Drama Recaps
Sungkyunkwan Scandal: Episode 2
by | August 31, 2010 | 201 Comments

I liked Episode 2 even more than the first; now that we’re past some of the setup, I find these relationships quite compelling, and all the various possible entanglements are rife with possibility. Even the more clichéd elements (such as her cross-dressing at school) have different stakes here, since the consequences of being found out are so severe — it’s no longer a matter of losing the guy’s trust, but of failing your family and facing severe punishment, possibly execution.

Tonally, the relationship chemistry is more Coffee Prince than You’re Beautiful — both were fun dramas, but I like this better than the reverse scenario. And despite my misgivings about Yoochun’s acting in the first episode, I like him a lot more in this one, which is mostly because I LOVE his character.


Sungkyunkwan Scandal OST – “찾았다” (I Found Her). The title means a generic “I found it,” but the lyrics go on to say that “I found my love, the one I was searching for.” [ Download ]

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At first the thumping heart is Yoon-hee’s, but when their pursuers leave and he deems them safe, Sun-joon finally looks down at her, and has a moment of startled awareness himself. Yoon-hee pulls back awkwardly, and demands her money in exchange for the book.

Right away, we have one of the reasons I responded so strongly to this drama; it’s beautiful to look at and to listen to. Take the following bit of background score, which is lush, lovely, and evocative — it reminds me of Tamra the Island or Return of Iljimae, actually. (That background noise is rain, not static.)

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Elsewhere, awaiting word is In-soo’s in-group (clique? cadre? posse?). Upon hearing that Sun-joon got away, the reaction is frustration mixed with some admiration. In-soo is displeased but Yong-ha waves it aside, saying that traps and schemes always come with a twist.

Now safe, Sun-joon says he doesn’t have the money on him and promises to pay her later. Yoon-hee doesn’t trust him and wants to follow him home, to which he tosses out that he won’t throw away his integrity over “a mere 50 nyang.” That insults her, because it may be nothing to him but this money represents life to her — her brother’s and her own.

He gives her his word and asks for her name so he can leave the money for her at the bookshop. Plus, he’ll see her at the testing site for the next exam. She gives her brother’s name (Yoon-shik), but says she isn’t going to sit for the exam.

Sun-joon reminds her of the words she’d written on his clothing, and entreats her to sit for the exam. If the plight of the citizens bothers her so much, she should enter into government service fair and square, and make her case from the inside. He calls her “Scholar Kim Yoon-shik” — which is a mark not only of respect, as it makes them equals, but also his faith that she’ll pass the exam.

She scoffs at his idealism — she knows that the world isn’t a true meritocracy, and that the picture he paints is naive. She declares, with some bitterness, “I don’t think that Joseon is such a great nation.”

Aw, I love this dynamic already. So many layers and bits of meaning woven through it.

The king comments to Minister Lee, Sun-joon’s father, that he heard of his son’s little scene at the exams yesterday. (The other official by Kim Gab-soo’s side is Minister Ha, aka In-soo’s father, aka the lecher with an interest in Yoon-hee.)

Sun-joon’s father apologizes, but the king isn’t offended. Rather, he has decided to make sure that the next exam will be held properly, and announces his intent to personally attend. This causes scholars to burn their cheat sheets and hang their heads in despair with much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Yoon-hee bursts into the bookshop to ask if Sun-joon has delivered the money, but he hasn’t. Hwang whispers of an opportunity to take the test for someone, but she reminds him of the king’s decree; this would put her life at stake. However, Hwang preys upon her desperation — the job would provide the needed 100 nyang.

That night, Yoon-hee mulls over her options, neither of which are desirable. Take the test and risk execution? Or not take the test and walk into certain doom as the war minister’s kept woman? Prostitute her brains, or her body? Which is the lesser of two evils?

On the morning of the exam, Minister Ha’s horrible steward arrives to collect her.She is dressed prettily and prepared for delivery — the scene recalls an animal being readied for slaughter — as her mother watches, heavy-hearted. Yoon-hee asks for a few moments to say goodbye to her family, and then is loaded into the sedan chair.

At the test site, Hwang waits with increasing nervousness at Yoon-hee’s absence, begging for extra time before the gates are closed. Thankfully, the latecomer arrives just in time…

…while back at home, the lady being seated in the chair reveals her face. It’s the real Yoon-shik, taking his sister’s place so she can take his.

(There’s something very melancholy and stirring about Yoon-shik, even though he has barely said a word thus far. Sound of mind though weak in body, he must feel miserable to be a burden and unable to help)

Yoon-hee takes a seat and waits for her “client” to make contact with her. As she looks around, a voice asks if she’s looking for her cheater contact. Nervously, she wonders if it’s Wang again — but no, the one who paid for her to take the test is Sun-joon.

(Aie! He “bought” her a seat at the exam to force her to take it! OH MY GOD I LOVE YOU SUN-JOON.)

But matters aren’t quite so simple as that. First, Sun-joon raises a hand to alert the proctors, announcing, “Look here! There is a person dirtying this test site!”

Yet when asked who it is, he names himself — and he meant “dirtying” literally, not metaphorically. He points to Yoon-hee’s ink-smeared scroll and asks for another, and this requires her to present her identification in order to receive a new testing sheet. This is his way of forcing her to use her real name (er, her brother’s). Under all this attention, Yoon-hee is compelled to give up her tag. Given a fresh sheet, she sits through the test.

She’s one of the last to complete the exam, along with Sun-joon (though it appears he’s stalling until she’s done, so he can follow her up). As they walk, she asks why he’s doing this. He says it’s because cheating is bad. She resorts to her go-to line whenever she can’t think of anything else to say, and retorts that he’d better pay for the book.

