Yeol collapses while working out, and team doctor Mi-rae comes running. She panics, when he opens his eyes and asks her what she thinks of him as a man. “Let’s date,” he says, coming closer, as if for a kiss. She closes her eyes.
…and wakes up in a hospital bed. We’ve rewound a bit, and her doctor colleague tells her she was brought in for fainting. Mi-rae is relieved that she covered for her with the directors, and makes to leave. But the doctor tells her it’s not from overwork — preliminary scans show a biliary tumor (i.e. gall bladder and bile ducts, also affecting the liver). Mi-rae looks at the doctor in surprise.
We catch up to the present, and Yeol looks for Sa-rang. He’s about to chuck the kitbag when he spots her in a taxi. Mi-rae turns around at the sound of his voice. Yeol narrates in voiceover that that the chance of meeting an ex again is 82%, but the chance of it working out again is only 3%. I want to know where he’s getting these numbers…
He runs alongside the taxi, bag in hand, and his narration continues that the chance of staying together for life is 0.1%. Mi-rae watches his diminishing figure in her wing-mirror, and the irony has to be deliberate, “objects in the mirror are closer than they appear.” Aren’t they just. He finishes that there are some couples who challenge the numbers to the end, “Because love isn’t a probability, it’s a miracle.”
Mi-rae doesn’t quite believe her eyes, and asks her daughter if she met anyone. Sa-rang is mad at mom, and tells her she met a kidnapper-style baseball ajusshi, which more or less confirms her fears.
When they get home, they’re met by Mi-rae’s hoobae admirer, Dr. SHIN WOO-HYUK, whom Sa-rang called when she couldn’t get her mom. Sa-rang signals to him to put the moves on mom. They exchange winks and low-fives, and she leaves them to it.
Woo-hyuk tries to invite himself in for ramyun, or at the very least coffee. Aw, you’re going to be this hapless all show, aren’t you?
Mi-rae follows her daughter up, but Sa-rang shuts her door in her face. She thinks of Sa-rang’s tearful confession about wanting a dad who’ll be there for her when mom isn’t. Her mind goes back to the running figure, but she shakes it off — lots of people must look like him. Her diagnosis weighs on her. Just one year to live?
The next morning, Yeol ignores his calls to sleep more. The machine takes Coach Bang’s message, to turn up at the disciplinary hearing tomorrow. He warns Yeol that if he gets fired now, it could spell the end of his coaching career.
Out of bed, Yeol picks up an old record, and handwritten across the front is the message, “You’re my meaning, I’m your meaning.” He scoffs at it, but is unable to throw it away. A different record sees him bopping to the fridge, and it’s Coke for breakfast in a bachelor’s world! But he’s interrupted by buddy and colleague SHIK SANG-HAE (Choi Dae-chul).
The two men go shopping. Sang-hae sobs pitifully about his over-jealous wife, while Yeol points out that he has been playing around. Sang-hae envies Yeol’s solo life, but is then touched by the sight of a happy family.
From his extremely negative reaction, Sang-hae wonders if he’s still stuck on Mi-rae. But Yeol says she’s not even in his dreams anymore. He used to wonder how he would react to meeting her again, and now he thinks he’d just walk right past without even recognizing her.
Stuck in solid traffic, Mi-rae sees happy couples and families all around her. She’s still haunted by Sa-rang’s wish for a father, and her patient’s desperation to protect her child.
A horn breaks her contemplations, and the surprise makes her rear-end another car. The driver (cameo by Heo Jung-min, lol) asks if she’s okay, but his nice-guy front cracks in two seconds. He yells his head off, dissing her driving skills: “If you drive like this, you’ll die, I’ll die, everyone in the whole damn world will die!”
She stares at him wide-eyed. “If I drive nicely, will you let me live a long time?” she asks. Tearfully, she tells the stranger that she’s going to die. She’s only got a year to live, can he save her? She sobs inconsolably, while the man desperately tries to escape.
Mi-rae walks right past Dr. Choi in the hospital, completely out of it. He asks why she vanished the night before, and tells her the new center’s head is going to be picked soon, so she should go for it with life-or-death fervor — it’s that important. His words “life or death” catch her, and she wants another shot at the aborted party.
At the noraebang again, the lecherous elder cozies up to her, plying her with sympathy and drinks. He puts his hand on her thigh and slimes about how lonely she must be as a single mom.
She picks up his hand and puts it to her heart — he wants to touch her there, right? “You dirty, perverted asshole,” she says with a sweet smile. She twists his arm and dashes the drink in his face, and finishes with her foot at his neck.
Dr. Choi is agape. He told her it was as important as life and death, she yells at him, but she’d have to live to find out if that’s true. She is mad, she screams: “I’m mad for wanting to live! I don’t want to die!”
…and comes back to herself, mute and glassy-eyed, facing her seniors. Damn, it was too good to be true! She sings for them, and this time it goes smoothly.
Walking home, Mi-rae scrolls through her contacts list, empty of friends. Sa-rang texts her saying she could make up with mom depending on what her next year’s birthday present is. The message makes her sad. What if Sa-rang ends up alone like she did?
