Coffee Prince Episode 17

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Han Gyul and Eun Chan wake up from their night together feeling happy but bashful. Han Gyul is so flustered he hurries to dress as Eun Chan wakes up, and puts both legs through one pant leg, causing him to fall to the ground onto some conveniently dropped pillows.

Eun Chan knows her mother’s going to kill her when she finds out she spent the night with Han Gyul, but she’s not so panicked that she can’t first have breakfast with him. Han Gyul tells Eun Chan not to grow her hair or wear miniskirts when she’s in Italy: “If men ask if you have a boyfriend, tell them you’re married. No, just stay invisible.” Sobering to the fact that she’s leaving soon, he cautions her to take good care of herself. They’ll have to go on dates every day before she leaves; he’ll take her all the places she wanted to go to before.

Driving in to work together, Eun Chan gets a call from Eun Sae, who tells Eun Chan she owes her. Eun Sae covered for her, telling their mother that Eun Chan had left early for work.

Ha Rim sees them arriving to work together and immediately senses something different. With glee, he guesses the truth and tries to go around proving it. He manages to sneak up on them, and singsongs his congratulations to the couple.

Han Gyul goes out of his way to sneak a present to Eun Chan so she’ll find it while cleaning, which turns out to be a pair of shoes (for comfort, since baristas are always on their feet). Eun Chan wonders if it’s okay to accept, because there’s a saying that you shouldn’t give your lover shoes because they’ll run away from you — but Han Gyul has taken proper precautions, writing inside them: “You’re mine!” and signing with his name.

That night, Eun Chan falls asleep while on the phone with Han Gyul, and he leaves her on speakerphone — and awakens the next morning with a laugh to realize Eun Chan is still snoring into her phone. He hangs up and calls back to serenade her with the song “I Love You,” originally sung by Han Dong Joon.

On her last day of work, Eun Chan makes her sad goodbyes with everyone. Each of the Princes takes his turn to say a few last words, finding Eun Chan crying in her work locker. Min Yub is first, and gives her some cosmetics as a present, saying she’ll be very pretty when she does herself up. He tells her, “You know I really respect and like you, don’t you? Don’t worry about Angel and your mother, because I’ll look after them.”

Next is Sun Ki: “Take care of yourself, and come back safely. You’ll do a good job — I have faith in you.” For once, Ha Rim has the fewest words, tearing up as Eun Chan tells him how much she likes him, even if they’ve fought in the past. He cries, and leaves her with a goodbye letter without being able to say anything.

Eun Chan cries as she reads the note (song: Maximilian Hecker’s “I’ll Be a Virgin, I’ll Be a Mountain” from a previous episode):

“My Chan, have a good time studying abroad. I don’t know how I’ll stay cheerful after you leave. Since you can sleep and eat well wherever you go, that doesn’t worry me, but there’s just one thing that does — you and men. You’d better not be won over by some guy’s flowery words or killer smile. I’ll handle Han Gyul hyung over here, so don’t worry. If only you weren’t his girl, I could’ve tried pursuing you. My Chan, I’ll miss you. P.S. — dreams come true!”

Meanwhile, Han Sung and Yu Ju’s marriage has been going well. Yu Ju has taken special care to refrain from working or going out to meet friends to watch out for the baby, but still, she encounters trouble. She experiences pains that send her to the hospital, and (the implication is that) they lose the baby. Han Sung comforts her (without anger or resentment, merely worry).

Everyone’s sad to see Eun Chan go, starting with her family, the Coffee Princes, and of course, Han Gyul. Eun Chan goes to the airport alone to avoid a painful parting, especially with Han Gyul, and says her last goodbyes to him over the phone. Her last words before hanging up are a choked string of “I love you”s.

And then, we’re two years later.

Eun Chan’s voiceover reads the various messages she’s sent to Han Gyul over the past two years via postcards, which he has posted up on his refrigerator.

Her messages include:

“There are lots of handsome men here. I’ve got a lot of them chasing me around saying they like me. Still, you’re the most handsome of them all!…”

“I’m sleeping late these days, with the excuse that I don’t have a part-time job to go to. Did I come here to study, or play?…”

“But thanks to you and Grandmother, I’m learning a lot. It’s so interesting. Thank you, and love you. I’ll become an impressive woman and go back soon. I miss you. I really miss you! … I love you. Here’s a kiss for you!”

Han Gyul has been busy working with the company to franchise the next store — Coffee Princess.

Min Yub has been working as a model, while Eun Sae works with the behind-the-scenes staff. They’re still together, and at her suggestion, he’s changed his modeling name to simply “Hwang Min.” (Eun Sae’s nickname for him, though, is “Yub.” I wonder if part of her suggestion, aside from professional reasons, was so she gets to be the only one to call him that. It’s cute.) It’s nice to see her so proud of him for something, which is a nice change from their early relationship.

Han Gyul is eagerly counting down the days to Eun Chan’s return, so naturally he’s shocked and panicked when Eun Chan mentions the possibility of staying in Italy for another year to further her studies. It’s a great opportunity for her, her tuition will be covered, and she’d like to stay… Han Gyul yells an insistent no, and reminds her that she signed the contract with his grandmother to come back after two years. He’d even planned the opening of the new cafe to time with her arrival. She asks, “Then should I give it up and return?” and tells him she’ll forget the idea since he doesn’t like it… which makes Han Gyul feel guilty.

Ha Rim, who’s in charge of the interior design for the new Coffee Princess cafe, has been dating Byul for the past two years. I find her inclusion in the story pretty pointless, but I suppose she’s there to give some promise of a happy ending for Ha Rim. She brings up the fact that Ha Rim’s family is going through tough times (they had to close their hospital), which is another weirdly tacked-on story bit. But okay.

Likewise, a new girl walks into the Coffee Prince one day to earnestly request a job there, and the girl seems to serve the main purpose of giving Sun Ki a potential happy ending too. The girl (who also had a minor role in Dal Ja’s Spring) gets on Sun Ki’s nerves, until she responds to his grumbling in fluent Japanese, which is a welcome surprise. It’s also hinted that she’s sort of an Eun Chan version 2.0 — Ha Rim’s reaction to her appearance echoes the very words he first said about Eun Chan, she’s cheerful, she’s 24, and I think she’s supposed to be tomboyish (although the actress is too feminine for that to come across well).

Even Mr. Hong gets a storyline, meeting his long-ago love (the good liar) by chance and having a brief conversation with her. She’s married and has a child now, and I suppose his sense of closure comes when he gets up to leave, and she tells him, “Go on. This time I’ll be the one who stays behind.” He answers, “Sure, I’ll try being the first to go this time.” Closure’s good and all, but I never really felt his story was opened enough to require closing.

Han Sung and Yu Ju celebrate their two-year anniversary. They seem happy, but Yu Ju appears to still be affected by the baby they lost. Han Sung comes upon her as she stares at a set of baby shoes, and guesses what she’s thinking:

“Yu Ju, I don’t have any greed for more. With you always looking at me, and being by my side, and us both doing work we love… I don’t have any more to wish for.”

Han Sung tells her that he thinks they should stop going to the hospital, which I surmise is because they’ve been trying to become pregnant. Yu Ju suggests they go away on a trip together.

Meanwhile, at home alone, Han Gyul deliberates over his new dilemma — whether to persuade Eun Chan to come home quickly, or to let her further her studies as she wants. Finally, he comes to a decision, and calls her, leaving the message:

“You have to pay me back later for putting me through all this. Continue your studying, then come home. Just one more year. When you get this message, call me.”

He runs off, yelling, “Come home quickly! I miss you! Come back soon!”

Later, Han Gyul has a somewhat disappointing interview with a potential barista, who wants double the pay that was offered. After she leaves, Eun Chan arrives unexpectedly, rendering him stunned and speechless.

Eun Chan starts off by saying that she’s here to interview for the barista position, and lists all her qualifications. (Song: “Make Up” by 어른아이 / Adult Child.)

Eun Chan: “It sounded like that other applicant was asking for double the pay, but all you have to do is feed me. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a midnight snack. I’m good at cleaning, I’m strong, and I make really great coffee. I also have an excellent history as an international barista. I do pretty well.”
Han Gyul: “More than skill, we need someone with a devoted work ethic.”
Eun Chan: “I’m incredibly devoted. If you just say so nicely, I can do the cleaning, cooking, dishes, and everything for you.”

After the initial gladness at seeing each other again, Han Gyul is (mildly) upset that she came back without saying anything, and for putting him through such worry, thinking she’d be gone another year. She assures him that she won’t leave him alone ever again: “Even if you told me to leave now, I won’t. I’ve got to stick by your side every day from now on. I won’t leave you for even a minute.” Mollified, Han Gyul asks, “Twenty-four hours? Night and day, every day? Then we’ll have to get married quickly.”

It appears she misled him purposely with her suggestion of staying another year, and had his parents and grandmother in on the secret. Eun Chan’s kept in contact with them all this time (Han Gyul’s father even met her in Italy when he traveled there on business), and his parents are firmly in favor of the relationship. Even his grandmother can’t hide her gruffness too much: “She asked me to keep her return a secret, but she’s with Han Gyul right now. They’re just crazy about each other.”

And naturally, everyone at Coffee Prince is thrilled to see her (and shocked at her new look).

Han Sung and Yu Ju have their romantic getaway…

And Han Gyul tries out his coffee-making skills for Eun Chan.


Coffee Prince Episode 16

Yu Ju and Han Sung get married, while Han Gyul’s grandmother is taken to the hospital quietly. When Han Gyul and his mother visit her later that night, he asks his mother if he should take the idea of marriage more slowly, but his mother can tell that isn’t what he wants.

Eun Chan’s mother tells her to go ahead and marry Han Gyul soon — she’ll cash in their house deposit and live in a one-room apartment with Eun Sae, so Eun Chan doesn’t have to worry about them.

Things remain awkward between Han Gyul and Eun Chan the next day. Eun Chan had sent him multiple text messages saying she missed him and asking him to call when he had time, but he hadn’t called back. He takes her aside to talk.

She acknowledges that she was thinking too much of herself — but even though she’s sorry, she can’t marry him right away. Han Gyul acknowledges that he took her financial situation too lightly as well, and wants to help her. Eun Chan says it’s not just about money:

Eun Chan: “I don’t want to become a burden.”
Han Gyul: “Why is that a burden? When I was going through rough times, I shared my worries with you, and you consoled me, don’t you remember? Was I a burden to you while you were with me, comforting me?”
Eun Chan: “That’s different from this.”
Han Gyul: “What’s different about it? Because it’s like you’re giving your heart, and I’m giving you money?”

Eun Chan answers that she wants to stand on her own: “When my father was alive, I lived dependent on him. Now I’d live being dependent on my boyfriend. I don’t want to live the rest of my life being unable to do anything properly on my own.” Han Gyul asks impatiently if she’d marry him if he didn’t give her any money, then — she can send Eun Sae to college and support herself with her own money.

Eun Chan asks why he can’t wait — why does he always decide everything on his own, making one-sided decisions? Han Gyul chafes at the phrase “one-sided” — is he the only one wanting to get married?

Their argument is interrupted, so Han Gyul revisits their discussion later. Calmer now, he asks her, “It’s because you don’t like me enough to marry, isn’t it? It’s okay, so tell me honestly.”

Han Gyul: “I want to live with you. For the rest of my life, I want to eat together, talk together, sleep together, be together. Do I need any other reason?”

