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Radio Romance: Episode 5

Look at those aggressive smiles! Today’s episode lightens things up a bit as Su-ho learns how different radio is from television and movies. A lesson comes from a very unexpected source, taking Su-ho by surprise just when he thinks he’s in control. The trick will be getting him to acknowledge that he’s got a lot to learn and to accept help, which won’t be easy with his prodigious pride getting in the way.

 
EPISODE 5 RECAP

After recording the disappointing first episode where Su-ho didn’t read Geu-rim’s script, PD Lee offers to take Geu-rim to his hideout and cheer her up. He doesn’t take no for an answer, but before she gets into his car, Su-ho steps in front of her. He says he needs to talk to Geu-rim, but PD Lee tells him to talk to him instead.

Geu-rim tries to say she’ll talk to Su-ho, only for PD Lee to cut her off. Su-ho says that he did the show as they agreed, and that he’ll do it this way again, accusing the both of them of being too emotional.

Geu-rim tries to calm the guys down, but PD Lee pushes her and she falls. The guys each hold out a hand to help her up, but Geu-rim gets up on her own and snaps that she’s leaving. Su-ho tries to stop her, but she stomps off grumbling that she’s the one who’s supposed to be angry.

A group of fans spot Su-ho, so he suggests to PD Lee that they go somewhere private to talk. PD Lee teases Su-ho for being so conscious of his image, but Su-ho just tells him to follow him to his house. As they drive, Su-ho gets annoyed when PD Lee pulls alongside him, so he starts speeding and weaving dangerously between cars.

At home, Geu-rim tells her mother that the show they recorded will be on in three days. She brags about how much everyone loved her script, not wanting Mom to know the truth, but Mom knows that Geu-rim is just pretending to be okay. Caught, Geu-rim confesses that her script was replaced. Mom says that these things happen in order for us to grow, which cheers up Geu-rim a little.

PD Lee makes himself at home at Su-ho’s place, and he says that today’s show was boring. Su-ho asks if they ever plan to do video recordings, and PD Lee quips that Su-ho must not be confident with just audio. That looks like it hits a nerve with Su-ho.

He asks for the list of star guests so he can review it with his team. But PD Lee says that they already have Ji Su-ho and have no plans for other guests. He tells Su-ho that he wants to know his ideas, not those of his team.

PD Lee tells Su-ho that he deleted the entire recording from tonight, and that he’ll keep deleting shows if Su-ho keeps doing whatever he wants. With a big grin, he pulls a bottle of soju from his backpack and offers Su-ho a drink.

Worried, Geu-rim group-chats her friends. Monsoon sends her a video clip of PD Lee blowing up at a DJ, tying him up and threatening to split him like a wishbone. The next day, he’d thrown himself in front of the DJ’s car, refusing to leave until he agreed not to quit.

PD Lee cuts open an apple and offers half to Su-ho (HAHA, like he’s offering half an apology – the words for “apple” and “apology” are homonyms), but Su-ho just stares at him. PD Lee asks why Su-ho hasn’t threatened to quit, and Su-ho says serenely that he’s not a quitter, and that he’s never lost in his life.

But he adds that he can’t work with PD Lee, so one of them needs to quit. PD Lee just mentions his ridiculous contract with Geu-rim, but Su-ho says that she agreed to it. PD Lee says that Su-ho must always honor what he signs, then, and Su-ho agrees. PD Lee offers him another shot, asking if he’s going to lie again about not drinking.

At the same time, Writer Ra and her PD, Seung-soo, discuss their show that will be competing with PD Lee’s. Seung-soo is upset that Writer Ra accepted sponsorship by Su-ho’s mother and JH Entertainment, but she reminds him that they used to have to beg for sponsors. She snaps that she’s never lost a fight, and that she refuses to lose to Geu-rim.

Before long, both PD Lee and Su-ho are cheerfully three sheets to the wind. PD Lee brags about how many DJs have quit because of him, and Su-ho brags that many PDs have quit because of him. PD Lee slurs that Su-ho’s team sucks and knows nothing about radio, but Su-ho retorts that PD Lee’s proposal was equally awful.

