[RECAP: Reply 1997] Episode 3: “Things aren’t always what they seem”
We know… we’re only on the fourth episode out of 16, and it is way too early to rush to conclusions, but we hope – we sincerely hope – that we’re right when we say, THIS DRAMA IS GENIUS.
Two episodes in one night, and two huge twists that had us gasping for air in shock. Even though we sort of knew something like this would happen, it still caught us off guard (Our minds are all jumbled up. We still haven’t gotten over the surprises at the end of each episode).
The story so far has been so well thought-out and well-written that we’re agonizing over the full week we must wait before getting more. (Why, tvN, why must you put us through so much torture, especially during these Olympic weeks when everything else is cancelled?)
But we will wait because we have to and will also be re-watching episodes one through four maybe about five more times until next Tuesday.
We begin in the summer of 1997.
Things are not at peace in the Sung family as Mama and Papa Sung are arguing over something Si Won did, as she squats on the floor, looking defeated.
The fight is so bad that they’re ready to beat each other up and report each other to the police.
We go back three days earlier, where Si Won and Dan Ji are in Seoul, scoping out the subway map. Si Won tells Dan Ji how to get to Moon Hee Jun’s house. Dan Ji worries for Si Won, because at least Moon Hee Jun comes out to greet fans, while Tony rarely comes out of his house.
Si Won replies in determination that she’s not returning to Busan if she does not see Tony.
Staked out in front of Tony’s house is a group of fans, all waiting for Tony’s arrival from America.
Just then, the fan girls scream out, “Pocari!” referring to Tony’s sports car (Tony actually had a similar car with the same nickname in 1997) and they all rush to the star, who tells his fans that he’s going to be inside his house for awhile and not to wait outside.
Si Won doesn’t hear, and she asks a nearby fan what’s up in her best Seoul accent. But the fan says he didn’t say much.
Si Won continues to camp outside of Tony’s house, fighting off mosquitoes and sleeping in giant boxes, while wiping her face with wet tissues and eating instant noodles at a nearby convenience shop.
But after not seeing Tony’s face, she gets desperate and climbs the wall.
She actually makes it over and creepily sneaks up to the front door.
Tony appears at the door and the two scare each other. Tony tries to close the door, but Si Won grabs on, saying she’s from Busan. Tony replies in an annoyed voice, “I came from America!” and closes the door.
Si Won becomes angry, yelling at the door that this isn’t right.
“Sung Si Won, imagine how scared oppa was. You became a burden for oppa. What were you thinking climbing over? He’s probably really tired. Imagine how bothersome I was. How can you see oppa’s face again?”
She sits on the steps crying, when a voice cries out, “Hey! Busan!”
Tony signs the back of Si Won’s shirt and tells her not to wait outside his house again. He worriedly asks if she has the money to go back to Busan.
As Si Won cries in happiness and shame, she tells Tony that she loves him. Tony smiles and pats her on the head, telling her not to cry.
Back in Busan, Papa Sung tells Si Won to care for her father as much as that monkey. Mama Sung retorts, “How can you do that to a girl’s head?” The dad replies, “Hey, she still has to go to school!”
We turn to Si Won….and see the disaster that her father created: Si Won’s beautiful long hair, butchered.
From Si Won’s bad hair day in 1997 to the high school reunion in 2012, Yoo Jung is trying to buy tickets to Ulala Session’s concert. She complains that if she knew, she would have bought the tickets online the moment it came out.
Si Won replies that she didn’t know you could do that and the two reminisce about how hard it was to get concert tickets in the good ol’ days, when they had to wait in line all night outside the bank.
“Fans these days have it way too easy,” says Si Won.
Just then, K2’s Love Unowned seeps into the restaurant and Si Won remarks that this is Yoon Jae’s song. Yoon Jae smiles and reminisces about the memories behind this song.
In 1997, Yoon Jae is checking his pager message, informing him that he has a music present. K2’s Love Unowned plays, and Yoon Jae checks the mysterious sender, whose ID is 1004 (or angel).
