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The episode opens with a BEAST performance on the tv. In voice-over, Hye-rim tells us that Ki-kwang is twenty years old and debuted three years ago as a member of the K-pop group BEAST. With exquisite dance skills, he’s known as the Dancing Machine. As if he ate a fruit that made him adorably cute, with his cute way of speaking and behavior, he was chosen as the number one fan favorite.

The scene then cuts to a tv interview where the host asks Ki-kwang who’s his ideal type.  His ideal type is someone who laughs charmingly, he says, someone like Suzy.

In voice-over, Hye-rim says that when he chose Suzy as his ideal type, he was actually keeping a secret from his fans and bandmates.  That secret—he’d been dating for about a month.  His girlfriend is not the nation’s first love, Suzy.  It’s her, Hye-rim!

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Then we finally get a glimpse of Hye-rim.  She’s stuffing her face with bulkogi lettuce wraps as she watches a music show on tv. She wonders aloud why Ki-kwang insisted on her watching today’s performance when it’s the same act they always perform. Then she sees him use his finger to draw a heart in the air, and he pretends to shoot it toward the screen with a bow and arrow.

She pretends he’s childish and foolish for wanting her to watch the show just for that, but moments later she dissolves into a giggle fit because she liked it so much. 

Ki-kwang texts her asking if she saw the performance.  She pretends she forgot to watch the program and asks if everything went well.  He texts back in a huff because he sent her an arrow heart.  “Then who received my heart?” he asks. “If not you, who did? Go and find it. Go find it. Hurry up,” he texts. She tells him she was just joking and his heart came straight to hers. 

She spins around the room excited at their cheesy, romantic antics and remarks that dating an idol, just like dating a normal guy, is also cringe-worthy sweet.  If there’s any difference, it’s that dating an idol requires absolute secrecy.

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She unlocks an album on her cell phone where she keeps pictures of them together, and we get a montage of some of their dates where they listen to music and share giddy hugs and kisses. 

Keeping their pictures in a locked album is not the only thing they have to do to keep their relationship secret.  Next we see that going to a movie requires them to buy tickets for the entire back row of the theater.  Ki-kwang has to sneak into the theater after the movie starts, and they can’t sit next to each other either.  But at least they get to hold hands.

Because Ki-kwang has to leave before the movie ends, she has to watch the sad part alone.  She sits there wiping her tears as everyone else in the theater heads out.  Sometimes it’s lonely dating an idol, she says.

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Ki-kwang waits for her in his car in the parking garage and she tells him how the movie ended.  After this particular movie date, Ki-kwang has something up his sleeve.  He keeps peeking into the backseat, and then he purposely cranks up the air conditioner to make it cold inside the car.  He tells Hye-rim there’s a blanket in the backseat that she can use to warm up, but there’s no blanket of course.  It’s a present! And when she opens it, it’s a pair of bedazzled shoes. 

She does an internal spazz at the awesome sparkly shoes, but she plays along with the ruse and tells Ki-kwang there’s no blanket inside the box—it’s a pair of shoes instead, she says.  He pretends he’s surprised and asks why there’s no blanket in there.  He wonders if “she” left her shoes there yesterday.  Hye-rim narrows her eyes at him, and he starts to laugh. He’s just kidding. The shoes are for her.  He bought them because she said she liked them.

Then it’s flashback time! Apparently when they were dating in middle school, Hye-rim admired a similar pair of shoes while they were window shopping.  Ki-kwang balked at the price (over $400) and asked why they were so expensive when they weren’t even real diamonds.   She told him to girls, shoes are more special than diamond rings (the hell) and he remembered all this time.

Back in the present she tries the shoes on and beams as he tells her she’s the most special to him.  He mentions the superstition about a man not giving a woman shoes or she’ll run away.  He asks what should he do about that and smiles as she tells him not to worry.  “I have nowhere to go,” she says.  She grabs his arm and puts her head on his shoulder as she assures him she’ll stay by his side.  They both smile and she thanks him for the shoes.