To their surprise, the test-takers are held back to await announcement of whether they have passed, to be delivered by the king. This is an unusual occurrence, and throws Yoon-hee into a panic at the prospect of facing the king directly with her fraud.

One by one, each person is called to receive results.

When she is called, Yoon-hee approaches in dread. The reason becomes clear a moment later when the king opens her exam sheet and reads her answer. Suddenly angered, he raises his voice in condemnation, and she drops to her knees to plead forgiveness. Clearly she hadn’t expected to be held back to explain herself, and now she has to deal with the fallout.

Again, her wit has gotten the better of her, as her answer is a cleverly worded admission of her intent to cheat. It finishes with the declaration that she has no right to enter government service.

The officials demand to know who called her here to cheat on his behalf, and she looks back at Sun-joon, who sits amongst the others, surprised at this turn of events. Yoon-hee answers that her contact didn’t come.

Sun-joon interrupts to declare that she is lying. He stands and identifies himself as the offender.

He explains that this he employed Yoon-shik to take the test — Yoon-shik has outstanding talents, but is unable to serve the government due to his unfortunate circumstances. This was his way of giving him a chance to take the test. And if someone as intelligent as Yoon-shik were unable to serve, Sun-joon had decided that he would not serve, either.

Have I mentioned that I love Sun-joon? (Also: It must be nice to have that unwavering faith in your stance — admirable, but aided by the power of his privilege. He may not intend to rely on his position, but it shrouds him like a protective cocoon.)

The king, however, angrily decrees that they will be dealt with severely… and instructs, “Go to Sungkyunkwan.” Both she and Sun-joon are ordered to live and board at the school, to spend all their time in pursuit of the righteous path. That is a royal command.

The king approaches Sun-joon and softens, saying with warmth that he will show the two of them the Joseon of which they dream.

Overwhelmed with how far she is in over her head, Yoon-hee falls to his feet in an almost-faint, then coughs loudly, claiming that (s)he is sick and dormitory life too hard.

That attempt doesn’t work, since he calls his royal doctor to examine this worthy young man. The doctor feels a pulse, and knows the truth immediately, announcing, “This person is a woman!” This angers the king and creates an uproar as she is condemned to execution…

…which, of course, is her guilty conscience in overdrive. In other words: Fake-out! In actuality, all she can do is to accept the king’s order. Worse yet, he promises to remember her face.

As they leave, Yoon-hee tells Sun-joon angrily that she had no intention of taking the exam. Leave that for the bored, privileged people like him.

Sun-joon says he was wrong after all, if she was the type to stand on excuses and throw away this opportunity. He hands her the money owed for the book, then leaves her with a few last words — that if she’s worried about her brother’s health, entering Sungkyunkwan is best, as scholars get medicine for free and a stipend. If she’s so foolish to overlook that, well, she’d be no good to the citizenry as a civil servant anyway. Ah, reverse psychology.

Booklender Hwang gives Yoon-hee 50 nyang as a “scholarship,” which makes her suspicious — is this some kind of loan? What’s he up to? He tells her it’s an advance, and since scholars will be given a stipend, she feels free to accept, not aware that Sun-joon provided the money (and made Hwang swear to secrecy).

Now Yoon-hee has the needed 100 nyang to repay the debt, and she delivers it to Minister Ha’s household and retrieves her brother, who has been beaten in punishment for their switch.

Yoon-hee is overcome with guilt but Yoon-shik tells her it’s okay: “I’m glad there was something I could do for you.” He’d never been able to rest easy with her working so hard for his expense.

Instead of being angered, Minister Ha laughs to hear of Yoon-hee’s actions, intrigued by the girl’s perspicacity. He can afford to play a li’l cat-n-mouse for now, because he figures she can’t hold out forever, and “I have never let go of a girl I’ve taken a fancy to.” Ugh, shudders! The guy is a Class A creep. I guess if you want a brilliant tactician planning your country’s wars to undermine the enemy, he’s your guy?

That evening, Sun-joon speaks to his father, who eyes his latest behavior at the exam with a little amusement and perhaps even pride. He chuckles to hear that the guy that Sun-joon spoke up for was accepted to Sungkyunkwan — if Sun-joon has faith in somebody, that person’s success reflects well on him, and by extension also Minister Lee. However, Dad cautions that Yoon-hee hasn’t yet “passed,” and adds — firmly, but not unkindly — that the same goes for Sun-joon. In his father’s eyes, until he has advanced and proven himself, he hasn’t passed muster either.

Yoon-hee’s mother is opposed to her entering Sungkyunkwan — and living in a dormitory with other young men — but Yoon-hee doesn’t have a choice, as it was the king’s order. This is why Mom had told her daughter that her studies would be a bane rather than blessing.

Yoon-hee says tearfully, “I want to live as a person.” If she has to be dragged off to be Minister Ha’s kept woman, she will forever be valued by her price, 100 nyang, rather than as a person. She wants to go to Sungkyunkwan, where she will be able to provide for Yoon-shik’s medicine on her own merits, earn a stipend, and improve her education. That is the path to living as a person.

Yoon-shik enters the conversation to take his sister’s side. Even though this means he will not be able to live under his own name, he argues that his sister has always lived for him, and asks for his mother’s approval.

And so, Yoon-hee prepares to enter the school, sent off with specially prepared food from her mother. She notices that her mother’s hair is no longer adorned with her ornament, which her mother presses into her hand, saying, “I’m not letting you go because you want to go, I’m sending you.” (This is her way of giving her approval.)

Mom warns her to endure hardship no matter what and to not lose her cool, because nobody must learn that she is a girl. Her brother gives her his identity tag and wishes her well.