Eun Chan’s point isn’t that she doesn’t want to marry him. She just wants to wait. Han Gyul reminds her that he’d given up his dream job and faced his parents’ opposition for her — can’t she give up that little bit of pride for him? Getting more worked up, he asks if she’d still refuse to marry him if that meant they’d break up. Does she dislike the idea that much?

Eun Sae hears about the latest developments with sisterly indignation: How could he be so selfish? How can he threaten to break up with Eun Chan over that? He thinks money solves everything. Psh. She grumbles about how Han Gyul treats her family lightly, then sneaks in a phone call to the offender himself.

Han Gyul answers the call with some surprise, and makes plans to talk to Eun Sae the next day. He wonders about the cause with some anxiety.

As for the Princes: Min Yub blames Ha Rim for pushing him along and causing him to lose Eun Sae. Sun Ki makes the astute observation that Min Yub listened to the wrong guy. Everyone else has somebody, but Min Yub took love advice from Ha Rim, the playboy who has nobody. But Sun Ki also finds himself alone when he arrives at Yuko’s place to find her gone, just as she’d warned him she’d do if he wouldn’t leave.

Han Gyul’s grandmother senses things aren’t going smoothly for Han Gyul and Eun Chan. He admits that he’d rushed with the marriage talk — and as he explains Eun Chan’s position to his grandmother, it seems that he understands it better. He describes Eun Chan’s need to be independent and to support her household, and asks his grandmother to consider Eun Chan’s attitude as something good, admirable.

Eun Sae meets Han Gyul and asks him plainly: “Are you really going to break up with my sister?” She tells him of her mother’s intent to cash in their home deposit to marry Eun Chan off, but neither she nor her mother can afford a monthly rent — therefore, she asks Han Gyul if he could please consider pushing the marriage off a year. She’s not planning to go to college, so she’ll get a job right after she graduates from high school, at which point they’ll be able to afford a monthly rent. Worried he might really break up with Eun Chan, she assures him that her sister is a good person.

Han Gyul listens to Eun Sae’s speech with a mix of confusion and amusement, and tells her, “But I have no intention of splitting up with Eun Chan.” Eun Sae mentions how he told her sister he’d break up with her if they didn’t marry, sees Han Gyul’s smile, and realizes, “I knew it. You were just saying that to get to her, weren’t you? Aish, what an idiot. How could she not tell that from the truth?” Eun Sae calls Han Gyul “brother-in-law,” and a wide smile spreads on his face, liking the sound of that.

Min Yub begs for Eun Sae’s forgiveness, saying earnestly: “No matter how meanly you treat me, you’re still pretty to me. Even if you get mad and yell, you’re cute. I really like you a lot. But if you truly hate me, I won’t call you anymore and I’ll give up. So tell me, do you really hate me?”

Stony-faced, Eun Sae tells him yes. Min Yub accepts her answer contritely, saying he understands. He tells her to take care, and turns to go. Eun Sae calls him back, upset, asking when he got so “cool” that he’d accept one answer right away and leave so quickly. She seems genuinely hurt as she lays out his offense — he’d said he only liked her, then saw other girls. He acted so innocent, then went behind her back — that’s worse than anything a player could do.

Eun Sae: “If you have the confidence to only love me from now on, follow me. If you don’t, leave.”

Eun Sae turns to walk away slowly, and Min Yub takes a few hesitant steps. He tentatively calls out: “Eun Sae. I’m following you right now… Just saying that to let you know. In case you don’t.” Eun Sae looks back a few times to confirm that he’s still there, and crooks a finger to beckon him close. Ecstatic, Min Yub grabs her and runs around the playground in excitement.

Despite finding Eun Sae annoying half the time, I can’t be too upset with her (is it little sister syndrome?), because her logic makes some sense. True, she treated Min Yub poorly, and he took a lot of abuse. But on the other hand, she never pretended she was anything different. He knew what she was like and still pursued her. He, on the other hand, was disingenuous (albeit stupidly, at Ha Rim’s prodding).

Han Sung and Yu Ju have their first marital argument when Han Sung goes to Yu Ju’s studio to find it strewn with tired co-workers (new project) and empty wine bottles. Even though he knew she’s used to staying up all night working and drinking, and that she puts work above him, he’s still disappointed. Yu Ju’s sorry, and explains that she doesn’t rank work above him — both are important. She asks for his understanding, but he asks, upset, if he’s just supposed to stand by and watch from the sidelines.

Eun Chan is summoned to Han Gyul’s grandmother’s office, and Han Gyul listens in astonishment (and panic) to find that his grandmother is offering to send Eun Chan to Italy to study to become a barista, as she did for Mr. Hong. Bursting with agitation, Han Gyul jumps into the conversation, insisting to his grandmother that Eun Chan will never take her support, that she’ll insist on staying to provide for her family.

Eun Chan voices her concerns about accepting the offer, but it seems she’d like to consider it. If she goes abroad, she’ll be earning a salary, which she can send home to her family. Han Gyul recognizes the danger of this development, and asks if his grandmother’s doing this to tear them apart (Granny: “So does that mean your relationship is something I can tear apart so easily? All the better for me, then”).

Han Gyul hounds Eun Chan repeatedly, asking if she’s really considering going. At his persistence, Eun Chan frustratedly says no, she’s in no position to go abroad. Han Gyul mutters in worry, “It’s hard enough as it is not seeing her every day. How am I supposed to last two years?”

Eun Chan’s mother asks her to be honest: “You want to study abroad, don’t you?” Eun Chan admits she found the offer very tempting, but thinking of how she’d have to leave her family changed her mind. Her mother asks, “Am I holding you back? Don’t decide that if it’s because of me.” She assures Eun Chan she’ll be fine — if Han Gyul agrees, she should go. Eun Chan tells her mother she’s not going, and that she’ll have to marry her mother off first — to Mr. Gu. (Eun Chan’s mother denies it, blushing in embarrassment.)

Eun Chan’s mother: “It’s time for you to live your own life. Don’t worry about me or Eun Sae anymore. Even if it’s just this once, live as you want, freely… That’s what I really want to see.”

The Choi cousins again commiserate together. Han Sung understands Eun Chan’s situation: “Eun Chan’s still young. There’s a lot she must want to do. There are a lot of things she probably gave up in choosing you.” Han Gyul says he gave up things too, but Han Sung points out he’s placing the reason for giving up the New York job entirely on Eun Chan. If he’s honest, he’d admit he’d found his work here fulfilling too.

Han Sung brings up his problems with Yu Ju. He’d married her knowing all about her habits and her work, but now he finds himself just barely holding back from insisting she quit working: “Is this why women don’t want to get married?”

Han Sung: “The moment a man makes a woman his, the man wants that woman to live according to his wishes. But just because he’s won her over, can he force her to do as he wants?”

Han Gyul sees Han Sung’s point, laughing in agreement:

Han Gyul: “I wish she would.”
Han Sung: “You too? I do, too.”
Han Gyul: “Why can’t things just go the way I want?”

Note: I enjoy this conversation, but it strikes me as something a woman would want to hear, rather than something a man would actually say. I don’t mean to give men too little credit, but somehow this kind of understanding of a woman’s role in contemporary society seems to be exactly the kind of thing women desperately WISH men would understand… but unfortunately, too many times, they don’t. Great, have I alienated all the men now?

Eun Chan tells Han Gyul she’s decided not to go abroad. She was about to call his grandmother to tell him so. He asks why she decided not to go, and she answers that she’s got at least a hundred reasons.

Han Gyul: “It seems to me that your hundred reasons not to go can’t hold up to the one reason for going. Am I right? I don’t want you to go, either. Thinking of this cafe without you makes me not want to come here every day. It makes me not want to work. I don’t even want to think about not being able to see you. When I was planning to leave for New York, there were times I thought I couldn’t because I’d be haunted by your memory. Do you think I want to send you away? But I want to show you a bigger world.”

Eun Chan says she doesn’t want to be apart from him, but he tells her he can go to visit: “I hate the idea of you giving something up because you love me. I want to be your support, so you can grow, and advance.” When she asks if he really wants her to go, he can’t answer yes, but he does say:

“I’ve realized I can’t be responsible for your life. But I can be by your side, watching over you. I’ll take that instead. We may be separated now, but later, much later… when you hold the hand of your first child… when they go off to school… when you marry your children off… Ah, proposing is so embarrassing.”

Meanwhile, Yu Ju makes the first step in reconciling by calling Han Sung home early to make dinner (and her first batch of kimchi, which both note as lacking something in the taste department, although her efforts are duly appreciated). I don’t think their problems are completely over, but it’s a nice first show of compromise.

Han Gyul makes his official greeting to Eun Chan’s family, who accept him gladly. Though it’s merely a formality, he asks for her mother’s approval to marry Eun Chan.

Eun Chan shows Han Gyul her room, and the toys he’d made for her. He warns her away from smooth-talking Italian men (”They say ‘you’re beautiful’ to everyone, so don’t pay them any attention!”) and sighs that he misses her already. While they kiss, his hand makes his way under her shirt, but at the first contact of his hand on her skin, Eun Chan jumps and pushes him back, skittish.

Flustered and embarrassed, Han Gyul realizes she’s not comfortable with going further. Frustrated, he keeps her at a distance and tells her not to touch him from now on.

That sexual frustration continues the next day — Han Gyul is serious about not letting her touch him anymore. She finds his reaction cute, and he does his best to keep away, with limited success.

Ha Rim, going through girl problems of his own, tells Eun Chan not to torture Han Gyul — if she’s limited their contact to mere kisses, Han Gyul is probably feeling all churned up inside.

Eun Chan looks wistfully around her as she thinks about how she’ll be leaving soon. She writes on a leaf, “Let’s meet again in two years,” and affixes her name tag on the branch.

That night, Han Gyul and Eun Chan text back and forth.
Han Gyul: “Are you sleeping?”
Eun Chan: “Nope.”
Han Gyul: “What are you doing?”
Eun Chan: “I miss you.”
Han Gyul: “Let’s meet in our dreams.”

After reading the last message, Eun Chan makes a swift decision, and gets up. She makes a lame excuse to Eun Sae, then sneaks past her mother out of the house. She runs through the streets and arrives, out of breath, at Han Gyul’s apartment.

He’s shocked to see her there (Eun Chan: “I missed you, so I ran over”), but he can’t trust himself to be near her this late at night, and won’t let her inside. She pushes past him, and he keeps his distance, agitated at her every movement as she drinks wine, looks around his apartment, and wanders from room to room.

He insists repeatedly that she leave, and tries to occupy himself reading a book. (Eun Chan: “Do you hate me being here so much?” Han Gyul: “Not you, me. “) He tries to push her outside, but can’t bring himself to touch her, so he resorts to dragging her toward the door by her foot.

He manages to shove her outside, shutting the door and forbidding her from coming inside anymore (only in the daytime, and accompanied by Ha Rim).

Unfortunately, he’s forgotten her shoes. She pounds on the door, and taunts him, saying she’ll go off to Italy and be sure to have an affair with a handsome Italian man. Finally, Han Gyul cracks the door open and tells her he’ll drive her home. She shoves her foot through the opening.

Han Gyul: “Don’t come in! Take your foot out. If you come in, I’m not sending you home. I’m warning you.”

Looking him straight in the eyes, Eun Chan squeezes herself across the threshold, and firmly plants both feet indoors.

Han Gyul stares at her intensely, understanding the choice she’s made, then sweeps her up in a kiss.