At the Sung House, Papa Sung is bickering about food again, asking if they ran out of the kimchi his mother sent, since he can’t eat without that kimchi.
Mama Sung tells him to just eat and Papa Sung goes on a rampage about how easy it is to just call up his mom and ask her how she’s doing. Then he wouldn’t have to sit at the table, kimchi-less. Mama Sung angrily clears the table, telling him to go to his mommy’s and eat.
Papa Sung starts bawling for his poor mother, as Si Won drags Yoon Jae, who came for breakfast, out of the house.
Yoon Jae automatically assumes her parents are fighting because of her and he scolds her saying, if she was his daughter, he would have just shaven her entire head.
Si Won is ticked off that even Yoon Jae is lecturing her, especially when she’s already annoyed that her parents were fighting.
On their way to school, they meet up with Joon Hee, who comments that Si Won’s hairstyle is like Audrey Hepburn’s.
Si Won tells Joon Hee about her parents’ constant scuffles and says she’s going to somehow make it illegal for people in the Gyeonsangdo and Jeollado provinces to get married (People in Gyeongsang-do and Jeolla-do see each other as rivals and pretty much hate each other).
Joon Hee continues to sympathize with Si Won as Yoon Jae says it’s because Si Won does thoughtless things. Joon Hee offers to buy her snacks at the school store and Si Won grins at Joon Hee, while calling Yoon Jae a (stupid) bear.
In the classroom, Sung Jae is toying with his Tamagotchi (raise your hand if you had one!), who doesn’t poop a lot but keeps him awake at night.
Yoon Jae sits at his desk deep in thought and annoyed.
Meanwhile, Joon Hee tells Si Won that Yoo Jung seems to want to be friends again. Si Won replies that she’s not entirely mad about Yoo Jung becoming a Sech Kies fan, but more upset that Yoo Jung had kept it a secret from her.
Then she sees Yoo Jung in the hallway. Yoo Jung dramatically takes off her hat to reveal her new short hairstyle.
“For my friend, I cut my hair,” says Yoo Jung.
The two stare at each other as smiles spread across their faces. Sung Jae then walks by, saying, “You must be filming a commercial.”
(Hilariously, this scene is actually a parody of a very famous snack commercial in the late 90’s. Take a look at it below!)
After cutting off her locks, Yoo Jung and Si Won are friends again.
Unfortunately for Sung Jae, he’s on weekly duty and is picking up everyone’s chores from erasing the board, outlining the soccer field, answering difficult math problems and distributing milk to his classmates.
He collapses at his desk as the teacher enters with a new transfer student from Seoul.
His name is Do Hak Chan (Eun Ji Won), who moved to Busan because his father, an army officer, was transferred there. Sung Jae, as the weekly duty officer, is assigned to take Hak Chan on a tour around the school.
At the lunch bell, all the girls rush out of the classroom to line up at the payphone.
A message from Moon Hee Jun announcing the release of H.O.T’s second album has Si Won and the other girls ecstatically screaming. Even Yoo Jung is excited.
Yoon Jae, who is passing by, asks if Si Won had sent him the music present with the ID ‘1004.’ Si Won asks if he’s crazy and walks away.
Sung Jae is lazily taking Hak Chan on a school tour, not even trying to explain everything. He leaves Hak Chan in the hallway with the milk cart and tells him to wait while he gets the attendance folder. When he returns, he finds Hak Chan being scolded by a teacher.
It turns out Sung Jae had spilled milk all over the hallway, and Hak Chan took the blame for it. After that, Sung Jae sees Hak Chan in a new light.
Si Won and her entourage are in the cafeteria, eating instant noodles and coffee milk. Si Won raves about waiting for the release of the second album early in the morning.
Yoon Jae doesn’t understand the concept of waiting early in the morning when she has already reserved a copy and can get it at any time. As he’s saying this, he and Si Won take turns, sipping on her coffee milk.
When Si Won gets annoyed by Yoon Jae’s pessimism, she tells him to drink his own coffee milk. Yoo Jung offers him her own, and Yoon Jae takes out her straw and drinks from the carton.
