[RECAP: Reply 1997] Episode 2: “Slowly changing.”
To read Episode 1′s Recap, go here!
Returning to the present day reunion, Yoo Jung whispers to Si Won that her date has been set. Si Won calls her crazy and discourages Yoo Jung, but Yoo Jung is determined…to receive her breast implant surgery.
Yoon Jae overhears the word “surgery” and asks about it, to which Yoo Jung replies that it’s only a surgery for women. Sung Jae quickly adds that Thailand is really good at breast implants as Hak Chan starts applauding.
As the group bickers, Yoon Jae narrates, “There’s also a surgery just for men,” and we’re taken back to 1997, when Yoon Jae got circumcised, and Si Won’s mother takes him to the clinic (Awkward. Why didn’t his older brother with him?)
Yoon Jae asks that Si Won’s mom keep this a secret from Si Won, because he’s embarrassed for getting circumcised at such an old age…and probably from the fact that he got circumcised. Si Won’s mom promises that her lips are sealed and that he can trust her.
As they walk down the path, Si Won jumps on Yoon Jae’s back and congratulates him on becoming a man. Yoon Jae throws a look of betrayal to Si Won’s mom, who claims that Si Won figured it out on her own because she’s good at reading signs.
But we soon find out that pretty much everyone in town knows of Yoon Jae’s path to manhood, as they congratulate him by name and even student number. Oh, the mortification.
At home, Si Won practices the dance to Candy like a true fan, as Yoon Jae tries to find a diskette (When was the last time we heard that word…) in Si Won’s room.
When he continues to yell that he can’t find it, Si Won runs out of patience and storms into her room and starts taking things out of her backpack, complaining and scolding that Yoon Jae is completely blind and unable to find things in her tiny, tiny backpack.
Suddenly they both freeze, as they realize that in their hands is a maxi pad. The two look at each other, not knowing how to respond. Just then, Si Won’s dad bursts into the room, laughing loudly, congratulating Yoon Jae on his recent surgery. Awkward to the max.
At an unspecified time, Si Won’s parents and Tae Woong play a round of Go-Stop, when Si Won’s mom asks nonchalantly if Yoon Jae is healing properly from his surgery. Tae Woong reassures her that Yoon Jae is indeed recovering well, smiling to himself, remembering that he caught Yoon Jae washing his underwear in the morning.
Tae Woong asks, “Did you dream again? Who was it? Kim Hee Sun? Lee Seung Yeon? Um Jung Hwa?” Tae Woong laughs at his little brother and perhaps how fast Yoon Jae has grown up. Poor Yoon Jae. This kid just can’t catch a break.
Back to the Go-Stop game, Si Won’s dad brags that he’s super good at the game, only to completely screw up and allow Si Won’s mom to take all the good cards for her stacks.
Tae Woong asks why Si Won is not home yet and Si Won’s mom answers that Si Won has run away from home because of her dad per usual. It seems like it happens a lot because her parents go on about life, playing Go-Stop, while their daughter is who knows where.
Two hours earlier, Si Won’s dad had uncovered her report card, which was stamped with 48s. It turns out that Si Won is ranked in 48th place…out of the 48 students in her class.
Her mom laughs it off, saying Si Won finally accomplished being last in the class, but her dad throws a fit, storming into her room, where Si Won is scrapbooking H.O.T pictures while listening to H.O.T on her headphones.
Her father asks what she’s going to grow up to be, and as if it’s the most obvious thing in the world Si Won replies, “Tony’s wife.” Si Won adds that her father’s baseball team is always last so he should worry about himself instead of her, and the comment sends Dad bonkers.
“It’s all these monkeys’ faults! Hot or Hoot or whatever!” yells Dad, as he starts ripping Si Won’s posters off the walls (We understand and sympathize Si Won’s pain with each ripped poster). Si Won desperately screams for her father to stop, but already on a crazy rampage, her dad rips off a couple more posters, telling her not to be in last place again.
After the fight, Si Won sits on the floor of her bedroom, weeping as she tapes up her dear oppas together. “It hurt, huh? I’ll hurry and tape you together. I’m so sorry…”
Back at the game, Si Won’s mom is kicking butt, as Tae Woong comments that Si Won’s dad had gone too far this time. But Si Won’s parents don’t worry because they know Si Won is out with Yoon Jae, but Tae Woong says that Yoon Jae is at home.
We then see Si Won at a payphone, about to make a call, but hesitating as the dial tone echoes in her ear.