On her way through town, Yoon-hee witnesses a loud argument in one of the food stalls — the proprietress angrily berates one customer for not paying for his liquor. The offender is Moon Jae-shin, who is hardly perturbed by the accusations; a little drunkenly, he swaggers off with a glib comment. This scene is barely noteworthy in an episode packed with events, but I mention it because it’s our only glimpse of Yoo Ah-in this episode (sob!).

Sun-joon is accompanied to the school by an emotional manservant, who says he’ll miss him. The servant points ahead to someone else in line, commenting that the “pretty young man” also came — Yoon-hee. Er, Yoon-shik.

Each of the new entrants is checked in at the gate, and both Yoon-hee and Sun-joon are recognized (albeit separately). I guess you don’t kick up a huge fuss at the testing site without registering in people’s memories.

Upon entering the courtyard, Yoon-hee looks around amidst all the hubbub, and is approached by fellow freshman BAE HAE-WON (in white). He came from the same school as Sun-joon and offers a friendly greeting. Interrupting them is a third frosh, KIM WOO-TAK, who makes a grand introduction that goes largely ignored. Hae-won has a melancholy, hapless air about him, while the quirky Woo-tak (wearing the glasses) is all big talk, but in a harmless way. (They’ll likely be comic relief characters.)

Yoon-hee walks around, familiarizing herself with the classrooms, library, and grounds, gulping a little when an upperclassman playing soccer takes off his shirt.

Sun-joon is the freshman with the most influential background and gets the VIP treatment by the school’s obsequious (and easily corrupted) chancellor. He gets the full suck-up treatment, as the man calls his father a close friend and offers to lend him these quarters if he doesn’t like his own.

Sun-joon wipes that smile right off the chancellor’s face by calling him out on his behavior, pointing out that he’s faking the closeness with his father and so forth. He also says firmly that he will decline any instance of special treatment.

JUNG YAK-YONG (played by Ahn Nae-sang) has been sent by the king to Sungkyunkwan, and hears this conversation. (He is a real-life person who was a leading philosopher of the day.) Jung asks if Sun-joon’s insistence on equal treatment will end up making things awkward for the others. Sun-joon answers that they shouldn’t give up at the first sign of discomfort.

Room assignments are posted, and Yoon-hee is startled to hear that they have to share rooms — no singles. And guess who she’s assigned to bunk with? This drama wouldn’t be interesting if she didn’t have to live with Sun-joon, now would it?

Yong-ha overhears her fretting and interrupts to say that there’s no need to worry, since that won’t happen and he probably won’t be around. A third person is on the list, but he hardly ever sleeps there. Yong-ha assures her she’ll get to use the room alone, which is pretty lucky for a new student.

She smiles in relief, and he swoops in to examine her reaction. Does she have a particular reason she needs a single room? She stammers no.

Yong-ha introduces himself, offering both his name and nickname — it appears each of our main characters will get their own nicknames, and his is Yeo-rim, which refers to his playboyish ways with the ladies.

Before she can react, he grabs her in a hug, which freaks her out, naturally. He whispers in her ear — further unnerving her — that she’ll be getting a nickname soon enough.

Yoon-hee enters her room expecting it to be empty, but to her horror, Sun-joon is already inside, settling in.

She protests profusely, saying she cannot share a room with him. He isn’t too keen on sharing his room either with someone who so easily denigrates their country, but he’ll endure. He advises her to endure, too.

To her surprise, a group of upperclassmen runs through the dorm area, dousing the lights and calling out the newbies. The incoming class gathers in the courtyard, where a light display is presented. Then, flour is doused over the newbies (which is still in practice today), and a select group of senior students comes out wearing elaborate masks.

In the administrative offices, one professor asks the others to stop the students, but the officials aren’t going to intrude on tradition.

We can guess who’s leading the activities — In-soo’s gang — though they remain covered as they start the tradition. Yong-ha declares that they will begin collecting offerings from each of them, and the new students are called up one by one to present the food they brought.

So they give up their offerings — some willingly, and some much more reluctantly.

Yoon-hee knows her food is humble — plain rice cakes made by her mother — and goes up reluctantly. Sure enough, the upperclassman handling the offerings (the loutish Byung-choon) kicks her basket aside, sending the cakes into the dirt.

She clenches her fists — she must endure, after all — and turns silently to return to her place. But then, she changes her mind and turns back, which quiets the proceedings as everyone watches rapt, freshman and upperclassman alike. She strides right up to Byung-choon and asks, isn’t he a student who came here to learn? Did any of their books say it was okay to mock food because it was humble?

Byung-choon stammers his defense, saying he wouldn’t have treated edible food that way. She returns, “If it’s not food, what is it?” He declares it’s not fit for dogs or pigs to eat. He moves to stomp on the rice cake with his foot, but the step is blocked by a hand. Not hers — Sun-joon’s.

With care, Sun-joon collects the fallen rice cakes and puts them back into the basket — silently, undramatically — and places it on the table with the other offerings.

By now all the senior students’ masks have come off in their curiosity, and Sun-joon says, “You’re right, it’s not food. Once you have risen to success, it is the sweat and blood of the citizens you will have to care for.” He offers one cake to the offender, saying, “So please partake.”

Byung-choon balks nervously, unwilling to eat something that fell on the ground. So Sun-joon takes a bite himself, and that causes quite a slew of reactions: Yoon-hee’s eyes widen, Yong-ha smiles in approval, and In-soo smirks.

Sun-joon places the rice cake in Byung-choon’s hand and challenges him to eat it, “If you’re not a dog or a pig.”

