You never saw three sadder sacks than our trio of Noryangjin Idiots, but at least they have each other to lean on when life gets rough. Even when they’re spitting mad with each other, they still manage to be there for each other for support and sympathy. Loves may come and go, and hearts will break and mend and break again, but friendship is forever.
EPISODE 14 RECAP
Jung-seok arrives home to find Gong-myung drinking a beer alone in the dark house, looking upset. When Jung-seok gets a text from Hana, Gong-myung clocks his smile, and asks if he’s got a girlfriend. Jung-seok admits it, but when Gong-myung asks who it is, he tells him to just focus on studying.
Once he’s alone, Jung-seok wonders if he should tell Gong-myung that he’s dating Hana. But he figures Gong-myung’s feelings for her are just a temporary crush that he’ll get over soon, and decides against it.
From the look on Gong-myung’s face, it seems as though his hyung has greatly underestimated his feelings for Hana. And what’s worse, he’s aware that Jung-seok knew how he feels, and yet he pursued Hana anyway.
Gong-myung heads to the gosiwon to see Dong-young, packed bag in tow, and the two of them find Ki-bum drinking on the roof. Dong-young tells Gong-myung that Ki-bum is miserable over Chae-yeon, and Ki-bum gives Gong-myung some pretty fierce side-eye when he asks why.
Dong-young tells his friends that it’s really over between him and Joo-yeon, though when Gong-myung asks why, he just shoots an evil glare toward Ki-bum. Gong-myung sighs that they’re all miserable today, and tells the others that he no longer has a shot with Hana, because she has a new boyfriend.
Dong-young asks why Gong-myung left home, but Gong-myung doesn’t feel like talking about it. He asks Ki-bum to let him stay in his room, and Ki-bum snaps at him not to even ask such a thing before stomping off. Gong-myung asks again what’s wrong with him, but Dong-young keeps Ki-bum’s secret.
Jung-seok is surprised to find Gong-myung’s room empty later that night, but he assumes Gong-myung is just out with friends. Hana calls him to invite him to hang out tomorrow, and they make plans, all the while beaming adorably. Jung-seok even giggles at one point, it’s too cute.
But later, Director Kim group-texts the whole office to invite them to go hiking tomorrow as a team-building exercise. Jin-woong and Jin-yi both agree to go, but before Hana can decline, Director Kim warns her not to say she’s got other plans. Well, there goes her and Jung-seok’s first real date.
She tries to talk Director Kim into inviting Jung-seok as well, so that at least she can see him tomorrow, but Director Kim refuses, sure Jung-seok will say no anyway. He calls Jung-seok picky and selfish and says that he hates him, and when the others agree they don’t want him there bringing things down, Hana is forced to concede.
She calls Jung-seok to explain the situation, explaining that she can’t just say she has other plans like he could. Jung-seok blusters, then wonders why he wasn’t invited, too. To save his feelings, Hana says that Director Kim was probably just respecting his preference not to socialize outside of work, but Jung-seok is sure he was left out on purpose.
Gong-myung spends the night in Dong-young’s room, though he can’t sleep (partly because Dong-young is dreaming about Joo-yeon and keeps trying to spoon him, hee). He gets up and goes to the roof, and plays Hana’s recording promising to consider dating him when he passes the civil service exam one last time.
He decides to delete the recording, but he can’t bring himself to do it. Over and over his finger hovers over the “delete” option, but he’s overcome by tears, and breaks down sobbing his broken heart out. Ki-bum can’t sleep either, and finds Gong-myung on the roof. But when he sees that his friend is crying, he leaves him in peace.
Hana and Jin-yi are surprised when Director Kim shows up to hike in a suit, though he explains that he had to lie to his family that there was a meeting, to get out of kimchi-making day at home. A hand grabs his wrist as a voice intones, “I can’t allow this — [he] is my person.” HAHAHA, it’s Jin-young, wearing his baseball cap upside-down and impersonating Prince Yeong from Moonlight Drawn by Clouds.
Jin-yi snaps at Jin-woong for passing himself off as Park Bo-gum “with a face like that,” but Jin-woong just grabs Hana’s wrist and repeats the scene. The music swells and everyone looks deadly serious… until Director Kim breaks up the silliness.
