Episode 5 of My Liberation Notes returns to where we left off, in the hot, sticky sun with Mr Gu making the big jump across the gap. Mi-Jeong’s sunhat is retrieved and he goes right on back to working. What an absolute dude. Chang-Hee even thinks about jumping too but chickens out at the last minute, realizing how wide that gap actually is. However, he remains fixated on Mr Gu and his athletic skills, trying to work out if he has history in the Olympics. Eventually Gu tells him to drop it; he just wants to rest.
Meanwhile, Gi-Jeong undergoes her surgery but she’s under strict instructions to hide her face and to keep away from sunlight. Chang-Hee and the guys are shocked when they see her, wondering just what she’s done. As Gi-Jeong mentions herself, it’s “under construction.”
Chang-Hee also, predictably, continues rambling on about Gu and how amazing he is. His jump has inspired him, given he’s realized that Mr Gu is a special guy. Apparently Gu looks over at the mountain, thinking about how you could stack up 7.7 billion coins and reach the summit. Why that number? Well, Chang-He deduces that this must be to do with the world’s popular and converting everyone to currency.
Chang-Hee’s mother sends him crashing back down to earth though, pointing out the joys of getting older, including having kids and starting a family – two things that “kids today” won’t understand given he’s destined to grow old alone. Chang-Hee bites back, claiming that she’s had 2 or 3 years of joy and then has been miserable. That doesn’t seem to be true though, especially when she checks out old photos and affectionately looks at Chang-Hee in the past. When she hears them arguing, she repeats that he’s just bigger now. There’s definitely an element of denial going on here!
Mi-Jeong is still feeling sad that night though, trying to give herself positive reinforcement, “I’m a great person, I won’t ask to be loved,” she says, over and over. Mi-Jeong heads over to the shop and buys some soju for Mr Gu. It also saves him a trip.
When Mi-Jeong hands it over Mr Gu, she broaches the subject of worshipping her, pointing out her promise that they’d be different people by spring time. She likens it to a leap of faith (something we’ve already seen Mr Gu do last episode!)
Gi-Jeong continues to deliberate over Tae-Hun and eventually messages Cho Gyeong-Seon, wanting to know about the lottery tickets. She tries to get him to talk but speaks through Gyeong-Seon, learning that none of the tickets were winners. That, unfortunately, means she has no way of talking to him anymore.
With the allure of love worn off, Gi-Jeong stumbles back home again after drinking, using all of her might to make it back to her bed. She can’t eve muster up the strength to get up and wash up. “I wish there was a machine that could pick you up and wash you.” She thinks, as a giant robot picks her up and carries her out. Of course, this is all a dream but it’s also clearly what she desires too.
Chang-Hee joins the other guys from Alpha Retail who all start talking about cryptocurrency and how they should put money in in the hopes of getting a big payday. Chang-Hee is encouraged to drop 10 million won in but he obviously doesn’t have that sort of money.
While he drinks, Chang-Hee talks about A-Reum (his talkative colleague that sits next to him at work) and how she makes him feel suffocated, like her eyes are soulless. The woman he talks to, Da-Yeon, listens and stifles a laugh as he talks about how she bores him to death. Then again, he too talks a lot.
Da-Yeon admits that she likes talking to him. “You’ve fallen for me.” He says to her cheekily. She replies flirtatiously, admitting that she perks up whenever he talks. Hearing this though causes him to feel embarrassed and he stops talking so much. Sparks fly between Chang-Hee and Da-Yeon as it seems to give Chang-Hee a newfound purpose – and something else to think about on the train ride home.
Da-Yeon constantly messages the group chat, clearly awaiting Chang-Hee to reply. The thing is, he’s thinking ahead to having kids and he’s already decided he’s not the type of man that can offer her that. He keeps dating girls without actually resolving this inner conflict, and so he’s already written this off before it’s even started. So instead, he listens to Sang-Mi for over an hour on the train, rambling on about her woes. All the while, Chang-Hee has his own. He dreams of being rich and having a sports car.
At work, the Liberation Club are encouraged to come up with a statement describing what they actually do. When they reply with blank stares, they’re encouraged to head off and keep a journal. This gets Tae-Hun thinking, reminiscing on his father who actually had his own and wrote out: “What does a man live for?” It’s an insightful question and one that allowed him to think differently about his father after that.
Mi-Jeong finishes work and notices Mr Gu leaving the shop, two bottles of soju in hand. She follows after him, asking about his day. Mr Gu admits he hasn’t had dinner yet. With her father in the fields nearby, Gu is frustrated and asks her what he can actually do. When Mi-Jeong heads inside, Mr Gu watches the house before eventually drinking again.
At work, Gi-Yeong starts talking about Tae-Hun with her boss, admitting she doesn’t go through the normal stages of romance. For her, it’s always love at first sight. Funnily enough, he too feels the same way, perking up when Gi-Yeong admits that loving takes your mind off the tiring commute.
After work the next day, Mr Gu is paid by his father and plucks up the courage to ask for her number. He hands it over without blinking, and he immediately messages Mi-Jeong. He tells her has money and asks her if she wants something to eat.
Now while this is going on, we link back to the Liberation Club, where Mi-Jeong had earlier started leaving diary entries for herself, written with the title “My Liberation Notes.” Within this, it discusses parts of Mi-Jeong’s life and how she wants to start living differently to how she has before. Mi-Jeong doesn’t truly love anything. She feels sorry for her parents, and dislikes her siblings.
As they walk home together, Gi-Yeong gets off the bus and notices the pair together, walking home. Gu and Mi-Yeong don’t talk and instead, separate slowly on the path back home. But it’s clear that this isn’t going to stay a secret for long.
The Episode Review
My Liberation Notes is fast becoming one of the best K-dramas this year. Yes I know that sounds like hyperbole but the show has a way of just echoing back to real problems for real people. These characters feel so authentic and whether it be Chang-Hee chasing more money and giving up on love before he’s started, believing he wouldn’t be a good dad, or Gi-Jeong obsessing over her looks and trying to find “the one”, these characters have so much depth to them.
This chapter does a great job visualizing dreams too, and specifically that of Chang-Hee and Gi-Jeong. For the latter, we see her dream up a robot that will just do everything for her, carrying her chivalrously through the house. This also gives a nod back to the idea of “worship”, which ties into Mi-Jeong.
Mi-Jeong’s story is fascinating and understanding how she doesn’t truly love anyone – but could feel that way with Mr Gu – is such a nice way of presenting their romance, and doing so with layers of depth the whole time.
The discourse in this drama about the pursuit of happiness is so raw and authentic, and it’s beautiful the way it ties into that idea of how romance can change everything. Hopefully all of our characters manage to obtain a happy ending and find their idea of paradise!