Still Loving You – Episodes 1-5 First Impressions

Eunsoo optimistically goes to her first class as a teacher only to find out that a young bully with scars of her own is in it.  So begins Eunsoo’s relationship with Bitna.

Shine Brightly Eunsoo a/k/a Still Loving You Episodes 1-5 First Impressions

The drama opens up with young, straight-out-of-college Eunsoo Oh practicing her first class to a bunch of dolls in her room.  Her widowed mother Yeon-Mi, Grandma Kim and even her little brother Eunho gleefully watch before piling into the room.  Yeon-Mi tells her daughter to be herself while Eunho warns Eunsoo to be charismatic or her high school students will disrespect her.
Later, Eunsoo is called to the mall where Yeon-Mi works.  She wants to gift her daughter a new outfit for her first job!  On the way in, Eunsoo runs in to Bitna Kim but Eunsoo carelessly apologizes before Bitna can blow up.
Bitna decides on a dress in the personal shopping area.  She walks out but runs into another mall employee accidentally marks Bitna’s new dress as she walks out of the elevator.  Bitna quickly stops the elevator and demands that the employee walk off.
 
Then, in the middle of the mall, Bitna rages at the employee to get her a new dress in the exact same style.  Eunsoo and Yeon-Mi walk by at that moment and Yeon-Mi tries to help by taking care of the pen mark with some pahsoo (tiger balm in liquid form).  It clears up the mark but leaves a strong scent.  Bitna stalks away and changes into another dress.
When Bitna returns, she throws the dress on the floor and demands that Yeon-Mi throw it away.  She cannot wear it anymore so it’s trash. Yeon-Mi tries to offer to have the dress dry-cleaned but Bitna screams that Yeon-Mi is nothing but an employee so she should know her place. Eunsoo cannot stay silent as her mother is so disrespected and she interrupts.  Eunsoo tells Bitna to apologize to both of the employees for being overly rude.  Bitna screams for the manager.
 
The manager arrives and everyone has to apologize to Bitna who is a frequent customer.  Bitna smirks at Eunsoo on the side lines and even asks that Yeon-Mi compensate her for the dress which is around $870.
 
Then we get a little more insight to Bitna’s character.  Bitna had already seemed extremely sensitive when the topic of a mother was brought up by the other personal shopper.  Bitna walks out of the mall when Eunsoo and her mother are happily laughing and hugging it out as Eunsoo decided to take the dress as her mother’s gift.  She frowns seeing the two women happy but then walks away.
 
We turn to Eunsoo’s future love interest – Soohoo Yoon.  He’s sleeping in while his parents take care of their home-grown fremented soy bean paste (duenjang).  He only gets out of bed when his friends call him out for a day and night of partying.  He finally made it into college after failing three times!  Technically, he would be turning a senior in college in the USA.  Or, if he has gone to the army, we can add two more years and assume Soohoo is the equivalent of one year older than Eunsoo.
 
Soohoo sees Eunsoo on the dance floor and waltzes up to flirt.  Eunsoo declines noting that she has a boyfriend.  But then Soohoo puts his arm around Eunsoo and offers to buy her a drink.  Eunsoo twists Soohoo’s arm behind him and warns him to stay away.
 
The club begins it’s fun competition of the night – finding the best dancer.  The girls happily participate since the winner gets $1,000.  Eunsoo spots Bitna and decides to jump in.  The two dance it off and Eunsoo wins. [Note – Bitna is technically underage since she’s a high school junior.]
 
The next day is Eunsoo’s first day and we meet her boyfriend who’s also a teacher at the same school. Of course, with the ill-fated relationship between Eunsoo and Bitna…Bitna turns out to be one of Eunsoo’s students.
 
Later that day we have English class.  Eunsoo begins reading the subject for the day and her students cut Eunsoo off because she has an accent.  They ask Bitna to read it instead and Bita ends up having a better accent than Eunsoo.
 
Meanwhile, Soohoo’s mom (Sunyoung) runs into Yeon-Mi at the mall.  Sunyoung is excited to see Yeon-Mi and pulls her aside.  Then Sunyoung finds out that Yeon-Mi is working at the mall, which surprises Sunyoung as Yeon-Mi married a rich guy.  It turns out that they went bankrupt.  The catch-up ends when Sunyoung’s husband Mr. Yoon calls for Sunyoung to return to their restaurant as they always need more hands during dinner time.
 
