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Age of Youth 2: Episode 10

This show is so good at making me feel like I’ve known our Belle Epoque girls forever—with every episode, it’s almost as if I’m pulling up a chair to hang out with old friends, with no need to explain what they’re thinking, or what their motivations are. Our housemates make some critical headway this hour in uncovering the truth about that mystery letter, and though I’m dying to find out what happens next, I’m happy that we continue to spend so much of our time on the everyday interactions between our girls and the wider circle of people in their lives.

 
EPISODE 10: “It might be me” #hunchesarenotwrong

The girls drop in, one by one, to comfort a sobbing Ye-eun in her room. Jin-myung tries first, attempting to appeal to Ye-eun’s rational side. She calmly tells Ye-eun to forget about her friend Yoo-kyung’s betrayal, but that only makes Ye-eun cry harder.

Ji-won tells Ye-eun about Munchausen syndrome by proxy, positing that Yoo-kyung could have enjoyed being Ye-eun’s caretaker and felt she was losing her role when Ye-eun improved. Ye-eun cuts Ji-won off, claiming she has a headache, and Ji-won slinks out.

Eun-jae brings Ye-eun a snack and ends up breaking down in tears herself, but luckily the rest of the girls are listening in and usher her out before the situation worsens.

They all look to Eun next. Though she tries avoiding their gazes, she ends up in Ye-eun’s room soon after, clearing her throat and looking around awkwardly. Ye-eun says nothing and stays in bed, so Eun exits without a word.

A bit later, the four housemates freeze when Ye-eun emerges from her room for a drink of water. Jin-myung and Eun-jae poke Ji-won, urging her to say something. Eun then kicks Ji-won under the table, leading Ji-won to yelp out, “What? What do you want me to do?”

As Ji-won mutters that there are some things that even she can’t do, Ye-eun apologizes to the group for bringing the mood down, then disappears back into her room.

The housemates are at a loss for what to do, but their ears perk up at the sound of an arrival. They’re thrilled when Yi-na bounces in with food, announcing, “Mom’s here!” Yay!

The girls fill Yi-na in on Ye-eun’s news, and unsurprisingly, Yi-na is furious about the whole situation. To the horror of everyone else, she bursts into Ye-eun’s room and shouts at Ye-eun for moping around, calling her an idiot—but surprisingly, that actually gets Ye-eun out of bed.

Yi-na asks what happened to Yoo-kyung, and gets even more worked up when she hears that Ye-eun was so shocked when she found out that the truth that she just came back home. She threatens to pull out all of Yoo-kyung’s hair, grabs Ye-eun’s hand, and demands to know where her friend lives.

While Eun lurks in the doorway, wide-eyed at Yi-na’s wrath, the rest of the housemates try to calm Yi-na down. Ji-won suggests getting the details first, and Eun-jae agrees, saying that Yoo-kyung could have had her reasons for doing what she did, and that she’s been under a lot of stress recently.

But that sets Yi-na off again, and she asks the housemates whose side they’re on: “Are you on that bitch’s side? Why are you on her side?!”

When Yi-na barks at Ye-eun to get up again, Ye-eun grabs Yi-na’s hand. As the rest of the girls stare in shock, Ye-eun thanks Yi-na, then says solemnly that she wants to take care of Yoo-kyung herself. “I can do it,” she says bravely.

Sighing, Yi-na folds Ye-eun into a hug, scolding her for being too kind-hearted and getting screwed over needlessly. She gruffly tells Ye-eun to come eat ice cream, and without a word, Ye-eun follows Yi-na out (as do the rest of the girls).

When everyone gathers in the kitchen, there’s an awkward moment as Eun and Yi-na try to sit in the same chair at the same time. Neither girl backs down, so Jin-myung motions Yi-na over next to her. Eun takes the opportunity to quickly claim the chair in question, and shoots Yi-na a tiny but smug smile of victory.

As Yi-na’s getting the ice cream, she accidentally knocks the mystery letter off the fridge and opens it up curiously. It turns out that Yi-na’s familiar with the “Su & Su” on the letterhead—it’s the name of a spa that she used to frequent.