Coffee Prince Episode 15

It’s the day after the end of Episode 14, and Eun Chan asks Han Gyul repeatedly, happily, if he’s truly not going to leave for New York. Apparently she’s been asking nonstop since he first mentioned it.

Enjoying her response, Han Gyul asks if that makes her that happy, and she nods yes. She feels guilty for being the reason he’s staying, though, because toy designing was his dream. Han Gyul responds that he’d liked the idea of being a designer because it was something he could do all on his own, but he’s finding that managing a business, and working with others, is fun too.

Eun Chan tells him that after meeting his grandmother, she gained newfound motivation to become a cool, impressive woman worthy of him. Someone who doesn’t just receive support but also provides it, for him and also her family.

Han Gyul’s grandmother is still upset with Eun Chan, and complains to Mr. Hong about her. Mr. Hong matter-of-factly tells Granny that she should be thankful for Eun Chan, who’s not only a decent kid but a far better catch than even Han Gyul. Han Gyul shaped up and did a great job with the cafe because of her pushing him along and motivating him. Granny should count her lucky stars; Eun Chan’s perfect granddaughter-in-law material.

As for the Princes: Min Yub is in a dark mood, replaying Eun Sae’s goodbye kiss in his head and scowling at everyone. Sun Ki’s in a good mood, now that he’s a frequent visitor to the woman he’d been searching for, even if they’re not progressing into a romantic relationship (in fact, she’d rather he leave her alone, because she doesn’t want to keep being painted by his parents as the horrible married lady who ruined the life of their precious son).

Ha Rim, the most frank and sexual-minded of them all, doesn’t get Sun Ki’s whole platonic thing. He offers Eun Chan the benefit of his expertise, should she need it. (Uncomfortable with the subject, Eun Chan turns the tables on him by mentioning his butt tattoo, which effectively scares him away. Heh.)

That night, Han Gyul again vies for Eun Chan’s attention while she’s busy studying. Their playful mood turns into an argument when Eun Chan brings up the debt she’s still repaying — complete with interest. Han Gyul bristles — he never asked for interest, and he doesn’t want to take her money: “Would you accept it? Think about it from my position! What kind of guy would take money from his girl, knowing she was in a tough spot?”

Eun Chan doesn’t see things his way. It’s her debt, and it’s her responsibility to repay it, no matter their relationship. If she doesn’t, she won’t feel right. She opts out of the fight by leaving for the night, and Han Gyul shouts after her as she walks out the door: “Hey! Hey, where are you going? Stop right there! One, two, two and a half, three! Hey, you’re not really gone, right? I know you’re standing outside, come back in! Don’t go!”

After trying to resist calling, Han Gyul finally gives in — only to find her phone is turned off. He stews with impatience, worry, curiosity. She’s not really mad, but she’s making a point, and sends him a good-night text message (”See you tomorrow!”) — then shuts off her phone again. Hehe.

Yu Ju fills Han Sung in on meeting her mother (who’s on her fourth marriage), who initially warned her against marrying. (After seeing Yu Ju starting to consider the idea, her mother changed her mind and told her to go for it.) Her mother said Yu Ju would have a hard time finding a man willing to put up with her; Yu Ju looks at Han Sung and says, “Ah, but there’s one such guy right here.”

With the subject on the table, Han Sung digs through a bag of snack crackers, and places a ring-shaped one around her finger: “Let’s marry.” She doesn’t respond directly, and he entreats her to think about it. She says she will.

The Choi cousins discuss their woman troubles together (after Han Gyul congratulates Han Sung on the pregnancy); the underlying issue is similar for both. Han Sung: “Wouldn’t it be nice if the girl leaned on the guy just a bit? It’s a worry, when the girl’s too well-off on her own.”

Han Gyul says he envies Han Sung, who wonders why — wasn’t he happy being independent? Has he changed? Han Gyul tells him something that can be translated as a cross between “I’m crazy about Go Eun Chan” and “I adore her to bits.” He continues: “I want to live with her.”

The cousins don’t even pretend to listen to each other as they both ponder their respective concerns, aloud:

Han Gyul: “Would marriage be good?”
Han Sung: “Isn’t it better to regret getting married than regret not getting married?”
Han Gyul: “Seems like it could be a good idea.”
Han Sung: “Yeah, right?”
Han Gyul: “Huh? What?”
Han Sung: “Never mind.”
Han Gyul: “Marriage…”

Han Gyul’s mother calls Eun Chan out for lunch, and asks her kindly about the status of her relationship with Han Gyul. It seems Han Gyul’s thinking of marriage, but she worries that they’ve only known each other for three months. Eun Chan answers that she knows she’s lacking much; Han Gyul has much more going for him than she does: “Seeing him, I’ve gained a goal, too — to become an impressive person. So I can’t marry right now, because I haven’t accomplished anything as Go Eun Chan yet.” She assures Han Gyul’s mother that Han Gyul truly loves his family a lot; she won’t do anything to cause them trouble.

Dancing together as the sun sets, Han Sung prepares himself for bad news when Yu Ju tells him she has something she has to say. But he’s caught completely off-guard when Yu Ju kneels, takes out a ring box, and asks him, “Will you marry me?”

I love Han Sung’s shocked, hopeful reaction as Yu Ju tells him she can’t give him the stars and the moon or make other impossible promises: “But I’ll try hard.” She knows she isn’t the type of daughter-in-law his parents will like, but still, she’ll try her best at that too.

Rendered speechless, Han Sung attempts to say something.

Han Sung: “What do I say…? You’ve turned me in to a fool — my head’s completely empty.”
Yu Ju: “I want to have a baby like you. Thank you, for being by my side. I love you.”
Han Sung: “Love you too.”
Yu Ju: “I love you lots more.”
Han Sung: “Thank you.”

(Practically crazy with excitement, an ecstatic Han Sung calls Han Gyul to tell him the news, so thrilled he can hardly tell if it’s a dream or reality. Han Gyul: “You’re calling just to brag?!” Haha.)

Eun Chan’s mother seems to feel sorry toward the quieter, downspirited Mr. Gu, who’s decided to get over his feelings for her. She knows he’s a good man, and thanks him for allowing her to feel like a woman again — she’d thought that time of her life was over. She tells him that maybe, if after both her daughters are married and well settled, if he’s still available, they might give it a try then. She seems sincere, and he’s thrilled to have just even that tiny nod of encouragement.

Han Gyul tells Eun Chan about Han Sung and Yu Ju’s good news, which she’s happy to hear. She exhibits her naivete when she wonders for a moment how they can be pregnant already, then catches Han Gyul’s eye and half-embarrassedly says, “Ah, right.” He asks her how many children she wants, and she jokes ten, then amends that to three. He figures about the same. With his mind on the future, he asks if she likes cleaning (”Who likes cleaning?”) or dish-washing (”Can’t you see how I break dishes?”).

Han Gyul decides, “No, that won’t do.” Eun Chan asks what won’t do, and he answers: “Living together.”

Han Gyul lists all the reasons she wouldn’t be a good living partner (snoring, eating too much), and she retorts, “Who said I wanted to live together?” Han Gyul’s response: “Then what about marriage?” Surprised, she asks cautiously if he’s saying he wants to get married, and he tries not to act too serious, saying that he’s just bringing up the subject — it doesn’t mean he’s suggesting it.

Han Gyul asks, a little more seriously, what kind of proposal she’d like to receive. Playing along, Eun Chan lists a bunch of silly things, like a big diamond ring, 100 red roses, violins on a ferry boat, a blown-up picture of herself posted at the roof of a skyscraper… At her jokey response, Han Gyul tells her to forget it and go home… then drags her back for another hug. “Don’t go.”

The next day, while driving along, Han Gyul fantasizes what it would be like living with Eun Chan (the song is “Maiden Voyage” by Missing Island):

Everyone seems to be aware of Han Gyul’s marriage-minded feelings, because his father tells Grandma that his biggest life regret is allowing her to split him up from Han Gyul’s mother: “I’d like for Han Gyul not to go through the same.” Han Gyul’s mother mentions meeting Eun Chan, and tells Grandma: “At first, I thought she was completely wrong for Han Gyul, but looking at her, she’s cheerful and straightforward. I found her comfortable.” She compares her to Yu Ju, who has a few difficult points, whereas Eun Chan is pleasant and easy to be around.

Yu Ju invites Han Gyul to come with her and Han Sung while she tries on bridal gowns. Initially he declines, but hearing Eun Chan wistfully say she’d like to wear a nice dress too makes him change his mind. Again, his imagination takes off:

But alas, it’s Yu Ju wearing the dress, not Eun Chan.

Han Gyul watches the happy couple enviously, and suggests that Eun Chan try a dress on, too. It’s like Han Gyul is so bursting with the idea of marriage that he can’t stop himself, and he blurts:

Han Gyul: “Do you want to wear one of those and marry me?”
Eun Chan: “What?”
Han Gyul: “Marry me, Go Eun Chan.”
Eun Chan: “Are you… proposing?”

Han Sung (thoroughly enjoying the scene, particularly Han Gyul’s discomfort), breaks in to note that Han Gyul sure is in a hurry to get married, but this proposal is all wrong. Han Gyul tells Eun Chan not to answer right away; he’s just telling her to think about it. She starts to say, “What’s there to think about?” but he stops her from answering, most likely assuming her answer will be negative, and tells her to think it over carefully.

Eun Chan says she was gonna say yes, but then goes on (teasingly) that it’s a good thing he stopped her. He’s difficult to please, and it would be tiring marrying him: “Cancel that.” The happily engaged, ignored couple watch as Eun Chan runs out of the room, and Han Gyul chases her.

Han Sung and Yu Ju drop by the Choi residence to deliver their good news to the adults. The family suggests a nice, small wedding between close family and friends, which suits the couple. Furthermore, I love how when Han Sung drops news of Yu Ju’s pregnancy, everyone is happy to hear it (no moralistic preachiness about premarital blah-blah-blah).

Granny makes a jab at how she’s displeased with Han Gyul, and Han Gyul takes the opportunity to do a little reverse psychology. He grumbles about Eun Chan’s stubbornness over diligently repaying his loan (and insisting on giving him interest!), how she’s always hounding him to save money and not be so wasteful, how she won’t indulge him to go out and play because she’s so engrossed in her studies…

At Grandma’s continued disapproval, Han Gyul appeals to her to reconsider. Yu Ju praises Eun Chan, as does Han Sung, and Han Gyul counts all those in favor — Yu Ju, Han Sung, his father… and notes with excitement that his mother seems to have changed her mind. She admits she gives half her consent.

Eun Chan tells her sister about her proposal, and figures they can get married in another five years. Or maybe four, if five is too long. Eun Sae sighs in frustration — four years? Is he going to wait for her for so long?: “How is it you know less of the world than I do?”

Meanwhile, Han Gyul goes ring shopping.

Arriving for Han Sung and Yu Ju’s wedding, Han Gyul works up his nerve and fumbles, flustered, as he puts a ring on Eun Chan’s finger (in a hilarious bit, he panics when it doesn’t fit right, upset that he got the wrong size, until Eun Chan corrects him — he’s got the wrong finger).

Eun Chan assumes it’s a couple ring, but Han Gyul asks: “Will you be my bride?”

Eun Chan smiles and nods shyly, and he smiles in relief. They walk along happily together — for about a second. Because Eun Chan alludes to a wedding in four or five years, stopping Han Gyul short, confused: “Four, five years? But I’m going to get married this year.”

