Liar and His Lover: Episode 15
- Cozybooks makes a list
- In-Ho gets discharged
- Crude Play comes clean
~ ~ ~
We pick up right where we left off, Han-Kyeol wiping his eyes hastily as So-Rim enters the room… and then promptly breaking down in her arms. Oh, my heart is slooowly tearing itself apart in the best way for this man right now. He’s positive the weight of the world rests entirely on his shoulders, and that if hadn’t been there to lead Crude Play into this mess none of this would have happened. So-Rim holds him as he clutches her and cries.
In-Ho meanwhile is still processing things at the hospital, and when his mother hands him a glass of juice he spills it, giving his mother an excuse to hold his hand while she cleans up. She studies the healing wounds on his hands, while we get a glimpse into In-Ho’s head: he’s recalling how Han-Kyeol had left him, with a promise not to tell anyone what In-Ho had considered… and a firm testimony he’d never forget today, though, either. It’s not the sort of thing you just forget, and Han-Kyeol had asked him to promise never consider something like that again—Crude Play aren’t the only ones who love him, after all.
Back in the present, In-Ho looks at his mom tenderly, apologizing for her without any context. He starts crying again, and she runs her hand through his hair once, holding him close.
Back to our OTP, though. A bit calmer, Han-Kyeol tries to EXPLAIN he’s not a bad, low class guy, and he really did want to do well for everyone he cared about… but it still didn’t work out. He lists off his friends names: Yoon-I, Shi-hyun-I… he starts crying again as he says In-Ho’s name and So-Rim hugs him close again while he finishes “even up to Chan-Young.” He feels he’s wronged everyone, but more ironically that he still has to do more to fix it now—but how can he do well when he was the one who did wrong? Well, that’s a fallacy of the devil if ever I heard one.
So-Rim wipes his tears, looking him straight in the eyes as she replies that over course he will, and she’s always on his side. Still “don’t say those sorts of words again,” she stipulates. “That things would have been fine (better) without you. I absolutely cannot be without you—so don’t ever say that again, understand?”
Yes, Han-Kyeol understands. He agrees, still emotional, and they draw close again in a hug.
Chan-Young is having a much less eventful night, although still emotional in a different way. He’s still mulling over Choi’s request for Chan-Young to return as a producer for Mush & Co., torn between his mistrust of the man and his love for the band. Shi-Hyun interrupts his pensive mood to call a powwow with what they have of Crude Play. The topic: the forgotten press conference.
It turns out President Yoo has not forgotten the conference, and has put it back on the slate for the band. Moreover, if Yoo gets her way then she’ll be managing the band directly. They wonder about it all, but agree not to tell In-Ho until he’s well enough to be discharged. Good choice? The poor man has enough on his plate for the moment.
Also pulling a late night, Choi is headed out of Sole music when a security guard runs up—oh noes, he wants to inform the CEO that Han-Kyeol looked over some CCTV footage. Choi looks over the exact scenes himself, wondering what could have made Han-Kyeol race out like that.
Han-Kyeol is back at home now, battling his doubts as he pulls open his music file for the band. He recalls every step of their journey, from a school band to his dad’s players to a real gig in a recording studio… and we end with a focus on the end result, the masked poster of K behind him on the wall.
The next day at the studio, Choi tries his darndest to get some more information about why Han-Kyeol was reviewing footage from In-Ho’s accident… but Han-Kyeol worms his way out of it and escapes, a bit awkwardly. Soon after he calls So-Rim out to the rooftop, and she leaves her last-night-in-residence party planning to meet up with her boyfriend instead. Hehe, they’re so adorable (Jin-Woo and Gyoo-Sun, too!)
Oh, I can’t even watch these two. They’re too cute. On the rooftop, So-Rim and Han-Kyeol grin ecstatically at each other while the chat, hands tangled together. They get closer, and closer and closer and Han-Kyeol’s totally angling in for a kiss, but they end up giggling like a couple of kids instead. So-Rim invites him over to her band’s party that night, and Han-Kyeol agrees… and then steals his kiss anyway when he fakes Soo-Yeon has found their secret rendezvous. I just can’t even with you two. Can I be you someday?