Director Kim changes into his hiking gear, and the four set out. They’re all shocked when they’re joined by none other than Jung-seok, all kitted out for a day of hiking and looking suspiciously cheerful about it.
He invites himself on their hike, and though nobody but Hana looks happy about it, they can’t exactly tell him he can’t hike in a public place. Jung-seok hangs back to flirt with Hana while the rest walk ahead, and she simpers happily.
Jin-yi stops Hana to complain about Premium Trash joining them — she’s extra-uncomfortable around him since he rejected her at the club. She thinks Hana feels the same way after being left behind by Jung-seok on that bridge, and she tells Hana that they’ll just forget those jerk men and enjoy being single women.
Hana wonders if she should tell Jin-yi that she and Jung-seok are dating, then thinks better of it. Since Jin-yi came today to cheer herself up, she doesn’t want to make her friend depressed again by telling her that she’s dating someone.
Both Gong-myung and Dong-young are too depressed to eat, but surprisingly, it’s Ki-bum who forces them to leave their room (mostly by farting in it). Dong-young wonders how he’s cheered up so quickly, and Ki-bum just says they can all find better women, and shoos them out the door.
Hana lags behind the others, exhausted, and Jung-seok asks why her backpack is so heavy. She says that she’s carrying the snacks, which prompts Jung-seok to do a hilarious impression of Director Kim and offer to carry her bag.
Just as he’s taking it, Jin-yi comes back for Hana, and asks why he has her backpack. Thinking quickly, Jung-seok fibs that he was checking the brand, and shoves it back at Hana with a cute little wink. Hana goes a bit overboard fussing about Premium Trash’s totally unacceptable behavior, which Jin-yi notices.
Ki-bum takes his friends out to eat, and Gong-myung and Dong-young mope over their meals, making Ki-bum gripe at them. He spots a baseball game on TV and gets the idea for them all to go, even offering to buy their tickets with his mom’s credit card.
Jung-seok holds out a hand when Hana struggles to climb a rock, and though she initially balks at the skinship with everyone so near, she finally takes his hand with a happy little grin. Jin-yi seemingly pops out of nowhere and startles Hana, who jerks her hand away and falls, right on top of Jin-yi.
Jung-seok jumps down and helps Hana up, fussing over her like a mother hen, and leaving Jin-yi lying on the ground, pfft. Eventually Hana helps her up, and Jin-yi whines at Jung-seok for not helping her, too. She asks if she’s just an animal, and he huffs that she sure was acting like one at the club. HAHA, Hana’s face.
Jung-seok and Hana split off in opposite directions, and Jin-yi finds Hana’s phone lying in the leaves. She grabs it, intending to take it to Hana. When she stops to rest she takes a look at the phone, and sees a series of texts from Jung-seok asking Hana to avoid Jin-yi, since she’s so low-quality.
She scrolls up and finds a conversation from earlier, where they’re complained about not seeing each other today. Jin-yi gapes at the blatant evidence of their relationship, and as a test, she sends a text to Jung-seok saying, “I love you.” What?? Oh no she didn’t.
Jung-seok receives the text and, assuming it’s from Hana, he gets super-excited and texts back, “I love you more.” He’s thrilled, but Jin-yi looks like she’s about to pass out.
As soon as she sees Hana, she asks if she’s dating Premium Trash, shoving her phone at her accusingly. Hana’s face says it all, and Jin-yi goes on a rant, connecting all the dots and simultaneously whining and laughing maniacally at the absurdity. Hana tries her best to calm her friend down, with no luck.
Hana does ask Jin-yi to keep this a secret, and Jin-yi shrieks that nobody would believe that a handsome, successful man like Jung-seok would date Hana, anyway. Wow. She sends Hana off to play with Jung-seok, and says she’ll just haul her low-quality, animal-like self off this hill alone.
The baseball game doesn’t do much to cheer up Gong-myung and Dong-young, though Ki-bum does his best to pep them up and make them have fun. He makes them wear silly hats and keeps up his cheering, and eventually his energy spills over to his friends, and they all stand and cheer.
Chae-yeon has been trying to contact Gong-myung all day to set up study time, but she can’t reach him through text or calling. She wonders what’s happened to make him suddenly lose interest in studying.
