“Before Sunset” is a bit languid for most of its runtime, but it builds to the biggest moment of the series thus far.
This recap of Our Beloved Summer season 1, episode 8, “Before Sunset”, contains spoilers.
After the ripe comedic potential of yesterday’s episode, “Before Sunset” can’t help but feel a bit lethargic for the vast majority of its runtime. Then, though, it delivers a moment that the show has been building towards for the entire season, and it sticks the landing so well that it’s easy to forgive the steady pace of the early going. With this episode, Our Beloved Summer has absolutely reached a major turning point, and it’s likely to be a very different show from this point on.
Our Beloved Summer season 1, episode 8 recap
Since all the documentary crew are on a trip, it’s a good excuse to venture back in time once more to a trip shared by Ung and Yeon-su – their last one, as it happens, before he went away for a while. Of course, as we learned in yesterday’s episode, Yeon-su didn’t really give Ung much choice in the matter, but there’s an important moment of closeness when Yeon-su, perhaps slightly idealistically, says that the two of them will never break up. If they should ever happen to, she says, all Ung has to do is approach her as he did that day, and she leans close and tells him what she’ll do in response – we don’t hear it, though, until the epilogue returns to this moment and reveals she said, simply, that she would hold him and never let him go.
Aside from these dalliances in the past, though, a lot of “Before Sunset” moves on a slightly irritating pace, bogged down by a sense of moroseness and a lot of time-killing. Some of that time-killing manifests as points and dynamics being reiterated. Ung is visibly jealous of Yeon-su’s growing closeness with Ji-ung, and NJ has her smugness shattered when Ung doesn’t pick up her calls. This is all building towards the ending, which is perhaps just as well since you can really feel in this episode that the show has reached the upper limit of how much it can prolong the whole will-they-won’t-they dynamic. When Ung and Yeon-su aren’t together, they talk about each other to other people. When they are together, they talk about their relationship, past and present. When they’re not together once again, they think about each other. There’s no mystery, really, to where any of this is going.
It’s impressive, then, that “Before Sunset” pulls off the inevitable reconciliation as well it as does. In the rain-lashed countryside, Ung and Yeon-su come face to face once again, and begin to say the things that have been left unsaid; one then the other tries to leave, to run away, but both stay. Eventually, they kiss. And it feels like a truly meaningful moment despite it having been telegraphed for weeks. We’re now at the halfway point of the season, and this obviously represents a major turning point, but the drama still rests on a knife-edge, liable to tip into boring territory if it isn’t able to sustain some pace after this long-awaited development. Next week’s episodes will be a good indication of how the show is going to proceed, so we’ll have to wait and see.
You can stream Our Beloved Summer season 1, episode 8, “Before Sunset”, exclusively on Netflix.