They state again that neither of them has ever lost, then break out in adorable giggles. The serious drinking starts, each trying to drink the other under the table.

In the morning, Geu-rim and the rest of the team are worried when they can’t reach PD Lee. Geu-rim looks over website postings for segment ideas, but assistant PD Hoon-jung tells her that there’s no point to working so hard when Su-ho’s staff will just turn their ideas down.

From the doorway, PD Lee hears them and shines his penlight right at Geu-rim’s face until she notices him. He forbids them to go home until they come up with something Su-ho will accept.

At lunch, Hoon-jung gripes that PD Lee’s “namaste” act was all a fake. The assistant writer tearfully whines that she wants to quit, and Geu-rim pats her reassuringly. She sighs, wondering what on earth happened with Su-ho last night.

Su-ho wakes to find Joon-woo ringing his doorbell. He’s brought Su-ho’s mom, who sees the evidence of Su-ho and PD Lee’s bender and asks how much changing Su-ho plans to do. She says she came to remind him not to let his decision to do the radio show hurt her in any way. He dismisses her and tells Joon-woo to drive him to the station today.

He leaves to get ready, and his mother asks Joon-woo if he discussed Tae-ri with Station Manager Kang. He says that he did, and that the station manager agreed.

They’ve arranged to have Tae-ri as a guest on Writer Ra’s show, which has secured a top idol named Jay as the DJ. The news is a shock to everyone, and Writer Ra asks Station Manager Kang why they’ve got a has-been as a guest. Station Manager Kang makes it clear that this was Su-ho’s mother’s idea.

Tae-ri isn’t happy either, having expected to be on Su-ho’s show. She pulls Jay aside to intimidate her, and she makes the poor girl take a picture with her and posts it online.

Geu-rim spots them and runs over to meet Tae-ri, delighting Tae-ri by mentioning her child-acting award. She agrees to a picture with Geu-rim, and she’s so happy to be recognized that she even offers Geu-rim her phone number. She perks up when Geu-rim takes a call from PD Lee and mentions Su-ho’s name.

Geu-rim runs off to stop PD Lee and Su-ho from ripping each other’s arms off with a “friendly” handshake. She hustles them to the studio, and on the way she tries to say something to Su-ho, but a brandished fist from PD Lee stops her.

They start the show, and Su-ho takes a question from a listener whose strict father won’t allow her to go on an overnight trip with her boyfriend. Su-ho handles the call well, until the young woman’s father grabs the phone and starts screaming at Su-ho. PD Lee leans forward, looking amused as Su-ho completely locks up.

Geu-rim messages Su-ho to explain that they’re on the radio, but the father curses at him and tells him to stop calling his daughter. PD Lee cracks up, laughing hysterically as Su-ho flounders helplessly.

Unfortunately, this time the show is live, only nobody told Su-ho. He asks PD Lee to stop recording and start over, which goes out live on the air. Everyone in the studio frantically gestures to Su-ho to stop talking, all except for PD Lee, who takes notes in a little book.

Geu-rim messages Su-ho that they’re live, but that just makes things worse. He freezes entirely, unable to speak even when Geu-rim tells him to follow the script. He calls for a music break, and when PD Lee plays a song, he comes to the studio to ask what’s happening.

They all tell him to just keep doing the show, which he does reluctantly. But when the song is over, he can’t think of a thing to say, and the dreaded seven seconds’ delay ticks away. Su-ho looks lost, and when the time is up, PD Lee puts on another song. Station Manager Kang runs into the studio and lets loose a primal scream, then points silently at Geu-rim.

The news that Su-ho didn’t know his show was live is already hitting the internet by the time the show is over. He angrily reminds PD Lee that he wasn’t going to do any live shows, but PD Lee shows him the contract he signed with Geu-rim, which has been changed. When PD Lee got Su-ho drunk last night, he’d made Su-ho write on the contract that he’ll do live shows.