Sung Jae excitedly joins the group, telling them about Hak Chan, the new transfer student who’s ready to take Yoon Jae’s spot as the most popular student.
He lists stories about Hak Chan, including how he stabbed a bully with a mechanical pencil, drank with his classroom teacher and his impressive porn collection. “He even personally goes to Japan to get porn videos!”
The entire time, Joon Hee is clueless, leaving the other guys frustrated at his innocence. Yoon Jae asks where he can meet him.
At Si Won’s house, Papa Sung is watching the results of the presidential election, when Mama Sung suddenly changes the channel. As expected, Papa Sung picks a fight with his wife, who shouts that watching the news does not change how society is run.
Si Won shakes her head and goes into her room silently.
The next day, Si Won waits outside the CD store with Joon Hee and tells him about her parents’ fights. She complains that Yoon Jae doesn’t even try to help, saying kids shouldn’t meddle in the affairs of adults.
Joon Hee says that it’s Yoon Jae’s charm to be passive and relaxed.
The CD store opens, and Si Won tells the owner her reservation number and birth date. She asks for the owner to keep playing H.O.T’s album all day.
Back at the house, Papa Sung is complaining about the breakfast table again. This time, the menu is seaweed soup, which is slippery and a connotation for slipping up and making a mistake. Papa Sung is disturbed that every time he has a baseball game, Mama Sung serves this dish.
They start another fight and puts Yoon Jae in an awkward situation, as he rushes out of the house away from the arguing couple.
At school, Si Won and Joon Hee are enjoying the new H.O.T album and Joon Hee brings up the fact that Yoon Jae likes listening to the singer K2. Si Won replies that he’s old school and they have nothing in common.
Joon Hee remarks that Yoon Jae still tries hard to fit her wishes, which Si Won thinks is the other way around. She starts talking about all of Yoon Jae’s negative factors and pickiness, which Joon Hee finds intriguing and says, “You sure know a lot about Yoon Jae.”
Yoon Jae, who is walking behind them, has an angry look on his face, but it’s uncertain if he heard the entire conversation.
Si Won is already well-immersed into H.O.T’s new album, as she bursts out singing the group’s new song, Wolf and Sheep. Yoon Jae enters the classroom, carrying Si Won’s lunch pail, and all the girls freak out, except for Si Won.
Yoon Jae asks again if ‘1004’ is her multiple times, and Si Won repeats a firm no.
“Look at all the girls who are crazy about you.”
Yoon Jae leaves the classroom slightly disappointed and confused.
Another student in the classroom threatens Si Won not to date him, and Si Won coolly replies, “We’re testicle friends,” pretty much saying they grew up like brothers. That’s one way to describe your childhood buddy.
Si Won compliments Yoo Jung’s new hairstyle, saying it makes her look like actress Lee Seung Yeon. Yoo Jung returns by saying Si Won looks like model Kim Nam Joo. Yoon Jae glares at the two of them and says, “You both look ugly.”
Sung Jae brings over Hak Chan to the lunch table, but Hak Chan hesitates upon seeing Yoo Jung and Si Won.
He hesitantly walks over and sits at the ledge of the seat, next to Sung Jae. Sung Jae pushes Hak Chan to the girls’ side and Hak Chan barely sits, with his back towards the girls.
Yoo Jung and Si Won introduce themselves, but Hak Chan shakes and stutters, trying not to meet eyes with them. He looks like he’s ready to faint as Yoo Jung compliments Hak Chan’s long eyelashes and attempts to touch them.
Si Won narrates, “A charming gentleman image with strong charisma, excellent athletic abilities and even leadership. God has given Hak Chan everything. But being the fair God that He is, He forgot one thing. Do Hak Chan, who has learned about women through pornography, acts like a complete idiot when in front of real women.”
Si Won and Mama Sung watch the news that reports a victory for Papa Sung’s baseball team. Outside, Papa Sung is blaring his car horn and Mama Sung angrily dashes out, ready to start another fight.
Si Won sits at the computer, chatting with Joon Hee and tells him that her parents are probably fighting outside again. She excuses herself to try and make peace between them. Joon Hee says he’ll wait.