She ends up in some nearby batting cages, holding a bat with the look of someone who hasn’t picked one up for a while. Yeol’s voice comes back to her, telling her that the worst thing to do is go down and take your team with you. We flash back to a time when Yeol taught her how to swing a bat, and both of them look happy and relaxed. The best player, he says, is the self-sacrificial batter who strikes out but hits with runners scoring, because while he goesdown, he saves everyone else.
In the present, every ball she hits gives her satisfaction. But a tear slides down her cheek all the same. Sa-rang texts her that she wants a bike for her birthday. Another flashback shows mom teaching Sa-rang to ride. Sa-rang begs her not to let go, but mom does, and she crashes. Mi-rae realizes that what her daughter needs isn’t a bike, but a person to be with her.
The next day, the cancer patient tells Mi-rae she’s decided against chemo, and wants to spend that time with her family instead. She says that even if she’s gone, she wants her husband to protect their child. Mi-rae asks, what would happen if there were no father, no other family, only a mom?
The patient hesitantly replies that she’d have to make one somehow — a family she can trust — but having a dad would be best. Mi-rae hangs on her words.
Mom joins Sa-rang on the school racetrack, and runs alongside her. She asks her if she wants a dad for real – one she can eat, talk and play with. Sa-rang stops running. “A real dad?” she asks. Yes, says Mi-rae, “Mom will make a dad for you.”
Mi-rae finds Woo-hyuk at lunch and opens with, “You wanted to be Sa-rang’s daddy right?” and he spits out his mouthful of rice all over her in shock, lol. But does he want to be a dad or a husband? Puppy Shin says she’d come first, of course. Wrong answer! He’s out, she tells him.
Elsewhere, Dr. Hwang tells Hyun-woo that reporters are clamoring for dirt on his altercation with Yeol. He says it was no big deal, but it seems coach Ki-tae sicced them on to the story.
Ji-hye bursts in, and Dr. Hwang (her mom) rebukes her for being interested in the coach — a team doc’s priority is the player, and Yeol can look after himself. Ji-hye tells them that Yeol’s fate is to be decided tomorrow, and Hyun-woo looks troubled.
The doctors talk about who can do Hyun-woo’s surgery. Mom has someone in mind — someone Yeol also knows, but it’ll be hard. Hyun-woo offers to get rid of the reporters and clear Yeol’s name, but they have to get him the best doctor.
Over a meal, Sa-rang tells Woo-hyuk about her mom’s promise to make her a real-life dad. She pityingly tells him to have more confidence. It can only be him, she figures: Mom is too busy to have anyone else. With an awesome present and a proposal, he can win her, she says. But her mood dips when she spots her crush walk by, hand in hand with classmate Bo-mi.
“It’s hard, isn’t it? Love?” she declares. This girl, lol.
Dr. Hwang drops in on Mi-rae, and they meet for the first time in over ten years. She explains Hyun-woo’s surgery but Mi-rae is too busy. We find out that she used to be Dr. Hwang’s student in rehab medicine, before she switched to neurosurgery. Dr. Hwang admits it’s also to do with Yeol, who is the rehab coach.
Before she can say more, they’re interrupted by… Woo-hyuk ‘s proposal, which is all balloons and a banner that reads, “I want to be Sa-rang’s dad as much as I want to be your husband,” lol, I’m pretty sure that’s still the wrong answer. Dr. Hwang notes Mi-rae now has a kid.
Mi-rae marches up to him and kicks him in the shins, which brings him to his knees. Catching her foot mid-swing on the next kick, he puts some pretty shoes on her (no! Don’t you know you’re not meant to give a woman you like shoes?). Before he can confess (again), he gets one in the nuts, and rolls on the ground, crying. Kicking the shoes off, Mi-rae warns him not to propose again.
She runs back for Dr. Hwang, but she’s gone. In her place is a newspaper bearing Yeol’s assault story, and a note in which the doc observes that Mi-rae looks ill, and that she should rest. “Life is shorter than you think,” it finishes.
Meanwhile, Yeol isn’t faring well at team practice. The players walk out when he arrives, and buddy Sang-hae gives him the news that until the committee decides his fate, he’s off the job.
Ki-tae takes over, undermining Yeol and his whole approach with every word. Yeol insists he’s still rehab coach until tomorrow at least, and these are his kids. Ki-tae sneers and instructs the assembled players vote with their feet — if they’re Yeol’s kids, then to get in line behind him.
A long moment passes, and one or two players twitch, but Yeol stops the farce. He tells Ki-tae to have it. Rather than put his injured players in an awkward position, he walks out. Sang-hae is disappointed in the players, and follows Yeol.
From a distance, Mi-rae watches them go, thinking how he hasn’t changed.
Over dinner, Sang-hae laughs his head off about how not one player supported Yeol, and then (belatedly) curses their lack of loyalty.
Ji-hye crashes their meal, asking Yeol if he’s going to the hearing tomorrow. Sang-hae helpfully says he’s fired regardless. Yeol more or less agrees, comparing himself to a decrepit car, ready for the scrapheap, rather than a magical fixer of other cars.