Station Manager Kang is furious that they put Su-ho live on the air without his knowledge, and he rakes Geu-rim over the coals. He finally relaxes, guessing that this was PD Lee’s idea, but he asks Geu-rim if Su-ho will forgive her for this.

PD Lee was even smart enough to film Su-ho signing the contract, and he shows Su-ho the video. He tells Su-ho that since he didn’t share his strategy (of switching scripts) for the first show, that he decided to do the same. He warns Su-ho not to annoy him in his studio again, and Su-ho fires back another warning: “If you damage my career out of stubbornness, I’ll murder you.”

Joon-woo corners PD Lee and asks if he embarrassed Su-ho on purpose. PD Lee says that they just came to an agreement, but Joon-woo informs him that he needs to find a different agreement. PD Lee deletes the video of Su-ho, but when Joon-woo leaves, he grumbles that he’ll just restore it.

Station Manager Kang orders Geu-rim to record a backlog of shows to use in case of accidents, and to go make Su-ho feel better. She finds Su-ho in the parking garage and apologizes, saying that she tried to tell him the show was live, but PD Lee stopped her.

Su-ho recalls the item in their contract saying that he can quit at any time, but he says he intends to give it a month as he promised. Nervous about losing another DJ, Geu-rim gives him her cell phone and asks him to pick up when she calls. Su-ho leaves with Joon-woo, taking her phone with him.

Seeing the articles about today’s incident, Su-ho’s mother orders everyone on his planning team fired. She blows up at Su-ho’s father, asking if he’s going to let his son keep doing things like this, then calls Writer Ra to tell her to show her her very best with her radio show.

Su-ho goes home and looks for Jason, but his room is empty. He’s left a note saying that he’s waiting for the day when Su-ho will talk to him seriously, and that he’s playing hard to get now. Su-ho lies in bed, bothered by today’s events. He picks up Geu-rim’s phone, noticing that her screensaver is a picture of everyone (except for Su-ho) taken on their island trip.

The next day, Writer Ra asks Geu-rim’s friends if they’re angry that they’re not main writers yet, when all Geu-rim had to do for the job was win over some guy. They weren’t upset before, but they are now, and Tornado even gives Geu-rim the cold shoulder when she passes her.

She’s here on Writer Ra’s summons, and Writer Ra asks her to do a job that the others were supposed to do. It’s insulting now that Geu-rim is a main writer, and Geu-rim looks uncomfortable.

Su-ho sits up reading the netizen’s comments about his show, which are universally negative. He answers when Jason calls Geu-rim’s phone, and Jason says that he’s worried about Su-ho, thinking he’s talking to Geu-rim. He’s shocked when Su-ho says he’s fine, and he quickly hangs up, ha.

Not only is Writer Ra’s request to Geu-rim insulting in general, but she sends her out to advertise for her show, which is even worse. But Geu-rim does a good job, dressing up and cheerfully passing out prizes to listeners who answer the questions that DJ Jay asks on the air. Tae-ri interrupts the show with a question about her acting award, making everyone in the studio cringe in annoyance (she calls herself and Su-ho the Yeo Jin-gu and Kim So-hyun of their time, lol).

Geu-rim’s friends go drinking, and Tornado blames Geu-rim for the fact that they’re still not main writers. Drought feels a bit bad that Geu-rim is out doing their job right now, but Monsoon mentions that Geu-rim seems to have a connection with JH Entertainment. Tornado looks thoughtful and asks if the others have seen the contract Geu-rim signed with Su-ho.

After the show, Geu-rim goes back to the station and heads to her hideout. As she snacks on the red bean fish pastry a listener gave to her, DJ Moon joins her and asks why she’s sulking. She tells him she’s confused because she’s a main writer, but she’s not allowed to do the show with her writing, and the other writers are acting distant.

DJ Moon leads Geu-rim back to his studio, where she says that she’d be inspired if she could write in here. She cutely hints that it would be nice if her team could do their show in his studio, but he ignores her and asks if she listened to his show yesterday, joking that she’s a bad fan for being too busy.

He tells her how Post-It notes were actually a failed product that became a hit. He tells Geu-rim to keep throwing herself at failures so that she can turn them into hits, giving her a big thumbs-up in support.

