Chicago Typewriter: Episode 8
How can anybody say no to this adorable face? It won’t be easy refusing this lovesick puppy phantom when he knows almost everything about the story that started it all, which means Se-joo must learn how to adjust his daily lifestyle to fulfill the whims and demands of a ghost if he ever wants to find answers to his past life and complete his book.
EPISODE 8 RECAP
Se-joo leads Seol away in the pouring rain, but they don’t get far before she leads him around the corner. When asked if she’s enacting a cliched romance with Tae-min, Seol asks outright: “Are you jealous? Do you like me? Did someone have you do this?”
Seeing Jin-oh standing behind her vigorously shaking his head no, Se-joo asks again if she believes in mystical beings. Jin-oh collapses in shock while Seol huffs in disbelief. But Se-joo stops her from leaving by promising to truthfully tell her why he’s acting so odd.
Jin-oh holds his breath as Se-joo confesses, “When I see you, my heart races. But I’m not sure if it’s because of you… or someone I met a long time ago.” Jin-oh’s reaction? Facepalm. Then Se-joo digs himself a deeper hole: “I see her face overlap with yours when I see you, and my heart responds whenever that happens. But I’m confused as to who that’s because of.”
Seol is rightfully insulted, asking if she’s supposed to be the consolation prize. She stalks off, leaving a perplexed Se-joo behind in her wake. Reminded of Se-joo’s outbursts and occasional acts of kindness, Seol wonders if it was all because she resembles his first love.
Se-joo is still lost when he and Jin-oh return home, so Jin-oh spells it out for him that Seol’s angry response was natural because no woman ever likes being compared to someone else. Se-joo’s counterargument that Seol is a reincarnation of Soo-hyun is moot because as far as they know, she has no recollection of her past life. Exasperated, Jin-oh asks if Se-joo never thinks of how his words might hurt other people. To that, Se-joo barks at him to get out.
Seol catches a cold from the rain, and in her feverish state, she sees a blurry image of Hwi-young looking down at her, but it’s actually a worried Bang-jin.
Se-joo is ready to throw in the towel the next morning and declares the deal is off. But Jin-oh remains persistent, popping up throughout the house with the stuffed animal Seol won for Se-joo. HA, he even appears in the bathroom (Also, can we please talk about why Se-joo has a transparent toilet stall?).
Asked why he’s so hung up on Seol, Jin-oh replies that he finds completing the novel and protecting Seol equally important. Se-joo asks if Jin-oh is trying to fulfill a love from his past life and advises him to give up so he can move on into the afterlife, which suggests to Jin-oh that Se-joo knows nothing about love.
Se-joo points out that Jin-oh is a ghost in love with a human being who can’t even see him, but Jin-oh says that’s why he needs Se-joo’s help. “And what will you do if Seol ends up liking me?” Se-joo posits.
Jin-oh stifles a laugh, believing that Se-joo’s flirting isn’t even up to par. When Se-joo calls off their deal again, he readily agrees to leave into the ether… but then Se-joo catches him before he can fully disappear, having had second thoughts.
But Jin-oh wants a written contract, so the men sit down with their respective machines to specify their terms. When Se-joo suggests they “share everything” (dong-go), Jin-oh is quick to suggest that they stick to simply “living together” (dong-geo) until the novel is complete.
Se-joo is offended when he’s asked to ensure that he won’t ever bark at Jin-oh to leave. But then he’s reminded of the numerous times that happened, so he concedes. In turn, Jin-oh is barred from showing off his ghostly antics and disrupting Se-joo’s life.
There’s more of this back and forth, including Se-joo’s promise of not using violence against Jin-oh, helping him become visible, and protecting Seol from other men before he can possess humans, whereas Jin-oh vows to never interrupt a conversation and subsequently never to use Se-joo as a host body.
Both parties sign each other’s copies (each as thick as a novel chapter), and while Se-joo says this doesn’t make them friends, he does offer a tiny handshake to seal the deal.
