Time To Shine
Episode 7 of Navillera begins with Chae-Rok trying frantically to find Deok-Chool. At the aquarium he meets back up with Hae-Nam and tells her to stay put. He charges off in search of Deok-Chool but he’s not on the cameras. He has, however, wandered into the backrooms and got lost.
Thankfully a worker helps show him the way out, prompting Deok-Chool to walk casually back through the winding corridors to find Hae-Nam.
Eventually they all reconvene where they started, with Hae-Nam unhappy with her husband and berating him for leaving everyone worried. As a token of her gratitude, Hae-Nam drops off some money for Chae-Rok to get a cab home.
Meanwhile, Eun-Ho feeds back to her parents that she’s got a new job – she’s going to work as a freelancer. At the radio station, she sneaks in and takes a seat.
She nervously listens to her employer, who tells Eun-Ho she needs to do everything she can to make the host’s life easy. She’s also in charge of bringing in food and doing chores for everyone else. Hardly the glamorous start she was expecting but it’s at least a foot on the ladder.
Meanwhile, Chae-Rok continues to help Dook-Cheol, encouraging him to point his toes and helping the man with his various moves. Mr Ki eventually takes Chae-Rok aside and talks to him about the past.
It’s here we see a particularly difficult performance back in 2016 that changed Ki’s life forever. He was told he’d never dance again. It’s a sickening blow, one that sees him desperate to prove the doctors wrong.
Spinning constantly, his determination and courage eventually leads him to break down and begin sobbing. It’s around this time that he met Chae-Rok. Since then, he’s been determined to help Chae-Rok and dance through him. Mr Ki implores him not to make the same mistake he did and quit the competition for now.
Chae-Rok heads out, thinking over what he’s learned, as he speaks to So-Ri about how it feels not being able to dance anymore. She claims hard work alone isn’t enough but does tell him that Mr Ki has a lot of faith and wants to support him.
Well, Chae-Rok is torn and eventually speaks to Deok-Chool about his conundrum. Given he’s already told his Father he was going to compete, he doesn’t want to back out now. However, Dook-Cheol knows full well how this feels, especially given he himself was forced into the slow road to recovery and unable to be a mailman for a while.
It took Deok-Chool a year but he kept going and eventually was able to be a mailman again. This story is enough for Chae-Rok to make his choice and dip out of this competition and work toward the next one.
When DeoK-Chool returns to the neighbourhood, many people have opinions of his ballet, including one driver who calls him a silly old man for even attempting to do this. Deok-Chool takes these words to heart when he heads back to the studio again. As he watches Chae-Rok’s graceful moves, Deok-Chool struggles to pull off moves without the bar.
Mr Ki meanwhile, watches this take place and eventually decides to take Deok-Chool up to the ballet studio. There, he sees numerous other dancers and starts to learn some tricks of the trade. At the same time, Hae-Nam heads out with Seong-Gwan, buying the latter his birthday cake since everyone else has forgotten about him.
Among those in attendance at the studio is a wheelchair-bound lady. It turns out she used to dance Swan Lake. 10 years ago she had an accident that set her back and stopped her dancing. At least at first glance anyway.
This lady can definitely still dance, using her wheelchair as a tool to enhance her dancing. This is enough for Deok-Chool to see the error of his ways and decide to keep dancing.
In fact, everyone in the studio encourages him to take to the stage and dance himself. Although he’s initially hesitant to, Deok-Chool shows what he’s learned so far. It’s a beautiful performance, one that really shows how ballet is all about heart and emotion.
Running late, Deok-Chool takes off back home. When he does, he accidentally leaves his journal behind. When Chae-Rok reads the words, he sees in the front he’s written “My name is Deok-Chool and I have Alzheimer’s.”
The Episode Review
Our biggest fears have come true. Although all the signs have been there from the start, the reveal that Deok-Chool has Alzheimer’s still hits incredibly hard. From the moving performance to the end montage, there are some real tear-jerking moments here and it’s hard not to be overcome by emotion at these moments.
As someone whose family has a history of Dementia and Alzheimer’s, this story really hits home and for many other families I’m sure, this horrible disease is such a nasty, slow-moving killer that rips apart everything that makes a person unique.
The entire episode has some really interesting juxtaposing ideas here with the first half of the episode revolving around that desire to be patient and wait for the opportune moment to hit the spotlight.
By contrast, the second half shows that Deok-Chool has little time – in fact he’s desperate to try and shine before his light goes out. This synchronized dance of ideas works so well together and these two characters are surprisingly similar in the way they present themselves. Not to mention their tenacity to succeed no matter what.
This is such a beautiful drama and its simplicity lies in big themes and easy character arcs that combine to make for one heck of an emotional rollercoaster.
The preview for tomorrow’s episode looks like it’s going to be every bit as emotional as this one. It may be worth getting the tissues ready before watching!