Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Secret Love Affair - Along the Way - Ep 11

-OR- Not-So-Secret Love Affair.

Really, that's what it should be called. Who doesn't know by now?

The episode starts with Seon-jae looking through the little window above his computer desk, thinking he never realized before how small it is. And by extension, how little he knows. Hye-won's house and office have windows but no view; they are all blocked by blinds and curtains. There are no vistas and no perspective.

Seon-jae goes to see Prof. Jo to ask about Hye-won. Jo gives him a concert program with a picture of her at 20 and says it is the real her. What she is now is a variation, and he tries to be understanding.

That program revealed that 20-year-old Hye-won had played a very difficult piece by Schumann. He is supposed to have injured his hands by over-practicing that piece trying to learn it. A repetitive-motion injury like tennis elbow. We have been told that Hye-won had wanted to be a concert pianist but injured her hands and had to stop playing. Perhaps she got a similar injury to Schumann. She can only practice with Seon-jae every-other day, and has him practice with a recording the other days. Maybe one thing that makes her care about him is that he has a chance to live the dream she had to give up.

Hye-won skips out of the Chairman's house to go meet Seon-jae at a nearby construction site. He is angry at the graft she is involved in and can't just watch her and try to understand, the way Prof. Jo does. He can succeed as a pianist and wants her to go away with him. She says not yet, that they shouldn't see each other for a while and gives him her secret phone. She gets a threatening text and leaves but he takes her hand to go down the stairs because they are dangerous. Ah. More dangerous stairs.

Back at the house, Bad StepMom and Daughter try to take a high tone with Hye-won but she shuts them up quick by reading the text, saying it was one of them, and that they just lost half her loyalty. She has told Seon-jae that she is clever and can control things, but usually is subservient. This is our first look at her being controlling.

Da-mi and Jang-ho come to try to talk Seon-jae into giving up on the rich pickers who just toy with people's lives. In response he plays the piano for them. It's his go-to method of convincing people. They are touched and give up on him and leave.

43:15 - The Rachmaninoff with flashbacks of practicing and playing in concert.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tragic Ferry Disaster

No one who pays attention to the news, or is interested in Korea, can be unaware of the tragic disaster recently of the ferry sinking. The fact that so many of those who lost their lives were children makes it much worse. It is appalling that the captain and crew of a ship wouldn't be trained in safety procedures and what to do in an emergency. They should know how hard it is to evacuate a sinking ship, and get people out as fast as possible. Now we hear that there were a lot of irregularities and illegalities that contributed to the accident. It's disheartening to hear of such rampant graft, but I guess it is in every country.

Our hearts go out to those who were on the ferry and their families. People are the most important thing there is, as is brought home to us in every disaster. The hope is that this shock will cause everyone to cooperate with reform, and that nothing like it will ever happen again. Rules are there for a reason. When they are not followed, accidents can happen.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Secret Love Affair - Along the Way - Ep 9 - 10

Episode 9

Madame Han - Big Fox- suggests that Sun-jae get double-eyelid surgery and Hye-won objects a little too strongly, saying his eyes are cute. Big Fox calls Dean Min to suggest Hye-won have the full tutoring of Sun-jae. She calls him Sweetie. Later, when Sun-jae objects to being on-camera while practicing, she approves turning the camera off. She has something up her sleeve, giving them more chance to be together. Considering there are no friends at the foundation, it's not just to be nice. She wants something to hold over Hye-won or she just wants to do anything to keep the prodigy happy.

Little Fox has two phones. Good idea, but she needs them password locked and to keep better track of them. The husband reads her texts when she leaves her phone around. She throws glances at her secretary while she plugs in the extra to recharge, to see if she notices. She doesn't trust anyone.  Hye-won eats out with Mme Han's secretary and Prof. Jo's wife, but tellingly, doesn't share confidences when the secretary is there. She's the one who made the recording of the husband and CEO Daughter bad-mouthing Hye-won.

The Dean gives the hubs the bad news, passing it off as his own opinion. He brings up the idea of George Sand and Chopin. Not a very secret affair? Da-mi already overheard people at the salon   talking about Sun-jae and his teacher. And she heard Madame Han talking to the dean, too.

Hye-won and Sun-jae meet at the practice room and she gives him a recording of herself playing the concerto accompaniment for him to practice with. He gets a kick out of that.

40:10 - practicing concerto - at home with the recording and earphones. It's important to see that he practices and has to work to do well.

Seon-jae picks up Hye-won for a spin on the scooter, and they end up at his house. She walks in untying her scarf and when she turns around to face him, he swoops in, takes her face in his hands, and  kisses her. Then taking her hand, he leads her into the alcove under the stairs where his mother slept. Very smooth.

