The Truth Hurts
Episode 13 of Record Of Youth begins with Jeong-Ha inviting Hae-Hyo into her house and encouraging him to be himself. She apologizes for crossing the line and tells him she shouldn’t have rung him.
Midway through talking, Hye-Jun rings and apologizes for not ringing before. He’s in Singapore now and wants a long phone chat – she, however, decides against it.
Hye-Jun continues to perform his lines on-set but those Behind The Scenes videos you sometimes see crop up in K-dramas begin to circulate. Specifically, rumours about Hye-Jun and Seo-A dating given their closeness on-set.
Min-Jae struggles to keep up with the press. She’s not the only one though, as Su-Man also comes under fire for not having a juicy enough story. This inevitably brings her to the reporters who originally covered the Charlie Jung story, specifically asking about the text messages Hye-Jun and Charlie shared.
With time to spare, Hye-Jun surprises Jeong-Ha at her studio. He tells her that he’s just friends with Seo-U and explains what’s going on.
Thankfully Jeong-Ha isn’t reading the news to help with her mental health. Just before Hye-Jun leaves, he invites her out to dinner with his Mum. Smiling, she agrees to go with them.
Given Hae-Hyo and Hye-Jun’s success, Jin-U worries that he’s falling behind in the pecking order with his friends. Just before the family continue their conversation however, Yeong-Nam arrives to discuss work. He tells Jang-Man not to believe the news articles coming out and asks him for another chance.
Back home, I-Young bemoans Hye-Jun’s drama roles and tells her son he should have been the one in the spotlight. While they discuss his past roles, Do-Ha pressures Tae-Su to look into Hae-Hyo’s follower situation.
Instead, Tae-Su heads to Min-Jae’s and discusses how he wants to work nicely together and resolve the situation involving the reporter. He apparently managed to talk them out of publishing photos of Jeong-Ha and Hye-Jun, which Min-Jae is grateful for.
After buttering her up, Tae-Su sets his sites on Gyeong-Jun at work instead. He tries to bribe the guy, calling him smarter than Hye-Jun and encouraging Gyeong-Jun to persuade Hye-Jun to switch agencies right under Min-Jae’s nose.
Back home, Gyeong-Jun continues to berate the online trolls, writing comments defending Hye-Jun. When Hye-Jun returns home, he hears what happened with Tae-Su and flies off the handle. He berates his brother for taking the obvious bribe and it ends with Gyeong-Jun walking away in a huff.
Do-Ha meanwhile refuses to let this follower count deal go. He’s looked into it further and feeds back what’s happened to Hae-Hyo. he knows the follower count is fake and decides he no longer needs Hae-Hyo anymore. As he walks away, Hae-Hyo realizes exactly what his Mother has done.
As he drives home, Jeong-Ha phones Hae-Hyo who promises to repay him for the new client he recommended. When I-Young returns home, Hae-Hyo finds out first-hand that she bought followers.
Her actions completely crush his self-esteem and embarrass him. It’s here she finally understands, seeing Hae-Hyo break down like this, what harm she’s done. Or so we thought. Instead of taking responsibility for her own actions, she instead blames her husband.
The next day, Hae-Na makes her Mother porridge but she snubs at the offer, berating her daughter for making food she doesn’t like. Instead, I-Young tasks Ae-Suk with making her own delicious dishes to comfort her.
Hae-Hyo rings Jeong-Ha asking to be comforted. He’s even waiting right outside her house too. She heads out with him and the pair sit on the swings together silently. Meanwhile, Hye-Jun messages Jeong-Ha but she’s left her phone indoors and doesn’t see his text.
The next day, Min-Ki rings his grandson to excitedly let him know he’s doing his commercial. He’s also approached by Jang-Sam who reveals what’s going on with work. He doesn’t want Yeong-Nam to hurt his shoulder any more, which is the reason he’s not working there.
To get his mind off things, Min-Ki brings Yeong-Nam along to his upcoming commercial. While he does, Hye-Jun heads into Tae-Su’s office and sees straight through his smiling façade. Just because Hye-Jun is successful now, he’s trying to get in his good books by going through Gyeong-Jun. It turns out Gyeong-Jun didn’t take the bribe, especially after being scammed in the past.
Gyeong-Jun’s online trolling comes back to bite him though. A police officer from the cyber division rings him and lets him know he’s been found out. Uh oh!
This brings him to Min-Jae’s office where Ji-A happens to be the officer in charge of this case. In order to settle things, he needs to write a letter of apology. Despite trying to weasel out of this, eventually he succumbs and agrees to do this.
The next day, Hye-Jun heads back on-set and receives a reply from Jeong-Ha regarding his unanswered “Are you still sleeping” message. She’s got a new client in Hae-Ji – which was set up by Hae-Hyo. Only, when Hye-Jun finds out that he’s done that, he clearly senses there’s something Jeong-Ha hasn’t told him.
Even worse, straight after the successful meeting Jeong-Ha phones Hae-Hyo – not Hye-Jun – to thank him. She promises to call Hye-Jun later and hangs up. Only… she doesn’t. Instead it’s up to Hye-Jun to chase her. She sounds disinterested though and eventually just messages him “home” in reply to his conversation opener.
Meanwhile, Min-Ki and Yeong-Nam have a heart to heart, with Min-Ki telling his son he wants to earn lots of money to make up for being a lousy father. Yeong-Nam struggles to hold back tears, eventually leading Min-Ki to proposition him and offer his son a job.
When Jeong-Ha returns home, Hye-Jun happens to be there already to surprise him. He chose to have dinner with her over attending a photo shoot. She brushes him off though, worried that paparazzi may be following him there.
As she mentions what would happen if they break up, Hye-Jun calls out his girlfriend for her words and actions. She claims to be “doing her best” and Hye-Jun apologises. Why? Why is he apologizing?
Anyway, the next day Hye-Jun heads back on-set and receives a call from Tae-Su. He warns about the upcoming headline, one that details Hye-Jun being the last person to speak to Charlie Jung before he died. As this is broadcast up across Korea, the episode comes to a close.
The Episode Review
With an episode packed full of drama, the mirroring of real-world elements (like the behind the scenes k-drama segments and overlapping hangul) add an element of realism to this one that make for an authentic slice of life series.
The lingering cracks between Hye-Jun and Hae-Hyo continue to widen but let’s discuss Jeong-Ha for a second. Last episode she started to show some dishonesty and this time she shows complete disinterest in Hye-Jun. He’s clearly devoted to her but she keeps blowing him off for Hae-Hyo.
Even worse, she decides to ring Hae-Hyo before her own boyfriend to let him know what’s going on with work. That’s made even worse when Hae-Hyo admits that Hye-Jun is giving him daggers.
Surely she would have wanted to ring Hye-Jun and diffuse the situation? To be honest, Hye-Jun can do better and perhaps he should get with the lady on-set at the drama. At least she’s acting her true self, unlike Jeong-Ha who keeps giving him the cold shoulder.
My boy Hye-Jun should be happy and clearly Jeong-Ha is not that person to reciprocate his love. Hye-Jun has done everything he can to juggle his hectic schedule with seeing her and to be honest, he’s done a pretty good job of it so far. Jeong-Ha is the one pushing him away.
While the first half has taken its time to get to the drama, this second half has really come into its own. Admittedly I’ve been counting down the seconds until this one has been airing on Netflix.
I’m fully invested in the characters and out of all the slice of life dramas currently airing, this is the one that’s gripped me the most.
It feels completely raw and authentic, which translates across into these endearing 13 episodes so far. Quite how the world will react to the Charlie Jung scandal though remains to be seen.