A masterful episode with delicate themes and expert execution.
This recap of My Liberation Notes season 1, episode 13 contains spoilers.
The latest episode of My Liberation Notes has a clear intention of showing a very different side to Mr. Gu than what we’re used to. Sometime in the future, in Seoul, he’s ruthlessly running a failing club and losing himself in drink, thinking only of Mi-jeong and returning to her. Eventually, he gets his wish, and the episode cycles back to show what was going on in his absence.
My Liberation Notes season 1, episode 13 recap
Mi-jeong was waiting. But part of her waiting was developing a steely attitude that is exemplified by a wild dog encounter; it’s a cold, unfeeling coping mechanism. Chang-hee, meanwhile, is depressed, feels as though his father doesn’t respect him, and feels his hard work hasn’t been rewarded fairly. Je-ho is basically the stern working-class parent many of us have had, especially one who struggles to openly show emotion and keeps their feelings – and often themselves – at something of a remove.
And then there’s Gi-jeong, who begins to stand up for herself and grow closer to Tae-hun.
The clever aspect of this episode is that it doesn’t actually reveal how much time has elapsed between the opening flash-forward and the rest of the episode until Mr. Gu returns and discovers how much has changed in his absence. Hye-sook passed away. Gi-jeong, Mi-jeong, and Chang-hee have all moved to Seoul. Je-ho gives Gu an address for Mi-jeong.
Written down, it occurs to me that none of this sounds as clever and poignant as it actually is in motion, with a ton of meaningful formal tricks helping to get across the relevant themes and ideas. The eventual reveal reworks the context of previous scenes and conversations, retrospectively giving them a new power. It’s a crying shame that this weekend k-drama isn’t as popular as Tomorrow or Our Blues, since – in my humble opinion – it’s operating on a much more sophisticated artistic level than both. Tomorrow’s episode is sure to be a belter.