Pencil, Pen & Pine
Episode 8 of Navillera begins with that devastating reveal about Deok-Chool. It’s a tough pill to swallow, and one that solidifies that our protagonist has limited time. Chae-Rok now knows this too and soon hurries out the ballet studio, ringing Deok-Chool and trying to get through to him.
Getting nowhere, he heads up to Deok-Chool’s place but finds Eun-Ho outside. She invites him in, where the whole family are gathered for Seong-Gwan’s party. Now they all realize he’s the ballet instructor. Seong-San obviously knows who he is, especially after the spilt water situation earlier in the season.
When Deok-Chool does eventually show up, Chae-Rok tries to remain positive but can’t help but look at Deok-Chool sadly across the table. Eun-Ho notices this too.
The conversation soon turns to Deok-Chool’s performance, and how he was applauded in the studio. While they all smile and cheer, Chae-Rok eventually talks to Seong-Gwan outside and wishes him a happy birthday.
Eun-Ho shows though and takes his place, asking Chae-Rok just why he was staring at Deok-Chool. She senses something is going on and wants to know what. Chae-Rok refuses to disclose it though, eventually allowing Deok-Chool to walk him to the bus stop. When he heads home, Chae-Rok finds himself reflecting on Deok-Chool’s moments of forgetfulness and wonders why he didn’t notice the signs earlier.
Meanwhile, Seong-Suk speaks to her Mother and – in the wake of Yeong-Il being a jobless politician – decides to stop trying for a baby. Hae-Nam is disappointed but tries not to let it affect her. That’s easier said than done though.
Chae-Rok however, is certainly affected by Deok-Chool – and can’t really hide it. He struggles to focus in the studio and finds himself burdened by Deok-Chool’s Alzheimer’s.
After practice, Deok-Chool invites his teacher to the bathhouse. Tentatively Chae-Rok agrees, scrubbing Deok-Chool’s back. While they’re together, he teases the old man that people will think of him as his grandson.
As they talk, Deok-Chool reflects on a moment with his Father, where they visited a bathhouse together and he told Deok-Chool he was sorry. This is similar to what Chae-0Rok is going through, and the two bond over this.
After leaving the bathhouse, Deok-Chool starts to walk home. Chae-Rok follows from afar though, determined to make sure he gets home okay. After a slight wobble midway, Deok-Chool makes it.
Chae-Rok finds himself conflicted over whether to tell Eun-Ho about her Grandfather or not. Eventually he decides not to but advice from Sang-Su allows Chae-Rok to liken Deok-Chool to a striker in football and let him overcome his own obstacles.
Speaking of football (soccer), Mu-Yeong finds himself conflicted and asks Coach Shin if he can go to Seoul. He allows it too, with Mu-Yeong determined to at least try to be a good Father and be there for his son once.
Back at the ballet studio, Deok-Chool ducks out of training after forgetting something important. It’s his doctor’s appointment, and he hurries in to get an update. The doctor praises Deok-Chool for his note taking and implores Deok-Chool to tell his family what’s going on. When th doctor asks him memory-related questions, this triggers happy memories of his family.
On the back of this, Deok-Chool leaves and heads home. On the way he drops his notebook after bumping into someone. When Deok-Chool picks it back up, he struggles to clear the fog from his mind – and he doesn’t pick up his phone either.
While he’s outside, Ho-Beom and his gang see the old man confused and looking around. Ho-Beom snatches the man’s notebook and sees the message regarding his Alzheimer’s in the front. The other boys grab his bag and hold Deok-Chool back while he struggles to break free.
Chae-Rok immediately shows just as Ho-Beom realizes what’s happened. Chae-Rok shouts, prompting the other kids to turn their attention toward him. Eventually they decide to leave on Ho-Beom’s orders.
In order to remind him, Chae-Rok dances for Deok-Chool, something he remembers reading from his journal. Thankfully Deok-Chool remembers who he is and whispers Chae-Rok’s name.
The Episode Review
Navillera returns and bows out this week’s double bill with an episode that sees Deok-Chool’s memory start to deteriorate. It’s perhaps obvious that this would happen but it’s still setting up some tough scenes to watch.
Seeing Ho-Beom and his gang outside with Deok-Chool was quite an unnerving moment but thankfully Chae-Rok arrived to save the day. In fact, this scene could well have lasting ripples for Ho-Beom’s fate too.
His stares toward Chae-Rok as he danced for Deok-Chool seems to point toward admiration and surprise. That could just be the way I interpreted it though, but it seems like it could well be the spark that sees him actually make some meaningful changes in his life.
The preview for next week looked pretty heavy as well, and I think it’s safe to say Seong-Gwan is going to find out about Deok-Chool’s Alzheimer’s. In fact, when the family do find out this is setting up some emotional scenes to come and the series has really leaned into its poignancy in the past couple of episodes.
The pockets of comedy and showing how kind Deok-Chool is only reinforces that, and actually goes all the way back to the opening episode too. It’s clear Chae-Rok and Deok-Chool need each other in different ways, and this symbiotic bond has been beautifully captured across this season.
It’s certainly heavy stuff but it does make for a really beautiful drama – and one of the bigger surprises this year.