Enjoying this twist immensely, Yong-ha fetches the basket and puts a cake into the mouth of Lackey #2 (Go-bong) and takes a bite himself. Then he walks around with the basket and tells everyone to take one bite of the peasants’ blood and sweat.

Sun-joon addresses everyone now, saying that Sungkyunkwan is a place where they learn for the sake of the commoners. Turning to look specifically at In-soo, he declares that if you don’t agree, he won’t acknowledge him as a scholar.

Now In-soo gets up and says that Sungkyunkwan is where they prepare for their advancements, and learn how to bring order to society. It’s also where they learn who’s strong and who’s weak — and how the weak should act toward the strong. He vows, looking at Sun-joon, “I’ll teach this to you properly.”

One professor listens at a distance and wonders what this means — is he declaring his intent to expel Sun-joon from the school?

Now, they move on to the task portion in these traditional rites. The freshman class is given written instructions in riddle form, and whoever wins will gain a “big prize.” On the other hand, those who can’t follow the orders will get stripped of his shirt.

This time it’s Yoon-hee who approaches Sun-joon, advising him to hurry to make their time limit. She babbles a bit until he asks her what she wants to say, and she thanks him for his help. She heard In-soo is an incredibly powerful person and worries that he put himself on the line.

He tells her not to worry, because he didn’t do it on anyone’s behalf; he was acting according to his own principles.

She jokes about taking her time, not really believing that non-finishers will get kicked out without administrative reason, but he warns her that once you’re out, you’ll never get another chance to take the state exam or advance. That gets her in motion, and she hurries.

Each person has a slightly different clue leading them to a different location. One of In-soo’s cronies goes to Hyo-eun (In-soo’s sister) to request her aid in prepraration for her visitor — Sun-joon. She smiles a little in anticipation of meeting him.

Yoon-hee, on the other hand, figures that her clue leads her to gisaeng Cho-sun, and she is to “get her affection” via silk petticoat.

I’m presuming these tasks are meant to have obstacles, and Yoon-hee finds herself unable to see Cho-sun, who is the top gisaeng at the gibang (gisaeng house). Instead she is waylaid by a group of gisaengs — who, by the way, had been admiring her in Episode 1 but been rebuffed.

In her desperation to avoid being undressed and discovered as a woman, Yoon-hee bursts out of her room and runs away — but smashes into another room by accident.

Just her luck, this is the room where Cho-sun is attending to Minister Ha. This angers the man for several reasons: He was just about to get busy with his companion, and other guests recognize him and begin whispering.

However, he takes a good look at Yoon-hee’s face, and seems to recognize her. Pointing a finger, he declares, “You…!”


First off, how beautiful is this drama, huh? Despite the trendy-romantic-comedy angle that they used to market this drama, I am responding much more to the more meaty storylines. (Although student shenanigans are, of course, very enjoyable to watch.)

But take, for instance, this contrast between Sun-joon and Yoon-hee. Unlike other supercilious heroes of kdrama yore, Sun-joon isn’t willfully snobby — like, say, Gu Jun-pyo or Hwang Tae-kyung. I love that he believes he’s a fair guy, but by very dint of his privilege, he’s buffered by his place in society. He’s the type for whom the term “ivory tower” was invented. As part of the elite class he’s therefore out of touch with reality — he of the “Oh, 50 nyang, what piddle.”

And then, Yoon-hee challenges him about the social gap between the high-borns and the low-borns. Oh, I’m sure Sun-joon is aware of their existence on a theoretical level, but she’s the one who gives him a concrete look at how dirty and miserable life is like on the bottom. She’s cynical, he’s idealistic.

In traditional Cinderella stories, Prince Chaebol swoops in and uses his luxury to save his girl, but hardly anyone else. In contrast, it appears Sun-joon’s code of morality won’t just help the girl he loves, but society on a grander scale. I love this setup.

And while I still think Yoochun’s playing his character with a flat affect, it almost-sorta works with his character’s noble earnestness. I’m liking Sun-joon more and more.

(Note: This may become a guest-recapped series, so I give you fair warning that recaps may assume a different schedule come next week.)


201 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. kimkim

    After watching the first 2 episodes, I’m finding this drama to be a pleasant surprise. I definitely agree with you on your intro and your concluding comments. And Yoochun is a much better actor than given credit for. Btw, is this his acting debut (minus the banjun dramas from the past)?

    • 1.1 mimi

      besides that yoochun was on love letter a couple of times, and also recently acted in a short japanese mobile tv drama called “Beautiful Love”. This is his 1st real korean drama.

    • 1.2 sansukini

      I think he’s doing a good job acting his character out. Personally, he reminded me of Oh Ji-ho’s acting in Chuno. A bit flat, yes, but definitely, he fits the role. go yoochun! Fighting!

    • 1.3 Mythili

      he has done dating on earth(korean) and beautiful love(japan) btw i agree with you he suprised me very much with his acting…he’s really good

    • 1.4 Tohofighto

      Not really,besides the banjun drama,he also act in beautiful love(a jap drama)as the main actor before this drama:)so I guess that’s his debut drama?correct me if I am wrong^^

  2. ktv

    Thanks, Javabeans. This story in this drama is very fascinating. I was just wondering why Insoo did not like Sunjoon, Is it just because of Sunjoon’s behavior ?

    • 2.1 kimkim

      In-soo explains to Yong-ha in Episode 2 that it is because both Sun-joon and In-soo’s families belong to the same political party (the Norun faction). As Sun-joon’s father is the Prime Minister and In-soo’s father is the Minister of War, even the members of In-soo’s clique keep pointing out that Sun-joon is the heir inherit of the leader of the Norun party. Other scholars will be brought down by others, but In-soo explains that there is no one to bring down Sun-joon except himself. In-soo must see this as a competition to see who will become the future leader of their political party.