Si Won’s mom comments that Yoon Jae was number one in school again, saying Tae Woong must have nothing to worry about, but Tae Woong disagrees, saying Yoon Jae isn’t flexible and he worries about how Yoon Jae will survive in society.
Just nine hours earlier, Sung Jae bugs Yoon Jae to listen to a song. Yoon Jae declines saying he can’t listen to a singer named Yangpa (onion in Korean) with a cheesy song called, Young Love.
“If Yangpa can be a singer, so can Jadu (Plum) and even Gummy (Spider),” says Yoon Jae, “If this song gets popular, I’ll go to an all-girls high school with only underwear and do 10 flips.’
If he only knew that Yangpa actually made it big with that cheesy song (and that singers named Jadu and Gummy actually ended up debuting), Yoon Jae wouldn’t have had to stand on the field at an all-girls high school, in his tighty whities as Sung Jae and Joon Hee snickered on.
Although completely embarrassed, Yoon Jae, the man that he is, fulfills his promise and proceeds with the punishment that he set up for himself.
Turning the clock back nine hours on the day she ran away, Si Won, with Yoo Jung and Dan Ji, crack open a new magazine, featuring photos of H.O.T. With a ruler, Si Won carefully rips out Moon Hee Jun for Dan Ji and Kang Ta for Yoo Jung.
As they flip through, a spread of H.O.T’s ultimate rivals, Sech Kies comes out and Dan Ji, Yoo Jung, and Si Won immediately show disgust, calling Sech Kies mere copycats of their oppas.
But as Si Won is ready to rip up Sech Kies’ Eun Ji Won’s picture, Yoo Jung stops her and tells her to give her Woo Hyuk’s picture printed on the back.
Si Won does so, then asks Yoo Jung if she can come over and look at the Tomato magazine (We’re definitely guilty of buying those in the past) that Yoo Jung bought recently. Yoo Jung quickly says she has a family event and that she’ll bring it to school tomorrow.
As the bell rings for class, Yoo Jung asks if Si Won did her homework, and Si Won replies no, but she has a plan.
As expected, the teacher asks about Si Won’s homework, and Si Won replies that she couldn’t do it because Yoon Jae borrowed her book. The teacher immediately confirms with Yoon Jae that he didn’t borrow the book and Si Won curses Yoon Jae’s name as she serves her punishment in the hallway.
During lunch, Joon Hee nurses Si Won’s sore arms with some pain-relief spray, as Yoo Jung spazzes about Yoon Jae playing basketball. Si Won is still cursing Yoon Jae, calling him a ‘dog bird,’ implying a more severe profanity.
Sung Jae tells Yoon Jae that he should apologize as he heads to buy the snacks he owes for losing the basketball game. As soon as Sung Jae disappears, Joon Hee pulls out a sushi lunch that he’s prepared for everyone.
“Hurry and eat it before Sung Jae comes,” he says. Looks like Sung Jae is the black sheep in the group.
Si Won cuts herself on a tuna can, and both Joon Hee and Yoo Jung come to her aide as Yoon Jae comments that she won’t die, causing Si Won to give him a nice kick.
As they continue to play Go-Stop, Si Won’s mom finally starts wondering about where Si Won went if not with Yoon Jae. At the same time, Si Won calls Yoon Jae’s pager, but doesn’t leaving any messages.
We’re back to four hours earlier that day, where Si Won excitedly finds something in the woods. After school, Yoon Jae trails behind Si Won, apologizing for not lying to the teacher about the book.
Si Won asks if he’s reflecting on his actions and Yoon Jae promises not to do it ever again. Si Won tells him to come closer and that she won’t hit him. She asks for his hand since she has something to give him.
Yoon Jae hesitantly gives her his hand and Si Won puts something inside.
Yoon Jae narrates, “There are two things in this world that I’m terrified of: Sung Si Won…and frogs.” He opens his hand to find a tiny green frog and he flips out, screaming and running around like a maniac. Getting the most out of her revenge, Si Won chases him down the steps with the frog.
All of a sudden, the screaming halts, as the camera pans to where Yoon Jae and Si Won are standing. In an attempt to stop her, Yoon Jae had used both of his hands to push her out of the way, only to accidentally lay her hands on her chest.
They both stare in shock, once again not knowing what to do. The green frog slowly makes its escape.
This situation explains why Si Won is so hesitant in calling up Yoon Jae on her runaway experience. So she ends up calling Yoo Jung, saying that she’ll be waiting for her at her house.
Yoo Jung listens to the message later on, and upon hearing it, freaks out and starts running home.