Eunsoo meets with her boyfriend (Teacher Shin) after the class is over and they end up at the Yoon’s restaurant.  Unfortunately, one of Bitna’s friends comes for dinner with her mother at the same time and sees the two together.
 
At the same time, Bitna plays the piano for Grandma Choi.  Grandma Choi compliments Bitna for her playing and gushes that Bitna reminds Grandma of Bitna’s mother.  Grandma Choi wants Bitna to compete at the world stage but Bitna doesn’t seem too enthusiastic about the thought.
 
The next day, Yeon-Mi goes to the hospital for her annual exam…
 
At school, we meet another student – Jung-Ah.  Jung-Ah drops a book, which Bitna steps on.  Then Bitna leans over closely and asks if Jung-Ah doesn’t like the fact that they are in the same class again.  Jung-Ah stutters that she’s fine but Bitna interrupts that she hates Jung-Ah’s fake innocent.
 
Meanwhile, the doctor tells Yeon-Mi that the exam found a small tumor in Yeon-Mi’s stomach.  It’s too early to be worried as they need to determine if it’s cancerous or benign.  It will take around a week to confirm.
 
Back at the school, Bitna and her friends take Jung-Ah to the back of the school.  First, they pour a bunch of powder on Jung-Ah’s hair.  Then, Bitna congratulates Jung-Ah on her birthday while offering cake.  When Jung-Ah shakily reaches out her hand to break off a piece, Bitna smiles that Jung-Ah should eat with her mouth.  Jung-Ah obediently opens her mouth and Bitna pushes the cake into Jung-Ah’s face.  Jung-Ah begins crying and Eunsoo walks over.
Bitna lies that they were just celebrating Jung-Ah’s birthday.  Eunsoo asks Jung-Ah if it’s the truth and Bitna immediately accuses Eunsoo of not trusting her students.
 
Then Bitna goes on a cute but useless attack.  She walks up to Teacher Shim and asks if he has a girlfriend.  She sees Eunsoo walking towards them and loudly declares that she likes Teacher Shim.
 
Jung-Ah walks into class smelling badly because of Bitna and friend’s joked by cracking on egg on her before the flour…Eunsoo smiles and tells Jung-Ah to go and change her clothes into her PE outfit.  Then Eunsoo announces that they will spend 5 minutes each day to introduce a poem to each other.
 
Eunsoo starts by reading a poem that celebrates the birthday girl.  Tears swell up into Jung-Ah’s eyes and her shoulders heave as Eunsoo continues that it’s a blessing to be alive and a blessing for everyone around them to know her.
 
Later, Teacher Shim and Eunsoo go to her house to have dinner together.  It’s a sweet dinner as they all tease Eunsoo over her first day and Yeon-Mi jokes that Teacher Shim should hurry up and marry Eunsoo if he likes her before anyone else comes along.
 
Meanwhile, Bitna listens to Heartbreaker and bobs along.  But then her grandmother comes in and nags that the music is trash.  She changes the music to classical before coming over and musing that it’s her wish to see Bitna become a global pianist.
Bitna promises to make her grandmother’s wish come true.  But, then Bitna wonders to herself if her grandmother would no longer love her if she quits piano.
 
The next day, Yeon-Mi gets a call from the hospital.  She goes in to hear that the tumor in her stomach is cancerous. The doctor tells her that she needs to start her treatment as soon as possible.
 
Back at the school, Bitna starts another battle against Eunsoo.  It’s Bitna’s turn to share a poem but she answers that it’s not necessary to their college preparation.  Therefore, she thinks that they should stop wasting their time.  Other students chime in with agreement.
Eunsoo explains that she wanted to give the students a chance to escape the confines of being a student for at least five minutes a day.  Bitna challenges that they should put it up to a vote.
So, the vote commences and no one raises their hands.  But then, Jung-Ah does and one by one, the majority of the class is raising their hands…
 
Eunsoo meets up with her boyfriend after school.  He suddenly turns to her and gives her a ring asking her to marry her.  He promises that he will protect her and be by her side no matter what happens.
 
