I thought it couldn’t get any better than Episode 11. But lo and behold, Episode 12.
Episode 12: The Meaning of a Hand
Busan, January 1999: Tae-woong has a gorgeous ring… Oh noooes. Give that to me! Don’t give it to Shi-won!! Yoon-jae narrates, “Hyung always said that if you won someone’s hand, you won them.”
Yoo-jung and Shi-won look at hair accessories and talk about S.E.S. and Fin.K.L. They exclaim that they can’t imagine S.E.S. being married. Hahahaa. They unfortunately spot Hak-chan with Dan-ji and Hak-chan’s evasive response sets Yoo-jung on edge.
Shi-won packs her entire room and she and Daddy have their usual spat about Monkey Tony. Daddy then yells at her for giving no thought to her parents’ breaking hearts – she’s all packed, a full month before she’s even to leave. Ha! As Daddy swears he’s ready to cut emotional ties with her, he lovingly and longingly smooths his hands over Shi-won’s desk. Awww, I love these two.
The guys are over at Yoon-jae’s house and stare slack-jawed at Lee Hyori and Sung Yuri. Heheeeee! We see that the coming Saturday (tomorrow) is marked as Shi-won’s birthday. Hak-chan is being sent to study abroad in Hawaii but he hasn’t broken the news yet to Yoo-jung. The guys urge him to tell her.
Yoon-jae goes into the kitchen to grab a bottle of soju and tells Joon-hee not to pop the yolk of the egg(s) in the ramen. When Joon-hee doesn’t respond, Yoon-jae lifts one side of Joon-hee’s headphones and whispers in his ear, “Don’t break the yolk.” Joon-hee stares after him wistfully.
The guys dig into the ramen and Sung-jae exclaims that Yoon-jae’s lucky to live with Joon-hee next year. (They’re going to the same college and rooming together.) Poor Hak-chan just keeps fiddling with his phone. Joon-hee tells Yoon-jae that Shi-won is going up to Seoul next week – she’s already packed her bags. Yoon-jae’s face predictably clouds over and he mumbles that he doesn’t care. Sung-jae ridicules Shi-won’s fangirling and how she got into college via fan fiction. Yoon-jae snarls back that Shi-won is a good writer, unlike the grammar- and syntax-dummy Sung-jae. Awww, you cutie.
Tae-woong drops off his friend/co-worker, who sees the ring box. Tae-woong wants to give it to Shi-won for her birthday but is worried that it’s a bit too much. The friend confirms that the maginormous rock is way too much and would be burdensome, especially to someone so young. He suggests, instead, a nice and simple couple ring if Tae-woong is really set on giving a ring. No no no no noooo!
Shi-won heads out to meet Tae-woong and sees her mom packing a maginormous box of food and supplies. Hehehe, the standard Korean momma response. When quizzed by her dad, Shi-won says she’s going out to see Yoon-jae… Sigh. Girlfriend, don’t use him like that.
Yoon-jae tells Joon-hee not to worry about the dishes but Joon-hee does them anyway. Joon-hee asks if Yoon-jae’s coming to Shi-won’s birthday party tomorrow and Yoon-jae sullenly responds that he doesn’t know. It’s a bday + farewell party rolled in one and Joon-hee urges Yoon-jae to come. Our sullen cutie helps with the dishes and when prompted says he got “something cheap” for Shi-won’s present – but he’s not gonna give it to her. Nooo, give it to her!
Tae-woong arrives at home and gives Shi-won fish-shaped pastries (filled with sweet red bean). She surprises him with a nice red necktie, saying that it’s supposed to bring good luck. He’s pleased and puts it on, asking if she knows what it means when a girl gets her boyfriend a tie: “It means you want to have that person.” This is news to Shi-won, who’s flabbergasted and frantically denies any such intentions. Tae-woong half-jokingly says he’s disappointed, leaning in for a hug and kiss on her forehead – all of which is seen by Yoon-jae and Joon-hee. Aaack – not in a good way.
Hak-chan apologizes to Yoo-jung about earlier (meeting with Dan-ji) and things blow up into a full-scale argument. In the heat of the moment Hak-chan finally drops the bomb: “I’m going to study abroad. I swallowed the embarrassment and asked Dan-ji to borrow her restaurant after-hours. I was going to tell you I have to leave and ask you to wait for me since I like you a lot.” Yoo-jung slaps him and says, “How am I supposed to know how you feel if you don’t tell me?” Poor babies.
Mommy and Daddy worry about sending Shi-won off to college…
Next day: The crew holds a birthday party for Shi-won at a no-rae-bang (karaoke). Sung-jae, Joon-hee, and Shi-won are the only ones excitedly singing and dancing. At Sung-jae’s request Yoon-jae takes the mic… and blows everyone away with his SuperstarK-winning skills. Hee! Everyone leaves the room for one reason or another until it’s just The Cuties in the room.