Yi-na says she hasn’t gone there since she moved out in October, but reminds the girls that she gave them her leftover coupons to use before the end of the year. The housemates gape at each other at the realization that they’ve actually all been to Su & Su together.

They try to piece together the events of their spa day last winter, going back and forth about the details of their excursion. Jin-myung says their appointment was around 3 p.m., just before her convenience store shift, while Ye-eun remembers a famous Klimt painting (depicting the biblical figure Judith) decorating the inside of the elevator.

They didn’t pass by anyone else on the way into the fancy spa, and the first person they talked to was the receptionist. After getting changed into their robes (with Jin-myung scowling at the camera as it tried to follow them into the changing rooms), the girls marveled at how nice the spa was.

In the present, Jin-myung wonders if the person who wrote the letter was a Su & Su staff member, since they were the only people they interacted with during the visit. The girls try to recall the faces of their aestheticians, but sigh when they realize that they had their eyes covered for most of their treatment.

Yi-na interrupts to wonder if the more important point is the fact that the girls might have been on the verge of death at the spa. The girls imagine their aestheticians reaching for a weapon as they lie there, primed for their facials—and shudder at the thought.

Later, the girls run into Jang-hoon as they’re walking Yi-na out. Jang-hoon’s mouth drops open when he sees Yi-na, and Yi-na starts to turn on the charm. At that, Ye-eun quickly points to Eun and says that Jang-hoon’s spoken for. Eun protests that it’s not true, but when she asks Jang-hoon to back her up, he neither confirms nor denies it.

When Ji-won introduces Jang-hoon as the landlady’s representative, Yi-na bows and asks him to take good care of her. Jang-hoon reaches out to shake her hand, but the housemates quickly lead Yi-na away before any more damage can be done.

On her way back inside, Eun stops to ask Jang-hoon why he doesn’t tell everyone the truth that they’re not dating—isn’t he upset by the misunderstanding? Jang-hoon says it doesn’t really matter to him, and asks if Eun is offended. She doesn’t answer and heads back inside, making Jang-hoon smile.

As soon as she gets to her room, Eun takes a breath, then breaks out into a shy smile. She keeps thinking of Jang-hoon as she flops down on her bed, flailing around and grinning uncontrollably. So cute.

When Ye-ji learns that all of Eun’s housemates have been to Su & Su, she concludes that any of them could have written the letter—a notion that takes Eun by surprise. As class begins, Ye-ji scribbles a note asking Eun if she and Jang-hoon have gone public with their relationship, but Eun ignores her.

On a different college campus, Ye-eun runs into Yoo-kyung in the hallway. To Ye-eun’s disbelief, Yoo-kyung just flashes her a smile and says hi, acting as if nothing happened.

Ye-eun rants about the encounter to Kyung-ah over lunch, calling out Yoo-kyung’s audacity in acting like what she did isn’t a big deal. Curiously, Kyung-ah doesn’t react to Ye-eun in any way, so Ye-eun asks if she’s mad at her.

Just then, a couple of friends walk by and ask the two if they’re singling out Yoo-kyung, noting that they’ve been hanging out by themselves lately. Kyung-ah excuses herself soon after, leaving Ye-eun to stare after her in distress.

When Ye-eun gets home later that night, she takes a long look at the letter hanging on the fridge.

Eun-jae has a rare one-on-one drinking date with a school friend. The friend says that she thought there was something wrong with Eun-jae when they first met, because Eun-jae was just so shy. The friend says that’s why she was shocked to about Eun-jae and Jong-yeol’s relationship, then mentions that Jong-yeol was quite popular with the ladies.

The friend tells Eun-jae about an incident at orientation when Jong-yeol rescued some of the freshman girls from a drunken sunbae. “That’s when a lot of the girls fell for him,” she says, “…including me.” Oh no, she didn’t!