      • 2.1.1 hjkomo

        I thought Kim Gab Soo is the 좌상 (Left State Councilor) – 3rd highest court minister. ???

        • javabeans

          He is 좌상. Is Left State Councilor the official title? I didn’t know how to translate it so I kept it generic.

          But yes, I agree that In-soo is keeping an eye on his future rival (and trying to take him out early).

        • kimkim

          Oops, I must have been mistaken, but you’re absolutely right. He’s the head of the Norun party, but his official position is 좌상. Thanks for the correction!

      • 2.1.2 ktv

        Thank you for your explanation. So after all, this comes down to the ultimate man’s game: power and pride.

  3. sam

    i agree with you, although yoo chuns acting is kinda flat its not so disconnected with his character that you dislike it. It actually does go with his characters personality. Plus, hes hot 🙂 hehe

  4. imel

    omg..even from the recap, I can see, YooChun improves.
    Hehehe….indeed, his character are COOL…hehehe
    thanks for the recap though….
    eventhough this is a guest recap, I’ll read what you provide, anything…
    and once again, thank you very much. Eventhough, it’s only two episodes (in case you won’t continue recapping for next week), but it’s fun reading and see the drama from your point of view, and makes me love the series more…hehehe

  5. anon

    how were the ratings?
    where are all of Micky yoochuns fans?
    i thought this was the most anticipated drama of this year.
    am a bit disappointed 🙁

    • 5.1 mimi

      they were about the same as last night.
      even though dbsk members still have fans in korea they’re not as popular as they were a couple of years ago and plus they have a lot of international fans especially japanese/chinese so not all the fans can watch it.

      i think yoochun’s international popularity is the reason why there was so much hype and why it’s already been sold to international tv stations.

      i’m a big dbsk fan btw.

      • 5.1.1 nida

        I was thinking the same thing with you mimi.. 😉

      • 5.1.2 anon

        so hopefully this will be a mega ultra hit in china and japan right
        DBSK has been having a hard time in recent months
        they should get a break

        • melanie

          speaking of dbsk, does anyone know when jaejoong and junsu’s song comes out? i remembered watching scandal and hearing it at the end, total fangirl moment 🙂

      • 5.1.3 Yane

        first, DBSK has been inactive in Korea since 2008 (almost 2 years)
        second, they are really popular and their fanbase is huge (biggest fanclub in the world with 800 000 members)
        but …. 800 000 people are just 1,1% of the kirean population XD … so their popularity and their succes in the music doesnt have to do too much with the drama ratings …

        however … i love DBSK too XD

  6. Teresa

    Dear Javabeans,

    I’m a super Dong Bang Shin Ki fan and it’s not Yoochun, Junsu or Jaejoong’s voice. At first I thought it sounded similar but no…it’s not JYJ’s voices.

  7. sheilapiglet

    I’m sure it’s not Jaechunsu singing that song…perhaps they made another version of the same song but with different singers?….wonder why?

    anyways, thanks for the recap=)

    • 7.1 javabeans

      Hm, perhaps they’ll be coming out with a different version, since it was announced they’d be doing this song. But I trust DBSK fans to know their idols’ voices, hehe.

    • 7.2 JaeDee

      Actually the ending song for the first episode is sung by JYJ. I can tell Jaejoong’s voice from a distance.
      This one is not JYJ. Apparently this one will be the official song for SKKS.

  8. Nhu

    Well…. I figured you wouldn’t be able to recap this one too. Since Gumiho & Kiss are already on your schedule. And all 3 on a Monday/Tuesday schedule. Though I must confess I like your and Girlfriday’s recaps more than anyone else’s. What a pity their runs overlap! *cries* (and coincide with school’s return). Together, that makes 6 hrs a wk I can’t possibly squeeze in….

    • 8.1 lime9

      actually gumiho and kiss air on weds/thurs while Sungkyunkwan Scandal is mon/tues

  9. Teresa

    I’m DEFINITELY 100% certain it’s not Junsu’s, Yoochun and Jaejoong’s voices.

    • 9.1 MelMel

      Are you sure? It definitely sounds like at least Junsu is singing.

      • 9.1.1 nida

        btw, im dbsk fan since 07..

        I first thought it was Junsu but it was not him..
        its different..
        not J.Y.J, trust me.. 😉

  10. 10 f1yh1gh10

    i love your recaps, thanks! i think this drama is well-worth watching! it had my heart thump and i really like sunjoon now! micky is a pretty good actor for a rookie. and im really impressed with song joongki, he had me blushing! lol! i was so used to his cheesy cute mcing that i was not aware of how good he pulls off the whole playboy act. and of course, yoo ah in, is amazing. lol. i love his tough look! i think this drama will be great, they are good actors, and park minyoung is one heck of a pretty “boy”!

  11. 11 jea

    Thanks!! I’ve enjoyed reading the two recaps. BTW, is Song Joong Ki HOT or what? Watching him whisper in Yoon Hee’s ear made me blush. The character that I can’t decide whether I like the portrayal of or not is In Soo… I think I’ll have to watch some more to decide. Overall, the show is not bad for the first two episodes.