Director Kim and Jin-woong take a break, and Director Kim tells Jin-woong to find a woman to take care of him when he says he hasn’t eaten breakfast. Jin-woong wonders what woman would date him (is he taking volunteers?), and right on cue, Jin-yi comes into view.
Director Kim thinks Jin-yi is perfect since she wants to get married so badly, but Jin-woong thinks she’d never even consider him. Director Kim encourages him to give it a shot and go hike with her, and they’ll fall in love for sure. He decides to help them out, despite Jin-woong’s protests.
Director Kim proposes a race to the top of the mountain, and he sets up Jin-woong and Jin-yi against himself and Hana. Jung-seok objects to being left out, and when Director Kim says it’s because he doesn’t ever do anything with him, Jung-seok agrees to go for drinks with everyone later (Jin-yi rolls her eyes hard at this).
He tells Director Kim to be the judge, and volunteers himself to race with Hana. When he brags that he and Hana will definitely win, Jin-yi gets all huffy and asks if he can really beat a wild animal (herself). Jung-seok sneers that it’s all about intelligence and strategy, and with that, Jin-yi is determined to make him eat his words.
The rules are set — first team to take a selca at the top and post it to their chatroom wins. Jin-yi grabs Jin-woong and drags him off, with Jung-seok and Hana hot on their heels. Hana’s backpack is too heavy, and Jung-seok argues that as teammates, nobody will think it strange if he carries it. He grabs Hana’s hand, and she asks if he’s really coming drinking with them.
He says that of course he will since his girlfriend is going, admitting that he’s glad for this race so he can spend more time with her. Oh stop, you’re too cute. When Jin-yi and Jin-woong zoom past them, they head up the mountain.
For Jin-yi, this race is all about sticking it to Jung-seok, and she’s annoyed when Jin-woong asks for a short break. She gets behind him, ready to poke him in the butt to motivate him. But Jin-yi trips on a rock and hurts herself, so she climbs Jin-woong like a tree and makes him carry her.
It’s a crazy scramble, with Jin-yi and Jin-woong screaming while Jung-seok and Hana slip past them and make it to the top first. They take their selca, while Jin-yi gripes that she knows why Jin-woong’s wife left him. Jin-woong fights back, yelling that he sees why she got dumped.
Ki-bum’s mom calls him as the boys walk home, angry that he used her credit card to go to a baseball game instead of studying. His aegyo fails him this time, and his mom informs him that she’s cut off the card. But he’s not down for long, and he leads the guys to a restaurant that’s hosting a class reunion, where they pretend to be alumni for free food.
Gong-myung and Dong-young are uncomfortable and want to leave, but Ki-bum refuses. Before long a guy sits with them and says they don’t look familiar, and when he asks which class they were in, Ki-bum accidentally says the same class the guy was in.
Ki-bum changes his answer, but a second guy chimes in that that was his class and he doesn’t recognize him either. Ki-bum’s third try fails just as badly, and now there are three alumni wondering who the heck these dudes are.
Instead of admitting their guilt, Ki-bum doubles down and loudly demands to see the class president, pretending to be close friends with him. The first guy says he’s the president. HA, Gong-myung jumps up and tries to pay for what they ate, and tells the guys to run.
Gong-myung and Dong-young make it to the door, but Ki-bum gets yanked back by the collar, and his friends come back to help. There’s a hilarious slow-motion fight, in which our boys definitely get the worst of it. Ki-bum gets slapped by a slab of meat, Dong-young burns both hands on the table grills, and they all end up in a heap on the floor.
The teachers all go for drinks after their hike, where Jung-seok is socially awkward after all his solo drinking. Jin-yi is still whining at Jin-woong for his poor performance in the race, and he goes back into his Prince Yeong impression to annoy her.
Director Kim asks Jung-seok why he hung out with them today, and he says he’s just here to promote friendship as Director Kim always wants. Jin-yi snarkily asks if there’s another reason, making Hana snort her drink.
Jung-seok comes outside to find Hana talking to Siri about Jin-yi, and she sheepishly explains that she talks to her phone sometimes, since she lives alone and has nobody to talk to. Jung-seok feels bad that she’s been so lonely, and tells her to talk to him from now on. He asks what she was talking to Siri about just now, and she has to confess that Jin-yi knows about them.
