat (so cute!!), and she reveals she’s always been a fan of their band… all the way since High School. The electronic has all the “Real Crude Play” videos on it, and while the videos weren’t so polished she still liked them—they sounded like they had fun playing.
She gives the storage unit to him, and Shi-Hyun sits down later to re-watch old times, pulling up a video and leaving to get a drink. Uh-oh. Chan-Young finds the recording open on his computer and watches it, fond smile quickly fading when he realizes “Real Crude Play” had no trace of Chan-Young the bassist.
Han-Kyeol meanwhile is still hard at work on a new song, but the way he looks at his poster of K makes me wonder if he’s rethinking his place in the industry.
It’s go time before we know it, and while Mush & Co. Rehearses in the background we learn CEO Choi did pull a fast one: the only song So-Rim will be singing that day is Han-Kyeol’s.
Chan-Young is sitting moody in the car, wondering if Han-Kyeol will be at the performance. He looks thiiiis close to tears, and my heart hurts for him right now.
Mush & Co. isn’t happy with the change, wondering why they aren’t singing Chan-Young’s “Shiny Boy” if they only get the one song. When Crude Play arrives So-Rim tries to see if Chan-Young is ok with all this, but the poor boy still has no idea and So-Rim can only assume he’s fine.
Han-Kyeol arrives in a rush, looking for So-Rim, and Yoo-Na directs him towards the waiting room. She’s coming along, but only because CEO Choi will be there too.
So-Rim is happy to see her boyfriend again finally (Jin-Woo is less so) but she doesn’t get a chance to ask him about the song switchup—or the handsyncing—before CEO Choi arrives. Yoo-Na talks for a bit with So-Rim too, and I think she’s actually genuine in her encouragement, and that she’s “the only one singing Han-Kyeol’s song”. Well, she’s wrong there.
President Yoo arrives in the backroom as the show starts, and So-Rim preps with her band in the wings. Han-Kyeol and Chan-Young stand on a balcony to watch her perform, Han-Kyeol pointing out it’s not just Chan-Young’s band down there… Chan-Young gives it a new meaning, saying that’s right: everyone wants Han-Kyeol (to manage their band) after all.
Mush & Co. takes the stage, introduced as Chan-Young’s production… with a new song, “Waiting For You”. As the music starts the two men look at each other, and Han-Kyeol frantically protests he had no knowledge of this. Chan-Young storms from the balcony, and Yoo-Na looks concerned from the wings. The audience loves it, though.
In the backroom, CEO Choi makes like Han-Kyeol was a part of his entire plan, adding that Han-Kyeol will take care of Mush & Co. from now on. Onstage, Mush & Co. looks rather lifeless performing: the boys seem miserable hand syncing, and I know this isn’t how So-Rim wanted to first sing Han-Kyeol’s song.
CEO Choi is nevertheless certain it’ll top the charts, and responds just as egotistically when Chan-Young storms in demanding answers. It devolves into shouting, and that’s when CEO Choi cuts Chan-Young to the quick: Chan-Young is a bassist, that’s the only way he’ll ever be best Han-Kyeol, and he should know his place in the industry. I really don’t like the way he’s pushing at Chan-Young now, physically.
Chan-Young looks—and sounds—soulless now: “Where do I belong? Where is my place? Have I ever belonged somewhere?”
Crude Play looks away, ashamed, but run after their friend quickly when he walks out. Han-Kyeol spares only a moment to look disbelievingly at Choi before he leaves, too. I’m upset it’s President Yoo, but I’m glad someone at least gives CEO Choi a scalding word or two. He’s left practically alone in the backroom, and So-Rim finishes her song.
Crude Play finally catches up to Chan-Young, but he asks to be left alone. He’ll be around here for the performance, so don’t worry about him. Han-Kyeol chases after his rival alone and tries to fix this: he didn’t know what Choi had planned, he promises, but Chan-Young wants to know if that’ll help the real problem: he’s just a stand in, really, and no amount of musical talent will make up for the fact the extra fan videos for Real Crude Play (Soo-Yeon’s) featured Han-Kyeol as a bassist. Not him. It’s Han-Kyeol Crude Play needs, and Chan-Yong lists off his hyungs’ names with a longing and sadness that reaches deeper than any bitterness he’s shown before.
He leaves Han-Kyeol speechless, and we transition to Mush & Co… who returned to the backroom for a lackluster “good job” from everyone there. So-Rim’s first text upon receiving her cellphone is to Chan-Young, checking if he’s ok; when Han-Kyeol enters the room hers and everyone’s attention shifts, however, and he’s pulled in a quickly from the room to check Yoo-Na’s performance. Unfortunately, this means he misses the next disaster: Chan-Young’s nowhere to be found, and neither is the car key.
Above Yoo-Na’s performance, So-Rim looks at Han-Kyeol from across the room, still feeling a insecure when faced with the practiced performer–and ex girlfriend’s–deliverance of Han-Kyeol’s song. She rushes out when Chan-Young calls her, and so does Han-Kyeol, when he gets a text saying Chan-Young can’t be found.
It’s really go time now, and while So-Rim runs to find Chan-Young President Yoo offers a “brilliant” solution to the problem: rather than looking for Chan-Young, why not just have Han-Kyeol do it? The reveal of K’s identity will more than cover for the panic.
