Episode 15 of My Liberation Notes picks up where we left off, with Gu confirming his name and talking about old times. Mi-Jeong brings up her mother passing, and admits she’s been waiting for him to call. But yet, it’s ironic that he should show up when she’s least expecting it.
They reflect on the simplicity of country life and how far they’ve come since then. In the midst of this, there’s a really nice narrative about irritating people can be too, which the pair connect over.
This time though it’s Gu who projects random thoughts that come into his head. This is certainly a changed setting compared to Sangpo though, with the pair heading out to Gwangchang Market, shopping and eating together.
Gu completely forgets the day and receives a call from Sam-Sik. As it’s Saturday, there’s something he needs to do. He asks Mi-Jeong to stay where she is, as he grabs a taxi and heads to the club.
Remember that woman who didn’t pay her bill? Well, she shows up kicking and screaming, with Gu ending up with a cut across his cheek. He’s absolutely livid and even more so when he finds money stashed under one of the sofas from his manager, who happens to have a gambling addiction.
When Gu returns, Mi-Jeong comments how he’s different now compared to 90 minutes back. She encourages him to find 5 minutes of joy a day, something that adds up slowly by little seconds of joy over time – that’s how she’s been surviving all this time.
However, both Mi-Jeong and Gu are going through issues. For Mi-Jeong, she’s still owed money from her ex who is currently on the verge of getting married. When she phoned and asked for her money, he berated her on the phone for over half an hour. In fact, it was so intense that she ended up smashing a glass in her hand.
Mi-Jeong, on the verge of hitting rock bottom, had every intention of ruining his wedding day but ironically, just before gaining her revenge, Gu phoned and she answered. Like fate, he managed to stop her from hitting rock bottom, just like he’s managed to do so many times in the past.
After a heavy night of drinking together, Mi-Jeong heads over to Gu’s place, where his hallway is lined with empty soju bottles, sticking up like boozy tombstones. Mi-Jeong questions how he’s living in this way, including how his apartment is freezing.
Gu simply shrugs it off, pointing out that as an alcoholic he doesn’t need much. Eventually though, the pair end up sleeping together in the same bed, facing one another.
Elsewhere, Gi-Jeong is still with Tae-Hun but there are clear tensions here, especially as she refuses to go to church with the others. Some of this stems from the graduation photos that are coming up, as Gi-Jeong is stuck in the middle of this family squabble about whether she should be in the photos or not.
Poor Yu-Rim is forced to listen to all of this, especially as Tae-Hun and Gyeong-Seon bicker outside church.
There’s a really nice moment about growing older nestled in the middle of this, disguised as somewhat of a lesson as Gi-Jeong runs her mouth in a restaurant about growing up and how audacious it would be to get married at the age of 50.
Gi-Jeong eats a slice of humble pie when a group of 50 year olds tell her about what it’s like to grow older, and how we all have the same worries and fears regardless of age.
Although Gi-Jeong feels bad for speaking ill of her elders, they shrug it off all the same. That night though, she ends up looking at a pregnancy test in the convenience store but unfortunately Yu-Rim shows up and notices her.
Gi-Jeong is quick to point out she’s not pregnant but there’s clear hostility here from the youth, who barely says two words to her. This puts Tae-Hun in a difficult position when he finds out, and invites Gi-Jeong out for dinner that night to discuss it.
Meanwhile, Chang-Hee is actually in charge of the convenience store now. He’s sympathetic to his fellow employees. Chang-Hee has also paid off his loan too, mustering the strength conjured from Gu’s wisdom about the mountains and stacking those tiny coins as a way of maintaining his discipline.
Chang-Hee rings his father after making the final payment, letting him know the good news. He wants to head down and see him the next weekend but Je-Ho shrugs it off, claiming they’ll talk soon.
Chang-Hee’s façade of keeping it together though is just that though, as we soon see at the end of the episode. Hyeon-A is a woman that needs to be with someone toxic and now that she’s in a happy relationship with Chang-Hee, she can’t feel complete.
It’s a heartbreaking reveal as we see Chang-Hee trying to be civil and calm, but watching as Hyeon-A walks out once more. Remember that metaphor earlier about the mountain and one-won coins? Well, Chang-Hee likens himself to the mountain rather than the coin.
Speaking of discipline, Gu is brought in before Chairman Shin and questioned over his recent behaviour. The boss admits he liked Gu because he’s easy to work with and he used to drink quietly and get on with it.
However, after beating one of his managers, Shin admits that drink is now starting to become a problem here. “You’re not as thorough as you were before.” He admits. He also tells Gu to try and kick his alcohol addiction.
Off the back of this, Gu speaks to Mi-Jeong and offers her a part-tim job; 10 sessions to hear him talk. It’s clear that she could be the cure he needs to try and get him healthy again, and we’ve seen this work over in Sangpo during the past too.
As they head back to Gu’s apartment, with a heater on and bottles of soju, he reflects on how he really did like her for real. Later on, after breaking up, he became a real mess. There’s a lovely moment between the two here as the cuddle up together, and it’s one of the highlights of the whole episode.
That night, Tae-Hun heads out for his dinner with Gi-Jeong but on the way home, he admits he made a mistake when he finds out she’s had her period.
It’s awkward, especially when he realizes that all this means the family have been essentially gossiping behind Gi-Jeong’s back. She shrugs it off but back home, decides to cut her hair and make a change.
The Episode Review
Is Gi-Jeong cutting her hair a symbol of her cutting her baggage and moving onto a new stage of her life? It’s something I’ve wondered while watching this as we’ve seen Mi-Jeong cut her hair and essentially become a different version of herself, someone far more assured and calm compared to what we saw when she was living in Sangpo. And she’s siling too!
Chang-Hee’s continued insightful dialogues make for a really fascinating watch and seeing this mountain and coin metaphor return is a nice way of tying the past to the present. Not only that but Chang-Hee’s discussion about the neighbourhoods is an amusing but intriguing bit of commentary too.
Finally we get Gu and Mi-Jeong open up and embrace one another just like they should have done in the past and it makes the wait for this all the sweeter. Those moments over at Gu’s apartment were by far the best of the whole episode.
Although there isn’t a whole lot of actual plot development, we do deepen the character ties and understand where everyone is mentally, which sets up a very strong foundation moving into the final episode. Quite what will happen there is anyone’s guess but judging by this episode, it should close out nicely what’s been one of this year’s best K-dramas!