Meanwhile, Bitna is throws a tantrum at home by whining to her grandmother that she doesn’t want to play the piano anymore.  Her father comes home at that moment and chastises her for being childish.  He tells her that it takes a lot of practice to do anything, if Bitna cannot even handle practicing routinely, she should quit.  Grandma Choi jumps in to excuse Bitna to her room ignoring Bitna’s declaration that Bitna does not want to play the piano anymore.  Grandma Choi notes that everyone has off days…
 
The next day, Bitna decides to attack Eunsoo through Yeon-Mi.  Bitna goes back to the mall and asks for Yeon-Mi to be her personal shopper.  Yeon-Mi cannot refuse because of Bitna’s status as a VVIP.
 
Later, Yeon-Mi goes in for a further examination…
 
At the same time, Grandma Choi visits the school and uses her connections to get some private time with Eunsoo in the Principal’s office.  Grandma Choi introduces herself as Bitna’s grandmother and then begins by noting that it must be difficult for Eunsoo since she doesn’t have much experience.  Grandma Choi offers to help if Eunsoo ever needs it.
Eunsoo politely declines noting that every experience is a learning experience.
Grandma Choi continues that she heard Eunsoo chastised Bitna for a little bit of fun when it was Jung-Ah’s birthday.  Grandma Choi notes that a teacher should always have an open mind and not jump to conclusions.  Eunsoo agrees that Grandma Choi is correct but doesn’t say anything about the incident particularly.
Grandma Choi then offers to take Eunsoo out for dinner but Eunsoo declines as she promised to meet with a student after class.  Grandma Choi hands over a mall gift certificate but Eunsoo declines that as well.
 
Eunsoo goes back to her classroom to find all of her students cleaning except for Bitna.  She has Bitna’s call Bitna back, who is in the car with her grandmother.  Eunsoo tells Bitna to get permission before she leaves early in the future and to deal with her own cleaning duties.  Then Eunsoo goes to meet with Jung-Ah about her relationship/bully issues with Bitna.
 
On the side, Eunho runs into Soomin at his college.  She dropped some fake cadaver bones during the run-in and he freaks out.  Soomin is a bit cool and Eunho bristles at Soomin not apologizing for scaring him with the fallen fake bones.  Soomin figures out that Eunho is her junior and then spins a scary tale about the area being haunted before disappearing while he looks around.
 
The next day, Eunsoo comes to school to see Bitna and her friends looking at a video in the friend’s cell phone.  It’s of Yeon-Mi helping Bitna during the personal shopping experience.  Eunsoo orders that the video get deleted immediately and then declares study hall.  Then Eunsoo goes to cry in the bathroom…And brood on a school bench.  Bitna sees Eunsoo staring off into space on the bench and frowns.  It looks like Bitna isn’t completely a bad apple.
 
Then, Jung-Ah approaches Bitna to ask about why Bitna first started hating on her.  A flashback shows that Eunsoo encouraged Jung-Ah to ask about it.
 
Bitna also has a flashback when she was close with Jung-Ah.  Some mean girls following the two tease Bitna about being motherless.  Jung-Ah turns to yell at the girls that Bitna has a good life without a mother who would nag all the time.  She smiles at Bitna announcing that she’s jealous of Bitna.  But Bitna only snarls that she doesn’t like Jung-Ah and stalks away.  Similarly in this time, Bitna tells Jung-Ah that she just doesn’t like Jung-Ah.
 
At home, Bitna and her family holds a memorial for Bitna’s mother.
Meanwhile, Eunsoo takes her mother out for a massage and a mother-daughter date at a nearby cafe.
 
Then Bitna muses in her room to a picture of her mother.  She confesses that she knows that she crossed the line with Eunsoo’s mother…But, she was so jealous to see Eunsoo happily being with her mother.  She doesn’t remember such times with her mother.
Bitna also continues that it’s clear that Grandma Choi loves her mother more than her…She declares that she understands since Grandma Choi was her mother’s mother…but she wants to feel her mother’s love, too.
 
