After such a climactic and faintly poetic end in the eighth episode, it was pretty inevitable that the first half of this week’s double-bill would feel like a bit of a backward step, dramatically.
But this was a plodding hour by any metric, though it did bring back some of the comedy that defined the early-going, while also furthering the whole “love square” dynamic between Ung, Yeon-Su, Ji-ung, and NJ — all without the latter really being present, at least not physically.
“Just Friends” has at least a triple meaning, here. It pertains to Ji-ung and Yeon-Su, the former having made a determined effort since childhood to purge any romantic feelings for her from his memory, only for various chance encounters to pull his emotions kicking and screaming back to the surface.
It also pertains to Ung and Yeon-Su, obviously, especially after the kiss they shared in the previous episode brought their entire dynamic into question. And it pertains to Ung and NJ.
Both would say there’s nothing going on between them if you asked, but would either say they wouldn’t like there to be, in an ideal world?
Ji-ung is saddled with most of the drama here since he’s doing a terrible job of masking his feelings for Yeon-Su and is forced to mope around on his own for big stretches of time.
The reason for this is that Ung has sequestered himself away and Yeon-Su has kind of barricaded herself inside with him in order to prove a point.
Will They Survive This "Just Friends" Era?
After Ung asked Yeon-Su to be friends with him, she has been on a roll. She is trying her level best to irritate him and it makes sense. Asking your ex to be your friend is a stupid question which Ung didn't get at first.
If they’re “just friends”, as they seem to be claiming, then why can’t they hang out all day, play video games, and ask each other intrusive questions about their respective romantic lives? That’s the friendly thing to do!
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Needless to say, this is where all the comedy is. Yeon-Su and Ung are both painfully awkward since neither is willing to admit how they really feel and yet neither knows how to act around the other now. Tekken doesn’t help.
The invasive questioning doesn’t help either.
And once Yeon-Su spots NJ calling Ung’s phone, it becomes rather obvious that “just friends” is something that these two probably won’t ever be.
Ung is jealous of Kim Ji-Ung and Mr. Jang and on the other hand, Yeon-Su is jealous of NJ clearly shows how much they are failing at their "Just Friends" task.
Does Kim Ji-Ung have a healthy relationship with his mom?
In the middle of the episode, we see Kim Ji-Ung being genuinely happy for the first time.
But all his happiness is taken away after seeing the unexpected guest at home who is none other than his mom.
His mother has never stayed with him for a long time. She comes back and leaves however she wants, this is something that Ji-Ung never liked about her.
He grew up alone as a kid as we can see in the flashbacks which are shown. Somehow it was understood why he doesn't share a healthy bond with his mom.
With Choi-Ung and Yeon-Su on her "Just friend's" phase will Kim Ji-Ung tell Yeon-Su how he feels about her? Is there going to be a new love story?
The interesting questions going forwards really revolve around how other characters factor into the relationship.
Can Ji-ung cope with seeing Yeon-Su and Ung back together? Can Ung resist the temptations of NJ, and can Yeon-Su restrain from violating his privacy to make sure their relationship is platonic?
Well, we don’t know if the answers to these questions will make Our Beloved Summer significantly more interesting, but at the very least they might make character-building episodes like this one feel more worthwhile in hindsight.
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