Down below in the company, Chan-Young an Shi-Hyun walk through the halls and talk over the recent turbulence in their management, until Soo-Yeon runs up and zeroes in on… Chan-Young? Asking him all sorts of questions, how has he been, is he busy today? Doesn’t she like Shi-hyun though?
Lol Shi-Hyun sidles up beside her and throws an arm around her shoulders, stating he’s free today, hee. She tries to put some distance between them “we’re at the company!” but Shi-Hyun’s not falling for that: “What, is the staff lounge not a part of this building then?” O-ho. These two give me all kinds of butterflies, and Chan-Young’s takes the hint to give them some alone time. Keke. Soo-Yeon stops him quickly before he goes to deliver her original message: is he not really going to be involved with Mush & Co. anymore?
He asks where they are and goes to see the boys, apologizing for leaving them in the lurch, and again for not producing them properly. But Gyoo-Sun isn’t even certain Chan-Young still manages them… or that there will be a Mush and Co. to manage, in the future. They reveal they know the company just wants So-Rim, and while even Chan-Young admits she was the one who first drew him in, he states he’s different: he only wants to produce for bands, since he likes the way they make music. He makes to leave and Gyoo-Sun asks if he’s not going to see So-Rim first, and Chan-Young just agrees… awkwardly… and leaves.
Right outside, though, he nearly runs into the lovebirds on their way back, and rushes to stand out of their way, looking a bit put out… but on the mend from heartbreak, I think. ‘
CEO Choi’s on his way to heartbreak, in another depressing meeting with Choi. They go over the plan to “clean up Sole music”, which naturally involves firing him. President Yoo is willing to hire him at WHO entertainment, but somehow I don’t think he’s going to make this as easy as he’s acting.
In the car on the way home, Soo-Yeon agrees to buy whatever the kids want for their party that night… which now has a plus two of invited guests, although Jin-Woo won’t tell who his is (so So-Rim won’t say either). Come now, we all know already, just say it!
That night, however, they both get texts from their respective guests (Han-Kyeol and Chan-Young) stating they’ll arrive late—they both just got called up to talk with CEO Choi, urgently. Oh-ho, what now?
Chan-Young and Han-Kyeol give each other the side eye as they start their little meeting, unable to ignore the fact nothing but trouble emerges when the three of them meet together. But Choi just wants to give them the news: Sole and WHO entertainment will be merging (more like a takeover), and the two producers need to take a step back and evaluate their plans for their artists. Chan-Young in particular needs to decide if he’ll continue producing for Mush and Co. or not.
The two part outside of the building, neither quite stating what their plans for the night are… only to meet again at Mush & Co.’s dorms, bearing the exact same cake as a gift. Lol this show is so good at PPL, it makes me happy. They make wishes over the cake and settle in for a happy night, setting out for a stroll after dinner.
Han-Kyeol and Chan-Young lag behind the others as they walk, joking at first that Han-Kyeol just has to show up around the band Chan-Young’s producing… and Han-Kyeol asks if he’s decided. Will he stick with our trio? Perhaps as a surprise to Chan-Young, Han-Kyeol hopes he does: while Chan-Young might e down on his own ability, Han-Kyeol can tell his songs make the singers happy… and what’s more it’s clear they’re written for a whole band, something Han-Kyeol’s weak in.
“Do you know what So-Rim said to me? She told me my song was written just for her. Since it’s not for Mush & Co. she can’t sing it right now. I can understand how she feels. I feel that way too. I have a band instead of one person that I want to write a song for. I wasn’t able to do it properly until now, but I intend on trying.”
Chan-Young: “Go ahead. Definitely.”
So-Rim turns around suddenly and snaps a photo of the two, proclaiming she’s been wanting one like this for a while… and suddenly all attention is on the boys as everyone wonders when the two got so close. Chan-Young takes off to sling an arm around So-Rim, which Han-Kyeol doesn’t like: “But I’m her producer?” “Yeah, well I’m her boyfriend!” Ahahaha this makes for such a pretty picture.
Chan-Young returns home after the festivities end to study his work on Mush & Co.’s next song, hearing the band’s—and Han-Kyeol’s—words in his head as he sits down to start working on it one more time. The next morning, he meets with CEO Choi. Does this mean you’re doing it? You’re doing it! He tells CEO Choi he’ll produce for the band so long as they keep all the members.