Eun Chan can’t imagine getting married so soon — she has things to do with her life, she’s too young. Wasn’t he intending to marry later?

Inside the hall, Han Gyul’s grandmother finally falters under the pains that have been plaguing her all episode long…

Unaware of this, Han Gyul and Eun Chan continue their discussion. He suggests talking through each point thoughtfully. Why does she want to wait five years?

Eun Chan answers that she’d only ever worked to make money to support her family, but now she finally has a dream of her own, and that’s to become a good barista. Han Gyul tells her she can still do those things after getting married — and if she’s worried about her family, he’ll take responsibility for them.

Eun Chan: “Responsibility? How? For how long? It’s better not to make promises you can’t keep. Will you live forever, and never die?”
Han Gyul: “What?”
Eun Chan: “My father said he’d take responsibility for our family forever. But he couldn’t do that. A person can’t take responsibility over another person. You can only take responsibility for yourself. Until I can accomplish things on my own, I won’t marry.”

She starts to walk off, and he holds her back, telling her:

Han Gyul: “I’ve already talked to my family, and gotten the adults’ consent. All you have to do is agree, and we can get married right now, with no problems.”
Eun Chan: “You already told your family? Marry right now? How can you do that to me, without even telling me? This is unbelievable.”
Han Gyul: “Unbelievable? You said yourself that you would marry me. Was that an empty promise?”
Eun Chan: “That didn’t mean I’d marry you right now. How can you decide that on your own? Is my family that laughable to you?”

Eun Chan storms off, leaving Han Gyul to yell after her, “Hey! Stop right there!”


Coffee Prince Episode 14

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Min Yub has been taking after Ha Rim’s playboy tendencies, which Ha Rim mentions in Eun Chan’s presence. Min Yub takes Ha Rim aside to prevent Eun Chan from hearing about it, and voices his concern about the new girl, who keeps asking for him to buy her things. At least Eun Sae would buy him things in return, but this new girl seems to just want to accept gifts.
But it’s too late, and Eun Chan has heard enough to figure out that Min Yub’s cheating around on Eun Sae. She gives him a thorough piece of her mind — she thought he was a nice guy, but from now on, he’d better not mess with her sister.
Han Gyul reports the cafe’s finances to his grandmother and takes the opportunity to show his affection after the previous episode’s rocky family issues. He’s managed to triple the sales, as promised, but when asked about his plans to leave, Han Gyul asks his grandmother, “Should I not go?”

He also meets with his father to discuss the possibility of franchising Coffee Prince. His father asks when he plans to leave, and Han Gyul answers that he’s thinking it over. His father gives him some advice: “You don’t get that many chances in life. Think about what it is you really want.”

They head over to have dinner with Han Sung and Yu Ju, and Han Gyul observes her familiarity with Terry with some jealousy — how often did she come by for the dog to know her so well? Eun Chan estimates it at 120 or 130 times — and at his surprised reaction, she reminds him that Han Sung’s house was on her milk delivery route. Still, Han Gyul sputters and scolds the dog, accusing it of being male (which it is); he warns Terry not to get too close to Eun Chan.

While Eun Chan and Han Sung tend to the barbecue, Yu Ju and Han Gyul talk inside. Yu Ju notices how Han Gyul’s changed toward her: “You know, your feelings for me left a long while ago.” She points out that if he’d truly liked her, he would have pursued her regardless of Han Sung, but he didn’t:

Yu Ju: “But you loved Eun Chan even thinking she was a guy. I’ve been thinking about what I was to you, and I figured I was—”
Han Gyul: “A habit?”
Yu Ju: “Yeah. An empty habit without substance. The feelings inside had disappeared long ago, with only its façade left intact and standing. You should be really thankful to Eun Chan, for bringing life to an empty shell
The foursome make a toast to being happy and not fighting, and immediately, Han Gyul starts to pick on Eun Chan playfully. She picks up her wineglass and clinks his, toasting again (”No fighting”) rather than responding to his teasing.
Playfulness leads to bickering between Yu Ju and Han Sung, which somewhat alarms Eun Chan, who thinks they’re having a real fight. (It starts when Yu Ju asks Han Gyul how he found out about Eun Chan being a girl, and Han Gyul warns everyone not to bring up her “lying incident,” since they were all in on it together. Han Sung counters that a “lying incident” is better than a “betrayal incident,” to which Yu Ju retorts that she’s not the only one who did the betraying. They start nitpicking about who’s more at fault, until Han Gyul breaks it up, saying Eun Chan will think they’re being serious.)

Han Sung: “Hey, Choi Han Gyul, you watch your mouth too. Don’t let me catch you calling Yu Ju ‘dangshin’ [affectionate term for 'you'] anymore. It makes me feel bad, you know.”
Yu Ju: “You too, don’t call Eun Chan ‘that cute kid’ either, it makes me feel bad too.”
Han Gyul [to Eun Chan]: “Hey, don’t call him ajusshi either. It makes me feel bad.”
As Eun Chan drinks more wine, Han Gyul pats her on the head affectionately — he is too giddy being with Eun Chan and it is a-dor-a-ble.

On their drive home, Eun Chan wonders if they’ll ever reach a point like Han Sung and Yu Ju, acting like they’re fighting one moment, laughing the next.
Ha Rim talks to Sun Ki about his situation with that woman, and here’s where we are with that story: Sun Ki met the woman when she worked for his father’s waffle place. He was in love with her silently for three years before confessing, while she had an abusive husband and a child. One snowy night, someone knocked on his door, and it was her, barefooted and lost in shock. Her drunk husband had beaten her, and she was huddled over, trembling. Just then, the husband came, drunk and furious, and beat Sun Ki so hard he fractured three ribs. Ha Rim can’t believe Sun Ki didn’t fight back, but Sun Ki says, “It was obvious that if I hit back, it would harm her more later.”

So the woman fled to Korea to escape her husband, and Sun Ki came to follow her. Ha Rim: “But you said that woman doesn’t like you. What are you gonna do about that?” Sun Ki: “I can be happy just being able to see her, do you get that?” Ha Rim, of course, does not.
Eun Sae hears that Min Yub is cheating around on her and makes the swift decision to cut him out of her life. Eun Chan’s mother hears Mr. Gu’s sick and brings him porridge — and when he tells her he’s decided to get over his feelings for her, you can see from her fidgeting that she’s disappointed. It’s funny, actually, that both ladies are guilty of taking their men for granted. However, the moment Eun Chan’s mother extends the teeniest hint that she’s not uninterested, Mr. Gu perks right up. (He apologizes for being so clinging and annoying, and being so talkative when she says she finds it irritating. But then, she concedes that she likes talkative guys more than silent ones.)
Yu Ju’s initial reaction to finding out she’s pregnant is alarm, but she accepts it rather quickly, and I’m vastly relieved that they didn’t decide to drag out her pregnancy story as a source of artificial drama. Aside from being a forced cliché, it’s refreshing to have things play out in a way that isn’t overblown or exaggerated, and still prove to be dramatically interesting. This is something that can be said of Coffee Prince on the whole, actually.

She goes into a baby-clothing store while Han Sung talks on the phone, and sends him a text message with the simple note: “We’re going to have a baby,” with an attached photo of her ultrasound. Han Sung mouths to her excitedly, “Really?” Yu Ju mouths back, cradling a baby doll, “Shh, it’s sleeping
While out on a delivery run, Han Gyul drops by home to change clothes, and brings Eun Chan to see his grandmother and mother. Eun Chan keeps his grandmother company while Han Gyul has a moment with his mother.
Han Gyul tells her he first knew of his birth mother years ago, when he found out his adopted mother was observing his birth mother’s death memorial rites. He asks why she did that (it’s a courtesy above and beyond the expectations for an adoptive mother), and she answers, “She gave birth to you. How could I ignore it?” She tells Han Gyul that from now on, he should participate, and bow in respect to his birth mother (the concern is that it would be disrespectful to his adopted mother if he observed rites for his birth mother, but she’s telling him it’s okay). She says it’s a chance for her to be proud that she raised the woman’s son well.

In Han Gyul’s room, Han Gyul unnerves Eun Chan by staring at her intensely and saying he likes the feeling of being alone with his girlfriend in his room while the adults are outside. Uncomfortable at the romantic tension, Eun Chan defuses the situation by pushing him aside playrfully.
Although Han Gyul’s mother and grandmother treat Eun Chan nicely still thinking she’s a boy, they startle when Han Gyul informs them she’s a girl. After the initial moment of denial, Han Gyul’s grandmother sees the way Han Gyul is looking after Eun Chan, and demands to know if they’re dating. Han Gyul holds Eun Chan’s hand and answers that they are.
His grandmother has a huge fit, yelling at him for having lost his mind. He rejected all those girls she’d arranged him to meet, and for this? She accuses Eun Chan of affixing herself to Han Gyul to pursue his money, and Han Gyul rises to Eun Chan’s defense, telling his grandmother she’s being harsh. She yells at Han Gyul: “You! Get this thing out of here immediately!” If he’s going to date a girl like Eun Chan, he’d better pack his things and leave for the States immediately, to which Han Gyul responds that he may not leave anyway. He takes Eun Chan by the hand and leads her away, while his grandmother sputters in fury.
Han Gyul can’t believe his grandmother’s strong words, but Eun Chan actually defends her, saying he overreacted by yelling back: “Mothers and grandmothers are naturally like that. Why? Because they think, my son is the best.”

Still, she does feel bad, and says his grandmother was really harsh. She asks why he said he might not leave for New York, and he answers that he’s thinking it over. Eun Chan: “Is it because of me?” Han Gyul: “Hey, do you think I’m a guy who gives up a dream because of a girl?” Eun Chan suggests that while he’s thinking it over, he might as well give her a piggyback ride. After all, she’s carried him a bunch of times already. (Purely on a superficial level, I’ve never seen a guy carry a girl so effortlessly before. It’s strange. And cute.)
Han Gyul looks over his letter inviting him to be a designer at the toy company… and folds it into a paper airplane, sending it sailing over the roof and down into the street below.
Han Sung marvels over the ultrasound picture, trying to identify every little part. Yu Ju asks how he likes it, and he answers that he feels the baby is a gift from god, but he’s also nervous. Yu Ju feels the same, explaining that at first she wondered if she could bring a life into the world, but when she asked herself if she could give it up, she couldn’t. Han Sung tells her, “Yu Ju, thanks for making me a father.” Yu Ju thanks Han Sung, too.

He asks if they should marry. Of course, they could raise the child without being married, but what would they tell him or her when asked why his parents weren’t married, or why they didn’t live together? Yu Ju asks what he would tell the child, and Han Sung replies: “I only have one answer. Ask your mother, I don’t know.”
Han Gyul’s mother and grandmother arrive at the cafe without warning to grill Eun Chan alone while Han Gyul’s meeting his father to discuss franchising options. Grandma asks if they’ve promised to marry, and Eun Chan responds: “Is that what you were worried about? Please don’t worry, I’m not even dreaming about marriage yet.” She’s a little young to be thinking of that, and for the moment, they’re happy dating.

Then, Grandma demands to know if she’s after Han Gyul’s money. Because Han Gyul is so soft-hearted, he was probably swayed by pity, and it’s better to cut things off now: “How much money will it take?”