He tells them what Hyun-woo said about him being wrapped up in his own pain, and so they couldn’t trust him. Ji-hye and Sang-hae both disagree — they trust him. They’re going to help plead his case tomorrow, but Yeol’s tired of it and just wants to quit. Coach Bang texts him the meeting time — 1pm tomorrow.
Ji-hye follows him out. I wonder how many times she’s confessed to him. By now, she can recite his script of objections, and imitates him: He wants to be alone and doesn’t want to take responsibility for anyone else. Not being in a position to look after anyone, he’s sworn off marriage and kids. Aw, I like her! Yeol nods, struck dumb.
So that’s why she wants to start off just dating, Ji-hye says, and encourages him to go for it so he doesn’t have regrets. But Yeol shrugs that he won’t regret it, and walks off. Sang-hae congratulates her on her millionth out, and tells her she should give up. She sighs that she knows he’s still stuck on his first love or whatever.
Yeol is convinced he’s being followed home, but can’t see anyone. From behind a pillar, Mi-rae watches him go inside. She wonders why he was alone all this time, but at the same time, she’s relieved.
A flashback takes us to when she told him she was going abroad. But what about them, he asks. “Game over,” she shouts, because he won’t even hold on to her and beg. Furious himself, he rips off a chain with a pitcher’s glove pendant and throws it at her feet. Even more hurt, she stalks out.
Yeol gets in to find his dad snoring on the couch. Coach Bang’s words come back to him, about how he’d look after his dad without a job, and what losing tomorrow could mean for his future prospects.
Woo-hyuk is waiting again when Mi-rae gets home. This time, he boldly swoops in for a kiss, but Mi-rae kicks him again before he can land it. Poor hapless hoobae. Frustrated, he asks why it can’t be him — there’s someone else, isn’t there? Whether there is or not, he isn’t the one, she tells him. He’s better off being a doctor. Dejected but not defeated, he promises not to give up on her.
By the time Yeol wakes up the next day, it’s already 12.30. Run, Yeol, run!
Sa-rang can’t make sense of Woo-hyuk ‘s rejection — it’s not as if a dad she’s never had is going to suddenly appear, after all. She exhales a long sigh, “Ah! I want to get married, too.” Just then, she spots a group of high school girls pushing around her crush.
Yeol rounds a corner in his car. Swerving to avoid a sudden cyclist, he ends up mounted on the pavement with a flat. Frustrated, he starts walking, and immediately passes the high school girls. He doesn’t notice it’s pint-sized warrior Sa-rang brawling with them, and walks on, shaking his head.
Sa-rang spots him, and calls out, “Dad!” She runs and throws her arms around him. He’s mystified, and she beseeches him with big eyes. Loudly, she orders him to tell the girls off. They’re dead, she tells them fiercely. Yeol sorta waves at them, and half-heartedly tells them to work hard. After they go, she limps over to crush-boy.
Dr. Hwang and Ji-hye worry about Yeol’s hearing, and are suddenly met by Mi-rae.
Speaking privately in her office, Dr. Hwang remembers that Mi-rae used to be the attending physician for the team’s president. Mi-rae agrees to do the surgery, on one condition.
Yeol applies a makeshift splint to Sa-rang’s injured ankle. He criticizes her for jumping into other people’s fights, and bets she’s a bad student. Riled by his assumptions, she tells him to get lost. But he suddenly notices the time and runs.
Sa-rang shakes her head, unimpressed. She notices he’s left behind his keys. The pitcher’s glove pendant is attached to them, old and chipped.
In Yeol’s hearing, Coach Bang fights his case, but Ki-tae points out that Yeol’s absence shows how much he cares. He asks the other coaches if any of them are against his firing, and even Sang-hae backs down. The official is about to pass the verdict when he gets a call from the president.
Everyone is on the way out when Yeol finally arrives. They pass in silence, and Yeol assumes the worst until Sang-hae congratulates him for surviving (no thanks to you!). Ki-tae derides him for using connections, but even with a three-month probation, Yeol’s thrilled by his reprieve.
Coach Bang explains that he has to take remedial classes in the three months, and he’ll get hired back if he does well. He tells him that the person who persuaded the president will also be his tutor.
Dr. Hwang arrives with Mi-rae. Yeol stares. “You…” he says. She wasn’t sure he’d recognize her, she laughs, and holds out her hand. He realizes she was the one who intervened on his behalf. Furious, he quits on the spot, not caring if they fire him or sue him. “If it’s this woman, I’m never doing anything!” he vows.
He marches out into the rain, the voiceover of his statistics of exes meeting, working out, and staying together plays again, while we get glimpses of his dad, Sa-rang, Ki-tae and Woo-hyuk, each occupied in their own concerns.
Yeol angrily growls to himself that Mi-rae did the same thing ten years ago, selfishly coming and going as she pleased.
But she followed him out, and now Mi-rae calls out to him. “Let’s get married,” she says. “Be my daughter’s father.”