Meanwhile, Ji-seok instructs his team to postpone the writers’ camp since it seems Se-joo won’t be attending and Tae-min isn’t enough of a draw. Little does he know that Tae-min has overheard everything on the other side of the door and is seething. He does, however, call up a friendly tone in his voice when Seol calls to remind him to pick up his cat from the hospital.
Se-joo and Jin-oh strut down the street together looking sharp and attracting the attention of passersby. Jin-oh turns to wave at a group of ogling ladies, and when Se-joo reminds him that they’re staring at him, he says it’s nice to feel a little human again.
Se-joo isn’t surprised that Jin-oh and Hwi-young turned heads in their day, though Jin-oh says he was more popular. They head to a store to buy Seol a new bag, though it irks Se-joo that he has to be the one to foot the bill.
He audibly disapproves of Jin-oh’s pick and scoffs at the idea that Jin-oh was a fashionista when he was human. Because his voice attracts the attention of the store employee and the other customers, he pretends to be on a call while talking to Jin-oh, warning him that he’s doing his best right now.
He then drops by the animal clinic to see Seol, whose faint smile fades upon remembering their last encounter. He hands her the bag and apologizes for tearing her old one. She accepts his apology and turns to get back to work, but Se-joo stops her, asking for a slightly bigger reaction.
Seol replies with a coughing fit, and Se-joo immediately places a hand on her forehead. Reminded of her dream, she flicks his hand away and heads inside, where her sunbae fawns over the purse. Seol says it’s just her style, not knowing that it’s the same one Se-joo intended to get for her.
In the car Se-joo deflates over Seol’s lack of reaction to the purse, while Jin-oh says they should’ve gone with his choice. When Se-joo starts punching him, Jin-oh loudly reminds him of their contract. Se-joo asks what else women like Seol would like, and Jin-oh says there is something else.
Next thing we know, Se-joo marches into the animal clinic with Gyeon-woo, and stands there awkwardly as everyone rushes to pet the dog and ignores him. He sits in a corner, muttering to Jin-oh/Gyeon-woo not to drag out this time spent with Seol for too long.
Unable to take it any longer, he yells at Jin-oh/Gyeon-woo, which earns him confused looks from everyone else. Tae-min arrives just then, which is Se-joo’s cue to leave. Jin-oh transforms back to his ghostly manifestation, saying that Se-joo could spend the afternoon with Seol and the dog instead of leaving.
But then they hear Seol inviting Tae-min out for coffee, agreeing to step out to a nearby cafe instead of driving somewhere far. Jin-oh growls, “Do you want me to go and bite him? Want me to take a big bite?” Uh, yes.
Se-joo turns away instead, arguing that he’s done enough for today—now it’s time for Jin-oh to keep his end of the deal.
At the cafe, Seol makes the suggestion that she can continue to be Tae-min’s writing assistant by working remotely. Tae-min says they can work together elsewhere, but she draws a clear boundary between them, replying that she can submit drafts by email.
Although he agrees with a smile, he pours himself a hefty drink back at his workspace. He takes a sip before throwing the glass across the room.
Jin-oh sets up the typewriter and takes advantage of the time by asking Se-joo to help him with his body possession training. He’s chosen three candidates: Seo Kang-joon, Choi Jin-hyuk, and Park Hyung-shik. LOL. Unamused, Se-joo tells him to go and try them all.
Jin-oh asks Se-joo to find out which is Seol’s type, to which Se-joo dryly replies, “You think I’ll do such a ridiculous thing for you?”
Cut to: Se-joo actually doing that ridiculous thing, holding up all three actors’ pictures for Seol outside her place. She glares at him. Satisfied, he tosses the pictures aside, figuring that he’s the best of them all.
She asks if that’s all he came here to talk to her about, and as promised, Jin-oh stays silent as Se-joo tries to muster an excuse for her to stay. And then Se-joo asks, “Do you like Baek Tae-min? As a man?” D’oh!