    • 11.1 Hajung

      I’m not sure about insoon either, but I love his eyebrows! Have you noticed them? I swear I’m not a weird eyebrow fan. But hit are big and they like point upward… It’s weird/hot

    • 11.2 Hajung

      Thank you sosososososp much fr the recap, this episode was so hard to understand! I was confused ㅠ.ㅠ
      I total get what you said about the brother feeling guilty about being a burden. When yoonhee picked him up from the shed I teared up, even while thinking that his acting was unconvincing. If he’d done that scene better I would’ve cried.
      Um, I need to say this every recap, I LOVE SONG JOON KI/YONG HA. Joonki (joongki?) is his beauty is dazzling enough but as a playboy? I DIE.
      seriously, I need help calming down. Whenever he comes out I beam and giggle and clench my fists in the air.
      I LOVE that yoonhee made friends in the school other than the main characters. I wasn’t expecting it.it gives the setup more of a real-school-experience feel, because in school outside of your buddies you have casual friends whose company you enjoy. Dramas often leave that out, I think for two reasons: overcomplicate the storyline, hire and put focus on unnecessary actors.
      Ok now I’m off to read the comments!

      • 11.2.1 Stephanie

        yup that’s what I liked about Coffee Prince too. I think its is the only trendy drama I watched that had me emotionally vested in every single small part of the drama. Partly because I loved and was engaged by all the usually peripheral characters. This drama has like over 30 eps so I think we would have the time to get to know all the other characters but I have a feeling the scriptwriter only wants to concentrate on the political parties and the jos4. So if Coffee prince got 30 percent ratings I would say this drama deserves a 20 percent.

        • kdfan

          agree, i am clueless with the dismal rating but makes me wonder how good dongyi really is

    • 11.3 yen_nguyen

      I melt into water looking at SJK’s whisper scene, he’s definitely HOT!

      • 11.3.1 august

        heart stops ….. pants ….. start breathing again
        what a hot scene

  12. 12 Jinkzz

    thanks for the recap Javabeans… enjoying the drama and can’t wait for next week’s episodes.

  13. 13 Sammy

    Micky took me by surprise actually. He’s a lot better than I’ve expected.

    This drama is too good to be flop. Everything about it scream HITS to me. It’s just sad that it’s going against two of this year biggest hits. WTH is the producer thinking. If it’s air a different time, I’m sure it will receive much better love.

    • 13.1 kimkim

      The producer has no choice. It’s the broadcast station which decides which time slot to place the drama, restricted by the time slot availability based on the schedules of other dramas. I’m sure the production company of SKK would have much preferred it to have gone against weaker competition.

      • 13.1.1 bk

        i think they should’ve aired SKKS on wed-thurs. after Baker King ends. Then put Rain’s drama(w/ other big stars) in mon-tues. Fugitive can definitely handle the competition against Dong Yi and Giant.

        It really sucks, DY and Giant will be extended for 10+ more episodes. I just hope that SKKS will achieve double digits.

        • javabeans

          I don’t think that works, either. You have to take into consideration that Runaway isn’t ready to go on yet, and will probably need the extra month, whereas Sungkyunkwan was ready to go at an earlier date. (Runaway has multiple location shoots, overseas locations, and a huge cast and budget. Sungkyunkwan is filming mostly in one location.)

          There’s no place you could have put Sungkyunkwan to avoid any competition — nor would KBS have a particular reason to cater specifically to this drama over its other shows. It sucks, but they’re looking at their overall lineup, not one show.

          • jea

            Agreed. Perhaps, if the interest in this show keeps up it would turn into mania drama? From a personal point of view, it was nice that this drama took Mon/Tues time slot b/c I didn’t want to start on the other two long series.

  14. 14 Blah

    LOVE LOVE LOVE This drama!! I would have to say that I definitely DO enjoy this drama more than any of the others on at the moment :).

    Thanks for making me fall in love with it 🙂

  15. 15 Eva

    Ohhh, how hard I have fallen for this drama… how the plot moves, the humor mixed with the quirky music oh and the characters
    More more more!

  16. 16 bbm

    yay… thanks JB for this… did you know already who’s going to do the guest recapping? well i want to thanks whoever you are… 🙂
    i watched the (subbed) press conference on KBSW entertainment weekly last night, and i must say the lead casts have good chemistry, at least for YC, PMY and SJK, they didn’t show much of YAI last night (sob sob)….

  17. 17 ck1Oz

    Thank you so so much.You have no idea how happy I am to see the recap.I just love the whole storyline and keeping my fingers/toes that the storyline holds up

    This is the drama I wanted to watch more than MGIaG and PK.All those fans out there please understand we all have genre we like even though KHJ and LSG are in it.

    So thank you.ep 2 recap was a total bonus to find today.

  18. 18 hjkomo

    Thanks, JB. I, too, am responding more to the meatier storylines. I love that Sun Joon is so principled, which will undoubtedly mean that he will come into conflict with his father and Noron party. Jo Seong Ha makes another awesome Jeongjo, and Lee Jae Yong certainly makes a great lecher, doesn’t he? 😛 Kim Won Seok did some great casting.

    Of course, I’m enjoying the lighter moments as well.
    LOL at King Jeongjo reading out Kim Hyun Joong as one of the scholars who passed the exam, and Soon Dol feeling like Chunhyang bidding farewell to Mongryong as he parts with Sun Joon. 😆

    The only downside was the one measly scene with Yoo Ah In. More, please! 😀 (And I keep getting his header at the top of the page.)

    • 18.1 kiotzo

      agree in everything!

  19. 19 cheanne

    Thanks….As always your recap is very well written. Just wonderful. More power….

  20. 20 AuntieMame

    Besides of certain similarities to CP, YAB, BOF and Tamna Island, it also reminds me of the J-drama, “Hana Kimi”.

    So far, the drama has had its cute moments. It will be interesting to see how extensive the political aspects and rivalries are used in the storyline, which could make the drama dark.

    As always, thank you for the great recaps.