She tells him that Jin-yi saw their texts and figured it out, but he’s surprisingly unconcerned. He guesses that’s why she’s been so short with him all day, and Hana asks him to understand that she’s hurt because she thought she and Hana were both heartbroken. Hana says Jung-seok should go home first so avoid more awkwardness, but he refuses, joking that she’ll just complain to her phone that her boyfriend left her alone.
The boys sit in the park with snacks and beer, and Ki-bum notices Gong-myung getting down again and tells him to snap out of it. He says he shouldn’t stop studying since he’s been doing so well.
The guys tells Ki-bum that they’re more upset than him because they were more in love, but Ki-bum says it’s not that complicated. His cheerful demeanor slips a bit when Chae-yeon calls him to ask if he told Gong-myung she likes him, since he’s not answering her calls.
When she says that, Ki-bum hands the phone to Gong-myung, who tells Chae-yeon that something just came up. He says he’s drunk now and will explain later, and hangs up.
Alone, Dong-young asks Ki-bum if he’s really moved on from his crush on Chae-yeon. He says that if it had been him, he wouldn’t have let her talk to Gong-myung. He admits that he hates Ki-bum for ruining his last chance with Joo-yeon, but marvels that Ki-bum doesn’t seem to hate Gong-myung.
Ki-bum says he just knows how much Gong-myung is suffering, so there’s no point hating him. He says they’ve been friends for too long to let a woman come between them, and he wouldn’t want to lose his love and his friends, asking Dong-young not to hate him too much.
He tells Dong-young that Joo-yeon may have said something she didn’t mean out of anger, and encourages him not to give up. He says their long history is different than his one-sided love, and gives Dong-young an encouraging pat before heading home.
Jin-yi gets really drunk, and Director Kim voluntells Jin-woong to take her home. Jin-woong doesn’t want to do it, and tells Director Kim that spending time with Jin-yi today was harder than his entire marriage put together. He does relent, but swears he will never get involved with Jin-yi. Ever.
He wrangles her into a taxi with great difficulty, where she complains that everyone is betraying her. Annoyed, Jin-woong asks her to keep it down. She gets a text from Hana and reads it, tears welling in her eyes.
Hana apologizes for hurting her unintentionally, and says that she wanted to tell her the truth but saw how much Jin-yi was hurting. She says she feels bad for being happy when Jin-yi is suffering, and that she hopes Jin-yi finds someone new and doesn’t suffer for long.
Jin-woong asks Jin-yi what’s wrong, and she cries harder and says she’s humiliated for resenting her friend’s happiness. She says that she doesn’t deserve love, and leans over to cry on Jin-woong’s shoulder. He puts an arm around her and lets her cry.
Chae-yeon approaches Ki-bum, and accuses him of convincing Gong-myung to play instead of study. She spits at him not to ruin Gong-myung’s life like he’s ruining his own, and Ki-bum stops Dong-young from interfering and just says he’s sorry.
He walks away, but Dong-young is tired of Chae-yeon’s attitude. He informs Chae-yeon that Ki-bum has known and cared about Gong-myung longer than she has. She asks why he would talk Gong-myung out of studying and into drinking if he cares so much, and Dong-young asks if she even knows why Gong-myung has been studying so hard.
He tells Chae-yeon the truth — Gong-myung likes Hana, and wants to pass the exam so he can date her. But now she has a boyfriend so Gong-myung spent the day depressed. And all day long, it was Ki-bum who took care of him.
Gong-myung has another beer, and thinks that when he drinks alone, all of his suppressed emotions well up within him. Ki-bum also has a drink on the gosiwon roof, and he watches Chae-yeon walk home sadly, and lets himself cry for his lost love.
Gong-myung narrates, wondering how it all came to this, with everyone asking questions with no answers. He says that soon they’ll have to accept reality, as both Chae-yeon and Dong-young nurse their hurts with alcohol alone in their rooms.
But Gong-myung continues that reality may not be everything, and if he gives up so easily, it only makes his love pitiful. So he’s drinking this beer for courage, to say the things he can’t say when sober, and his face takes on a determined expression.
Jung-seok walks Hana home and asks her to repeat the text she sent him earlier, the one saying she loves him. Hana explains that Jin-yi sent that text, and Jung-seok whines that he was so happy when he saw that.
He’s disappointed, but Hana chirps a cute little “I love you!” in his ear, and his face nearly splits from smiling. He kisses her forehead and sends her in, both of them on Cloud Nine.