Back at the mother-daughter date, Eunsoo asks her mother if Yeon-Mi doesn’t want to quit.  Eunsoo doesn’t like her mother having to apologize to rude customers for no reason.  Yeon-Mi answers that it’s too early for her to retire as she has to prepare for Eunsoo’s and Eunho’s wedding as well as living expenses.
Yeon-Mi asks if this was because of the incident the other day with the dress.  Eunsoo answers that the rude client is her student – a high school student.  Yeon-Mi surprises Bitna by laughing saying that everything makes sense now.  She tells Bitna to teach her student well because that’s her responsibility as a teacher.
 
On the side, Soomin gets drunk with her fellow students.  One guy in particular seems to have a thing for her as he rebukes her for drinking so much.  Except, he hides his concern by announcing that Soomin drinks too fast for a girl.
Soomin responds by reminding the guy that he fainted during the first time they were supposed to disect a cadaver…Eunho ends up at the same bar to drink with a friend and recognizes Soomin as the upperclassman who scared him the other day.
 
Then Eunho sees Soomin hunched over drunk on the street.  When she wonders out loud what a man has ever done for her, Eunho answers that Soomin’s father gave her life.  Soomin decides that she likes his answer and drags him off to eat to fight their hangovers – at her father’s restaurant.
 
The next day, Eunsoo calls Bitna out separately.  She tells Bitna that she couldn’t approach Bitna the other day because she was so hurt.  She thinks that she would still act the same way if she was in the same situation as the first dress incident.  She asks if that was why Bitna went to ask for Yeon-Mi as her personal shopper.
Bitna answers that is not all but she doesn’t answer more…In her mind, Bitna notes that Eunsoo has everything Bitna wants.  Eunsoo just sighs when Bitna doesn’t talk.  Eunsoo tells Bitna that she doesn’t mind Bitna rebelling against Eunsoo, but she doesn’t want Bitna taking advantage of a weaker person.  She tells Bitna to stop being childish.
 
Bitna takes this as a challenge and responds by pouring dirty water over the stall door when Eunsoo is in the bathroom.  As a result, Eunsoo comes into class wet and Jung-Ah slips her a handkerchief.
Bitna sees Eunsoo and decides to bully Jung-Ah further.  Bitna orders that Jung-Ah bark like a dog or Bitna will toss her phone into the toilet.  When Jung-Ah doesn’t bark, Bitna drops the phone.
 
Another student had seen the girls bully Jung-Ah and ran to get Eunsoo.  But, Eunsoo arrives too late to stop the phone dropping.  Eunsoo has the girls kneel in the hallway and hold their arms up.
 
Bitna refuses.  So, Eunsoo takes Bitna to a conference room.  Bitna is unrepentant.  She asks if Eunsoo is going to try to use force as discipline.  She threatens to call the police and report it.
Eunsoo throws Bitna’s old bracelet on the table and says that she’s not going to hurt Bitna.  But, Eunsoo wants Bitna to know that Eunsoo has proof of Bitna’s other extracurricular activities.  Bitna snarls back that Eunsoo is like a beggar taking Bitna’s trash.  Eunsoo responds that words won’t work with Bitna…
 
The next thing we know, Bitna comes home and her hands are red and swollen.  Bitna’ cheek is also swollen as if she was slapped.  Grandma Choi is shocked as Bitna cries that her teacher did this.
 
Grandma Choi takes Bitna to the emergency room where Bitna gets x-rayed.  It turns out that her index finger got fractured… Grandma Choi has also been fed a story that Bitna accidentally dropped the cell phone into the toilet and even apologized to Jung-Ah.  But then Eunsoo didn’t want to hear an explanation and just began to hit Bitna’s hands with a rod.
 
Unaware of the brooding trouble, Eunsoo asks her mother if that upcoming Saturday would be a good time to meet with her fiance’s parents for the official meeting of the parents.  Teacher Shim’s father wanted it that day.
 
That night, Yeon-Mi is in the kitchen worrying about the results of her exam.  Then Grandma wakes up from a dream where she saw Eunsoo’s dead father.  Eunsoo had been a young child again and they were at a picnic.  But then Eunsoo dropped her shoe in the river and watched it flow away crying…  Grandma sighs that they will need to tell their kids to be careful as the dream portends misfortune.
 