Choi is pleased, and Chan-Young asks when he suddenly started caring about his singers more than the money their songs made. CEO Choi doesn’t really answer, just that letting go has given him some perspective, and take care of the kids please.
Chan-Young does so on the rooftop later—with a trademark dead-pan he keeps Mush & Co. on tenderhooks until the last second whether he’ll produce their second song or not. But the trio is ecstatic when they find out, and I like Chan-Young’s brilliant smile. Reminiscent of his promise to So-Rim, he swears he’ll put them before anything else in his life, “no matter what happens, [he’ll] never leave them alone.”
Lol the boys recognize it for what it is: a cheesy, nearly proposal-like line, and then leave So-Rim and Chan-Young for a minute to get celebratory coffee. So-Rim ends up overlooking the city like she does, and sings softly to herself. It’s the same song she sang when they first met, although she doesn’t remember that. “The Road to Me” is its name, and while it’s just a passing habit for her it was something infinitely more special for Chan-Young.
“At first, I liked your voice” Omo. Are you really doing this now? “After that, I liked how you trusted me. I was really good that I met you.” One syllable away from confessing there, bro. (좋았어요 좋아했어요
“I’m sorry, Oppa.”
He looks at her sideways, smiling as he continues. “For what? I never said I like you. Why would you be sorry?”
Good for him. It might not be easy, but he seems a lot less anguished.
Later, Crude Play visits In-Ho “again?” in the hospital, but it can’t be helped… the band feels cooped up, although Shi-Hyun could just be talking to his new girlfriend… Lol the boys didn’t know him and Soo-Yeon had formed a connection, and have a great time joshing their friend around—except Han-Kyeol, who’s been noticeably morose.
It takes an extra second to get his attention he’s so deep in thought, but when they do he announces suddenly: let’s stop having session musicians once In-Ho is discharged. Everyone’s blown away by his proposition, but Han-Kyeol is serious. He explains what he’s felt over these last years—that he’d been pushing them to play what he wanted them to, harder and better… and that they’d known it wasn’t right but hadn’t said anything out of love for their friend.
Han-Kyeol promises that from now on, he won’t make the songs in his head anymore… but rather real songs, one’s they can all play. The heavy atmosphere eases and they settle in to some delicious fruit.
CEO Choi is looking over some footage of a Crude Play concert (man, they look good!) when Yoo-Na steps into his office. She wants to know what he’s planning, and his smile seems forced when he admits he’s rejoining WHO entertainment as a senior manager. At least it pays the bills, right? But Yoo-Na calls him out on the half-hearted quest for validation, and they both wonder who he wants to prove himself to.
Outside the company, In-Ho arrives fresh from the hospital to an empty—lol no jk lively crowd of his friends and co-workers. Mush & Co. run up with Soo-Yeon in tow, and In-Ho outs her for dating Shi-Hyun to band. Meanwhile, Han-Kyeol scoots so-Rim a bit closer to him. The revelry is cut short by President Yoo, however, and the group is called up to speak with her.
Heh, she says she’s sorry to get right to business, but we all know how badly she wants this conference to go down. It’s back on the calendar for this very week, and what’s more she still wants to deny the existence of any ghost-musicians.
Han-Kyeol wants to know why, and specifically why now, so President Yoo tells him straight: she’s using the current of sympathy over In-Ho’s accident to their advantage, so they can’t miss this chance. But this begs the question: what about next time, then? They’re building on a foundation of sand, and Han-Kyeol knows it’s only a matter of time before they crumble. What about next time? How are they going to lie, specifically? What about the people who already know? He presses his point that so long as the session musicians remain, Crude Play is at risk: and he won’t do that to his friends anymore. No more session musicians.
Everyone’s a bit blown away at their friend’s stand against the President, and when she questions how he’ll maintain quality he says the band just won’t release until they can do it themselves. Well, I don’t know how well that will go over with anyone, and Yoo scoffs—like they have any say in that matter. They’re under contract, remember? But Han-Kyeol’s shoots right back: he’s under so much stress over this, he “can’t write songs”. What will they do without their famous producer, hm? Go, Han-Kyeol, go!