But his happiness fades when he turns to see Gong-myung standing behind him, and says that he knows Jung-seok is dating Hana. He accuses Jung-seok of already dating her when Gong-myung told him he liked her, and asks why he didn’t tell him the truth then.
Jung-seok says that he didn’t want to fight when Gong-myung’s crush would fade soon enough, which just makes Gong-myung angrier. He yells that Jung-seok has no right to judge the sincerity of his feelings, and Jung-seok takes offense to his informal speech and tells him to respect his hyung.
Gong-myung scoffs, asking what kind of hyung worthy of respect ridicules his brother’s feelings. He says that Jung-seok has always done whatever he wanted and this is no different. He tells his brother that he came to tell Hana that he’s not giving up on her, because he might be able to let go if she were dating a good man, but he refuses to let her go for a jerk like Jung-seok.
I’ve been dreading this for weeks, the clash between brothers that I knew would come when Gong-myung found out about Jung-seok and Hana. The brothers’ relationship is so contentious already, it’s going to be hard for them to bounce back from this in the little time we have left before the show ends. While I think Gong-myung’s feelings are genuine, and he’s absolutely right that Jung-seok has no right to dismiss his feelings, I also agree that it’s none of his business whether Jung-seok and Hana date. Gong-myung had no real claim to Hana nor did she promise to wait for him, and even if she did, ultimately it’s her choice who to be with. Neither brother gets a say in that, not even Jung-seok, and for them to fight over her just seems so futile.
While it was hard to watch all three friends nursing broken hearts at the same time, it was comforting that even though they were angry with each other, they still gravitated to each other and did their best to help each other feel better. That’s true friendship right there, that doesn’t let anything get in the way of their close bond. It’s sweet that when it comes down to it, they’re very protective of each other’s hearts, and even when they hate each other, they’ll always come back to their friends.
I’m so thrilled that my Jin-woong/Jin-yi match seems to be happening, because if two people were ever meant for each other, it’s these two. Their flaws even complement each other, with Jin-yi’s desire to get married strong enough to trump Jin-woong’s social stigma of being divorced. I was happy to see them screaming at each other in this episode, because it shows that they can be comfortable with each other even when spitting mad. I even liked that Jin-woong wasn’t all gung-ho about the idea of dating Jin-yi, because it made his eventual hugs and comfort that much more meaningful. It may not be love at first sight, but it’s a relationship that can evolve over time, and some of the strongest relationships are those where the couple grows slowly into love.
That said, I was back to being annoyed with Jin-yi in this episode, because while I do sympathize with her and the horrible way she was dumped, that’s no excuse for the way she behaved to Hana. First of all, you don’t read someone’s texts without their permission, period. But to write a text to Jung-seok from Hana’s phone saying “I love you” was just beyond unacceptable (aside from the fact that she stole that experience of saying it for the first time from Jung-seok and Hana). If she were my friend, we wouldn’t be friends anymore after that.
The way Jin-yi acted when she confronted Hana reminded me way too much of her behavior when Hana first came to Noryangjin, when Jin-yi would throw a tantrum every time she didn’t get her way. It’s sad that Hana can’t share important, exciting events in her life with the person who’s supposed to be her best friend, and Jin-yi is just lucky Hana is such a forgiving person. Hana dating Jung-seok isn’t a personal insult to Jin-yi, and it’s extremely immature for her to act as if it is. At least she realized how horrible she was being, and I hope she learns from this and stops resenting Hana every time something good happens to her.
But one of the things I appreciate most about this drama is that the characters are so real. Everyone has their flaws, and the answer to finding happiness isn’t to just fix your flaws and someone will love you. Hana is timid and Jung-seok is arrogant, Jin-yi is selfish, Jin-woong is annoying. Even the Noryangjin trio have their issues, but yet we love them just the same, even when we want to smack them upside the head and tell them to grow up. Some characters have toned down their biggest problems, particularly the ones that are getting in the way of their success, but nobody has experienced a miraculous personality transplant. Hana is more willing to stand up for herself but she’s still meek, while Jung-seok is making a lot of effort to get along with others, but he still falls into his own arrogant traps. I think the point is that everyone is deserving of love, and that we can love a person while still agreeing that they aren’t perfect.