    • 20.1 well...

      this drama reminds me to Butterfly Lovers (the legend and the tsui hark’s film, and most recently wu zhun & charlene’s) more than anything

      • 20.1.1 jossy

        great film that butterfly lovers

  21. 21 well...

    this drama is SO GOOD, it’d be a real shame if ratings is the only one got in the way =(
    and i agree, everything is so beautiful, esp the background music…
    i gotta say park min young surprises me the most. she’s actually a decent actress
    can’t wait for the next episodes >_<

  22. 22 celestialorigin

    Yoochun <3 <3 <3

  23. 23 ripgal

    Nobody commented on the crappy music? Out of everything, the acting, storyline, the music was just so way way OFF.

    Micky’s actually quite decent for a rookie actor. His all-out flat (I would call it calm and reserved) portrayal kind of fits his character. Cold but not distant. Intelligent and observant. He just needs to put a lil more heart into his character and I’m sure he’ll start melting hearts..

    SJK and YAI are doing well. Esp Yoo Ah In.. his screen presence just calls for SWOON-fest. He’s just so handsome and HOT. Too bad he will not get the girl..

    The other guy, I read that he’s Ha Ji Won’s brother?

    Overall, pretty good start. All very predictable and cliche, but we love our korean formulas no? hehehe..

    • 23.1 jea

      I too noticed some of the songs on the soundtrack. There was once or twice in this episode that I had to do a double take to make sure the sound wasn’t coming from some other source. I get that it’s a fusion sageuk and all, but there is no call to stick in a song that clearly does not fit the scene. Case in point when they were showing the tour of the school.

      • 23.1.1 Birdie

        I .too,am not digging the upbeat modern music being played at some of the scenes. I am enjoying the drama though.

  24. 24 Htagged

    I might just watch this! Thanks JB:)

  25. 25 mellowyel

    okay, i’m officially recommending this to my saeguk watching friend – i think she’ll like it 🙂 I on the other hand will wait until Gumiho and I Am Legend are over then pick this up. The recaps will keep any potential fangirl madness at bay for now.

    Thanks so much, JB! And early thanks to whoever picks this up to help recap! (I would if I knew Korean – 5 dramas with 2 eps a week is a heckuvalot of work for only 3 ppl)

  26. 26 asianromance

    Thank you so much for the recap! It’s like you’re doing a recap almost everyday! It seems like things are moving along pretty well in this series. For some reason, I had the Harry Potter/Hogwarts feeling when reading this recap.

    Despite all the furor over the name of the drama…i think with students like Yoon-hee and Sunjoon- they will do the school proud! I wonder if the school is watching this drama.

  27. 27 ashley

    thank u for the recap!!!
    since this is a sageuk drama it was kind of hard to follow when i watched it. this recap really helped me thanksss <3

  28. 28 orenji13

    I am wondering how will Joong Ki character mixed with the trio.

    I can see Yu Ah In and Park Min Young fit with each other because their synistic way to the society, and Yoochun have his idealism..

    I am eager to see Joong Ki character development the most. It looks like the writer still kept something special for us in the 3rd episode.

  29. 29 jeann

    Erm, can I just say, how much do I love you JB!! <3

    I really didn't foresee myself getting hooked on this drama at all but your recap of the first episode (and those gorgeous screencaps of Joongki) made me try it out and I'm pretty sure I'm hooked now.

    The storyline seems solid enough and I really do love Joongki and Yoochun's characters! I've never caught anything with the female lead before, but she's doing a really credible job, I actually do feel she can pass off as a guy, at least much more believable than PSH in YAB, but then, I guess that one was intentional. I'm looking forward to see where the scandal bit comes in and how they're gonna get the two mains to deal with their clashes in idealism!

    I really need more Song Joongki acting as a playboy. That hug and whisper was dayummm hot.

  30. 30 dramaville

    hi! what did you mean when you said “but I like this better than the reverse scenario.”

    Tonally, the relationship chemistry is more Coffee Prince than You’re Beautiful — both were fun dramas, but I like this better than the reverse scenario.

  31. 31 djes

    reading the 2 episodes recaps, I think I need to start download this drama.
    So, Yong ha will be the only one who knows that Yoon-shik (or Hee ) is a girl? This is fun.. reminds me of YAB’s Shinwoo.

    I guess these three young men will fall in love with her?

    Btw, Javabeans, since English isn’t my first language, reading this particular recap is quite hard, hahaha.
    I have to reread couple times to fully understand your explanations..but, it’s all good! Who knows reading a drama recap can be this useful! 😀 Thank you!

  32. 32 norimaki

    loving it already ! btw , what’s the rating for the 1st and 2nd eps?
    thanks for the fast recap JB !

  33. 33 flo

    this drama got me hooked already but it seems that s the rating won t up easily. hope i m wrong. sometimes good drama never got the attention they deserve.

    Frankly speaking Javabeans, if you are taking 2 series to recap, I rather prefer u recap this one and gumiho than playful kiss.

  34. 34 A

    Sounds good. Another drama to watch! Anyone knows how long this one will be?

  35. 35 prncssptri

    thanks for the wonderful recaps!!!! 🙂

  36. 36 Jae In

    Oh God!!! I love this drama so much. Thanks JB. I feel great feeling and smile bright when watch this drama. No word can convey i actually. GO FIGHTING Sungkyunkwan Scandal.

  37. 37 sajor

    thanks! as always, great recap!

    i haven’t watched any of the episodes yet, but from this recap i think i’ll like this even more than the other 2 i’m currently watching. hmmm.. as i cannot afford to spend 6hrs/week for a drama, i have to give up on one. too bad i’m liking all.

