Dancing Swan Lake
Episode 9 of Navillera begins with Deok-Chool and Chae-Rok walking together after the incident last episode. Chae-Rok phones Hae-Nam and decides to head over for dinner. It’s obvious though he wants to spend more time with Deok-Chool and make sure he’s okay.
Seong-Gwan greets them outside, leading Chae-Rok to talk to him privately. Unsure what else to do, he opens up and admits that Deok-Chool has Alzheimer’s. The revelation hits like a sledgehammer to the heart, as Seong-Gwan is shocked by the news. In fact, Seong-Gwan decides to change the focus of his documentary to Deok-Chool instead.
Meanwhile, Ho-Beom finds himself conflicted over the news that Deok-Chool has Alzheimer’s too. While the rest of his gang play happily, he’s obviously torn over this. When he leaves the internet café, he finds himself face to face with Chae-Rok. He apologizes to his bully and tells Ho-Beom that he’s sorry for what happened earlier on between them.
The next day, Seong-Gwan heads over and reads Deok0-Chool’s notebook for himself. There, he sees the same words Chae-Rok did, confirming his worst fears. The doctor confirms it too when he heads over to visit. The horrible news here is that Alzheimer’s can suddenly worsen – which could be what we’re facing with Deok-Chool.
At the radio station, a beautiful message is read out by the host for Eun-Ho regarding her being a bright star. It’s a beautiful tribute and one that sees her struggling to hold back tears. Deok-Chool happens to listening to the radio at home, and he beams when this message is read out.
Anyway, Seong-Gwan shows and follows his Father to the studio. After getting changed, Chae-Rok continues to teach him the different positions. It’s a beautiful moment and one that sees Chae-Rok decide to step up the ballet to the next level. While they’re out eating, Chae-Rok uses Deok-Chool’s phone and installs a tracking app to keep an eye on him.
Deok-Chool heads out and buys Seong-Gwan a new pair of sandals. This is quite the symbolic act, given what we know about Seong-Gwan from the past. The shoes he’s wearing at the moment are the same ones that the blood splashed on after the surgery that’s been haunting his memory all this time.
Speaking of haunting, Chae-Rok finds himself conflicted over Deok-Chool’s condition, deliberating over the man’s wishes to soar. With Seong-Gwan filming, Chae-Rok teaches Deok-Chool the moves but takes a hard stance to push him further. This inevitably makes Seong-Gwan uncomfortable, believing he’s pushing his Dad too much.
Well, Seong-Gwan and Chae-Rok eventually head out for lunch. While they do, Deok-Chool speaks to the physio about his aching knees. He’s not exactly supportive and instead thinks Deok-Chool should just give up.
With a lot to think about, Deok-Chool heads back out to the studio where he sees Mr Ki in a meeting with Hwang Hui. This guy is well-acquainted to Chae-Rok and, of course, is a big ballet dancing star.
When he tells Deok-Chool to have fun, he likens his aspirations to a hobby – which Chae-Rok takes offence to. He follows Hwang Hui out and tells him this isn’t a hobby. For Deok-Chool this is his livelihood and passion.
Chae-Rok fights for De0k-Chool, begging Mr Ki to allow him a position to dance on stage. Eventually he agrees but this also means De0k-Chool needs to complete an audition first. When Deok-Chool finds out, he remains determined to dance Swan Lake.
Meanwhile, Mu-Yeong heads back into town and learns Ho-Beom was the one who injured Chae-Rok. However, he heads over to greet Chae-Rok at his place, cooking food and talking about his injury. Chae-Rok even suggests they head to the bathhouse together too. As the night draws on, Chae-Rok suggests his Father stick around and stay the night.
In the morning, Mu-Yeong arrives at the Billiards Club, confronting Ho-Beom. At the same time, Chae-Rok heads into toilets at the ballet club where he hears Deok-Chool telling himself to hold it together. Sitting on the toilet with his head in his hands, he looks up and sees Chae-Rok.
The Episode Review
Navillera is shaping up to be one of the best Korean dramas of the year. Given 2021 has given us some amazing titles already, Navillera looks to be another to add to the list. In fact, the show perfectly encapsulates all the best elements of a healing drama, with lots of poignancy and a really important message about following your dreams.
The hard work and perseverance angles feed into this too, with Deok-Chool and Chae-Rok the perfect symbiotic team in this ballet drama. This episode ultimately feels like a respite before tomorrow’s inevitable plunge into more dramatic territory, but it’s certainly no less enjoyable.
For now, Navillera bows out with another strong episode with some solid foundational work ahead of tomorrow’s follow up.