He asks for more time on the press conference, too, and later in the hall In-Ho pulls our hero aside to talk. CEO Choi heads for a private, eavesdrop worthy balcony and listens as In-Ho asks if he was serious. He doesn’t want Han-Kyeol to put himself out over In-Ho, but Han-Kyeol says he’s just realized something:
“There’s a limit to how much lies can cover up other lies.”
He reassures his In-Ho it’s not his fault, and reasserts this is just one way of him taking responsibility for everything.
CEO Choi mulls over the conversation later in his office, and heads to Han-Kyeol’s house to get some answers. He wants to know the truth about the accident, recalling Han-Kyeol’s review of the CCTV footage and shameless about the fact he eavesdropped on them earlier. It takes him suggesting he’ll just ask In-Ho directly for our hero to decide Choi ought to know: In-Ho was planning on driving after taking sedatives, desperate for a way out of performing live, not thinking that this could have fatal consequences.
“We were fake from the beginning, but he was so scared of losing it that he risked his life. The other guys don’t have to know, but you and I absolutely cannot forget: we have to take responsibility for it. Do you understand? (politely)”
Choi looks at him seriously, and there’s a lot of self-reflection going on behind those eyes in his care later. He recalls his first meeting with the band, their excited reactions to being scouted—and Chan-Young’s too, before he realized he was taking someone else’s place. And again just before their debut, when he’d reassured them they’d get to play for real onstage as they got better. He coughs back some emotion and heads over to Yoo-Na’s house. *finger guns* Good choice! (Pinocchio, anyone?)
She’s surprised to see him, but he admits easily he missed her. Weeeeird bro, weeeird for you. Yoo-Na knows it too, but they let it pass. He notices she took her first album poster off of the wall, and when she says she looked like a baby in it, but he denies he’d liked it—thinking back to when they’d first met (he’d scouted her from her previous, even less stellar company), he asserts she’d looked pretty then—although she’s prettier now. Deeefinitely weird.
Ahhh he says that’s why he liked her—past tense—and lists off all the reasons he’d liked her and the other singers—how much they’d shined, and how much brighter he’d wanted to make them through him. He hadn’t meant to ruin them, he says, and gazes out into more untold memories.
The next morning it’s back to the real world, and he deals with a livid CEO Choi on the phone, sounding very deliberately formal as he stands up for Han-Kyeol’s outburst the day before. And so President Yoo goes over their heads, publishing news of a press conference anyway. Aaargh I hate her.
Crude Play powwows at the restaurant, and we learn the conference is bigger and more reporter filled than ever: if the boys just refuse to show up, they’ll be ruined. But Han-Kyeol suggests something radical: they tell the truth. Start over from the beginning, admit it all. Yoon pipes up then, his two cents on the situation sealing the deal:
“Do you know what I thought while looking at others? “How do people work so hard for their lives? It’s admirable.” That’s what I thought. What’s funny is, I worked hard for my life too. I woke up early and went to home late. We skipped meals while working and were deprived of sleep. However, just because I lied for something I love—that one thing—made me feel like my life was all messed up. That’s why… I want to be honest and find peace.”
He ends with the most adorable okie-dokie? And the guys pile hands, encouraging Chan-Young to rethink this seriously before throwing his lot in with theirs. But, blowing them and me and himself away, he decides to repeat CEO Choi’s insistent refrain to him: his most important job is that of Crude Play’s bassist. He duck down sheepishly onto his arms as the guys laugh, and they all grip tighter together.
Later, Han-Kyeol waits outside of So-Rim’s house—bwahahahahaha she hurries out in a black cap and hits him as she brushes past, the discretion necessary now that hadn’t been there for their first date. He explains the band’s plan to reveal everything, explaining his fear it’s harder to lie, but who knows when they’ll be able to make a comeback. So-Rim just slips her arms around them from behind, ever the supportive girlfriend.
The next morning the band lays out their decision for the President: they’ll do the press conference, but they’re doing it to admit they have session musicians, and then rest—at least until In-Ho is better, and however long it takes for the public to forgive them (thaaat could be a while. Or not.)
President Yoo is dismissive and tries again to explain she’s helping them by making Crude Play a puppet band, but the boys stand firm—so she “gives in”: they can do whatever they want, so fine as they’re fine with the consequences. It sounds like she’s ousting them if they go through with this, but that doesn’t change anything: the whole band still files onto the rooftop later, overlooking the dusky city and enjoying a few quiet moments together.