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At home, she sneaks in the apartment and hurries to her room so Ga-young doesn’t see the shoe box in her hand.  She goes to her room and tries on the shoes again.  But just then Ga-young comes downstairs and starts walking toward her room.  She hurriedly takes the shoes off and pushes the box under the bed as Ga-young asks who she went to the movies with.

That’s another thing about dating an idol—she has to keep the relationship a secret from her best friend.  Especially when her best friend is a crazed fan of her boyfriend.

There’s another flashback to the end of Episode 2 where she sat kissing Ki-kwang on the sofa as Ga-young, unsteady on her feet outside, tried to unlock the door.  When they finally heard Ga-young arriving home, Ki-kwang scrambled to grab his shoes from the front door and hid in a closet until Hye-rim hurried Ga-young to her room.  She knocked on the closet door to signal to Ki-kwang that it was safe for him to leave.

During the next month, Hye-rim watched Ga-young out of the corner of her eyes wondering if she should tell her about her relationship with Ki-kwang. Ga-young watched the interview when Ki-kwang chose Suzy as his ideal type, and she and Hye-rim both got angry when they heard his answer.  Hye-rim wonders what’s so pretty about Suzy and Ga-young reminds her that she said she liked Suzy because she was innocent and cool. Hye-rim can’t tell Ga-young that was before her man chose Suzy as his ideal type for all of South Korea to hear, so she changes the subject. 

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She sits down next to Ga-young and asks her what would happen if Ki-kwang and Suzy started dating. Ga-young tells her the obvious answer: a league of anti-fans will spring up against Suzy. Hye-rim reminds Ga-young that fans were okay when Jang Dong-gun married Go So-young, but Ga-young says that was because they were both on similar levels and doing well.  But still, even their marriage was discouraging because it seems that no matter how much people struggle in life, in the end, people on similar levels get together.

Hye-rim perks up at this complaint and asks if it’d be okay for Ki-kwang to date an ordinary person like her, but Ga-young thinks that’s worse and vows that she’d never let the offending girl get away with dating her bias.  That answer totally scares Hye-rim, and she vows to confess when Ga-young is in a better mood. 

Meanwhile, members of Hye-rim’s social club have started complaining because she hasn’t been hanging out with them anymore.  One of the members tells her the leader insisted she come to their next gaterhing so she makes her way to the park where they’re meeting.  She stops just before she gets to their table, bracing herself to face Tae-woo again, but Tae-woo greets her as if nothing bad ever happened between them. 

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Jin-sung is there, of course, and as soon as she sits down, he calls her name a bit too loudly and tells her he needs to speak with her in private.  He takes her hand and pulls her to her feet to walk away from the group.  Once they’re alone, he stares at her for a long moment and then confesses that he likes her.  

He realized he liked her when she stopped coming to the club’s events and asks her to date him.  She turns him down though (awww) and he demands to know why. He knows she liked Tae-woo and asks if she’s rejecting him because she’s still interested in Tae-woo.  She tells him she doesn’t like Tae-woo and she’s turning him down because she has a boyfriend.

Instead of shutting him up, news of her having a boyfriend only makes him more incensed.  He asks if it’s someone he knows, and when she insists he doesn’t know him, he demands that she bring her boyfriend to see him.  He tells her he knows she can’t do that because she doesn’t really have a boyfriend.  It’s because you can’t forget Tae-woo, isn’t it, he asks.

She tells him it has nothing to do with Tae-woo so he demands to at least see a picture of them together.  She can’t do that either, but she’s finally had enough of his badgering.  She yells that she has a boyfriend but even if she didn’t, she wouldn’t date him because she hates him.  Hilariously, even her yelling that she hates him doesn’t sink in.  He still insists she’s lying, and she says to herself throughout her time as the girlfriend of an idol, this moment is the one she hates the most. 

