The Bad Boy
Episode 2 of When I was the Most Beautiful change tactics slightly and instead double down on the melodrama. There’s lots of it too and as the episode progresses, we learn a lot more about the challenges facing our main characters.
So far this Korean drama has got off to a gentle start and the relaxing momentum should be enough to carry anyone looking for a light, breezy watch.
With Seo Jin admitting to being a player to his brother, Seo-Hwan tries to bite back his disdain regarding Jin’s affection toward Ye-Ji. At the same time, we see more of the past as Ye-Ji’s Mother walks away from her daughter and tells her she needs to die.
The next day, Ye-Ji decides to move in near Seo-Hwan and get away from the painful memories of the past.
Seo-Jin heads up to see his Mother, who completely berates him for taking her car without asking. He asks her to sponsor his team and in exchange, agrees to work with her at the apartment. It’s here we seem to learn more about what happened in the past.
Seo-Hwan’s Mother blames her son for what happened during the rock climbing incident which may explain why she’s so cold toward Seo-Hwan.
Back in Sung-Gon’s workshop, Seo-Hwan flirts a little with Ye-Ji while she practices her pottery work. That flirting comes in the form of feeding her kimchi and the duo really start to connect together. However, Seo-Jin watches from afar and seems to be jealous of what’s happening.
Jin seizes his opportunity and drives Ye-Ji home. After encouraging her to sleep, he drives her up to Dreamtel. There we meet her guardian Ji-Young for the first time. She’s clearly not happy about Ye-Ji showing up and continues to belittle and berate her. Having heard enough, Seo-Jin bundles her back in the car and drives back down the road.
However, Ye-Ji convinces him to stop and admits that this is her home. Whether she likes it or not, Ji-Young is the only family she has left. Reluctantly she heads back to Dreamtel.
Ji-Young picks up right where she left off and tells Ye-Ji to pack in the teaching gig sooner rather than later.
Seo-Jin is called away into a meeting with Chairman Bang. There, the Chairman gives him an ultimatum – to take care of Carry Jung or let her join the team. However, Seo-Jin holds his own and refuses to be threatened. On the way out the door, he passes Carry and tells her he got sick of her and wanted out. Oof. Seo-Jin is not very subtle at all.
Meanwhile, Ye-Ji finds herself haunted by the ghosts of her past. As she lights candles in the middle of the night, she struggles to hold back her tears. The memories of her Mother are just far too painful for her.
In the morning, she collects her belongings and heads back to school. Unfortunately her troublesome guardian phones through to find out what school she’s teaching in.
She’s not the only one troubled by the past either, as Jin sits with his Father and discusses the hiking incident. He tells him the accident haunts him every day. Through flashbacks we see Jin cutting his rope. Realizing this could mean certain doom, Sung-Gon cuts his own and sacrifices himself instead.
Ji-Young arrives at school and immediately causes a massive scene. As they take this outside, Ji-Young screams at her and admits that “a man died and a woman left as if nothing happened after killing him”, could this be in reference to Ye-Ji’s parents?
Unfortunately this conversation ends with Ye-Ji receiving a swift slap to the face. In order to stop the abuse, she promises to quit being a teacher.
Deciding to try and take her mind off what’s happening, Seo-Hwan takes her down to the stream to play games. Only, it’s all too much for Ye-Ji who begins crying. As Seo-Hwan cups her face in his hands, she immediately pulls away and becomes flustered.
Heading back to Sung-Gon’s, Jin spies Ye-Ji smiling and having a good time with his brother. Taking a different tactic, Jin decides to play the bad boy and grabs her cell phone. He’s extremely forward and gives her his number, encouraging her to phone if anything comes up in the future. Tellingly, she saves his number as “Hwan’s brother.”
Back home she struggles to write out her letter of resignation. Instead, she begins messaging Jin. Outside, she finds a bottle of alcohol and Jin greets her, acting suave and trying to win her over.
Winning over Ye-Ji is the least of Jin’s problems though. Back at work he learns that the sponsorship deal is causing issues with the racing parts – namely tyres. Needing to try and fix this issue, Ji-Won starts to act rashly and could be in danger of losing the company to his Uncle.
Back home, Ye-Ji receives her report and thinks back over the times Seo-Hwan protected her at school. She thanks him and hands over a bouquet of flowers she picked in a field earlier. He’s incredibly sweet and she tells him she’ll remember his kindness for a long time.
Ever the jealous one, Da-Woon heads in to see Ye-Ji but she’s nowhere to be found. Her phone is left behind though with a message from Seo-Hwan to meet. After unlocking her phone, Da-Woon immediately deletes this.
Given Ye-Ji never receives this message, Seo-Hwan sits alone and waits patiently by the bridge. Getting nowhere, he tries ringing but continues to struggle getting through to his love interest. As it turns out, she happens to be with Seo-Jin who drives her back home. On the way she admits that he’s difficult.
As she falls asleep in the car, when she awakens she finds he’s made a makeshift camp by the beach. With a fire crackling and hot drinks on the go, they both sit and admire the worrying massive moon in the sky. Seriously though, how is the moon that big?!
As Seo-Jin strips off and heads out into the water, Ye-Ji eventually follows.
The Episode Review
With lots more melodrama this time around, episodes 3 and 4 work in complete contrast to the first 2 episodes this week. Learning more about the hiking incident is good, while the chairman looks to be the antagonist (another trope of course.)
Ye-Ji’s guardian is really quite the horrible person and I wonder what drove her to become this way. Perhaps she’s never been a fan of kids or is there something more going on that we don’t know about? Either way, I’m sure we’ll find out sooner rather than later.
Ye-Ji choosing Jin over Hwan is a bit of a tough pill to swallow but it follows the conventional “bad boy” tropes that seem to be running through this romantic drama. I’d imagine later ion down the like Ye-Ji will see the error of her ways and decide to date Hwan instead. Then again, an extra layer of drama could be added if Hwan falls for Da-Woon instead.
Speaking of Da-Woon, seeing her delete Hwan’s message is a pretty low blow and he certainly won’t be happy if and when he finds out about this.
For now, there’s lots still to unpack here but When I Was the Most Beautiful is a pleasant, cliched but ultimately charming Korean drama worth sticking with.