CEO Choi looks over his posters of the band in his office, recalling his words with Han-Kyeol about In-Ho, and taking responsibility.
At the restaurant later, Han-Kyeol talks it over with his father, comparing their situation to that of his father: In-Woo believes reclaiming his music would do nothing but hurt people. Is it the same for Crude Play? Would it be better to continue lying? After all, a lot of people make money of these men. Are they being selfish?
But In-Woo just replies he’s not always right, and then offers up “some advice no father would normally tell their sons”:
“If someone talks as if he knows everything, it’s because he doesn’t want to admit that he might be wrong. He’s been living that way for decades. He can’t admit that he might be wrong after all these years.”
Ah, In-Woo. You’ll always be my favorite.
In their own respective ways, each of the band members thinks over their time as top stars, public idols, members of the famous band Crude Play. So-Rim too fingers her Crude Play posters, worried for the next day’s big reveal.
We skip to the next day just before showtime, and President Yoo calls CEO Choi to make sure the band won’t go off script. E-heh, I think you’ve ended up with a different impression of what’s going down here. The boys are all gathered backstage, waiting nervously as Choi hands them the pre-prepared sheet of lies. But then he gives them his personal go-ahead, to say what they feel they need to. No need to follow the script.
They file into the room dressed up in snazzy black suits, looking a bit like mourners at a funeral as they boy respectfully for the flashing cameras. Everyone important is standing in the audience to watch: Yoo, So-Rim, Mush and Co., Soo-Yeon and Choi.
It’s go time. Shi-Hyun gives co-workers, bandmates and friends a quick look before picking up the microphone. This is it.
“Everyone is here today regarding the scandal that aside from bass player Seo Chan-Young, the other members are suspected of fake playing. We admit to the claims.”
The crowd twitters furiously amongst themselves, whispers of “fast” and “write it down” peppering the general murmur. In the back, President Yoo looks to CEO Choi and tells him he’s fired. Shi-Hyun continues with his speech.
“To the fans who cheered for us and loved us as well as those that loved our music, we’re truly embarrassed, and sorry. In order to be responsible for what we have done, Crude Play will put a stop to all activities temporarily. We’ll take the time to repent and self-reflect.”
The band stands, heads bowed, and Han-Kyeol leads the way off the little stage. Their last stage, perhaps. Our hero lingers behind to look up through the flashing of cameras and the barrage of questions at So-Rim, who stands silent and supportive at the back of the room. This, was what we have been waiting for.
I feel like I can suddenly breath again. This show was a master in my eyes at heightening the tension slowly, layering stress upon stress until everything came to a breaking point, like a balloon too full of air—or a guitar string wound too tightly. The rush to relieve it all came quickly and suddenly, but not unnaturally I think: our cast has never been one to move slowly when they decide to take action, and more than that it just felt like the right time to take this leap of faith. Who knows what the future holds in store for Crude Play, but one thing’s for certain: they will forever have a fan in me.
Some Quick Thoughts:
- I love the effortless balance this show achieved between earnest emotion and lighthearted youthfulness. I think it really tapped in to the way pain and happiness can tangle themselves all up together in one messy ball of relationships, be it with a passion or a person or both. It may hurt to continue how things are and one cannot find the will to let go, until they realize how much more damaging it is to everyone to maintain the status quo. There are echoes of this from the beginning, with Han-Kyeol and Yoo-Na’s relationship (that she felt was focused too much on his music), and Han-Kyeol’s distance from his father, and definitely Crude Play and their session musicians.
- Our main OTP may be favorite in my heart, but Soo-Yeon and Shi-Hyun win the sexiest couple award. I think that has a lot of something to do with Sung Joo being a walking ball of chemistry, but hey, I ain’t complaining. I’m just excited to see if he continues acting. ^^
- My one complaint with this episode is that it did occasionally feel like CEO Choi’s episode, or maybe I just felt we lingered in his “change of heart” scenes a bit too long. I do like that he wanted to reconnect with Yoo-Na as a part of his coming to himself, although I don’t think that included a romantic reconnection. We’ll see.
