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Record of Youth: Episodes 7-8 Review

I really loved these episodes. Really really. I fully acknowledge that this drama is very focused on its visual presentation and stylising itself into these perfectly composed moments, but still the emotions of it are layered, and even if it’s not quite as messy, it’s no less complicated. Are its moments as organic as a different show? Maybe not, but Record of Youth is just being itself, and I refuse to blame it for not being something else.

 

Saya: I don’t know why I’m starting out defensive lol. It’s been that kind of week!

Paroma: I’ve been warned. 😄 But I already texted you earlier in the week that you’d love these episodes!

Saya: I only remembered that you told me I’d dislike Hye-joon’s dad even more, and you were right 😅

Paroma: You selective rememberer, you. But I quite loved the episodes myself. If anything, it felt very organic since the story largely focused on Hye-joon’s rise and Jung-ha’s rising disillusionment at work. Show does these things extremely well. 

Saya: It’s always a challenge for a romance to somehow show you love differently, and to make you feel different about it. So I really appreciated the way that for Jung-ha, love is something that has always come hand in hand with sadness, and it was also explored why.

Paroma: There is also something different in how the relationship isn’t being idealised. It’s not following general romance-drama flow. Jung-ha and Hye-joon are distinct people who don’t constantly confide in each other and don’t expect the other one to be there when they are hurt or having a hard time. But when they turn up at the right moment, they are so grateful and relieved to have that shoulder to rest on for a moment.

Saya: I’ve really come to appreciate the weekly rewind where we backtrack from the end to go see it from the other person’s perspective. Remember how we talked about how powerful the scene of Hye-joon crying in his van was? And then to see Jung-ha on the other side, instantly realising that he was crying. I think we saw that wordless understanding that we mentioned last time really put down deep roots, as opposed to building upwards. That’s further cemented by these whole lovely sequences where they don’t say anything at all. And no music. Just silence and them.

Paroma: Yeah, that was nicely shown there. They are in tune with each other’s pain, but not necessarily the cure. So, quiet support is the order of the day.

Saya: Going to complain about Netflix subs again. “I know how it feels to get your heart broken”? Really? Talk about robbing the line of emotional impact. She says something more to the tune of knowing well the tears that flow from the heart. If I could re-write those subs…! 

Paroma: Netflix clearly thinks the international audience is too dumb for metaphor.

Saya: I wish they would allow the language to be a little unusual, even awkward, for English. I do understand that translation choices are complicated, but I so wish we didn’t have to lose the character of their dialogue.

But back to the scene at hand: how her kind words to him in that moment is what makes him cry again. That got me right in the heart. There’s a special kind of breaking that only a parent can do.

Paroma: My favourite moment from this week was definitely when Hye-joon’s dad learned about his casting in a drama on the family chat room and instantly wished that it falls through so Hye-joon “learns his lesson”. 

Priceless dad moment.

Saya: So cold. It’s more disturbing when you see how much of a habit it is for him to put Hye-joon down, and simultaneously hold big bro Kyung-joon up. I’m really glad that Ae-sook doesn’t mince her words to Dad about his differential treatment (even if it has no effect on him). But it’s so interesting how when she sits Hye-joon down to tell him not to take Dad’s cruelty to heart, and says it’s because he doesn’t know how to show love, Hye-joon calls her out on it—clearly he does know how to show love, because Kyung-joon.

And that there is a perfect vignette of family gaslighting, whose wrongness is skewered with a few short lines. That’s my Ha Myung-hee magic. She’s put some really deep things into throwaway lines.

Paroma: Mom can’t really badmouth Dad to their kids, cause that’s how family units roll. I understand Ae-sook. I also know that confronting her husband a million times over his discrimination wouldn’t have changed him. Not when there was no real threat of either Ae-sook or Hye-joon leaving him. 

Which brings me to the current situation. Where the favourite son has made the dreaded mistake of falling for a scam and the black sheep is earning renown. I can’t wait for next week’s rewind. I’m sure there’s some story left to tell between the one fan asking for his autograph in the lobby and Hye-joon being mobbed by fans!

Saya: I do kind of wish I could nom up this show in one go! I’m actually super pleased with where we’re going with Kyung-joon—I told you he was redeemable! He’s such a fun character, and even though he’s a pretty bad bro, the fact that he doesn’t have this vitriolic resentment towards Hye-joon the way Dad does makes him instantly more palatable. I see him as more roguish and a little hapless.

Paroma: I love the scenes in his bank. He’s so determined to keep things by the book in a work culture that’s all about doing favours and overtimes without protest. 😄

Saya: Is it bad that I relate to that? 😂 And I’m glad his (female) boss didn’t turn out to be another Jin-joo—just someone at the end of her tether with his annoying personality LOL. But it’s hilarious how he keeps talking about the burden of being the elder son like he does something, and even better when he blatantly acknowledges that yeah, actually, he doesn’t, but it’s the thought that counts. And one day he will, promise! 

Paroma: hahahaha. That was perfect. I like that we’re seeing more of the brothers’ interactions outside the house. I didn’t think they could stand each other but turns out that’s not true at all!