By Bryan Tan
This recap contains spoilers and covers episodes 13-14 of Record Of Youth, which is currently available on Netflix.
As Bette Midler says, the worst part of success is trying to find someone who is happy for you. As Sa Hye Jun (Park Bo Gum) gets even more immensely popular, it seems like everyone is tripping over themselves trying to bring him down.
Reporter Kim Su Man (Bae Yoon Kyoung) sees Hye Jun’s rise to stardom as the perfect chance to make her mark as a journalist. She digs furiously into Hye Jun’s personal life, seeking to draw attention with sensationalist angles on Hye Jun’s ‘scandalous’ ‘gay relationship’ with Charlie Jung (Lee Seung Joon) and even exposes his relationship with An Jeong Ha (Park So Dam) for the first time.
Like moths to a flame, Hye Jun’s fame attracts no shortage of detractors; his older brother Gyeong Jun (Lee Jae Won) finds himself involved in the wrong end of a legal tussle by trying to take down a vicious online troll with harsh comments of his own.
It’s not only Hye Jun and his manager (Shin Dong Mi) who have a hard time running around putting out fires; in an emotional moment, Won Hae Hyo (Byun Woo Seok) begs his overbearing mother to leave him a shred of dignity, after finding out that she bought followers for him on Instagram.
It was truly a scene which redeemed Woo Seok. The only complaint I have of ROY so far is that Byun’s acting has been rather lacklustre. His micro-expressions can sometimes come across overly bland and inscrutable; you might be forgiven for not knowing what emotion he’s trying to express at times.
All this while, Jeong Ha has been silently bearing the burden of being Hye Jun’s secret girlfriend. The couple have another argument, and Jeong Ha sarcastically comments that after Hye Jun’s first ex-girlfriend, there was also top actress Jin Seo U (Lee Kyung Sung); which makes her Hye Jun’s third woman. Hye Jun tells her that she’s not like the other two at all, but they will be able to date openly once they announce their relationship.
Jeong Ha protests that there will be cameras which follow them around if that happens, and even says she won’t know what to do if they break-up (gasp!). Hye Jun is understandably shocked and angry at the same time, asking her why she called Hae Hyo instead when she had good news. She doesn’t look him in the eyes, and says that it’s because he’s busy.
Our young couple finds themselves close to breaking point in this scene. Jeong Ha finds it difficult that she doesn’t get to see Hye Jun often because of his schedule, and Hye Jun is upset because perhaps all that she’s been saying is right; that being in a relationship isn’t really a priority for him now.
We can all see where this is going. As they both become steadily busier as their individual careers take off, Jeong Ha finds time to talk to Hye Jun. She tells him that she loves him and that they should break up.
You can imagine how devastated I was when she said that. But it wasn’t in a totally bad way. It was played out gradually in a way that viewers could really empathise where both Jeong Ha and Hye Jun are coming from. Will this beloved couple that has propelled Record Of Youth to the top of Netflix’s Top 10 shows really break up after all? Or will there be a compromise that swoops in to save their relationship?
Find out in the final two episodes that will air next Monday and Tuesday (26 and 27 October).
Read our other reviews of Record Of Youth: