How can a show this imperfect feel so perfect?
Weightlifting Kim Bok Joo is far from a perfect show and there are several points of weakness in its writing in this episode. First of all, I did not enjoy the red herring of an ending from last week’s episode regarding Bok Joo’s dad, which turned out to be nothing significant because her dad actually didn’t recognise them. In fact, we don’t see Bok Joo’s dad at all in this episode, which kind of felt like we were given the false impression at the end of last week’s episode just for the sake of having a shocking ending.
Second of all, the plot relies on way too many coincidences in order to move ahead. It happened previously with Joon Hyung somehow finding Bok Joo’s bucket list after he confessed his love to Bok Joo. In this episode, we have Tae Kwon just somehow pulling Joon Hyung away at the exact time as he was supposed to be meeting Bok Joo to go for a blind date. Then, we have Dae Ho being there just at the exact time when Coach Choi wants to confess her feelings to Coach Yoon. And finally, we have Bok Joo somehow being the one, amongst possibly thousands of students, to lead Joon Hyung’s mum to him.
Finally, I’m found the adult storylines slightly draggy and less interesting in this episode, particularly Jae Yi and Ah-Young relationship which currently seems rather out of place from all the other storylines. My personal view is that Jae Yi became less interesting as a character after he stopped being a love interest for Bok Joo.
However, in spite of all the points above, I thoroughly and completely enjoyed this episode! The episode made me smile and laugh so much throughout. It touched my heart and made me feel deeply for these characters. It was so energetic, fun and exuberant and made me long for the days of youth, where things seemed simpler. This show may not be perfect, but it’s definitely hitting all the right notes in its own, quirky way.
As much as I enjoyed seeing Bok Joo and Joon Hyung hide their relationship, I’m so glad it’s out in the open as well. I loved the scene in the cafeteria when Bok Joo pulls her hands away so strongly under the table that Joon Hyung falls over. The scene with Bok Joo seething in anger while watching Joon Hyung cower in fear during the blind date was so much fun and the directing choices certainly helped, especially the shot of Bok Joo towering over Joon Hyung. However, it was even more fun watching Seon Ok, Nan Hee and Tae Kwon interrogate them at the cafe, then seeing them enjoy meat at Joon Hyung’s expense with Tae Kwon also joining in. I really liked their post-karaoke discussions in the rooms where Nan Hee and Seon Ok get all giggly and bubbly over Bok Joo’s kissing Joon Hyung, which is contrasted with Tae Kwon warning Joon Hyung about dating Bok Joo. It was so sweet yet hilarious to see Joon Hyung call Bok Joo sexy, much to Tae Kwon’s dismay. Even just recalling those scenes makes me laugh right now. It’s going to be so much fun seeing the five of them hang out together!
Bok Joo and Joon Hyung continue to be so adorable and sweet together yet unafraid to tease and poke fun at each other. Loved the scene at the start where Bok Joo tries to act cute with Joon Hyung, and then reels back immediately when he tries to ask for more. Joon Hyung’s genuine concern for her when she feigns sickness to hide her pimple is touching. There’s just such worry in his eyes when he speaks to her on the phone. Knowing that Bok Joo has this worry that her participation in weightlifting makes her less of a girl, Joon Hyung affirms her and proudly declares to others that she’s beautiful and sexy. The growing friendship between Bok Joo and Shi Ho makes the whole relationship even more heartwarming as Joon Hyung and Bok Joo become Shi Ho’s only friends on campus and even make time to go support her. The both of them are definitely one of the most charming and delightful on-screen couples ever.
In spite of the ongoing romance, I liked that the show hasn’t forgotten that it’s a show about competitive athletes and their journey. This was shown most evidently through Shi Ho’s journey in this episode, which I felt came to a very meaningful end. We’ve been seeing her struggling with her routine for a while and she finally manages to ace it just before her final competition. However, during the competition itself, she realises that her coach is pulling strings with the judges, and the other competitors are aware of this too. Upon reflecting on how much of herself she’s poured into the sport, she decides boldly to make a critical mistake which will ultimately cause her to pull out of the sport, rather than win an unglorious victory which will continue to entrap her and cause her pain. For someone who’s been so absorbed in her performance, pushing herself to extreme standards, that’s such a courageous step to take.
What I particularly appreciated was that both Bok Joo and Joon Hyung could see what Shi Ho was doing and admired her for her courage, which also led to a very heartfelt conversation where Bok Joo reflects on what she would do when her journey as an athlete ended. Joon Hyung’s response may be cheesy, but it’s so true – “Let’s work hard and get through the day. Let’s work hard to lift weights, swim and… date”. Sometimes the best thing to do is not to think too far ahead, but just work hard to make the most of each day. This will certainly be an important lesson for Joon Hyung as he handles the return of his mum in the next episode, and while we’ll be in for some angst and deeply-rooted pain, we know it will bring both Bok Joo and Joon Hyung even closer than before.