Eun Chan: “Grandmother, although I like having money, I’m not stupid enough to marry for money. And I do like him, but it’s possible we could break up after dating a while.”
Mother: “You could break up?”
Grandma: “Where’d he find a thing like this?… Tell me, are all youngsters like you? Is it that easy to date and break up?”
Eun Chan: “I’m not saying it’s easy, but if he goes to America, I won’t be able to see him for a while. What I mean is that I don’t know what will happen. Right now, separating is an idea I hate to death, but you both want us to split up. Even so, if I can’t change my mind, how can I break things off? Right now, I can’t do that—”
Han Gyul: “I can’t either.”

Out of nowhere, Han Gyul appears, solemn-faced and firm.
Taking his family aside, Han Gyul announces that he’s not going to New York. When asked if it’s because of Eun Chan, he answers, “I can’t say that it’s not.” Grandma says no matter what, Eun Chan won’t do, but Han Gyul reasons, “You’d say that about whomever I brought to see you.”

“You’re both getting too far ahead of yourselves. I’m not thinking along those lines, but if you talk like tthat, it makes me want to get married right away. Mom, don’t you know my personality? I won’t listen to you. If you tell me not to do something, I do it more, so it’s better if you just leave me be.”
Meanwhile, Eun Sae exacts her revenge on the thick-headed Min Yub, who’s a bit drunk on his recent success with the ladies. Or lady. Eun Sae tells him in a down-spirited, saddened tone that she realized too late how much Min Yub meant to her. He likes hearing it, of course, and you can see he’d go back to her in a heartbeat, but Eun Sae continues that she wanted to see him one last time for a formal farewell. With that, she plants a kiss on him, then walks away, leaving him all a-flutter. Keke. Yes, she can be a brat, but Min Yub kind of had this one coming.
Han Gyul: “What did you tell my grandmother?”
Eun Chan: “I said not to worry, that it’s possible we could end up breaking up.”
Han Gyul: “You sound like someone who’s decided to break up with me.”
Eun Chan: “Then what should I have said in that situation? That I’d never break up, that I’d definitely marry you? It’s not like I want to make her collapse. I sure acted out a drama today. Why are they acting like that? I’m pretty valued in my family, you know. Are you so impressive? Still, I guess this might be the last time, since after you leave for New York—”
Han Gyul: “I’m not going.”

Surprised, she asks why not, and he notes her seeming lack of enthusiasm. Does she want him to go? She answers no, but she just worries that he decided only because of her:

Han Gyul: “It’s not because of you, it’s because of me. Because of the me that loves you. I don’t want to go to the US and whine and moan about how much I miss you — that’s humiliating. It’s better if I don’t go.”
Eun Chan: “You’re really not going because of me?”
Han Gyul: “Yeah.”
Eun Chan: “Really, really? Because of me? Because you love me?”
Ha Rim interrupts, and they both unceremoniously tell him to get lost.


Coffee Prince Episode 13

Adorably, Han Gyul asks Eun Chan on a date for that evening. But Eun Chan, who’s been studying extra hard lately, says she was going to study that night (Han Gyul: “Do it tomorrow”), then declines again because her mother’s been complaining that she’s been out late too much.

Han Gyul blusters, “Then when can we go on a date—?” before realizing, with amused surprise, “You’re playing hard to get?!”
Eun Chan makes a series of suggestions, all of which Han Gyul summarily dismisses for one reason or another — amusement parks, shopping, plays, musicals, the park, out driving. Han Gyul’s decision: “Home. DVDs. It’ll be cozy.” He walks off before she can respond, grinning to himself.

Meanwhile, Eun Sae, who’s a bit of a brat this episode, acts like a queen while Min Yub loyally follows her around, doing her bidding. Ha Rim hears about this and can’t stand seeing Min Yub reduced to such a puppet state. He tells him to dump Eun Sae immediately — he’ll introduce him to a different girl.

That night, Eun Chan and Han Gyul play a little game to decide who has to do the dishes — all questions and answers must be given in five syllables, and the first person to mess up loses.

Han Gyul: “You like me, don’t you?”
Eun Chan: “Ob-vi-ous ans-wer.”
Han Gyul: “Since when has that been?”
Eun Chan: “From when you kissed me.”
Han Gyul: “The kiss from which time?”
Eun Chan: “Match-mak-ing date kiss.”
Han Gyul: “It was that early?”
Eun Chan: “The ramyun is done.” [Eun Chan cheers]
Han Gyul: “Look at you, acting weird all on your own.”

Thus Han Gyul loses.

Han Gyul asks about Eun Chan’s feelings for him (it’s cute how, now that they’re happily dating, he keeps fishing for affirmation from her — not because he needs it, but because he likes hearing her say it). She answers that she’d thought they were on such different levels — he’s handsome, comes from a good family, and has great qualifications. On the other hand, she’s not that pretty or feminine, and her family background is nothing impressive…

Eun Chan: “There aren’t that many things to like about me, but still, you do.”
Han Gyul: “No kidding. But what can I do? Those qualifications don’t mean much to me. I just like you.”

Eun Chan mentions his plans to leave in a month, and Han Gyul asks, “Should I not go?” Eun Chan: “You know you’re going.” Han Gyul: “Do you want to go with me?” He mentions all the things they could do together if she went with him to New York — they’d live in his family’s place, and while he’s at work, she could go to the park to read. After work, they could eat dinner in the East Village, and go listen to music.

She likes the idea, but knows she can’t really go with him. He asks why not, and she answers, “Because I’m not thinking about marriage right now.” Han Gyul doesn’t follow, but she answers, if he wants her to go with him to the States, aren’t they going to be living together? Doesn’t that imply marriage? Han Gyul tells her people can live together without being married, and her surprised expression makes him amend embarrassedly that they could live in separate rooms. But, surely she can’t mean that for them to sleep together, they’d have to get married, right? “People who love each other can sleep together. Can’t they?” At Eun Chan’s continued silence, he grows more embarrassed.

Eun Chan: “If we sleep together, of course we should get married.”
Han Gyul: “So, if sleeping together means you have to get married, does holding hands mean you have to get engaged?”

She doesn’t really have an answer for that, and Han Gyul distracts her with ice cream to sneak a kiss. He tells her once again, “I’m really glad you’re a girl.”

Eun Chan’s family thinks the same way she does, though, and Eun Sae assumes that talk of taking her to New York means that Han Gyul’s proposed. Eun Chan says no, they’re not getting married. Eun Sae’s first concern is if Han Gyul will provide for the family (i.e., get them an apartment), and Eun Chan chides her — why should he do that? Eun Sae rants that Eun Chan’s only thinking of herself — she’s just happy at the idea of going to New York and leaving her family behind to fend for themselves. How will they manage without her? How will Eun Sae pay for college and make their rent?

(Before you hate Eun Sae too much, she explains herself in a following scene. So don’t judge her too strongly — yet.) Their mother tells Eun Chan not to be too upset — Eun Sae’s just acting up because she’s sad at having a guy steal her sister’s attention.

Sun Ki goes to see the woman he’s been searching for, meeting her face to face at her apartment, and that’s all we get this episode.

Min Yub takes Ha Rim’s advice and goes on a date with another girl — one who’s not only pretty and sweet, but who’s particularly good at taking care of the guy. Min Yub finds himself happy to be doing well — the girl agrees to a second date — and blows Eun Sae off when she calls.

Bummed, Eun Sae chats with Mr. Gu, who’s excited to hear Eun Chan might be on the verge of marriage — she really met a good man. Eun Sae jumps over him: “Why is he good, because he’s rich? My sister’s not the type to go after someone just because of his money, you know!”

Eun Sae glumly tells Mr. Gu she’d intended to buy her sister a car and her own cafe when she succeeded as a singer — but now Eun Chan’s being strung along blindly by a guy. After her mother leaves her (implying she’ll end up marrying Mr. Gu), Eun Sae will be all alone. In a sweet, fatherly gesture, Mr. Gu tells the despondent Eun Sae that he does want to marry her mother, but if she doesn’t want him to, he won’t pursue it — he’ll wait until she accepts the idea. Also, if her mother marries, she’s not losing a family member, she’s gaining new ones. (Okay, if you want to hate Eun Sae, now you can judge her.)

Now that everything’s out in the open, Eun Chan gushes to Sun Ki about how handsome Han Gyul is, practically drooling over his broad shoulders, long legs, good-looking face… Sun Ki just smiles knowingly. Bringing up the issue of Han Gyul leaving for the States, Sun Ki advises her to talk out her issues (about needing to provide for her family) together: “Don’t just worry about it on your own.”

Sun Ki: “Grab onto him. He liked you even when he thought you were a guy. Who knows, maybe he won’t go.”
Eun Chan: “An ambitious man… They say it’s really low to cling to someone using love as an excuse.”

That night, Eun Chan eats ramyun with her mother, who’s supportive of her daughter’s romance with Han Gyul but wonders if the social disparity between the two families isn’t too great. Eun Chan defends their family — what’s there to be ashamed of? — but in a clever transition, the director takes us from Eun Chan’s pot of ramyun to Han Gyul’s pot of expensive crab soup, made by his elegant mother.

Han Gyul’s family has decided it’s finally time to reveal the entire truth about everything, and his grandmother takes him to his birth mother’s crypt. As they look at the slab marking her resting place, his grandmother tells him that Lee Myung Jae, the man he’d met a few days earlier, is his biological father.

She leaves Han Gyul to give him space to digest this latest bit of shocking news…

Han Gyul then sees his adopted father for more answers. His adopted father had liked Han Gyul’s mother (and so had Lee Myung Jae), and even wanted to marry her. But because of his mother’s fierce opposition (Han Gyul’s mother was orphaned), in the end, he ended up leaving her.

Han Gyul: “It makes me angry, but I don’t know why, exactly. Maybe it’s because of the biological father who’s just now appeared, or because you and Grandmother suddenly revealed this now, or because of myself, for believing I was part of your bloodline.”

Ha Rim tells Eun Chan (jokingly referring to her as the Mrs., aka Han Gyul’s wife) that Han Gyul recently got an offer from the toy company in New York to be one of their designers. It’s an amazing accomplishment — he worked his ass off for three years to get the offer — and he strongly advises her not to let love get in the way of a man’s aspirations. If she wants to stay together , she should go with him — Han Gyul would take care of everything for her (living expenses, etc.). But she refuses to just receive everything from him. Eun Chan tells Ha Rim not to worry that she’ll hold Han Gyul back: “Even if you don’t say all this, I’m going to let him go.”

Han Gyul, quiet and withdrawn, asks about Eun Chan’s day, and she relates all the events that happened at the cafe. He prods her after each vignette (”What else?”) until she finally gets around to it: “Without you around… I kinda missed you.” He says he missed her too.

Han Gyul tells her everything he’s learned today — his adopted father was friends with his birth parents, who’d divorced within a year, after which his birth father left for Australia. Shortly thereafter, his mother passed away in an accident, and his current family took him in and raised him as their own.

“I was completely fooled by my grandmother, father, and mother. They treated me so well, I didn’t have a clue. The three of them were so good to me… but still, I feel resentment. Why didn’t they tell me earlier? Or, they should’ve kept it from me through the end — what’s the point now?”

Han Gyul asks Eun Chan again to go with him to New York, and she answers that she can’t because she has to take care of her family here, but she’ll write often. Han Gyul starts to say, “If it’s because of your family’s circumstances, I can—” but Eun Chan tells him she’ll manage. He should go, do a good job, and come back. She warns him: “I didn’t say this before because I thought you’d get cocky… Don’t wear black shirts. Last time, all the female customers couldn’t stop staring.”