He rolls his eyes when Seol describes Tae-min as someone who transcends gender (which is what she said about him once), and she asks why he’s getting so upset. Se-joo is satisfied that it means she doesn’t have romantic feelings for Tae-min. Then she asks him about the woman she resembles.
This is dangerous territory, and both Se-joo and Jin-oh suggest simultaneously: “Let’s go for a walk.” Seol is the one to break the silence, noting that Se-joo still hasn’t answered her question. He replies, “An impressive woman. Bold, determined, a sharpshooter, and patriotic. She told me… to write something magnificent.”
“That sounds just like Ryu Soo-hyun,” Seol comments, which makes him stop in his tracks. He asks if Seol knows who Soo-hyun is, to which she says Soo-hyun is the heroine in his novel. Seol believes that Se-joo’s first love must’ve been his muse for the character Soo-hyun, and asks what happened between them in the end.
“I don’t remember,” Se-joo answers. She guesses the breakup must’ve been quite painful if it was erased from his memory. She then trips on her shoelace and Se-joo catches her before quickly letting go. He claims it’s because he still remembers getting hit the last time he touched her, and that makes her laugh.
Looking down at her foot, she remembers the adage that an untied shoelace means that someone is missing her. She thinks there would be no such person out there, but Se-joo bends down to tie her shoelace before she can get to it, saying that there is someone out there who does miss her: “A person who has been waiting for you for almost 100 years. Someone who can’t leave because of a tenacious fate.”
Jin-oh chuckles as Se-joo encourages her to keep her head up because there’s someone looking out for her even when she doesn’t know it. She teasingly asks if it’s that so-called mystical being, and convinces him to take her out for a bite.
Over drinks, Seol asks why he stopped writing the novel. He reminds her that she declared she was no longer his fan. To that, Seol says she has a say in the matter, as his first-ever fan. Those words are eerily similar to what Soo-hyun said in the past, and Seol can tell by his expression that he just thought of that other woman.
She says it makes it feel like there are three people at this table, unaware that Jin-oh is there too. Pfft, his WTF face is spot-on. Se-joo asks why she gave up pistol shooting, which raises the question of why he’s asking about her secret—does he plan on leaving her once he knows?
He asks who has left her in the past, and Seol says, “My mom left me… and my dream left too.” Feeling tipsy, she says her initial suggestion of telling him when they became closer was ridiculous since he might leave her. He doesn’t press her to answer, but she confesses, “When I hold a gun… I see into my past life.”
“I see myself shooting someone dead in my past life,” she continues. Se-joo asks who that is, and she says she doesn’t know; she only ever sees the back of his head. Jin-oh becomes more concerned as she admits, “But it must’ve been someone I shouldn’t have killed. Whenever I think of that moment, I become very sad… it pains me… and breaks my heart. My hands couldn’t stop trembling, so I couldn’t hold a gun anymore.”
Back at the house, Jin-oh admits that he didn’t know that Seol could see into her past life. He believes she hasn’t yet made the connection that the character Soo-hyun is basically her from the past, and Se-joo says it’s only a matter of time before she does if they publish this novel.
“It couldn’t be that the person she killed… is one of us, is it?” Jin-oh wonders. When Se-joo asks if they should carry on writing, Jin-oh cites the terms of the contract stating that they must finish this book, no matter what the outcome.
They agree to decide on whether or not to publish it once they complete the novel, and then Se-joo asks Jin-oh how the trio first met. He types on the typewriter as Jin-oh dictates that a man named Ryu Sang-jin helped hide the independence fighters’ guns and explosives in Kyungsung. Soo-hyun was the man’s only daughter… and Ryu Sang-jin died that day.
That fateful night, Hwi-young and Jin-oh saw Japanese imperial soldiers surround Ryu’s home. There was a gunshot, and a man declared that Ryu Sang-jin took his own life and that his daughter was at large.