The next day, Bitna isn’t at school while Eunsoo tells her class that she doesn’t want bullying in her class.  Then, Bitna’s grandmother suddenly storms in.  The first thing that she does is slap Eunsoo.
MY TWO CENTS
Phew! One of my longer posts that got lost and then deleted in the fiasco of the end of December 2016!  But, it’s back up now and I have invested in some backup plans so hopefully this will be easier to fix the next time.  Here’s to hoping that 2017 is a wonderful year to all of DRAMAFEED readers, one in which is joyous and calm with no makjang elements! Let the makjang stay on the screen and avoid makjang people with all your heart because who has time for that stuff except those pathetic enough to engage in it?
Back to Shine Brightly Eunsoo First Impressions! This may be shorter than my original first impressions so bear with me as I am dealing with jetlag and my comments are usually more detailed when the impressions are fresh.
First, the plot and execution! So far so good.  The drama gave us enough background on each character so that we feel invested in most of the main characters Eunsoo and Bitna.  The first episodes laid it on thick about how Eunsoo is so excited to be a teacher with her practicing in front of stuffed animals in her room to the fact that she’s dating a colleague.  She really seems to care about the students.
On the other hand, Eunsoo is clearly still a novice.  She doesn’t quite know how to handle Bitna’s bullying tactics.  Eunsoo has not escalated the situation, sought help, or documented the bullying to protect herself when Bitna inevitably denies any such behavior.  If Eunsoo had been more experienced, she may have approached the situation in a more jaded but practical manner, which includes gathering evidence on Bitna’s bullying of Jung-Ah.
However, the novice mistake was not enough to turn me away from SLY as I still loved Eunsoo’s spunk.  She’s respectful and sweet but she isn’t a Candy-idiot.  When Bitna’s grandmother first came in to speak with Eunsoo and bully her into treating Bitna better, Eunsoo didn’t fall into the easiest novice traps of either spilling everything to Bitna’s grandmother or accepting Bitna’s grandmother’s bribe.  If Eunsoo had been too trusting, she could have fallen into either traps, which would have resulted in some massive hair-pulling frustration!
As for Bitna… Why hello Ha Na! I was pleasantly surprised to see you here! More surprising was that it was not as awkward or unbelievable as I would have originally imagined to see Ha Na playing a high school junior when she played the MBA graduate/wife in Heaven’s Promise.  She did look a bit more mature than the other students but she could easily have just been one of the students who usually looks older due to use of makeup and styling.
Bitna’s character was interesting as well.  While she is on course to ruin Eunsoo’s life as an entitled and rude brat, it’s clear that she has no idea the extent of the repercussions of her actions.  Had Bitna been a 30 year old woman who has failed to grow up and acted like this, I’d be here spouting fire about how unbelievable Bitna’s character is.  But, Bitna is 15-16… She has no idea about the real world and her main caretaker looks like the grandmother who might be financially stable but doesn’t seem to have a good grasp of core values as a decent person such as treating people with respect, doing good onto others, etc.  Also, Bitna clearly has not come to terms with the loss of her mother.  She’s still hurting and her grandmother hasn’t properly filled in the role of the mother figure by always reminding Bitna of her mother… She never really treated Bitna as her daughter but only focused on Bitna as a substitute FOR her daughter.  That is quite a traumatizing situation.
When Bitna and Eunsoo meet up as part of the same family, I think a critical conflict is whether Bitna deserves forgiveness for the trauma and scar that she is about to give Eunsoo.  Let’s hope the drama doesn’t go so far makjang that Bitna or her family actually believes that Bitna deserves an apology.  Of course, it goes without saying that whether to forgive and forget should be Eunsoo’s decision as she’s the victim here not Bitna regardless of Bitna’s insecurities.   Just because an aggressor is twisted because of her insecurities does not mean that she is not an aggressor.
Full disclosure – the first time around, I went straight into watching episode 6 to find out what happened.  I’ll try to post the following recaps as soon as possible since the crash and backup failures put me behind schedule.
Still Loving You Episodes 1-5 Recap  by DRAMAFEED | Copy & Paste Guidelines – Always put a link back to the source.
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2 Comments

  1. I’m watching this as well — my first daily in a long time. Trying to watch Young Love Again but that doesn’t touch me as much as this drama does. Thanks for recapping it.

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