Han Gyul asks, “Eun Chan, should I not go?”

Eun Chan can’t let him do that, hearing how he worked so hard for the past three years. She tells him she’ll think of it as him going off to do his military service, and wait patiently:

“So don’t you dare go off and have an affair or anything, or else you’re dead!”
But, if they miss each other too much, maybe they can see each other once a year… or once every six months. Han Gyul, on the other hand, would much prefer to fly back and forth every weekend.

Eun Chan tells her sister not to worry anymore since she won’t be going away with Han Gyul. Eun Sae, young and flighty, is entirely too happy about it. I’m trying not to place too much weight on Eun Chan’s (casually delivered) line after she tells Eun Sae that Han Gyul wanted to fly back every week to see her: “Honestly, if we do all that and still end up breaking up, it’s better to break up now.”

Eun Sae exults to her mother that Eun Chan isn’t leaving, but her mother looks troubled to hear it.

Han Sung comes home expecting to spend another lonely night wondering where Yu Ju is… but to his shock, he finds her sleeping in his bed. I love that hesitant, relieved, hopeful smile on Han Sung’s face enough to forgive this couple for their awkwardly uncomfortable fight in the previous episode.
In the morning, Yu Ju awakens first, and tells Han Sung she’ll step out for some groceries for breakfast. Han Sung takes her arm as she walks by, and tells her, “Hurry back.”

Han Sung: “I really missed you.”
Yu Ju: “When?”
Han Sung: “When the wind blew, when I walked, when I fell asleep alone at night, when I woke up alone in the morning…”
Yu Ju: “What about Eun Chan?”
Han Sung: “After being briefly swayed, the moment you packed your bags, I came back to my senses, and got over my feelings for her… Thank you for coming back.”
Yu Ju: “I never thought I’d be left behind, since you were always the one who loved me more. But seeing the small changes in your gaze, your sighs, your expressions… made my heart fall with a thump. It’s funny, that as my feelings for you grew, I lost confidence. And so, I thought, ‘Let’s preserve the last of my pride. Before I’m left, let’s leave first.’ That’s why I ran away. I was so afraid of what would happen if you didn’t grab hold of me.”
Han Sung: “Wily fox.”
Yu Ju: “Thank you, for holding onto me till the very end.”
Ha Rim prods Eun Chan for some details of her love life, asking what she and Han Gyul do so late at night. What’s the extent of their physical contact? She shyly admits they hug, and he tells her with exasperation that she’s gonna drive the guy crazy. She doesn’t get it, so Ha Rim tries to explain from a man’s point of view… and it’s hysterical watching him attempt to convey a guy’s, um, raging hormones, which dominate his mind all day long. She innocently wonders what guys do, and just as Ha Rim brings up porn, Han Gyul overhears and jumps in, alarmed, telling Ha Rim not to tell Eun Chan stuff like that. Ha Rim just says he’s just educating her to help Han Gyul.

Han Gyul takes offense to the way the other Princes heap chores on Eun Chan, and yells at them to take care of it themselves — why are they making Eun Chan do all the work? The Princes grumble at how protective Han Gyul is being. In exaggerated theatrics, they accost Eun Chan, calling her madam (effectively saying Mrs. Han Gyul, really), fanning her, feeding her, etc.

Han Gyul gets a call from his mother telling him Lee Myung Jae is leaving for Australia tomorrow morning, and that he should go send him off. If he doesn’t, he’ll probably regret it later.

He tells Eun Chan about it, and she doesn’t quite know what to tell him, how to react, so instead, she goes to his apartment early the next morning to leave him with a cheer-up message (the song is Casker’s “Mocha,” on the OST and posted on the song list, if you’re curious):

Han Gyul finds it on his way out, and reads the message on the milk carton: “Super-strength-supplying milk! Go Eun Chan Milk. Be strong. Kiss, muah!”

Neither man refers to their true relationship, but it’s clear that both are aware — and both know that the other person knows. They make fairly generic goodbyes, but at the last minute, Han Gyul asks one more question: “I heard you have a son. What’s his name?” Lee Myung Jae tells him he’s Lee Han Young, twenty-two: “He’s about your height. He resembles you a lot, too.”

They shake hands, and Han Gyul watches his father leave with a small smile.

On his way home, Han Gyul calls Eun Chan to report his successful morning venture, thanks to her strength-providing milk. He informs her proudly that he sent off his father grandly with a handshake and no tears. He’s now on his way to report sales figures to his grandmother, and will return to the cafe in the afternoon.

Han Gyul: “Eun Chan, let’s tell each other everything.”
Eun Chan: “About what?”
Han Gyul: “Just everything. Saying that we love each other, or that we’re sad, that we miss each other, that we’re angry, that we’re feeling spiteful, everything. Let’s not stay in the dark, not knowing and being unable to do anything, and causing pain. Let’s talk about everything, all right?”
Eun Chan: “Okay, I’ll say it all. I won’t hold back anymore, I’ll tell you everything. Everything.”
Han Gyul: “Good.”


Coffee Prince Episode 12

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Eun Chan still comes to work despite being told to quit. She approaches the still-angry Han Gyul, who gives her three minutes to talk. After that, she’d better leave because she’s fired.
Eun Chan: “In the beginning, I never thought you’d like someone like me. It seemed like you liked Yu Ju. She’s so beautiful that I can’t compare with her, so I thought I was better off being seen as a man. When I asked how you would feel if I were a woman, you said you weren’t going to date around anymore, that you’d marry a nice woman from a nice background, someone your grandmother and mother approved of. I’m not womanly or pretty, but if we were sworn brothers, I could be with you all the time. When we goofed around, and you treated me so well… I liked it so much I couldn’t tell you the truth.”
Han Gyul: “I really hate this. Why am I always betrayed by loved ones? Why didn’t my father tell me about my birth mother? Why couldn’t you tell me the truth? I thought about it so much my head felt like it would burst — it was because you couldn’t trust me. My father and you both. And I loved you so much. But you couldn’t trust me.”
Eun Chan: “It’s not that I couldn’t trust you, I couldn’t trust myself.”

Han Gyul: “When I said I liked you even as a man, I didn’t care what the world would think of me, disregarding my friends, family. I went through a lot of pain getting to the point where I decided those things didn’t matter. Go Eun Chan, I need someone who trusts me. Even if everyone else curses at me for being useless, I needed someone who’d believe: ‘Choi Han Gyul just didn’t have the opportunity to show himself. He’s a guy who does what he puts his mind to. He’s just someone who hasn’t yet found what he wants to do in life, but he truly can accomplish what he sets out to do.’ I needed someone to have that kind of faith in me. Not like you, who deceived me even in love, worrying over being found out.”
Eun Chan: “I didn’t have the confidence. I didn’t want that to happen… I wanted to tell you, but I was afraid you’d wouldn’t see me anymore. But the reason I’m telling you this now… is because I want you to see me as a woman. If you hate me, I can’t do anything about it, but I’m so sorry, and I know I was so wrong… But I like you. I love you. If you tell me to quit, I will. If you don’t want to see me… couldn’t you still see me anyway?”
Han Gyul: “I don’t have the confidence to continue. I don’t know who you are. The Go Eun Chan I knew was always honest with me, who trusted and liked everyone, facing the world just as he was. I wanted to be like him. But you… You aren’t the Go Eun Chan I know. Let’s not meet again.”

Phew, way to reduce me to a sniveling mess in the first five minutes.

Han Gyul tells Mr. Hong that Eun Chan will be leaving, and Mr. Hong scolds him for his behavior. Yes, he gets that Han Gyul went through a harder time than Eun Chan, but why is he so angry? She’s a girl, and they like each other — that’s a cause for celebration. Mr. Hong can’t stand working there like this, so he leaves. Ha Rim tries to convince him to stay, and Han Gyul tells him he’ll be gone in a month anyway. Mr. Hong says, “Fine, then I guess I’ll be back in a month,” and walks out.

Eun Chan packs her things and leaves. Han Gyul watches her go.

Han Gyul has no desire to talk to his cousin, but Han Sung calls and says all he has to do is listen. He explains that he first met Eun Chan when she delivered milk to his house, and yes, she was the girl he took to Yu Ju’s exhibit.

Han Sung: “That day, she was really beautiful. But by the time I started to see her in that way, she already had feelings for you. She cried as she told me how much she liked you.”
Han Gyul: “This is annoying. How long do I have to listen to you?”
Han Sung: “She wanted to tell you, but she had no confidence in herself, because she felt like she wasn’t a woman or a man. She sobbed her heart out. I’ll be honest with you. I was swayed toward her. But since she liked you, I decided to just be friends. I’m not even sure why I wavered. That’s really all there was. The fact that Eun Chan told you the truth even at this late point is because she has faith in you.”

Yu Ju apologizes for not telling Han Gyul about Eun Chan, and explains that she’s leaving. Han Gyul asks if it’s because of Eun Chan. Was the relationship between Han Sung and Eun Chan serious enough to drive Yu Ju away? Yu Ju explains: “Their relationship wasn’t a matter of how far they went. It’s just that Han Sung’s feelings swayed toward her, and even then it was just a short while. So forgive Eun Chan.”

Han Gyul asks why she’s leaving, and she answers they’ve got a lot of issues between them. Yu Ju was always the one depending on Han Sung, and he was the one to comfort and accept her. She’d thought his anger was something exclusive to her (born of love): “But I realized that’s not true. I know I’m not being mature about this, and I can’t be cool either. I’m really horrible, I know. But my feelings don’t listen.”

Han Gyul wonders how Han Sung felt, knowing how he liked Yu Ju all this while, and concludes that Han Sung didn’t worry about losing Yu Ju to his cousin because he trusted her — so much that he waited for her even after she left for another man. Yu Ju: “Then you don’t have faith in Eun Chan.”

Han Gyul says he’d always felt that Yu Ju and Han Sung were so rock-solid that he never had a shot of squeezing himself in between them. For Han Sung’s sake, he asks her not to go: “If you do, I think I’d hate you.”

Eun Chan and Han Gyul spend the next several days moping. Han Gyul recalls Eun Chan’s words from the first scene, and also thinks of Mr. Hong’s words: “Ask yourself carefully if you can live without Go Eun Chan.”
Han Sung drives Yu Ju to the airport, and tries to convince her one last time not to go. Their argument spills over onto the sidewalk when Yu Ju tells him to pull over. Han Sung yells: “You strayed too. Why is it okay for you, but not for me?!” He put up with so much — he knew she was lying about DK even before they broke up — but he forgave her.

Yu Ju counters — if he’d been so accepting all this time, why is it now that he faltered? She watched him lie to her face when he said Eun Chan was merely a cute little kid. Han Sung admits that he made a mistake, but it wasn’t love. Yu Ju can’t tell the difference.

As she turns and walks off, Han Sung begs her not to leave, shouting after her, “Don’t go. Don’t go!”

[Side note: The scene was okaaay, but felt a little... acted. Usually this series does amazing things with letting scenes breathe (like in Episode 7 when Yu Ju waited all day in Han Sung's house, and Han Gyul dealt with the aftermath of his fight with Eun Chan), but this felt suffocated. The emotions seemed prepared, not in-the-moment (which is what I loved about their fights in Episode 11). And perhaps a little overacted. Okay, criticism over.]