They are sitting on the roof when Da-mi and Jang-ho come over. She hides and he lets them in.  Sun-jae tells Da-mi he doesn't care for her. She says fine, but he'd better not have another girl. We find out she had been second in command in a gang in high school and he had influenced her to get out. This may be a parallel construction of Hye-won being second at the arts foundation and Seon-jae getting her to leave and escape all the graft there. We can only hope. She asks him to call a cab with her phone. He looks in her purse and is stunned to find the two identical phones. The next day at school she needs her phone and has to get it from him. Her secretary thinks she is acting weird.

57:56 - Brahms Intermezzo - practicing at school

Hye-won goes to the salon to talk to CEO Daughter about money. Da-mi sees her and thanks her for watching out for her boy friend. Oh don't worry, she will.

Episode 10

Preparations are being made for Sun-jae's concert.

6:57 - practicing the concerto
Seon-jae plays his solo with Hye-won doing the orchestral part on the piano. We get to hear quite a bit and even with the Hubs standing behind them tapping his hand to the beat, it is just as intense for them as before. Hye-won is short of breath by the end. She gives Seon-jae a new handkerchief to wipe his sweaty hands during the concert.

Mme Han refuses to attend the concert, saying Dean Min isn't going either and the press won't be there. Isn't it wonderful that the people in charge of the arts school aren't even interested enough in music to go listen?

21:00 - the concerto. Rachmaninioff Rhapsody On A Theme By Paganini.
Sun-jae nods to the conductor he is ready, looking confidant, but when he comes to a break in his part he scans the audience looking for Hye-won. Your heart fails, thinking he'll get lost, but he comes in on time. I read that this orchestra is  the Incheon City Philharmonic, and that the piano coach says that Yoo Ah-in really is a piano genius because he gives him something to learn and he has it memorized by the next day. We get the ending again, with the glissando.

26:10 - the encore. Brahms Six Pieces for Piano, Op 118 Intermezzo No. 2
He told her he would play this as a love letter if he was asked for an encore. Brahms was in love with Clara Schumann, wife of Robert Schumann, and dedicated this music to her. Kind of parallel situations.

30:52 - Sun-jae and Hye-won sit in her office watching the playback of the concert on her laptop, totally not going to the party in his honor. Nice way to keep the affair a secret, guys. By the time Hubs goes looking for her, they are backstage, with Sun-jae showing her where he first saw her back in episode 1.

CEO Daughter gets a text that the prosecutors are at her dad's house arresting him. She tries to get Hye-won, can't, and sends Hubs after her. He checks the security cameras and tries the stage. They are on the floor behind the curtains, acting like two teenagers in the back of a Chevy. We had no idea our Geol-oh had such bad self-control. Hubs yells out the message and leaves.

There is a line of black cars in front of the Chairman's house. His son-in-law is there to go down to the police station with him. He's talking about what to wear to get sympathy. Reminds me of the dad in Protect the Boss. CEO Daughter is crying, she's the only one who really cares about him. Big Fox is crying crocodile tears into a handkerchief. As soon as the audience is gone she throws it down. Interesting there are two handkerchiefs in this episode, pointing up the difference in the relationships of the  two couples.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Secret Love Affair - Along the Way - Ep 5-8

Episode 5

The Husband is pleased with having brought the prodigy home and eventually goes to bed drunk. Seon-jae wants to talk to Hye-won about why she is ignoring him after they kissed. She grabs his face and kisses him again, claiming it is punishment, and he should stop messing with her. (How's that again?) He grabs her in a back-hug as she starts to leave and tempts her with more piano playing. They end up doing duets again. I like the part where he plays a run right over the top of her hands, laughing.

22:55  - Solo arrangement of Schubert's Fantasia in F Minor D 940
23:50 - Chopin's Etude Op. 10, No. 1 in C Major
24:25 - 12 Variations on "Ah vous darai- je Maman" for piano in C Major, K 265, by Mozart 
      (a melody used in several children's songs, including Twinkle Twinkle Little Star) 
24:50 - Mozart's Sonata for Piano Four Hands in C Major, KV 521 Allegro
28:20  - Tchaikovsky's The Seasons, Op 37 "The Snowdrop"

In the morning Little Fox must be happy because she is wearing bright colors for the first time. After she leaves for work, Da-mi shows up. She has been proclaiming herself Seon-jae's girlfriend, and does support him a lot, but he doesn't really seem to care about her. She does Hye-won's hair and is the one who told her about Seon-jae being in jail. She's a pretty tough girl, and beats up on Seon-jae in what I hope is  not The Korean Way. Later at the salon, a nasty rich girl sticks gum on her. She takes it for the moment. Notice that those of lower status have to lower their eyes.