Her friend then gets straight to the point: Since Eun-jae and Jong-yeol broke up and Eun-jae even has a new boyfriend, she wants to confess to Jong-yeol. She tells Eun-jae that she didn’t want to do it behind her back, and asks if she’s hurt. Stunned, Eun-jae shakes her head no: “It’s not like Jong-yeol sunbae belongs to me.”

When Eun-jae gets home that night, she pauses in front of the letter on the fridge, looking dejected.

At a café, Jang-hoon watches Ye-ji dig into dessert and remarks that she’s pretty skinny for someone with such a big appetite. Ye-ji casually says that she makes herself throw up on days that she overeats (um, what?), then shushes Jang-hoon when he tries to respond.

When Eun arrives, she looks at Jang-hoon in surprise, wondering what he’s doing there. Ye-ji says she called him out because Eun’s “being dumb,” then turns to Jang-hoon to ask: “You like Eun, right?”

Glancing at Eun, Jang-hoon says he does. When Ye-ji presses him about going public with their relationship, he says Eun wanted to keep it a secret. Eun chimes in that it would be uncomfortable for the news to spread, given their living situation.

Still suspicious, Ye-ji asks why Eun hasn’t met any of his friends yet if he really likes her. Jang-hoon starts to say that all his friends live outside of the city, but Ye-ji cuts him off, wondering if he’s just dating anyone because of his rapidly approaching army enlistment date.

She tells Eun to be careful in this scenario, since she’ll be the one getting hurt if she waits two years and he breaks up with her after his service. Ye-ji snipes at Jang-hoon to behave properly, and though Jang-hoon replies that he will, it looks like Ye-ji’s words may have hit a nerve with both Jang-hoon and Eun.

Eun-jae’s stricken to find her friend chatting it up with Jong-yeol in class. When she gets back home, she grips about it to her housemates, telling them that she almost threw up when she heard her friend giggling with him.

Ye-eun asks if her friend actually confessed to Jong-yeol. Eun-jae says she doesn’t know, but adds that even if she did, it wouldn’t work out anyway. She pettily says her friend isn’t pretty, with her short hair and masculine style, and she’s not the type that guys like at all.

Ye-eun and Ji-won all widen their eyes at Eun-jae, giving her pointed looks towards Eun. Eun-jae belatedly realizes what she’s said, and when she sees Eun glaring at her, she stammers that she wasn’t talking about all girls with short hair, pfft.

The doorbell rings, and Ji-won and Ye-eun leap up, eager to extract themselves from the conversation. As they open the door for Jang-hoon, Eun-jae apologizes to Eun, but Eun says that it’s even weirder that she keeps apologizing.

Jang-hoon greets the housemates, but the air is noticeably awkward as he and Eun barely look at each other. Attributing their awkwardness to embarrassment, Ji-won jokingly wonders if they should leave the two alone.

But Jang-hoon blurts out, “We aren’t dating,” surprising everyone in the room. He turns to Eun to confirm, asking her, “You don’t like me, right?” Quietly, Eun says she doesn’t (lies!). After telling the girls there was a reason for pretending they were dating, Jang-hoon heads for the door, only to pause when he hears Ye-eun ask Eun if it’s true.

Eun loses her temper at the question: “How many times do I have to say it? I don’t like short, greasy guys, either!” She storms off to her room and slams the door shut, looking really upset, and Jang-hoon wordlessly lets himself out. Poor guy.

At work, Jin-myung can’t seem to get away from the ghost of Heimdal—after seeing some workers taking down Asgard posters, she runs into Asgard’s former manager in the elevator. The manager asks Jin-myung if she’s heard from Heimdal at all, mentioning that his family had called him because they couldn’t get in touch with him. Jin-myung says nothing and clutches her injured wrist.

On her way out, Jin-myung pauses outside the Oh & Park building, almost as if expecting to see Heimdal there. She can’t stop thinking of her confrontation with him on her bus ride home, either.

Even though it’s past closing time, Jin-myung heads to Su & Su. She tells the receptionist that she’s looking for the aesthetician who’d worked on her last December, adding that she thinks she owes the person an apology. Unfortunately, the spa doesn’t keep appointment records for very long, so Jin-myung’s at a dead end.