Mama Sung is still kicking butt in the Go-Stop game, as Si Won goes inside Yoo Jung’s house. Yoo Jung continues racing her way back home.
Si Won nonchalantly walks to Yoo Jung’s room, flips on the light, and is shocked at what she sees inside. Behind her, Yoo Jung stands breathless.
Yoo Jung calls Si Won’s name out in fear as Si Won glares back at her best friend.
Mama Sung is celebrating what seems to be another victory for her, but all fails when Tae Woong and Papa Sung team up together to win the game.
Upon the sudden loss, Mama Sung hits the back of Papa Sung’s head and all three of them stare at each other in shock.
Back at Yoo Jung’s house, Si Won looks back into Yoo Jung’s room to see Sech Kies posters plastered all over the walls.
To make matters worse, the Woo Hyuk picture that Si Won gave to Yoo Jung sits on top her desk, the Eun Ji Won side face up.
As Mama and Papa Sung fight with Tae Woong caught in the middle, Yoo Jung leaves a message on Si Won’s pager, saying she’s sorry.
“It’s not that I don’t like the H.O.T oppas anymore. But the six crystals suddenly came into my heart without me knowing….”
Si Won hangs up the phone, still quite upset and speechless about her friend’s betrayal.
Yoon Jae narrates, “Go-Stop, a game where you get points for matching the same pictures. There was also a time when we tried to match with each other. However, all of a sudden, we began to change. To become a different kind of person, I wonder why it was so hard to accept it back then. Everyone is different. That’s the rule of the world, the rule of human growth. Eighteen. We were growing and therefore becoming different from each other. As we were becoming different, we stood to face yet another kind of growth to accept these differences.”
Si Won heads to the outdoor fountain to wash a mop, where she meets Sung Jae cooling off after playing sports. She comments that he should get a bra, and he snaps back saying his chest is bigger than hers.
Si Won hits him and walks around to meet Yoon Jae, shirtless, and wet, staring at her. Appearing awkward, Si Won quickly avoids looking at him in the eyes.
Yoon Jae narrates that during the spring of 1997, their second stage of maturity was already in progress and the two of them were already quite different.
Wanting to check whether or not this awkward embarrassing feeling was because the two realized they were different or if the nervous feeling was because she had become his first love.
Yoon Jae takes some steps closer to her, and whispers, “Confirmation,” before swooping in and kissing her as Yangpa’s Young Love plays in the background.
As their lips meet, flashbacks of their adorable times together as kids roll by.
Yoon Jae narrates, “The laws of human development: a boy becomes a man, and a girl becomes a woman. But if the speed of a boy becoming a man doesn’t match up with the girl, a problem occurs.
Si Won, who is a bit surprised at the sudden kiss, takes a few seconds to process everything, before kicking Yoon Jae in the shin. She then continues to beat him up, calling him crazy.
Returning back to the high school reunion, Sung Jae brings up the time when Si Won and Yoo Jung didn’t talk to each other for a month. Joon Hee remembers it as well, but the girls pretend to not know what they’re talking about.
As Sung Jae pushes Si Won’s buttons and Si Won gets up to hit him, her bra strap peeks through. Seeing that, Yoon Jae leans over and pulls her shirt up. They meet eyes and give each other a secretive smile.
Yangpa - Young Love
We knew that ever since tvN started promoting this drama, we would love it. A drama about H.O.T vs Sech Kies? A drama about our childhood? How can we say no to that, especially since that’s when our obsession with K-Pop began. First with H.O.T, then Sech Kies, S.E.S and Fin.K.L., Shinhwa and g.o.d, and the list goes on.
So what a pleasant surprise it was to know that Reply 1997 isn’t just a drama about our past (and present) obsessions, but about the strong friendships between five people that lasted over the years.
The story is well-written, as if the entire script for the series has been well thought out and perhaps already completed, which we thoroughly prefer over the page-by-page scripts that are often used for time-chased dramas these days.
Each character has his/her own story to tell, and while it’s only been two episodes, we feel so invested in the characters because they are essentially playing out what we’ve experienced during our adolescence. There are so many things we can relate to and sympathize with as humans beings, even if you didn’t live through the 1990s.
So whether or not you were living in Korea or interested in the 90s K-Pop scene, this drama is so worth your time, since it’s focus isn’t about obsessing over a boy band, but more on the experiences and memories shared between friends that are being replayed and remembered 15 years later.
We can’t wait to see more of the spunk of our Busan characters and learn about them as we uncover the mystery of who gets married with whom in 2012.
Two episodes down, 14 more to go!
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