Episode 15 of Our Beloved Summer starts with Ji-ung reflecting on his past. Staying up to wait for his mum, he excitedly tells her he’s made a new friend. Only, she’s completely disinterested and tells him to go to bed instead.
This is a harsh reminder of how he’s craving affection from her and receiving nothing. This is only exacerbated by Choi-Ung’s close relationship with his parents, with Ji-ung observing their closeness. Most of Ji-Ung’s childhood he’s grown up feeling alone.
Ji-Ung’s mum blames her son for living a pathetic life, which she admits to him while drinking soju one night. It’s disgusting and heartbreaking, and completely understandable why Ji-Ung has turned out the way he has. Personally, it would have been nice to receive this flashback 10 episodes ago but it’s an important scene to understanding his character nonetheless.
In the present, we skip back to Choi-Ung who heads out and buys some nice gifts for Yeon-Su. When he returns home, she happens to be asleep on the sofa. As she wakes up, Choi-Ung gives her the gifts he’s bought, putting emphasis on how long he waited at the shop. Yeon-Su decides they should hang out together, watching random TV and drawing Jjongjong.
Choi-ung continues to spoil her, buying boxes full of gifts for Yeon-Su. Eun-ho worries that too many gifts could be overwhelming but he’s not deterred. However, the big drive here is Choi-ung’s exhibit, which is coming up very soon.
Yeon-Su is going to hold off and visit on the final day, making sure she doesn’t take the limelight away from him, given her relationship with him.
Meanwhile, Sol-Yi continues to grow affectionate over Eun-Ho. He fails to see the signs though, despite talking softly to him and playing with her hair. Anyway, when he hands over the invitation, we skip across to NJ who also contemplates whether to go to the exhibit or not.
Ji-Ung throws himself into his work. He’s been unhealthily obsessing over the documentary for a while now but here we understand why. He obviously doesn’t want to return home, given his mum’s diagnosis and Chae-Ran is worried. Ms. Lee convinces her to give him some space but things are hitting Ji-Ung hard.
Chae-Ran eventually sits down with Ji-Ung and calls him out for moping. She believes that all of this is because of Yeon-Su, unaware of what’s happening with his mum. He’s standoffish and refuses to open up. Eventually he smiles thinly and thanks her for worrying. However, it doesn’t do anything to quell her feelings for him.
The exhibition goes ahead and after ringing Yeon-Su just before, Choi-ung faces the press and greets all the different visitors who marvel at his work.
This exhibit is the talk of the town, with two of Yeon-Su’s colleagues discussing how good it was. In the background, she notices two schoolkids running about and it makes her reminisce on school moments with Choi-ung in the library. Eventually Yeon-Su admits to the pair that Choi-ung is her boyfriend.
On the final day, Yeon-Su heads to the exhibition but NJ shows up first. The thing is, she’s actually bought all the tickets for herself and that certainly catches Choi-ung off-guard. She shakes hands with him as a sign of their friendship, pointing out that making an impression is far more her jam than actually spending a lot of time together. Okay then.
It catches Choi-Ung off-guard, and that’s just as well because Yeon-Su isn’t able to reach the exhibition on time. Her grandmother is ill and she’s called away to hospital. There’s a really beautiful but heart wrenching moment in the hospital, as Yeon-Su’s grandmother encourages Yeon-Su to keep people close to her and enjoy her life. She also tells Yeon-Su not to live like she has.
In her absence, Choi-ung speaks to Nu-A, who shows up at the exhibition and scoffs at Choi-Ung’s lack of advancement. He openly admits to stealing his paintings too.
Eun-Ho eventually rocks up and promises to tell the reporters everything. The thing is, Nu-A’s words cut deep, as he claims to pity Choi-ung and scoffs at how empty the paintings are.
Choi-Ung swallows hard before eventually heading out for drinks with Ji-Ung. Despite them being friends, Ji-Ung’s absence from the exhibition has certainly annoyed him. When he finds out Ji-Ung’s mum is going to pass away, Choi-ung’s mood changes instantly. Ji-Ung admits he doesn’t feel sad about his mum’s death, which obviously raises a myriad of emotions for him.
When Choi-Ung heads home, he finds Yeon-Su sitting outside on her own. She’s worried she’s ruined everything and apologizes. Choi-Ung reassures her though, telling Yeon-Su she’s not going to ruin anything, as she admits to being in so much pain. As Choi-ung holds her hands, the pair head inside together.
The Episode Review
Our Beloved Summer returns with a penultimate episode that sees pent-up emotions start to bubble over. Seeing Choi-Ung maturely tackle criticisms really shows how far his character has come, while Ji-Ung opening up about his mum and how he’s feeling is another positive step forward.
The flashbacks at the start of this episode really do help to show how awful Ji-Ung’s childhood has been. I’m not usually one to judge parents as I know how hard it is to raise kids, but my god, there’s no excuse for the cold way she’s treated Ji-Ung growing up. No wonder he doesn’t want to go home.
Despite that though, this is still Ji-ung’s mother we’re talking about and finding out she’s dying is hitting him harder than expected, given how conflicted he must feel – especially as he doesn’t feel sad.
This is captured really well in this series and Our Beloved Summer works well to portray that through Ji-ung throwing himself into his work.
There’s plenty of drama still to be resolved here though and with one final episode, everything is set for a big, dramatic conclusion tomorrow.