Still reading comments about his show, Su-ho is heartened to see that some of them still like him and plan to listen again. But he sees an article about a collaboration, which sends him rushing out the door.

Tae-ri barges in on Su-ho’s mother’s private shopping session, only to be pointedly ignored. She grabs a dress right out of Su-ho’s mother’s hands and asks her to buy it for her, and she’s pleasantly surprised when Mom says that the clothes she’s chosen are a gift.

Su-ho arrives at his parent’s home to ask about the collaboration news, and finds his mother preparing a meal for the director in question. She says to quit the radio show, and when his father joins them, he whispers to Su-ho that the reality show will only take a month. Oh, that’s what this is about.

A phone rings, and Su-ho’s parents are surprised when he pulls Geu-rim’s phone out of his pocket, since he famously refuses to carry one. He picks up, and his expression instantly turns to alarm. He runs out of the house without a word, leaving his mother furious enough to shatter a glass against the wall.

He finds Geu-rim’s mother on the street where her purse was snatched, and he says he’s Geu-rim’s friend and gives her a ride home. She asks if he heard Geu-rim’s show and says that Ji Su-ho was cute, though she’s heard he’s a real jerk. Ha, his face.

Su-ho follows her into the house and trails after her, trying to offer help as she makes dinner. But she’s very capable, and she confesses that she only pretended she needed help up the stairs because she wanted to feed him.

As Mom deftly makes dinner, she tells Su-ho that she can tell that he’s kind from his wonderful voice. She urges him to sit and eat, which he does, seeming touched.

Geu-rim arrives home, and Su-ho motions for her not to give his identity away. But of course Mom already knows who he is, and she jokes that she made friends with the jerk, ha. Su-ho doesn’t say a word, he just eats and watches as Geu-rim dotes on her mother.

He’s not very happy to see PD Lee come in asking for dinner, but the four eat in an awkward truce for Mom’s sake. Su-ho side-eyes PD Lee when he tells Mom not to call him “PD-nim” because they’re like family, but he keeps silent.

After dinner, PD Lee invites everyone to his place for tea. Su-ho asks if they’ll be live again tomorrow, and PD Lee says they will, anticipating a lot of listeners. When Su-ho threatens to quit, PD Lee says that he doesn’t have the nerve to inconvenience others when he’s made a promise.

Annoyed, Su-ho reminds PD Lee of his promise to quit if Su-ho doesn’t like the proposal, and that he can leave after a month if he wants. PD Lee waters a plant that he calls “Su-ho-yah,” telling it to watch its temper so it can grow.

Watch the video

Tonight you’re with me

 
Geu-rim returns with the script and Su-ho’s scarf that he lent her on the island. PD Lee starts to say that he and Geu-rim will work on the script tonight, but Su-ho interrupts. He turns to Geu-rim’s mom, haltingly calling her “Mother,” and asks if he can borrow Geu-rim.

He takes Geu-rim back to the radio station, admitting that he’s worried about tomorrow and asking Geu-rim to teach him. He’s so polite and humble that she agrees. She takes him to her office first and explains how radio waves work, and Su-ho pays close attention, though at times he seems distracted as he looks at Geu-rim.

Next she shows him around DJ Moon’s studio, particularly the wall covered in postcards and pictures from Geu-rim. She tells Su-ho that her mother had eye surgery when Geu-rim was fourteen, and that she hasn’t watched television since then because she didn’t want to laugh or cry while seeing a world her mother couldn’t see.

Instead, she says that the radio was always on so that she could listen to the world her mother was hearing. She fell in love with radio, and the stories she heard there. Su-ho listens then walks away, and we see that on the wall is a photo of his younger self with his friend who was in the accident. Interesting.

They sit, and Geu-rim explains that while on the air, seven seconds of silence is considered an accident. She counts off seven seconds to show Su-ho how long it feels, and he never takes his eyes off her the entire time. She knows that he saw her latest script, and she’s satisfied just to hear that he read it.