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On her way home, she thinks back to her conversation with Jin-sung and gets madder and madder.  But she checks her phone and sees a text message from Ga-young.  Ki-kwang’s dating scandal has exploded, and she forgets all about Jin-sung as she looks online to read the articles.  Paparazzi took pictures of Ki-kwang and her on their recent movie date, but luckily they didn’t capture her face so no one knows who his mystery date is. That hasn’t stopped the netizens from totally attacking her though.  She reads comment after comment criticizing his date and vowing to get her once they find out who she is. 

She’s nervous the next day as she continues to search online, worrying that the media will find out her identity.  News outlets continue publishing stories and his company releases an official statement claiming he was out with a friend. 

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Ga-young is devouring the news stories and wondering aloud who it could be that he’s dating. She doesn’t believe his agency’s claim that they’re just friends. She sees Hye-rim pull a sweater from the laundry to hang on the clotheslines and realizes the girl in the picture wore the exact same thing. She takes another look at the picture and tells Hye-rim the girl on the date with Ki-kwang is wearing the pants and shoes she has too.  But luckily Ga-young is not too quick on the uptake.  She never manages to put two and two together and figure out that it’s Hye-rim in the picture.  Instead, she just laments that a normal girl who wears the same things she does gets to date her Ki-kwang. 

Hye-rim is bothered that she still can’t tell Ga-young and it doesn’t help that she hasn’t been able to meet Ki-kwang since the scandal broke.  She sends Ki-kwang a text and sits up excitedly when she gets a reply.  Only, it’s not from Ki-kwang.  It’s a text from Ga-young telling her she’ll be home late.  She lies back down disappointed and in voice-over we hear that it’s her birthday.  She’s bummed that she won’t get to see her boyfriend on her birthday.

She goes to the kitchen and starts making some ramyun and her cell phone rings.  It’s Ki-kwang! And he’s outside! She hurries and changes into something nice and meets him at his car.  She’s totally happy to see him, but she acts as if she’s incredulous he came out when he’d told her earlier that reporters are stalking him.  He tells her his manager acted as a decoy so he could sneak out.  His manager plans to drive all the way to Busan, he says, so they have a while before he has to be back. 

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Hye-rim finally cracks a smile and that causes Ki-kwang to cover his eyes and hide.  She looks at him a bit confused and he flashes that dazzling smile as he tells her that her beauty blinded him for a moment.  (So cheesy, but soooo cute, lol.) 

They take a drive to the Han River, and she starts thinking back to all the inconveniences of having to hide that they’re dating.  She asks if they really have to keep their relationship a secret.  He gets uncomfortable and stutters a bit as he tells her his agency is against him going public right now. It’s not just him he has to consider either, he tells her.  It would affect the other members of the group, but more than that, it would be very hard on her too, he says.

She agrees, and he turns to her and says they’ll have to announce it someday though—with style.  He takes her hand and says they should think about it carefully.  She smiles and thinks to herself that it’s enough, for now at least. 


They park the car along the river bank and Ki-kwang reveals his surprise: a mini birthday party just for her.  With party hats, sparklers, and cake too!  He even seals the deal with a sweet kiss to her cheek and presents her with a bouquet of flowers.

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As he’s singing happy birthday to her and holding her hands, cameras bulbs start to flash and they’re quickly surrounded by a mob of reporters who start shouting questions at them.

Ki-kwang realizes he’s still holding Hye-rim’s hand as the paparazzi continue to snap their picture.  He lets go of her hand and runs to the car, leaving her standing there alone.  She’s horrified that he left her like that and stands there until she hears Ki-kwang yell at her to get in the car.  They drive off with the cake and flowers still on the hood of the car.

In the car, Ki-kwang calls his manager and berates him for telling him he’d made all of the reporters follow him to Busan.  He’s a bit distraught and asks how they’re going to fix this as Hye-rim stares at him still mortified about what just happened and clearly not pleased with how Ki-kwang is acting. 


She gets out of the car and walks home.  In the rain.  Crying as she limps down the sidewalk in her too-high heels. Again.  She thinks to herself that at twenty years old, she’s found out a new truth about love.  She flashes back to how Ki-kwang quickly dropped her hand when the reporters surrounded them and then yelled at his manager to take care of the issue. You can’t make another person happy just with your love, she says.   