Just then, a group of staff walk into the lobby on their way out. Though Jin-myung looks carefully at each of the women, she doesn’t seem to recognize any of them.

When she returns home, Jin-myung zeroes in on the letter on the fridge, then announces to her housemates that she stopped by the spa to try to find the culprit, as she thinks she might be the intended recipient of the letter.

Ji-won complains that Jin-myung deviated from their original plan to go together—especially since the only new piece of information Jin-myung gleaned is the fact that spas have high rates of employee turnover.

That’s when Ye-eun admits that she stopped by the spa too, as she’d been wondering if Yoo-kyung had anything to do with the letter. In flashback, we see that Ye-eun had shown the letter and a photo of Yoo-kyung to the receptionist, but she wasn’t familiar with either.

In the present, Ye-eun sheepishly tells the group that the receptionist had assured her they’d be better about protecting their customers’ information. Ji-won growls that all Ye-eun did was expose the letter to more people.

Looking exasperated, Ji-won turns to Eun-jae to ask if she happened to visit the spa too. Eun-jae denies it at first, but walks it back to say that though she made it to the entrance of the spa, she couldn’t convince herself to actually go in, heh.

Ji-won throws a fit at having to come up with a completely new plan, then stomps away, muttering about how amazing her original setup had been.

The next day, Sung-min waits in front of the spa when a completely made-over Ji-won strolls past him, calling out, “Let’s go.” HA, he doesn’t even recognize her, thrown by her fancy outfit and sleek hair—it’s only when she tells him, “It’s me,” that he makes the connection, looking shocked by her transformation.

On their elevator ride up, Sung-min wonders what he could possibly do at a spa. Ji-won tells him she just needs him to stay still, and that he’s the only one who can do this particular job. Sung-min plays along, telling her he’ll do his best.

Pretending to be his rich girlfriend, Ji-won checks Sung-min in for his facial at the spa, adding that she booked most seasoned staffer they have.

Ji-won insists on staying with Sung-min during his treatment, but he kicks her out to change. She only gives him a second before bursting in on him, but he’s already in his robe by the time she opens the door (and she grumbles at his “unbelievable” speed, hee).

As they wait for the aesthetician, Sung-min gives Ji-won a once-over and asks where she got her outfit. Grinning, Ji-won strikes a pose: “I’m sexy, aren’t I? It’s overwhelming, right? It’s killer, right?” In response, all Sung-min can do his clear his throat, unable to meet her eyes.

Once Sung-min’s facial actually begins, Ji-won watches the aesthetician carefully, making a note of her nametag, which reads “Ara.” Ji-won starts a conversation with the woman and quickly finds out that Ara isn’t her real name, as all staff members use aliases.

Ji-won fishes for information, casually mentioning a Su & Su aesthetician who happened to be a big reader—someone who read in between clients, underlining passages as she went along. And what do you know, Ara’s face lights up in recognition, as she says, “Ah, Joanne!”

Ara says Joanne was the only staff member who read books, but tells Ji-won that she quit in February without a word to anyone. Leaning in, Ji-won asks if Ara could share her contact information, but that clearly raises a flag, and Ara looks at Ji-won in alarm.

Ji-won immediately employs a distraction tactic, pressing hard on Sung-min’s arm to make him cry out in pain. After thinking through her next move, Ji-won switches course, telling Ara that she’s really there to recruit both Ara and Joanne for the new spa she’s opening.

She promises top pay and benefits, and just like that, she wins Ara over. Ara sneaks over to the reception desk to write down Joanne’s info, then hands over the piece of paper to a triumphant Ji-won. Genius.

Ji-won tries calling Joanne’s number right away on the way home, but no one picks up. Sung-min starts to explain that people don’t answer calls from unknown numbers but then stops short, distracted by the sight of Ji-won’s bare legs. HA, he’s staring so hard that he almost runs someone over, but thankfully, his fancy car stops on its own.