Young Soo-hyun ran through the woods, but it wasn’t long before the enemy found her. When one man took hold of her, she bit his arm to escape and before the man could strike her, he and his men were shot down by a masked Hwi-young, who then took her away to another part of the woods.
Believing that it was no longer safe to stick together, he instructed her to run and hide. Once it was safe, she could come to Carpe Diem and ask for a man named SHIN YUL. He told her not to get bogged down in survivor’s guilt and told her to get going.
She held onto him and tried to unmask her rescuer, but he prevented her from doing so. She asked for his name, but he said there was no time to lose before leaving her behind and rushing to the hideout to treat his own injury.
As instructed, Soo-hyun had gone to Carpe Diem to find Yul, who was Jin-oh in his past life. He told her to stick to her male disguise and empathized with the loss of her father. Hwi-young burst inside soon after and didn’t betray the fact that they had previously met. He reeked of alcohol, and slyly remarked that this new errand boy looked like a girl.
Soo-hyun immediately denied it and pushed him, and Hwi-young pretended to be in pain. Hwi-young teased her by hitting her hat repeatedly, then we fast-forward to some years later, where Hwi-young chased grown-up Soo-hyun around the hideout, trying to grab his papers.
Se-joo is amused by the idea that he and Seol bickered in their past lives too. Intrigued now, he asks Jin-oh to tell him about the time Seol was shot. Again, Jin-oh recites their terms: One story a day.
Se-joo doesn’t remember that specific clause, but Jin-oh argues that he can’t tell Se-joo everything all at once and lose all his leverage.
After Tae-min’s mother instructs Reporter Song to see if any potential investors would give up on Se-joo’s multi-billion-won project if they heard that Se-joo has given up on writing, she calls someone else to ask about a contract’s termination fee.
Writer Baek notes that the serial novel Chicago Typewriter is still on hiatus. As we suspected, he had seen the rough draft of Fate in Se-joo’s office and nothing—or rather no one—else.
Upon hearing the news that Se-joo has given up writing, Writer Baek drops by to check on him. He asks Se-joo if the rumors are true, and Se-joo calmly replies, “You’re the one who always wanted me to.”
Writer Baek plainly says there must be a misunderstanding, clarifying that he never wanted Se-joo to give up writing. He asks if Se-joo will pick up his pen again if he asked, but Se-joo says he’s no longer the teenager who looked up to him.
Evidently, Se-joo spoke to Writer Baek ten years ago, claiming that Tae-min did not write the winning submission of the writing contest. He knew Writer Baek should’ve been able to identify that it was Se-joo’s given the writing style, but the man defensively claimed that he couldn’t be sure—did Se-joo have proof that he wrote Fate?
Se-joo was speechless, and Writer Baek understood that Se-joo must’ve been jealous that Tae-min won a writing contest before him. Writer Baek stood his ground, so Se-joo resolved to leave his house right then and there, and promised to stay quiet about Fate as a show of gratitude for Writer Baek being a father figure and teacher to him.
“Back then, I wanted to trust Tae-min,” Writer Baek confesses. He knew his son was always in Se-joo’s shadow, and he always treated Tae-min coldly. He adds that he wanted to trust his son that one time, as his father.
“You should have never taken me in then,” Se-joo counters. “You shouldn’t have made me trust and respect you, and let me think of you as a father and savior.” He’s kept that original draft of Fate to serve as a reminder that he mustn’t ever trust anyone or let them help him—-that he must survive on his own.
Frightened, Writer Baek asks what Se-joo plans to do with it then. There’s no reason to worry, Se-joo replies, because he’ll take that secret to the grave. Writer Baek repeats that he meant it when he said he wants Se-joo to keep writing.
That conversation puts Se-joo in low spirits, and he tells Jin-oh to leave him alone. Jin-oh says he should be with a friend or have someone to think of when things get tough, but Se-joo says he has neither of those.
