Time: an analysis of the episode 15 in Encounter

When we look at the drawing of the episode 15, we see a huge hourglass standing between our protagonists CSH and KJH. Both are looking at the sandglass and seem to feel so little and powerless, especially because they are both much smaller compared to the hourglass. Moreover CSH and KJH are quite passive, they just stand and do nothing else than looking at the sandglass. Since the latter symbolizes the time, the viewer might wonder why the director chose this drawing. In this episode, CSH will break up with her boyfriend. So why does time seem to be the main topic of this episode based on this drawing and not the break up as such?

The answer is quite simple. The writer and the director used different means in order to show the importance of time.

First, if you pay attention to the dialogues, you will notice that time is so often mentioned. KJH’s mother says

  • “Once time passes, it will all quiet down.”
  • “He will forget about everything with time

Then teacher Lee advises to KJH: “Let’s just wait a while longer”. She explains that CSH just needs time, just like KJH declares the same to CSH hoping that she would reconsider the break up: his mother just needs time. Furthermore while father Kim criticizes his wife, he tells her that their son withstood hard times for them therefore they need to support him as well. CSH hopes while walking on the bridge that in time he will be able to understand her. Then driver Nam advises CSH to reconsider it as well with the point: “It’s no time to think about it”. At the end, when KJH is about to give up, he confesses to Mrs Lee that it is time for him to let her go as well. As you can see, the break up is associated to time.

Moreover, time is also shown with the staging. We have CSH who wanted to break up at the end of their wonderful date but she couldn’t because KJH offered her the camera case. CSH realized that she needed to wait for the right time. She got aware that timing was as important as the way to break up. Besides, we have KJH who missed his bus at the end of the episode 15 which lets driver Nam see how KJH is affected by the break up. Then time was the reason why KJH got hurt. He caught his parents arguing and discovered that his own mother had betrayed him and asked his girlfriend to break up with him. Once he heard this, he went straight to her office. But she had already removed her couple ring, he was too late with his discovery as she had already made up her mind.

Then memories are so often mentioned as well and memories are connected to time as well. Memories represent events or moments in the past. For KJH’s mother, the break up will become a memory and at some point, it won’t affect her son any longer. He will be able to marry and have children. Then we have this taking.

episode 15

This zoom represents Cha Soo Hyun’s gaze, looking at the Havana clock in her office. This indicates that she is remembering her wonderful time spent with KJH. She has already connected this clock to her time with her ex-boyfriend. And later the good memories of their relationship are the reason why KJH changes his mind in the last minute. The time spent with her is so precious to him and now we can link this to The Little Prince: “It’s the time you spent on your rose that makes your rose so important.” Thanks to these good memories he is able to remember his promise: to endure pain and overcome the hurdle due to the good memories. That’s why he changes his mind in the last moment and decides to visit CSH’s office. So while time was the main cause for the break up (CSH, KJH’s mother), time is the reason why KJH decides not to let her go and why he is as determined as before to remain by her side.

Encounter episode 15 drawing ending.png
the drawing at the end

This explains why at the end the hourglass disappears, time is no longer what separates them because KJH is determined to make her change her mind. He will no longer remain inactive and passive like in the beginning. He will wait for her and waiting is linked to time. The break up was symbolized in the drawing by the separation due to the hourglass. Our protagonists were not next to each other, they were separated by the sandglass. Time seems to be against them. Yet, as time had passed on, the hourglass suddenly disappeared because it was the right time for KJH to show his strength and his determination.   

One thought on “Time: an analysis of the episode 15 in Encounter

  1. Lovely analysis. Loved that Jin Hyuk can change her mind by reminding her of their love and waiting for her and Soo Hyun too be brave to take the next step. If only there is a writing about their inner monologue when they make up again in episode 16. Would love to read that.
    Time also seem to accelerate so fast in their relationship from the time they fall in love that could be in Cuba and being in a serious relationship it takes mere months. Thinking back their timeline from a some relationship in December to having their separation and their first kiss on new year it takes is less than a month. Probably, if there is no hesitation from Soo Hyeon and other external obstacles and if it just left to Jin Hyuk they probably could be married by now.

    Liked by 2 people

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