  38. 38 nikkyp28

    Nice 2nd episode…like it!
    someone mention it already, when they bunk them together, it does remind you of “Hana Kimi”…

    • 38.1 macugean

      i agree..it really reminds me of “Hana Kimi”..

  39. 39 shu

    the part were she starts entering shool. totally gave me that She’s the Man (2006) by Amanda Bynes feeling. dont you people agree?

  40. 40 Christine

    One of the good things that I like about this show is that the background music is so contemporary. It feels kinda different to hear today’s music with historical scenes.

    • 40.1 Christine

      “Tonally, the relationship chemistry is more Coffee Prince than You’re Beautiful”

      I hope it remains that way….

  41. 41 jandoe

    this drama IS really really really good i can’t get enough of saying that! i hope the production won’t let the ratings affect the story (unless they’re totally done with filming?) cos i’m having major hopes right now for this story to be FANTASTICCCC.

    i understand you probably won’t be able to continue with the recap for this one JB, but i sure hope you would if you could 🙂 thanks!

    • 41.1 yoomi

      yes, they’re all done ^^

      • 41.1.1 jandoe

        really? OH YAY! 😀

  42. 42 Lemon

    Wow thanks for recapping this drama! It is really turning out much better than I thought it would be 😀 I think I might like it better than My girlfriend is a gumiho, because gumiho is a little cliche (even though its reallyyy cute), while this takes the whole fun, trendy cross-dressing thing to a whole new level- with hot actors to boot! <3

  43. 43 hairband

    This drama also turned out to be much more layered and somber at points that I expected. I began watching SS with the mindset of “Woot it’s Yoochun!! Fusion sageuk!! Yayy!!!” but yeah. Definitely pleasantly surprised.

    I’m so glad that a drama is actually using the gender-bender trope to do some social commentary on gender inequality. They made it realistic enough that I wouldn’t be surprised by feelings anger, disgust and betrayal once the cat’s out of the bag.

    Oh I’m actually starting to like Cho-sun a lot (not really for her personality but for the possible themes that her character could bring out: More gender issues. =D) Can’t wait for next ep.

  44. 44 rainerust

    I LOVE SJK in this. How HOT is he! (No, that wasn’t actually a question.) I’d offer to do the recaps, but I’m not Korean and will probably be missing out on a lot of the subtleties unfortunately 🙁 Some of the Chinese subs I read don’t make much sense either, which is why I prowl your recaps.

    Hopefully this continues to be recapped, even if it’s not by you, JB, or GF. I think it’s going to pan out quite interestingly, and I’m especially interested in SJK’s character, and YAI’s too…

  45. 45 KP

    I like this drama except that I feel Yoon-Hee is overacting the ‘I am disguised as a boy’ thing. I’m surprised the whole world hasnt picked up on the fact that she’s a girl from the wait she is so skittish and nervous all the time………..
    Coffee Prince and YAB handled the gender bender thing more smoothly, the era’s are different but still It feels like shes over board a bit to me personally.

    • 45.1 yoomi

      yoonhee’s skittish-ness might possibly be due to the fact that it’s her life and her family’s reputation (and life as well?) on the line, instead of just the whole “oh no this is embarassing and i’ll lose my job and the guy won’t trust me anymore” kinda deal.

    • 45.2 crazykaiyi

      The consequence of having her real gender revealed is death.
      Would you not be especially nervous about concealing it?

      Personally, I find it suiting.

    • 45.3 narumi

      I think Park Shin Hye acted as a boy is more unrealistic..

    • 45.4 Kiwi

      Um, I think she has more on the line than all the other characters and for real, I don’t get the Park Shin Hye love, she is a total girl there

      • 45.4.1 Kayt

        Well, she is supposed to be a CLUELESS GIRL to pretend as a boy. She was never a boy/ or tomboy normal girl to begin with
        Come on!
        She was a nun in training for a reason, right?
        I really don’t get hot people keep comparing when the plots are not the same

    • 45.5 momosa

      I have the same feeling too but maybe its too early to comment.

      I wouldn’t mind that the fact that YH is a girl is kept hidden till the end from the lead because I’m loving the tensed & attractions of the leads so far and boy, there are 3 of them.

      SJK is cheesy and flamboyant and he is good. How can anyone play this role better!

      That guy – Ha Ji Won’s brother(?) – he seems to be so obviously evil with his constant empty stares. He’s getting a bit tiresome.

  46. 46 Diadda

    I am having seriously inappropriate thoughts about this cast. Good gravy why do they ALL look so good, especially Song Joong Ki. It is distracting me from the nice dialog and pretty stuff that Java is talking about. Oh well I guess I will have to watch the episodes again…Darn it. 🙂

  47. 47 pohonphee

    Oh you, JB, are gonna stop recapping this series?? (sad). I love your recaps (and GF too) above others. But as long as I can read it is recapped, everyone is welcome, I guess.

    I’m more excited about this series than MGiAG and PK, he, he, he…

  48. 48 nida

    Big Thanx Agiain for You JB!

    i love read your cap, please continue..^^
    i love all character in this drama..

  49. 49 bobbie

    Yoon-hee keeps on calling Sun-joon “wang seobang”, what does it mean?

    • 49.1 :D

      in episode 1, she mistook him for wan seobang, the dude with the big mole, whom she was supposed to help cheat on the test

      • 49.1.1 sunshine

        wow, thanks for clarifying! I’m confused too, lol

  50. 50 therainhouse

    Three words. Song Joong Ki.


    • 50.1 yen_nguyen


    • 50.2 RoastedSweetPotato

      I get weak every time. The only thing on my mind is … how can SJK look so PRETTY?!?!

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