Jin-oh notes that Se-joo’s sluggish attitude makes him no different than a ghost. But since Se-joo is human, he’s free to express his emotions and clear the air when the time calls for such actions. “Isn’t that what it means to live?” Jin-oh muses.
Not only that, he adds, Se-joo’s heart beats in his body and he is physically able—can he tell which of them is a human or a ghost right now? Se-joo ponders those words.
Seol worries that her confession might’ve scared Se-joo away for good, like everyone else in her life. But when she arrives at Seongsucheong, Se-joo is outside waiting for her. He admits that he was thinking of ways to call her outside, then hands her cold medicine. He’s surprised when she suddenly starts crying, thinking this is nothing compared to the purse he got her.
“I thought you’d never come see me again,” she tearfully replies. She thought he may have believed her to be crazy and be scared off, so she was trying to console herself that she’d be okay without seeing him.
But then she found herself hoping that he would come see her one more time if he missed his first love. She asks if he came to her carrying Soo-hyun in his heart today too: “Are there three of us today too? Who are you looking at right now? Do you see her?”
“I see Jeon Seol,” Se-joo replies. “There aren’t three of us, but two. You and I.” Fresh tears spill from Seol’s eyes, and Se-joo gently draws her into his arms as Jin-oh looks on.
Aww, what a sweet moment to end this week’s double-header on. As much as I love this trio in both the present and past timelines, I fear that in recent weeks, we’ve lost some of the momentum in solving the murder mystery from the past. We’ve been given morsels when it comes to the story that connects the time periods, and while this hour served to ground where the trio’s story began, seeing mostly the same flashbacks over and over again does make me wonder if their story isn’t as expansive as I initially anticipated. My only hope is that Jin-oh has more incidents to share, whether they are happy or sad events; I see why he would refrain from telling Se-joo more than one story a day—since, at the very least, it will keep them in the same house for longer—and at the same time, I still worry that we’ll just jump straight to the point where Soo-hyun shot someone.
That isn’t to say I don’t enjoy how all of our relationships are developing. I was relieved that Jin-oh finally confronted Se-joo about his foot-in-mouth disease, especially when it came to maneuvering conversations with women, namely Seol. It was hilarious how Jin-oh didn’t even consider Se-joo as a possible suitor and stood by the sidelines as Se-joo struggled to converse with her. But what I love most about Jin-oh’s presence in Se-joo’s life is the reminder that Se-joo is human and that he’s blessed with the ultimate advantage of being given the opportunity to live. He wasn’t wrong when he basically suggested that Se-joo was living his life like a shadow of a man with no one to depend on or turn to, and I love how his buoyant and reassuring personality has remained with him through the years.
While I’m not that interested in the Fate subplot, I have to say I found Writer Baek’s reasoning of why he chose his son over Se-joo weak and flimsy. His character strikes me as a coward in general, since he basically does nothing as his wife spins lies about Se-joo and he rebukes his son for his writing. I actually don’t know what qualifies him as an esteemed writer aside from the fact that we’re supposed to believe that. Furthermore, my already low opinion of him dropped even more now that we know he’d seen the draft and chided Se-joo for even having it. And he would try to blame Se-joo for getting the wrong idea about him? Like father, like son, good riddance.
But back to more exciting things, like Se-joo’s spark of interest once he heard the origin story of the 1930s trio of friends. It was nice to see him find interest in writing again, since I love watching Se-joo asking inquisitive questions instead of moping around. And as much as his mouth can get him in trouble, I did like how he tried his best to be present with his own reality this hour, and especially being there for Seol. Even though we were already familiar with her confession about seeing into her past life, Se-joo didn’t press her to share anything she wasn’t comfortable with sharing yet. Additionally, I loved how he let her spill her tears and simply embraced her because they were both abandoned by people they loved. You’ve worked hard, Seol; we pray that the happiest moments of your life are yet to come.