Her phone starts to ring, and when she looks at the caller id, it’s “Lee Ki,” but she doesn’t answer.  There are times when you have to break up in order to do what’s best for each other, she thinks.

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When she finally arrives home, she apologizes to Ga-young for coming home so late.  Only Ga-young isn’t there.  There’s a note on her door.  It reads:  I like Ki-kwang, but I like you more Hye-rim. That’s why I’m really angry you thought so little of me.

She pushes the door to Ga-young’s room open and walks inside.  Ga-young has torn the BEAST posters from her wall and she sees a gift Ga-young intended to give her: it’s makeup with a note from Ga-young saying it’s so she can finally learn to apply mascara properly.

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She sits at Ga-young’s desk and starts crying, and the episode ends. 


Still quite charming, but things got a little more real in this episode.  First we got to see the day-to-day struggles that dating an idol entails.  I think dating a celebrity and having to take that level of precautions to keep things on the low would work out in the beginning of a relationship.  But over time, it could definitely wear on both parties and ultimately ruin things. 

A part of me think it’s unnecessary to go through that level of secrecy, but this is South Korea we’re talking about and the fans are totally cray-cray from what I can tell, so until things change, I think the vast majority of celebrity relationship will be equally under wraps.

Museofmanymasks stopped by yesterday (thanks Muse!) and commented on this level of fluff not being her cup of tea.  I still think this mini-drama is very cute and it gives me the warm and fuzzies.  I think, like with many dramas, the recaps can’t capture the full essence of the series. In this case, for example, there were small moments in the episode that I think epitomized what I find endearing about it. Such as the moment after Ki-kwang told Hye-rim they’d have to announce that they’re dating one day—with style. 

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He glanced at her and smiled, then grabbed her hand, and I thought—that’s it.  That is why this short web drama resonated with so many fans.  It really is about these small, romantic and innocent moments and that appeals to some of us who are a little more jaded and cynical.    

Twenty Years Old: Episode 2 Recap
Twenty Years Old: Episode 1 Recap   

4 thoughts on “Twenty Years Old: Episode 3 Recap

  1. And here I am again! TYO is actually a very nice antithesis to the heavy stuff I’m watching right now, I just can’t divorce the sardonic tone from my begrudging acknowledgment of its merits. Aww Ga-young *hugs* (and that other guy. I knew it! The poor sucker.)

    Ah, the eternal question: shoes vs diamonds. Well, I can’t walk in diamonds, but I can sell them to buy shoes. I like how some heels look (not those), but if I spend a ridiculous amount on shoes, I prefer to not be in unnecessary pain. Which reminds me of a song:

    • HaHa! At least you can see some of its merits. That’s enough for me. I was never as naive and innocent as these two, but I find them quite refreshing to watch. It doesn’t hurt that it’s such a short series either–in episode length or the number of episodes. I think it’d lose some of its je ne sais quio if it were longer.

      Nike shoes–nice track! For me, I like shoes quite a bit, but I’d never choose shoes over diamonds. Hye-rim obviously hasn’t checked the price of diamonds lately.

  2. Why, is it good? I have no idea how pricing works, I just know they all seem expensive. I forgot to add that this is largely because I have a terrible habit of losing or breaking jewelry so I don’t spend what I can’t replace. I’d be terrified to own one much less wear it.. I say if a guy wants to buy me something expensive, buy me a car–I can’t possibly lose that lol.

    • A car would be nice too, lol! But diamonds have gone up significantly. Prices have more than doubled in the past five years. It’s insane! I too am crazy about costume jewelry. I will never forget the look of disdain on my cousin’s face when she saw my original wedding ring & it was this sterling silver piece I’d picked up at a festival one day with my then-fiancee. I’m totally not picky about that type of thing, but it is nice to have some real stuff here & there. Because gemstones are so expensive, they have all kinds of ways to prevent you from losing them though–like screw backs on your earrings so the backs can’t fall off and cause you to lose one when you’re not paying attention. Otherwise–insure, insure, insure!

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