Later, she falls asleep for a few minutes on the desk, and Su-ho takes advantage of the chance to study her face. When Geu-rim wakes, she finds him still looking at her. She looks back questioningly, and Su-ho says softly, “I’m curious about you.”

 
COMMENTS

Oh, I like this softer side of Su-ho, very much. He had a huge change of attitude during this episode. He’s so hard to read, and it’s easy to say that his interest in Geu-rim prompted his willingness to be more flexible, but I don’t think that’s all that is influencing him. I want to believe that the boundaries that PD Lee set made an impression on Su-ho because they were for the good of the show and not for any personal benefit (like when his mother tells him what to do), and that Su-ho somehow responded to that. And every time I start to think that maybe Su-ho is just an irredeemable jerk, he does something like running to Geu-rim’s mother’s rescue. I think that she also had something to do with Su-ho’s sudden change, the way she saw right through to his kind heart. Su-ho treated Geu-rim’s mother with more respect and deference than I’ve seen him do with anyone, which shows me that there is a willing, humble spirit inside him somewhere.

On the other hand, I’m not at all pleased with the way PD Lee treats Geu-rim — yes, he’s giving her the chance of a lifetime to be a head writer, but he consistently ignores her wishes, talks over her, or just plain doesn’t let her talk. I don’t think he does it on purpose, it’s just another symptom of his anger issues, but that doesn’t make it okay. Seeing him push Geu-rim to the ground made me so angry that I was actually angry at Geu-rim for not blowing up at both jerks. I get that PD Lee and Su-ho are in some sort of testosterone-fueled face-off, but that’s no excuse for disregarding Geu-rim when she has something to say. I’m frankly surprised that she takes it from PD Lee, when she doesn’t let Su-ho do those things to her. I can only imagine that it’s because PD Lee is her boss and Su-ho isn’t, but I can’t wait for the day that Geu-rim has enough and tells PD Lee to stop pushing her around.

I’m oddly happy that Su-ho’s inability to speak when under pressure has more to do with his learned psychological issues than just a simple personality quirk. Character-wise it makes him much more interesting, and it gives him a starting point from which to improve. He’s been forbidden to have his own feelings and opinions for years, so it’s no surprise that he freezes up when faced with conflict, because silence is probably the only thing that’s kept him safe for most of his life. You could see the panic in his eyes when the caller yelled at him, and you could even see him trying to retreat emotionally, but he couldn’t because he was on the spot. I think radio will be good for him, because it will teach him to speak up when confronted instead of just turning turtle and hiding inside his safe little shell.

But he is pushing back against his mother already, and Geu-rim is definitely the reason for Su-ho’s newfound rebellion — from what I’ve seen, he’s always had a fighting spirit, but he’s kept it tamped down for the sake of peace and to avoid losing battles with his mother. I’m still very curious why Geu-rim’s presence is sparking his fighting spirit, because it’s obvious that Su-ho knows exactly why, though Geu-rim doesn’t have a clue. I love that she’s not Su-ho’s weak spot, but a source of strength, even if she doesn’t realize it. And it was really sweet when Su-ho met Geu-rim’s mom and got a glimpse of what a real family looks like. He softened up a lot, and even started to act like a real boy by asking for help. I liked the glimpse of the good person he will be once he’s free of his toxic family.

I really hope that we get some more of Su-ho and Geu-rim’s back story filled in soon. All we’ve gotten is glimpses and hints that Su-ho knew Geu-rim when they were kids, but tonight’s episode seemed to imply that Geu-rim also knew Su-ho, since his photograph was on DJ Moon’s wall with the rest of her postcards. I’m not keen on stories that throw in a childhood connection just to prove that the couple are fated, but occasionally a drama manages to weave the past and present together in a way that helps tell the entire story. I have a feeling that this will be one of those shows. We need to know more about Geu-rim and Su-ho’s history in order to understand them now, particularly in Su-ho’s case, since his memories of Geu-rim seem to be the only bright spot in his life as well as the source of some lingering anger towards her. It’s still very early in the show’s run, but I’m anxious to learn more.

 
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