On her way out, Si Won calls for her parents in the most optimistic voice, complimenting both parents. She opens the car door….
Oh the horror.
And out comes Mama Sung, lying on top of Papa Sung.
An immediate shade of awkwardness falls down on top of Si Won as her parents also freeze up. Papa Sung whispers, “Go inside… go to your room.” Si Won quickly obeys, still in shock.
Si Won’s parents close the car door, and continue…
Oh my goodness. Poor Si Won. Traumatized forever.
Back in the chat room, Joon Hee worries about her parents and asks if he needs to report to the police. Si Won tries to avoid the conversation, but Joon Hee asks if it’s a secret.
Si Won replies that it’s a secret and she’ll never tell anyone.
Joon Hee suggests that they exchange secrets and Si Won replies that her secret is definitely bigger than his. Joon Hee disagrees.
Si Won finally tells Joon Hee, “I saw my parents…doing it.”
An awkward response comes back from Joon Hee.
“See, I told you mine was big,” says Si Won.
Si Won narrates, “Other people’s secrets tell the truths that I did not know. And when I find out that the truths that I thought I knew are false, the secrets become even stronger.”
On the blue screen of the computer appears Joon Hee’s reply. “Truthfully….. I like [you]…”
Si Won’s eyes widen as she stands up in shock.
She narrates, “I wonder how much of what I believe is true, is actually true.”
Si Won and Mama Sung are watching television together, but the mother and daughter exchange stiff conversations, trying to be on each other’s good sides.
Si Won’s dad arrives home with Si Won’s favorite ice cream cone, creating a forced happy atmosphere.
But as Mama Sung hands the ice cream cone to Papa Sung, it falls directly on his crotch, and awkwardness takes over again as Si Won excuses herself to her room.
At Yoon Jae’s house, he’s still trying to figure out who ‘1004’ is as he listens to K2’s song.
Flashback takes us back to the CD store after Si Won got her H.O.T. tape. The owner asks for Joon Hee’s birth date, and Joon Hee replies, “October 4. 1-0-0-4.”
The owner remarks that the birth date spells out ‘angel,’ as Joon Hee smiles.
Back to the chat room, Joon Hee types, “Truthfully…” and we see that Joon Hee actually typed, “I like Yoon Jae.”
“A person’s heart is unlimited.
You can’t know how deep it is or where it ends
Even though you fight and are ready to kill each other,
You end up being affectionate as if nothing happened
Even the most confident men can end up becoming idiots in front of the opposite sex.
Yes, the truth is uncomfortable.
But if we don’t address the discomfort of the truth, we’ll have to live as the humans who believe something fake is actually real.
We must embrace the uncomfortable truth as well. Things aren’t always what they seem.”
Returning to the 2012 reunion, Si Won takes a picture of Hak Chan to see what celebrity he looks like. Not-so-surprisingly, Hak Chan’s results show 100% Eun Ji Won. Hak Chan becomes disgusted by his results, saying that it sucks. Sung Jae replies that Hak Chan really looks like Eun Ji Won.
Joon Hee tells them to stop, since Hak Chan really hates being compared to Eun Ji Won, who acts like an elementary student at his age.
Si Won tells the boys to gather around for a photo since super star Eun Ji Won is at the table.
Yoon Jae brings Joon Hee closer to him, and Joon Hee puts up a V-sign.
Mystery Couple?: Joon Hee and Yoon Jae
Well this episode just blew our minds with the huge twist at the end.
It was expected, since Seo In Guk did reveal that Hoya’s character is by far the most surprising character on the show, but never in our minds did we imagine Joon Hee to be gay—even though all the little hints were there: his motherly, I-need-to-make-sushi-rolls-for-my-friends kinds of hints.
It was definitely surprising, but we think this little twist in the plot will make the story more interesting, especially since it broadens the pool of candidates set to make their marriage announcement at the high school reunion.
And the plot thickens.
- Seo In Guk 20120802 Eun Ji Won 20120802 Jung Eun Ji (A Pink) 20120802 Hoya (Infinite) 20120802 Reply 1997 20120802