When Sung-min angrily tells Ji-won to do something about her skirt, she laughs at him, then pulls her hair loose to whip her head around like a madwoman, hitting Sung-min’s face with her hair.

Jang-hoon’s working on his chair outside when Eun comes home, and he greets her casually. She stops in front of him, looking guilty and sad as she remembers the mean things she said about him. Alas, she’s unable to bring herself to say anything, and ends up walking away.

At home, Eun ignores a call from Ye-ji just as Ji-won bursts through the door, calling for all the housemates to gather. After congratulating herself on how smart she is (and getting everyone else to pat her head for a job well done), Ji-won announces that she’s found the person who sent the letter.

She tells the group that it’s an aesthetician called Joanne, then shows them the piece of paper with her contact information on it. Ye-eun peeks at the address, but it’s not particularly close by, so Jin-myung says that they should try calling first. The girls glance at the clock, noting that it’s probably too late to call tonight.

Suddenly, Eun grabs the piece of paper and heads toward the door. To everyone’s shock, Eun says that she’s going to check out the address.

Of course, the girls can’t let Eun go by herself, so the whole house trudges after Eun as she navigates to the address in question. There’s a bit of grumbling to start, but soon enough, everyone’s a good mood, enjoying their nighttime outing.

When they reach their destination, everyone looks at Eun expectantly to see what she’ll do next. Eun just looks back at them blankly, and the girls deflate as they realize that Eun didn’t have much of a plan beyond just checking out the place. Always the voice of reason, Jin-myung says they should come back after calling first.

Just as the group turns back around, a young woman walks out of the building to throw out the trash. Just before she heads back inside, Ji-won asks her if she lives in apartment 102. When the woman says she does, Eun-jae blurts out, “Joanne?”

This makes the woman stop, but she says it’s not her. The girls ask her a series of follow up questions and find out that the woman isn’t familiar with Su & Su, but she’s been living in this apartment for about two years.

She gets suspicious when Jin-myung asks if she lives alone, so Ji-won explains that they’re looking for someone named Joanne who used to live there. After a moment, the woman offers to take their contact information, saying that she’ll ask “the person she’s living with” and give them a call. Jin-myung leaves behind her business card.

On their way home, the housemates’ moods turn from contemplative to elated when Jin-myung offers to treat them to ice cream. They walk home happily, buoyed by the company and their treats.

Elsewhere, a man enters a dark, shabby apartment. After a drink, he heads to bed, snuggling up next to someone. Though we can’t see either of their faces, his companion tells him that someone had come by earlier, looking for a woman with an English name. When the man hears the name “Joanne,” he turns on the light immediately.

The next morning, Eun notices Jang-hoon’s chair outside and reaches out to touch it, despite the sign on the chair that reads, “Fresh Paint.” She peeks around the corner, but seeing no one, she looks down at the white paint on her finger gloomily.

At school, Eun’s even colder than usual towards Ye-ji, worrying her. When Ye-ji wonders if something’s happened with Jang-hoon, Eun tells her that they broke up, just like Ye-ji wanted. “Are you satisfied?” she asks before walking away.

Back at the Belle Epoque, the housemates all gather around the letter once more as Jin-myung narrates: “Hating someone, being hated by someone. When I first saw the letter, I got goosebumps. I was overpowered by its fiery hate.”

Eun-jae watches Jong-yeol and her friend walk by on campus with an unhappy look on her face. Jin-myung continues: “And then I thought, I would never be able to hate someone like that.”

Ye-eun and Ho-chang discuss lunch plans while Yoo-kyung stonily observes them from afar. “That no one would ever hate me like that. Never have, and never will.”

Jin-myung greets a new idol group at work, then heads home. “Perhaps hate is like a snowball. First, it’s about the size of a fist, and then it becomes bigger as you add on more feelings and emotions. You hate them because you like them so much. You hate them because they don’t like you back. You hate them because they have so much. You hate them because you’re so sorry.”