At the airport, Yu Ju finds DK waiting for her — but stays at a distance. They have a wordless exchange — and, realizing Yu Ju’s not leaving, DK goes alone with a rueful wave. Han Sung races to the airport to find her, but he’s too late, and thinks that she’s already gone.
Now jobless, Eun Chan keeps herself occupied peeling chestnuts and sewing doll eyes. Taking a break to go to the convenience store, she runs into Han Sung, who can tell she hasn’t been doing so well.
Han Sung: “It’s because he likes you so much. That’s why he’s so angry. Although he doesn’t look like it, he’s someone with deep affections, and once he gives you his heart, he gives it all. So just wait a little.”

Han Sung assures her Han Gyul will understand, but tells her not to tell Han Gyul about their kiss — because he’s found that when you tell someone something to ease your own guilty conscience, sometimes it only brings the other person pain. She thanks him and tells him again that he’s like Santa, and Han Sung responds,

“I’m the one who should be thankful, for being able to be Santa to you. So even if it’s difficult, be strong. Han Gyul has really fallen for you.”

At the cafe, Han Gyul is confronted on all sides with appeals to forgive Eun Chan. No matter how mean Ha Rim was to Eun Chan, when talking to Han Gyul, he plays the part of pacifier, asking to hire her back. Min Yub has heard from Eun Sae how poorly Eun Chan is doing these days, eating badly, not sleeping well. Sun Ki tells him, “The way I see it, it was really hard on her too. She’s young. And don’t you think she was afraid things would end up like this?”
Han Gyul goes to see his cousin. At first, the mood is strained, as Han Sung asks Han Gyul to forgive him for having feelings for Eun Chan: “If you really don’t want me to see her anymore, I won’t. I’ll do my best so that we don’t even happen to meet by chance.”

Han Gyul apologizes for hitting him, for overreacting to learning the truth about Eun Chan, and also for passing off his feelings for Yu Ju as mere friendship. He invites Han Sung to hit him if it’ll make him feel better.

Han Sung informs him of Yu Ju’s departure: “But don’t worry too much about us. Yu Ju and I have ten years of history. There’s something between us that you wouldn’t even be able to imagine. We won’t just end like this.”

Han Gyul: “Yu Ju really loves you. She’ll come back to you. It was a really good thing it was you that she loved. If it were anyone else, I’d have stolen her away. I held back because it was you. I like you a whole lot more than you think I do, you know.”
That night, Han Gyul goes to Eun Chan’s home, looking up at her window. After staying there for a while, he drives away.

At the same time, Eun Chan waits outside Han Gyul’s apartment. It’s getting late, so she starts wheeling her bicycle away, unaware that her burlap sack is leaking chestnuts.

When Han Gyul arrives home, he finds the chesnuts on the ground, leading him like a trail of breadcrumbs. He follows the trail, and starts to pick them up, just as Eun Chan discovers the torn bag and starts collecting the chestnuts from her end.

And thus they meet in the middle.
Sitting side by side on a park bench, they remain silent for a while as they try to decide how to handle this. But Han Gyul’s anger has been slowly subsiding over the course of the episode, and he tells her to come to work tomorrow.

“I’m still angry, I still feel resentful and I can’t completely understand… And so, I asked myself if I could live without Go Eun Chan. Could I separate from her like this? And it turns out I can’t.”
He sees her tearing up and chides her for crying so much: “From now on, you’d better only cry in front of me. Don’t you dare cry like this in front of other men, or you’re dead.” He reaches over and wipes the tears from her eyes.

Eun Chan apologizes again:

“When we played around, when I acted as your dongsaeng, that must’ve been so awful for you. I only tried to keep myself from being hurt, and looked for a place to run away. I didn’t understand how you felt when you made me those toys, how much you were hurting. When you said let’s go as far as we could, I was just happy, and didn’t even think of your struggles. I’m sorry.”

Han Gyul apologizes too:

“When I kissed you at the cafe and said it meant nothing, I did that to hurt you. It was because I was angry — but I absolutely didn’t mean it. I’m immature for not thinking of how hard it was on you. I’m sorry. I apologize. Forgive me.”

Eun Chan tells him it was her mistake from the start, so it’s okay.
Han Gyul rests his head on her shoulder, saying:

“Go Eun Chan… I’m glad you’re a girl.”

Eun Chan quickly turns her head to kiss him, and they stay like that, together in silence.
The next day, Eun Chan’s back at the cafe, and Ha Rim, for all his bluster and aggravation, is genuinely happy to see her back. When Han Gyul arrives, they all watch with bated breath, not quite sure of the situation.

Han Gyul pretends to ignore Eun Chan, although he steals looks at her while the others are too busy speculating over the status of the relationship. They ask Eun Chan if something happened the night before to cause the change, and with a shy smile, she nods. The Princes whoop in glee.

They accost her for details, and Ha Rim jokes that they should use her phone to send Han Gyul lovey-dovey text messages. Ha Rim says they don’t even need her phone since they can send it with his, and starts typing a message. Eun Chan stops them — and hands over her phone: “Send it with mine.
The Princes watch Han Gyul receive the message, which reads: “Thank you ♥.” He smiles (and the Princes are thrilled).
After going on their coffee bean deliveries, Han Gyul and Eun Chan enjoy a walk through the park, and Han Gyul is adorably playful. As he walks hand in hand with Eun Chan down the street, he excitedly turns to strangers to tell them, “She’s a girl. She’s a girl. A girl!”

Han Gyul: “See, you should’ve told the truth from the start, so we could’ve held hands like this.”
Eun Chan: “I really didn’t know you liked me.”
Han Gyul: “Are you kidding me? I even went to the hospital because of you. Are you a dummy?”
Eun Chan: “Hospital? I thought you just saw me as a cute younger brother. And I had nothing to assure me you’d like a girl like me.”

She tells him when she first saw him, she thought he was incredibly good-looking. He’s pleased to hear it, until she clarifies that their first meeting wasn’t at the purse-snatching, but when she delivered food to his apartment. Han Gyul exhibits a belated sense of modesty.
Han Sung finds out about Yu Ju not going to New York from DK: “I thought work was the most important thing to her, but it seems there’s something you have that’s more important.”

Worried, Han Sung tells Han Gyul that he hasn’t been able to locate her. Far from being angry, Han Sung realizes he didn’t know as much about her as he should have: “I don’t know where her mother’s house is, or have phone numbers of her close friends.”

Later that night, Eun Chan and Han Gyul talk on the phone, and he wonders why she’s so interested in Han Sung’s business. He tells her Han Sung had liked her — and she, remembering Han Sung’s caution, pretends not to know: “No, that can’t be.” He asks if she’d had feelings for him, and she admits that at first, she did like Han Sung, but then she started liking Han Gyul more.

Han Gyul pretends to be miffed, asking why she picked him over his cousin, who’s nicer and warmer: “Be honest. You like both of us, right?” Eun Chan takes his teasing for real and insists, “Han Sung is just a nice ajusshi, and you — I don’t really know the reason, but I just… like you.”

Han Gyul enjoys her reaction while carrying on his mock indignation, telling her he’s still upset: “My anger just won’t go away.” Left with nothing else to say, Eun Chan says, almost defiantly: “I love you. I love you! I really love you!”
That catches Han Gyul totally off guard, and in an instant, he goes from playfully happy to completely stunned. His legs give out and he sinks down on the couch, catching his breath.
He covers, accusing her (in bluster) of playing with words and being a smooth talker:

“Hey, you jerk! You could’ve said so openly, comfortably, and we could’ve been insanely happy together. Why didn’t you tell me, and put me through all that suffering? Bad Go Eun Chan! You punk!”

Eun Chan smiles in relief, and then he tells her sternly, gruffly:

“Listen to me carefully. I love you more.”

Both are stunned at their mutual admissions — you can almost feel their visceral reactions to their words — and then, overcome with giddy happiness. Eun Chan jumps around her room, yelling, “He says he loves me! He loves me!”


Coffee Prince Episode 11

The night of their kiss, Eun Chan and Han Gyul have their first giddy new-lovers phone call. She has to forcibly calm herself down before answering, and the conversation starts slowly and awkwardly. But now that Han Gyul has accepted his feelings, he seems much more willing to admit them to her, and says, “I miss you.” Eun Chan thrills at the sound of that, but tries to sound normal as she answers, “We just saw each other, what do you mean…? …me too.”

Eun Chan asks, “Tomorrow… will we be able to laugh together? We won’t fight anymore, and we can talk… right?” He answers yes. Although Han Gyul wants to stay on the line longer, her fluttery heart can’t take too much, and she has to make up an excuse to hang up. Before going to bed, Eun Chan takes out the Lego toy Han Gyul gave her, and tells it, “Now I have to tell him. Right?”

Han Gyul receives a request to meet from the mysterious stranger, Lee Myung Jae. Han Gyul has been told that he used to really like the man when he was young, but admits he can’t really remember him. The man’s comment that Han Gyul must have inherited his stubbornness from his mother leads him to the realization: “Did you… know my biological mother?” The man gives Han Gyul a photo of her.

[Note: The following is explained much later in the episode, but I didn't want to interrupt the flow of the recap (as if that should be a concern) so I'm explaining here. Lee Myung Jae is Han Gyul's blood father, and his (adoptive) family have kept it secret all these years. They're worried that Mr. Lee will cause problems even as they understand a father's natural desire to want to claim his son. The 'why' of the matter is not disclosed, but I presume there's a big reason hidden somewhere.
Eun Chan arrives for work dressed as a girl, mentally prepared to tell Han Gyul everything. Ha Rim is still angry with her, and accuses her of being cunning — now that everyone’s found out the truth, her dressing as a girl is just a ploy at damage control. He sarcastically congratulates her on such wily thinking.

He sneers at her apology, asking about Han Gyul: “Do you know how much he suffered? That was the first time I’ve ever seen him so broken-down, do you know that?” He accuses her of playing around with people, saying she’s gone too far. Frustratedly: “I can’t even hit you, seriously!” Ha Rim takes a look at her teary eyes and scorns her for using tears to manipulate.
Han Sung arrives home to find Yu Ju packing her things. He asks what she’s doing, and she says she moved up her departure date. He tells her not to go — he’s serious about getting over his feelings for Eun Chan, if she just gives him some time.

Yu Ju: “What should I do while I wait? Pray? ‘Please don’t let him waver any more. Please don’t let this man be drawn further to that girl. Since that girl is in love with his cousin, he’ll have to come back around to me, so please give me the patience to wait that long.’ Should I say that kind of prayer while I wait?”

Yu Ju acknowledges that she did the same (or worse) to Han Sung and he took her back, so he must be wondering why it’s so hard for her to accept this:

“I know I don’t have the right to say this to you. That’s why I have to leave. I don’t want to become a burden to you. Don’t force your feelings because of me. Han Sung, follow your heart, because that’s what I did.”
And I really like this scene, not merely because the acting is so in-the-present, but because you think they’re talking about one thing, but suddenly they’re talking about something else altogether:

Han Sung: “Why don’t you speak honestly and just say it’s because of your work! You don’t need to fake an excuse. Whether my feelings wavered toward that girl or not doesn’t matter to you. Don’t you have another reason? That you’re bent on doing your work, or maybe you’re going back to that guy. Why? Do you feel too guilty to just leave me again? Is that why you’ve blamed this on that girl, like a coward?”

