“Just Friends” leans heavily into the love square angle as Yeon-su and Ung deal with the aftermath of their previous encounter.
This recap of Our Beloved Summer season 1, episode 9, “Just Friends”, contains spoilers.
So, here’s a quote from my preview of these two episodes, published last week:
- Given how Ung and Yeon-su are, can we even rely on them to acknowledge the kiss straight away? It wouldn’t surprise me to waste at least another episode on them beating around the bush, fretting over whether they made a mistake or not.
I’m not always right, but when I’m right then I’m right, you know?
Our Beloved Summer season 1, episode 9 recap
After such a climactic and faintly poetic end to the previous 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, then. 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. 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!
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.
I laughed a few times at Our Beloved Summer episode 9, which is perhaps just as well since barely anything happened in it. The gimmick of two people forcing themselves to essentially isolate with one another had the presumably unintended effect of making me feel as if I was stuck in the room with them. And it was obvious where it was all ultimately going since these two have already pointed out to one another that they can’t just leave everything unsaid. They did that about their breakup in the first place, and look where that got them.
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? I 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.