And so that’s what they do. Han-Kyeol straps on his instrument, blaming Choi for the mess before walking onstage with his friends. They’re announced with the change—K is today’s bassist—and Han-Kyeol shares a look with each of the members before plugging in and turning around. This is what they’ve wanted for years, but so far from how they’d pictured it.
In the halls, So-Rim finds Chan-Young in the halls, looking so at peace I almost believe this will all be ok. He knows Han-Kyeol is probably onstage right now and says that’s as it should be, but a quick transition shows us a face so sad…
As the song starts So-Rim looks conflicted too, like she wants to watch Han-Kyeol perform… but Chan-Young wraps her up in a hug. Ok, that’s too far. He asks if she can’t just choose him, and pulls her just a bit closer. As the music rolls, we scene.
Until next week!
What an episode. I really, really loved that, to be honest. Of course things seem a little bleak with our OTP and second lead’s positions seemingly reversed for the moment, but I have faith this incident will only pave the way for our finale.
Some Quick Thoughts:
- I think Yoo-Na has really started moving on from Han-Kyeol now. She’s still desperate to talk with him, but I think that’s an effort to save their friendship more than anything else. She seems to genuinely support So-Rim now, and I hope she can become a real unnie for our heroine—although that will take time.
- With how happy So-Rim is every time she talks with Han-Kyeol, I wonder what her love language is. I’d bet it’s words of affirmation, since her promise with Han-Kyeol has meant so much to her. That’s a hard way to feel love, especially when everyone around her is now so adamant she needs to learn how to lie.
- Yoo-Na, that skirt is a crime against fashion.
- Han-Kyeol has had to grow up fast—that much has been evident throughout the series as we’ve glimpsed at his broken family and young introduction to the industry. But I’ve always wondered if that gets too often equated with “handling things calmly”, for anyone who grows up fast. It’s interesting to watch him suppress himself so often, especially since it can hurt just as often as it helps. What he said to Yoo-Na was definitely true: So-Rim has gotten him processing things closer to the surface again, whether it’s love or hurt or anything else.
- Speaking of our OTP, I love how in sync they are. How much they support each other. It was a mistake for Yoo to try and talk to them together, since after their initial angst they always have each other’s backs.
- Chan-Yoooung, what am I going to do with you??? As a musician I sympathize with his so much, and I want nothing more than to ensure he never has to look sad again (he was so sad, seriously!) But then he tries to carry that sympathy from his work life into an unrelated personal area: So-Rim. And that’s not only not fair to Han-Kyeol, it’s also not fair to So-Rim, who deserves better than a man who wants her attention partially because he thinks she’ll become his place to fit in.
A Longer Thought:
The worst (and by that I mean best) thing about this show is there’s never just a single motivation for anything. Take Han-Kyeol’s first exit from Crude Play, for example: his integrity wouldn’t let him continue like that, sure, but it was CEO’s ultimatum (Chan-Young or no Crude Play at all) that pushed him over the edge. Or So-Rim’s decision to reject President Yoo’s offer: of course she wanted to show good faith to her bandmates, but there’s also a vested personal interest in having Han-Kyeol’s song really be just for her. It’s rare that you find such detailed character writing in a drama, and I appreciate the writer’s efforts to make every line, every moment count. And, I think it plays well with our themes for the series.
Perceptions work because there’s always a grain of the truth in them, it’s like looking at looking at one piece of a puzzle and getting to imagine the whole picture yourself. This show has mastered giving every plot point, every emotional change, multiple “puzzle pieces”. It’s been interesting to watch each member of our ensemble interact with limited context of the situation: would In-Woo be so friendly towards President Yoo if he knew how she treated Choi? And what would So-Rim think of Choi if she really knew how he ran his label? It’s unreasonable to expect that everyone be brief to every action the rest of the group takes, but I’m more interested in the fact no one side of these people is a complete lie: I wouldn’t even call this a case of putting on a false front for others. They emphasize different parts of their personality and try to appeal to their opposites good side—or vice versa, but their desires are so varied everyone has at least a little bit of real investment in the way they’ve acted, whether they’re playing by themselves for “Real Crude Play” or trying at the same time to build a relationship with their ostracized bassist.
Of course there are still problems, but I think they have less to do with someone being two faced and more to do with suppressing real emotion, like Han-Kyeol and Chan-Young have done for so long. They’re great foils for each other, sharing so many of the same problems (from insecurity in their abilities to strained work relationships to CEO Choi), but choosing vastly different routes to resolve things. And then there’s CEO Choi, who leaves the soul out entirely and uses his single puzzle pieces to mold a perfect world for his perceptions. To him, people are skills meant to be crafted: So-Rim is a voice, Chan-Young is a bass, Han-Kyeol is a composer. To suggest that maybe there’s more to a person’s investment in music than their talent is to him a silly idea.
But this show has been hinting for a while that while image is important, and playing to the audience is a big part of music, it can’t be the reason for playing. While watching Entertainer I had decided music was a way to connect with others, but I wonder if it’s less selfless than that. I wonder if music isn’t just a way to share what you love, and hope you find others who like it as much as you do. Yes, that means putting your best foot forward and playing to what you know of your audience. But that doesn’t mean you’re doing it for them, and I’d never force yourself into doing something I don’t want to do—and I’m afraid that while everything seems to have been “put in it’s proper place” with Han-Kyeol’s appearance as K, everyone’s going to realize they don’t fit perfectly anywhere when they haven’t chosen it for themselves as well.