University, University, University!
Episode 15 of A Love So Beautiful begins with Jin-Hwan in the hospital as his friends visit. Ha Young arrives noticeably late but Jin-Hwan avoids speaking to her, as everyone feels the discomfort. She offers him class notes but he says he doesn’t need them.
Nearly home, Heon and Sol-I run into Geon and their mother. Geon mentions KEIST University where Heon will likely go and that you have to be quite smart to get in. Sol-I isn’t sure where she’ll attend.
She speaks to Ms Moon about her prospects and is told she can get into a local college – if she works hard, it’s not too late. Ms Moon is certain she’s misheard – Sol-I couldn’t have mumbled KEIST.
Dae-Sung’s x-rays show that it’s less about competitively swimming now but lasting damage to his shoulder. He asks the doctor and his father to support his bid to join the national team, but the doctor refuses to prescribe painkillers. In the pool, he’s feeling the pain and his father takes note.
Jin-Hwan spots Ha Young outside his hospital room and gets the nurse to tell her he’s been discharged, but she gives it away. Ha Young leaves, following his wishes.
Mr Lee says goodbye to the teachers and staff and even the Dean thanks him. Ha Young says goodbye and he tells her to get in touch if she ever visits the US.
Sol-I consoles Ha Young but also notes something is missing without Jin-Hwan. Sol-I talks about the distance to KEIST and that Heon is likely going there. Two hours is nothing compared to travelling to the US, says Ha Young.
Dae-Sung shows up and drinks half the carton of chocolate milk Sol-I had bought for Heon. Sol-I offers Heon her unopened carton but he takes the half-full one instead, glaring at Dae-Sung in challenge.
Dae-Sung and Heon continue the stare-down at the pool hall where Sol-I watches them compete. It’s beginners’ luck versus honed-practice as Dae-Sung plays to impress. Heon can’t watch as Dae-Sung starts to teach Sol-I to play. She wants to stay but he drags her out, so she goes along.
Sol-I asks if it was his first time playing pool and he confirms it was. She carries on about how well he did but manages to upset him talking about much better Dae-Sung was – because he’s such a great athlete. He covers her mouth as they walk.
Cleaning time in the classroom and most of the boys are fooling around. Sol-I cleans the boards and Dae-Sung makes to wipe chalk from her face but Heon dives in, telling her Ms Moon asked to see her. Dae-Sung realises he’s getting to Heon.
Ms Moon can’t recall asking for Sol-I but says they’ll speak later, as she’s in a meeting. Sol-I overhears Coach tell Ms Moon that Dae-Sung’s swimming career is in danger.
Sol-I takes Dae-Sing out to dine and he’s beyond pleased. She asks about his injury but he says its no big deal – he’s Marine Boy Woo Dae-Sung. She’s happy, saying he’s the coolest when he’s swimming. He disagrees, noting he’s good at everything and sports requires brains too. Is that so? They agree to study together.
Heon is waiting outside, claiming he was out shopping for Geon. Full of questions, he’s surprised to hear that she and Dae-Sung have agreed to study hard. She notes that Heon will easily get in wherever he wants to study but he strokes her face, saying he may not get in.
Flashback to Heon studying books on how to play pool. Well, he is good at math.
The Episode Review
They should have called this instalment ‘Stare Down.’ There’s some obvious rivalry now and both Dae-Sung and Heon go all-in on impressing Sol-I. I’m not sure if she hasn’t noticed yet or keen to not count her chickens. Either way, enjoy the moment Sol-I.
Conversely, poor Jin-Hwan. Not only is he trapped in the hospital by himself and getting stuck with needles, but he’s also nursing his crushed feelings. At first, I thought they’d backtracked to before his announcement to Ha Young – the return to his normal hairstyle confused me. And the fact that he’s avoiding her so adamantly, like after he’d found about her crush on Mr Lee. But it looks like she has not yet responded to his declaration so he’s now embarrassed. That stings. I can sympathise with his not wanting to hear her awkward or adamant let down; the one he knows is coming.
Of course, Ha Young has her own emotions to deal with as Mr Lee has fallen on his sword and says his last goodbye. He must have realised she had feelings for him and gallantly says he’ll meet her if she ever visits the US. A lovely way to close out an infatuation.
Sol-I has finally realised her misstep in not taking her schoolwork seriously. Not only are her chances for a good secondary education impacted, but more critically, her ability to remain in proximity to Heon.
Dae-Sung’s shoulder – argh. We knew this was coming. By referring to it as his ‘old injury’ that at least tells us that we’re not crazy – those of us who thought we may have missed something, anyway. But it sucks to think he’s so close to joining the national team and may not be able to realise his dream. Of course, once he joins the team, there would be more swimming. Or would they take over his shoulder care? We’ll have to wait and see what he and his father decide and where that leads.
I almost forgot that this drama spans high school to adulthood. What do you think about the characters’ ability to evolve? I’m not just talking a change of stylist here, but to mature to the point of taking responsibility for their own lives. Nine episodes to go – anyone stand out to you one way or the other?