Yu Ju doesn’t say a word, and leaves in tears.
Han Gyul arrives at the cafe and immediately looks for Eun Chan. As she’s dressed in her work clothes, he doesn’t notice anything different, and she tries to work up her courage to tell him the truth. He tells her about meeting the man who knew his mother, and says, restlessly, “On a day like this, I really hate to work. Comfort me.” He describes feeling like a lump of ice is wedged in his chest — heavy and cold.

“Go Eun Chan. Why are we both men? What do you think, should we just run away to America?”

Sensing an opening, Eun Chan tries to speak, but can’t get the words out. Ha Rim interrupts, startling them both. Assuming Han Gyul already knows the truth, Ha Rim wonders to Han Gyul (when Eun Chan isn’t there) how they could’ve been so fooled. Han Gyul can’t believe it, but Eun Chan appears just as Ha Rim is going on about they should have known.

[Side note: I think it's really freaking cool of Han Gyul that, when Ha Rim first says Eun Chan is a girl, he laughs, "However much I might like that guy, how can you just turn a guy into a girl like that?" This is the day after he's decided to be happy with (a male) Eun Chan, and doesn't have a problem saying that in front of everyone -- which shows that he really was ready to go for it, and without shame.]

In disbelief, Han Gyul asks, point blank: “Ha Rim says you’re a girl. Are you really?” She can’t look him in the eye, so he asks again, “What, so you really are a girl?” At her continued inability to speak, he demands an answer, and yells at her to say something. Holding back tears, she nods yes, and Han Gyul walks out. She runs after him, but he drives off.
Han Gyul recalls all the little details that should’ve tipped him off — his initial impression that she looked like a girl, her identification number with a female designation (which he assumed was her error), why she didn’t grow facial hair, her asking how he’d feel if she were a girl…
Worried, Eun Chan calls him, and he demands to know who else knows the truth. Mr. Hong? Sun Ki? Ha Rim? And then, his face darkens when he thinks of Han Sung — “Does he know? Does Yu Ju know too?” Eun Chan’s afraid to say yes, but he barely contains his fury as he demands, “Answer me, you bastard. Does Choi Han Sung know or not!?” Looking sickened, Eun Chan admits he knows.

He shows up at Han Sung’s house and jumps right in: “Why didn’t you tell me Eun Chan was a girl?” Interestingly, Han Gyul still refers to Eun Chan as “that guy”: “Don’t you know how much I agonized because of him? And you still didn’t tell me?” Han Sung says that Han Gyul never asked him — if Han Gyul never brought it up, how could he say anything?

At that, Han Gyul punches him in the face.
Han Gyul: “Who the hell are you? Do you like that guy [Eun Chan]? Is that why you backstabbed me?”
Han Sung: “Why are you so angry? If Go Eun Chan is a girl, isn’t that a good thing for you? If Eun Chan likes you, what’s the problem?”
Han Gyul: “So you knew all along. You knew what was going on between us. And you still didn’t tell me? Han Yu Ju said you’d found another girl. That’s Go Eun Chan, right? The girl you took to the exhibition — was that her? Is that the reason you hid it from me?”
Han Sung: “Eun Chan had her reasons…”
Han Gyul: “What reasons?! If I found out she was a girl, would the sky fall? Would the earth crumble?!”
Han Sung: “You’re right. I’m sorry. I must’ve been thinking whatever was easiest for me. But I didn’t want to make things difficult for her.”

Han Gyul tells Han Sung to give him a straight answer: “When Yu Ju said you’d strayed, who was the woman?” Han Sung declines to answer (”That’s my business. Don’t involve yourself”), so Han Gyul calls Yu Ju:

“Hyung won’t say, so you tell me. The girl he took to the exhibit was Go Eun Chan, right? The girl that made him stray was Go Eun Chan, wasn’t it?!”

Han Sung grabs the phone, and levels with him (with Yu Ju still listening):

“Fine. I liked Go Eun Chan. But she wasn’t interested in me. I’ve already gotten over my feelings, all right?”

Han Gyul arrives home to see Eun Chan waiting outside his door. He tries to ignore her, but she has something to say.

“I didn’t mean to deceive you from the start. At first, it was because of money. The Taekwondo school closed, and I had nowhere to work. Then I liked working at Coffee Prince so much, I wanted to keep working there — but if I revealed I was a girl, I thought I’d have to leave. So I couldn’t say anything. I’m really sorry. I tried… I wanted to tell you… but I wanted to spend your remaining time here [before leaving for the US] on good terms. If I told you the truth, I was afraid I wouldn’t ever see you again.”
Han Gyul grabs her suddenly and pushes her against the door. He says, in a pleading tone:

“Say it’s not true. Please, say it’s not true. Eun Chan. I won’t get angry, so tell me the truth, okay? You didn’t lie, right? No matter what, you couldn’t deceive me, isn’t that right? Not just for a day, or two, but for several months… that’s not what happened, is it? Say you’re not a girl… say that you’ve never deceived me… that this can’t happen between two people who love each other… Tell me everything’s a misunderstanding, quickly, SAY IT!”

All she can do is weep and say sorry. Hearing those words, Han Gyul deflates in disbelief, barely whispering:

“You… lied to me? You did? You deceived me?”
He goes inside in a pained daze. Overwhelmed, Eun Chan cries outside his door.

She tells Eun Sae, “Even if I can’t see him anymore… even if he refuses to see me… I want to tell him. That I really, really love him.”
Eun Chan still comes to work every day, to Ha Rim’s ire, and he takes every chance to sarcastically make her feel bad, calling her shameless. It’s kinda mean, but kinda understandable. Ha Rim: “I don’t understand you at all.” Sun Ki steps in to defend Eun Chan: “Then don’t understand. What’s the problem?” Sun Ki’s perspective is that the two like each other so there’s no problem. Ha Rim sees things differently: “Liking each other isn’t everything. She deceived him and destroyed his trust.”

Min Yub apologizes to Han Gyul for his part in keeping the truth secret, offering a rather weak excuse that it was because of Eun Sae. Han Gyul calls him out on his selfishness, asking, “Is your love the only thing that’s important? You act all innocent, but you sure know how to lie and stab someone in the back.”

Mr. Hong casually-but-on-purpose tells Han Gyul how rough Eun Chan’s had it, providing for her family since she was sixteen, after her father died. It was easier not to worry about acting feminine, with so much else to worry about. Han Gyul tells Mr. Hong to fire her; Mr. Hong counters that since Han Gyul hired her, he should do the firing.

Han Sung visits Yu Ju, once more asking if work is truly the only thing that matters to her — can she live happily without him as long as she has her work? What does she really want? He says earnestly that he’s settled his feelings for Eun Chan.

Yu Ju isn’t buying it, though:

“Are you really over her? When I said I was leaving, you asked for time. I thought you’d tell me not to leave because you’d already settled your feelings. But you asked for time to get over her. I know you’re not one for saying empty words, but in that moment, you should have said them. I hoped you’d tell me, ‘I’m over her, she’s nothing to me. Han Yu Ju, I only want you.’ This means you’re not really over her.”

Han Sung asks why she can’t trust him, and Yu Ju tells him to look straight into her eyes and tell her Eun Chan means nothing to him. He can’t.
Yu Ju: “I can change quickly and end things quickly, but you can’t. Your feelings can’t change direction quickly, and once they have, it’s difficult for you to change them back. You’re different from me. That’s why it makes me more frightened and more angry. From the time I met you, until you met Eun Chan, there was nobody but me in your eyes. There were plenty of suitable women around you, but they were nothing to you. You wouldn’t even have a cup of coffee with another woman! When I needed you, you were always by my side, and whatever I did, you’d forgive me and accept me. I was always number one. But now, you’ve given me too many expectations.”
Han Sung: “Nothing’s changed.”
Yu Ju: “No, so much has changed, because I can’t trust you anymore.”

Han Sung says that if she wants to break up, this is the last time. Yu Ju bursts out that she can’t even stand to see him, and Han Sung replies:

“So you really want to break up again? You don’t give me any chances, and decide everything by yourself. What did I do that was so wrong? Both then and now… you sure do break up easily.”

Han Gyul’s mother drops by to make him dinner, and although Han Gyul accepts her presence without suspicion, it seems her real reason for being there is to find out about his meeting with Lee Myung Jae. (I’m not sure whether she’s a nice woman or someone to distrust.)

Han Gyul sinks into quiet thought, then tells her: “I think you’re the only one in the world who has faith in me.” (Ouch, that’s gonna hurt later if my instincts are right.)
Mr. Hong drops by to give Han Gyul some roundabout advice. He relates the story of a woman he once loved, a long time ago. She always lied to him about everything — she’d say she was meeting friends but go drinking; or that she was going home but then go dancing. Han Gyul: “You really loved someone like that?”

He asks why Mr. Hong laughs when it should make him angry, and gets the answer: ”Whenever I think of her, I laugh.” He figures the girl must’ve really liked him, though, and lied about those things for fear that he’d think less of her. “How much must she have liked me to have lied for so long?” He explains that he never once fought with her, because whenever he got angry, he would ask himself: “So you’re angry, but can you really live without her?”

Han Gyul gets the point (”So you’re saying if I’m not going to break up with Go Eun Chan, I should let this go?”) but doesn’t seem to be buying it.

Eun Chan looks at her Lego toy while repeating Han Gyul’s words to herself: “Whether you’re a man, or an alien…” Eun Chan tries to tell herself she hates him, but ends up saying, “I miss him… I miss him.”

At work the next day, Han Gyul briefly argues with Sun Ki and notes that everyone seems to be on Eun Chan’s side. She hangs her head and once again apologizes: “I should have told you from the beginning. I didn’t know things would come to this.”

Without sparing her a look, he tells her to pack her things and leave. She grabs his arm, and he flings it off harshly. He tells her it must’ve been fun for her — she got him to hire her, and admit he liked her thinking she was a man.
Han Gyul: “Miss Go Eun Chan, when were you planning on telling me? You must’ve had plenty of opportunities. When I said we should be sworn brothers, didn’t you understand my feelings driving me to say that? Couldn’t you figure out how I felt toward you? Do you know how hard it was for me when we were at the beach, and why I didn’t come to work for days? Did you really not know, you bastard?! Tell me. Did you really not know?”
Eun Chan: “I couldn’t say the words. I didn’t know how I’d act if you got this angry, and I thought I might not be able to see you ever again. I was wrong, truly wrong.”
Han Gyul: “You were only thinking of yourself. You didn’t care about how much you were putting me through. When I said I liked you as a man, when I said let’s go as far as we can go, you knew and still didn’t say anything? Was it fun?”
Eun Chan: “It wasn’t fun at all! I liked you too much, so I couldn’t say it. You said you were going to America in a month… we’d have to separate in the end anyway… So I tried to pretend not to know.”
Han Gyul: “Here I was, even thinking of taking you with me to America, but you were already thinking of sending me away. What was I to you?”

He turns to leave, and Eun Chan says to his turned back: “You said you wouldn’t like me as a girl. You said it was a good thing I was a guy. So what could I do, when I wanted to see you—”

He grabs her and shoves her against the wall, and assaults her in a kiss.

It’s harsh and unsexy — angry, and kinda almost ugly.

Eun Chan shoves him off — and he grabs her forcefully for a second kiss — and she forces him away again —
“The kiss was better when you were a guy. What’s left between us? Was there ever any trust there? I’d abandoned so much in my life just to have you. But you, you calculated everything to make sure you wouldn’t get hurt. Without a care for me.”
He stalks out, leaving Eun Chan in shock.


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