- Bravo to the nth degree that Han-Kyeol stood up to President Yoo. He’s definitely got a lot of his father in him, however differently they go about it. ^^
A Longer Thought:
I’ve decided to reserve episode 16 for some final words to each character and a summary of what I’ve learned over the course of the series, so I figured today’s last day to map out any final thoughts I have on the central themes of perceptions and lies, passions and people, industry and soul to forge my final takeaways.
Episodes 1-2: I had a few initial thoughts, touching definitely on the “passions and people” side of this whole discussion. Early on I decided it was most important that people be the priority in your life, that a passion comes second to keeping up healthy relationships. I think that has continued definitely throughout the series, but gained clarity in the later episodes with the areas in which you need to consider people first, and which people or relationships those are.
Episodes 3-4: things start to connect here but I don’t realize it, since we haven’t created the rest of the stage. I decided that Han-Kyeol probably uses music as his method to speak to other people, but we also got the first hints that we need to pay more attention to the truth of a person and allow them a fuller “self” behind our own perceptions. I also contrasted Chan-Young’s method of using So-Rim for her ability to help him out of Crude Play with Han-Kyeol’s way of using music to speak with people.
Episodes 5-6: Ok, here’s where things really shape up. Episode 5 I call out the industry for being a big fat liar, and decide all our musicians are its lovers. I start to recognize that the industry is going to make a liar out of So-Rim if it can, and that “putting people first” takes on a whole new connotation when the industry uses it to mean playing to the audience, forgetting the importance of a passion entirely for the sake of a better image and the good of the company—or other personal motives. It involves objectification, showmanship and using So-Rim’s voice for everyone’s own ends. We begin clarifying the initial thought: people are first in music, but perhaps not the audience. In fact, perhaps not anyone you might be “beholden” to: So-Rim is under no obligation to sing because helps Chan-Young escape, just like Crude Play shouldn’t have been under any obligation to act as the front for Han-Kyeol’s realization of music. We also connect to the emotional side of it, how you can love and hate something at the same time.
Episodes 7-8: Real life interrupts in a big way for me, and I have a serious sit down with some dear friends of mine. But perhaps selfishly, I let it inform my recaps later. For now though, I realize that in the industry (not the soul) of music, perception is everything—and that often leads to a more intense form of image projection akin to lying. This complicates the feelings I have for the industry, as I’m still under the perception the performers do this for their audiences, for those who come to listen. If that’s the case then CEO Choi really is the height of the industry, who wants to make his stars shine and grow and seems as flawless as possible to attract more audience. This becomes a larger problem when the industry starts to see use that vision to define the performers, like how Choi uses what he sees as their “talents” to create a little home for them. This overrides any agency, subverting both the real passion for music and the person in favor of true business.
Episodes 9-10: even as the tensions outside mount, our cast and I begin to untangle ourselves from the web of industry and lies. The first step, of course, is to bring us back to the first theme of priorities: people vs. passions, and to put the right people first in the right situations (Han-Kyeol stays and works with Yoo-Na, but also goes and confesses to So-Rim). A strong personal connection, more than any perceived connections to the audience, anchors all decisions regarding your passion.
Episodes 11-12: We tangent here for a bit, considering what lies our couple will tell now that they’re secretly dating, and wondering what it means when In-Woo and Choi clash. I… didn’t pull much out of that, tbh.
Episodes 13-14: As confusing as it seems at the moment, looking back this is where we really begin to clear things up: while we decided at the beginning that people had to come before music, we realize again here that the passion you have for people is mostly for those you get to make music with—that you can’t just make music for others, you make music with other people and hope your audience picks up what you’re putting down (strumming out? 😉) We find a balance here between passions and people, putting each relationship in its proper place—the audience isn’t really an intimate, personal connection, although you can connect, and every perception has to have a basis of true hard work and honest soul at its heart. Also, mini rant on 13 Reasons Why.
And so here we are at episode 15. What have I decided? Well, I’ve decided that it’s important in all of this complicated web to remember it’s not complicated at all: you keep it simple, remember why you love your passion in the first place—and most importantly who you love to perform/write/whatever with, and you do the best you can to express yourself honestly. This might at times seem to lay the industry at the wayside, but this never denies the importance of showmanship—just that you recognize when you’ve actually started lying, and that continuing to cover it up will be more detrimental than anything else you could do.