Shi-won asks if he isn’t giving her a birthday present. “I think I told you last year on my birthday…”
Flashback to Shi-won’s birthday last year: Yoon-jae gives Shi-won coupons for her birthday and she complains that they’re lame. He replies that she’s given him the same thing the past 10 consecutive years, too. As she flips through them, she realizes they’re all activities to do together and asks if these are for her or for him. Yoon-jae cheekily answers that they’re for the both of them. Heee! Shi-won tells him she wants something – but not from him, anyone but him: a ring. She wants a ring for her birthday next year.
Back to the…uh…present aka 1999. Shi-won: “You forgot, didn’t you?” Yoon-jae responds, “Get it from my brother. That present, it just has to be from someone other than me, doesn’t it?” Aaack dying here. She’s shocked and confused.
And then the BEST. SCENE. EVER.
Yoonjae: “You’re really cruel. How can you ask me for that present?”
Shi-won: “Why? I’m dumb so I don’t really understand what you’re talking about. Why don’t you explain?”
Yoon-jae: “I like you. I really like you a lot. From the moment I was born you were beside me. There wasn’t a day I didn’t see you. I remember the first day you got your period. But despite all this, you were still a woman to me. On the first day of high school, I thought you were pretty for the first time in my life. And since then, I’ve stayed beside you – showing that I like you. Asking you to like me. But you didn’t seem to know. We’ve been friends for so long, I figured it was understandable you didn’t know. So I decided to confess my feelings to you. That’s why I asked you to meet me at 8 pm at the school field the day of our National College Entrance Exam. That day was my D-Day. But Hyung confessed 10 minutes earlier… to me… that he liked you. What should I do? There are two people I love the most in the world. One is my hyung, who sacrificed everything for me. And the other person is you. It’s you, but my hyung says he likes you… a lot… like I do. What should I do? What do you want me to do? What should I do, gashina?!”
AAAAACCCCCKKKKKKKK somebody kill me now.
Sung-jae comes in and sings one last song: aptly titled “Farewell”. Outside, Yoo-jung tells Hak-chan she just wanted to know one thing: “What everyone else knows. What you confess to all your friends [about me]. Just do that for me.” Just tell her you like her!
Sung-jae leaves after singing the song and The Cuties are left alone again.
Shi-won: “Yoon-jae, can’t we go back to being comfortable friends again? Like you said, we’ve been together since we’ve been born. I’m kinda dumb. You know, too, right? But I do know that you’re my most precious friend in the whole world. You’ll still be my friend, right?”
Nooooo, don’t use that friend line!
Sung-jae: “When a man reveals everything in his heart to the woman he loves one-sidedly – it means he’s not intending to see her ever again.”
AAAAAAAAAAACCCCCKKKKKKK! He hands her a box and says, “You throw it away.” And in the doorway as he’s leaving: “Friends? Bullshit.”
Shi-won opens the box and inside is a ring. Eeeeee!! Poor Yoon-jae cries outside…
Shi-won comes home shell-shocked and Tae-woong is waiting outside the door with her birthday present. He’s so endearing I can’t dislike him. *wail* His gift: a key to her new home in Seoul and a simple ring (not the huge rock he’d bought earlier). She hesitantly says she has something to tell him…
Shi-won comes inside to hear her parents arguing over how to use her room, now that it’s empty. Hahahaa! The next morning they all bid each other a tearful farewell as Shi-won heads off to Seoul. She waves goodbye from inside the bus, and she’s wearing a ring…
“If our teenage years are filled with wild emotional fluctuations, it’s because we don’t know the answer. We don’t know what it is we truly want, who it is that truly loves me, whom it is I truly love. Here and there, we search for that answer, undergoing much trial and error. And in that last moment, when we’ve miraculously found the answer to everything, we had already become adults, enduring small and big farewells/separations. In that manner, that winter was full of partings.”
As the years literally pass – yes, numbers literally move across the screen – she continues to narrate the various domestic and international events that occurred. Shi-won: “And with the dawn of the 21st century, I thought my 1990s were forever finished.”
2005, Seoul: She’s in the entertainment industry and lo and behold, Monkey Tony is the guest of the show she’s working on! Shi-won: “And thus my 1990s started once again.”
She heads into a café and orders 5 iced Americanos. The guest behind her orders a large iced caramel mocha with LOTS of whipped cream. Sound familiar?!?! Shi-won recognizes the voice and turns to see… someone who feels a prickle – okay, maybe a SHOCK! – of awareness and also turns to see her… Aack, grown-up Yoon-jae!!!
Tae-woong is now a professor, and three flirty students bring him coffee, asking him to spend time with them. He relents and picks out the iced caramel mocha with whipped cream, saying he likes sweet things…
- Answer Me 1997: Episode 11
- Answer Me 1997 Official OST Love Story
- Answer Me 1997 – Preview 13, 14
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- Answer Me 1997 – Ep 10
- Answer Me 1997 – Ep 9
- Answer Me 1997 – Preview 11, 12
- Answer Me 1997 – Episode 7, 8
- Answer Me 1997 – Heart Attack
- Answer Me 1997 – Episode 5, 6
- Answer Me 1997 – Heart Palpitations