The professor tries to dress Seon-jae up in nice clothes but he bails and decides to move back into his old apartment.

  Episode 6 

When Soen-jae gets home, Hye-won is waiting. She goes to see him because she likes him, but she doesn't want to admit it. He is excited she came and keeps her waiting while he cleans the floor to make a fit place for her to sit. She tells him it's not good for him to be seeing a 20-year older woman, and he tells her she doesn't have to try to impress him, she just needs to love him. When she changes the topic he tries music again, a recording of himself playing Liszt. She is touched and impulsively offers to hug him. He says seriously, "I'll hug you." Very emotional hug.

At 20:17 is Liszt's Rhapsodie Espagnole
At 39:38 is Variations flashback

The husband had just arrived outside the door in time to hear this. He turns around and leaves. When Hye-won gets home he asks her if Seon-jae should play the Liszt in competition.  This should be a hint that he heard it being played, but she doesn't get it.

The next time Nasty Rich Girl comes to the salon, Da-mi trips her, takes her into the toilet, and roughs her up a little. Hye-won sees it and is a shocked by the violence. She is also a little shocked by the Chairman getting her to set him up with a waitress, and telling her he's changing her job to helping CEO Daughter with a start-up. Stressed-out and needing some peace and quiet, she goes to Seon-jae and asks him to drive her around for a couple of hours.

Episode 7

He drives and she falls asleep. When he stops she wakes up and says home is like work; she can't relax anywhere. He goes off to get her a room to relax in and she takes it as Getting A Room and freaks out. She totally drives home and leaves him there to fend for himself. When he gets back he calls to say his jacket is still in her car and his house key is in the pocket. She goes through his pockets to see if it's really there, and opens the door just enough to drop the jacket out on the porch.

He plays his scholarship audition and it is anticlimactic. Small audience; no one makes a big fuss.
29:20 - audition - Liszt Spanish Rhapsody S.254, T. 90

Da-mi comes by and he tells her that she and their friend Jang-ho ground him and should still visit, but to call before they come. She doesn't realize she has just been friend-zoned.

Hye-won has a few more strained conversations with the Chairman's family and does some more dirty work for them. Now it looks like she's the one who might have a nervous breakdown. Seon-jae sees when they award him the scholarship that she is put upon and used, and he feels awful that he can't really help her.

Episode 8

The husband is listening at Seon-jae's door. Just as he leaves Da-mi shows up w/o calling and Seon-jae hurries off with her because he has just texted Hye-won to come. She sees them from inside her car. No one ever sees anyone watching from a car in a kdrama. Seon-jae starts to tell Da-mi to break up, but can't bring himself to do it.

The next morning he goes to see Hye-won.  She yells at him about his other girlfriend, hitting him and pushing him. He sits her down on the sofa to talk, saying he's glad she came to his house and that she's jealous. He acts more mature than she does, seeing past her behavior to her motivations, and being quite gentle. She is pretty much falling apart. I have noticed her in earlier episodes tucking her hair tightly into a bun and repeatedly making sure it is smoothly in place. I figured there was a reason for that, and we'd see some developments later. Now we see she has her hair in a loose puff, and it comes down from being jostled. Yes, she's coming apart.

He asks her about CEO Daughter and she tells him it's the class system, with her in the middle serving the rich above her, with greed at the top.  By now we have found out that she was a friend of CEO Daughter since middle school days, and the family sent them abroad to college together. She has been serving them ever since. He's been honest with her, now she's being honest with him.

They meet to practice the concerto at the school, and she's still yelling at him. It's her last resistance before giving in to her feelings for him.
34:10 - Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto #2 in C, Rhapsody On a Theme By Paganini
Secret love affair?  Secret means kept separate or hidden. All through this show we have been taking peeks at the characters from behind partitions and furniture. We saw only the backs of heads during the first kiss. Now we see Hye-wan in her office getting her coat, and hidden behind a pillar as she finds Seon-jae's jacket.

We see him arriving in front of his house and realizing he hasn't got his key again. He calls her and is surprised to be told she is already in his apartment. His face is suffused with happiness as he goes in and sees her.

And then it's hidden again. We see the electric meters in the hall, the dishes by the sink and the pans on the stove. And we hear them talking, tenderly and intimately. Whatever it means to the outside world, they are together for the first time. And then we see them sitting on the floor drinking beer and talking, completely at ease with each other. It's all so beautifully and tastefully done, although it seems rather sudden until you consider there has been a build-up going on.

The husband had gone to a fortune teller and was told that his wife was too responsible and would never leave him and have an affair. Well, he knows that's wrong. She didn't come home all night. He should get his money back.