As Jin-myung walks away, a figure in black follows her, watching her closely. “You hate them because there is no alternative.”

The figure follows Jin-myung onto the bus, where he makes a call. Jin-myung’s phone rings, and though she answers, no one responds. “And that big ball of hatred leaves its owner one day, out of the blue.”

The mystery man follows Jin-myung all the way home, and he watches her head into the Belle Epoque. “It might have been me. That pink letter actually might have been for me. Even if it’s not right now, maybe tomorrow, or the day after.”

Jin-myung concludes, “It might be that the letter that I was going to get one day just arrived a bit too early.”

Eun-jae, Ji-won, Eun, and Ye-eun all look toward the entryway when they hear the beeping sounds of someone entering the passcode.

But instead of Jin-myung, they see a man walk in with his arms wrapped around Jin-myung, one hand over her mouth and the other holding a knife to her throat. Looking over at the housemates, he tells them, “Shhh.”

 
COMMENTS

HOLY CRAP. Okay, I was not expecting that ending at all, even when we were introduced to the scary man in apartment 102. It’s beyond creepy that he used Jin-myung’s business card to track her down at work, and I’m really scared of what he’s got planned for the girls now that he’s actually inside their apartment. What could be this man’s (and Joanne’s) connection to our housemates? There’s no way that this is some sort of random misunderstanding, right? I wonder if it has anything to do with Ji-won’s missing friend Hyo-jin?

That ending aside, there’s so much to love in this hour, with Ji-won in particular being a highlight. She’s such a fascinating character, and I find it so interesting that as always, Ji-won’s responses and reactions to events are completely different than those of the other girls. Rather than internalizing the mystery letter and having it spur the kind of introspection everyone else is going through, for example, Ji-won’s all about the theories and the schemes, approaching the letter as more of a “fun” mystery to be solved with her housemates.

It’s also telling that she’s the only one who doesn’t seem to think the letter could be directed at her, even after finding out that the letter and Ye-eun’s text messages were unrelated. That lack of self-reflection (or unwillingness to be self-reflective) is pretty consistent with what we saw of Ji-won in Season 1, when she was the only housemate who didn’t seem to be haunted by ghosts from her past. Of course, we know from this season that Ji-won’s just a bit behind, and that she does have a ghost to wrestle with in her friend Hyo-jin. I can’t help but think that because of this, Hyo-jin has to be somehow related to what’s going on with the letter, but that’s just speculation at this point!

Lack of self-awareness aside, you have to admit that Ji-won did some stellar investigative work in identifying the potential culprit. Plus, her return trip to the spa gave us plenty of amazing Sung-min and Ji-won moments, which automatically become my favorite parts of every episode. While it’s true that their relationship is progressing at a snail’s pace, I’m so enjoying Sung-min’s slow realization of his feelings for Ji-won, and Ji-won’s ridiculous antics are made all that funnier by Sung-min’s half-horrified/half-frustrated reactions to them. (That said, if all this isn’t leading to an actual relationship between the couple, there will be hell to pay.)

The other highlight of this hour for me was the return of Yi-na, whose time on screen was absolutely perfect. It was amazing to see Yi-na’s presence change the dynamics of the Belle Epoque from the moment she entered the house until that last moment when she left, and it felt right that Yi-na’s special brand of tough love is just what Ye-eun needed to pick herself up, given the special relationship between the two.

I also really enjoyed Yi-na and Eun interacting for the first time—their reactions to one another were hilarious. I kind of love that Eun wasn’t cowed at all by Yi-na’s big personality, and it was even better to see the housemates make space at the table for both of them, as it shows that while Eun’s really and truly become a part of the Belle Epoque family, it doesn’t mean she’s taken Yi-na’s place (though she may have taken her chair.) It makes me extra glad that she didn’t need much convincing to stay put at the house, but it also makes me wish that Eun would let her guard down just a teeny bit more when it comes to Jang-hoon, just like she did with the housemates. She’s just too adorable when she’s reveling in her crush, and I want to see more of that Eun—hopefully, we will, and soon.

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