Cute, fun, and angsty, all wrapped up in a big bow of feel-good. (And then some feel-nervous.) Now that’s my kind of episode.
No Song of the Day today, because there were so many in the episode proper. It’s a veritable extravaganza of song ‘n dance.
EPISODE 10 RECAP
Backtracking for a moment, we see our Misfits take third place at the awards portion of the Dance of the Year competition. They’re all thrilled about it (except for wonderboy Jason?), and Sam-dong calls out to Oh-hyuk in the audience, asking him to stay with them forever. Not betraying his promise to resign, Oh-hyuk just nods.
It’s time for the students to head out for their class trip to Japan, with the Misfits traveling separately to sing at the wedding to earn their plane tickets. At the last minute, they hear that Pil-sook is in the hospital, having fallen ill last-minute.
They’re picked up by their rich Japanese contact in a stretch limo and led to a yakuza-lined pavilion. Oh-hyuk mutters to a nervous Sam-dong that they’re not yakuza — just “important businessmen!” — but the check-in consists of a pat-down and a weapons surrender. ‘Cause the bloodbath’ll just have to wait until after the ceremony.
Sam-dong and Hye-mi take their places to sing their selection, but accidentally take up the wrong sheet music. (Pil-sook had packed it and included the music for the song Jason had been listening to in the previous episode, Lee Juck/Panic’s “Waiting.”)
“기다리다” (Waiting) [ Download ]
Deciding to go with it, Sam-dong and Hye-mi perform it anyway, and the attendees enjoy their pretty rendition… until the one dude who understands Korean translates the somewhat inappropriate lyrics to the mobster groom, who is NOT pleased to hear that it’s actually about separated lovers who vow to be together… in their next lifetimes.
The groom cuts in angrily, accusing them of ruining his wedding. Our trio can’t understand his words, but they sure as heck can read the hostile energy in the room, and Sam-dong urges Hye-mi to run. Oh-hyuk buys them a few seconds by blocking the pursuers, and the kids flee through the neighboring streets.
They manage to hide, at which point Hye-mi scolds Sam-dong for almost getting caught when he turned around at one point. He holds out his hand to show her what he had to turn back for — the sparkly cell phone accessory she’d given him (a matching pair with Baek-hee), which I’m sure is gonna break my heart at a future point.
Meanwhile, the rest of the Kirin students check in to their hotel with Kyung-jin, where already we can see the lines being drawn between the debut hotshots, who sit off to the side and enjoy more comfortable accommodations, and the normies, who get stuck four to a room.
Oh-hyuk staggers in, hoping his students have made it here, and admits that he lost them. Mention of the Misfit Mafia grabs the attention of the Hotshots, and Jin-gook immediately volunteers to go find them, followed by Jason.
Sam-dong asks for directions to the hotel in his broken Japanese, while Hye-mi is distracted by the sight of a fancy enclosed Ferris wheel. Mere seconds after they head off, Jin-gook and Jason come by and ask (in Jason’s fluent Japanese) the same passersby for info on the kids, but since they’re looking for one guy and two girls, they get back a negative. This drama’s doing its best to push the Jin-gook-and-Hye-mi-as-soulmates storyline, and so, Jin-gook also finds himself transfixed by the Ferris wheel.
Hye-mi sighs that they shouldn’t have come on the school trip, but Sam-dong reminds her that she wanted to come, and that he knows why. But when she challenges him to give her reason, they dance around the truth, and Sam-dong chooses not to mention Jin-gook..
Right now their most pressing concern is hunger, and upon spying some street performers, Sam-dong suggests earning some money.
What ensues is an upbeat performance, albeit one that annoys me because they’re clearly singing without instruments or background music, and yet they somehow magically have an instrumental track accompanying them. (I know they do this in musicals, but not when the characters are supposed to be performing in the drama itself — is it too much to ask for an awesome a cappella performance instead?)
Gradually they attract a large crowd, even stealing the other group’s audience, and engage their audience to join in and cheer.
The song they pick is Lee Moon-sae’s “붉은노을” (Red Sunset) . [ Download ]
As they wind down, a group of b-boys (part of the rival group) crashes their party and starts dancing, which catches them by surprise… capped off with the appearance of Jin-gook, Jason, and In-sung, who challenge the other dancers to an impromptu dance-off. Did I just type that sentence? Dream High, I love you.
Not far behind them are the rest of the Kirin students, who join in on the dancefest, including Baek-hee.
The Kirin kids “win” when a b-boy stumbles, and with emotions running high, everyone exults together. Even Baek-hee offers up a silent high-five to Hye-mi, who accepts.
Okay, we then get a series of adorably cute sequences that send my giddy little heart into overdrive. ONE would have been fine, but a whole slew, back to back? Aghhhhh, sugar overload (and I mean that in a good way):
Sam-dong crashes with Jason and Jin-gook, and I love how casually Jason asks him about Pil-sook, and then freaks out when he hears she was hospitalized for hepatitis, asking if it was A, B, or C. It’s A (the least dangerous), but Sam-dong didn’t pay attention to that little detail, and Jason bursts out that it’s really important which it was.
Hye-mi crashes with Ria and Baek-hee, and her stomach growls loudly but her embarrassed pride won’t let her accept the snacks that Ria offers. At first Baek-hee seems to be purposely mean, telling Ria to forget the offer, but later that night she casually nudges a wrapped pastry off her nightstand, then pretends to be asleep while Hye-mi takes the offering. Aw. She out of anyone knows how to work around Hye-mi’s brick wall of pride, and it’s sweet that she makes the overture.
Hye-mi eats outside on the balcony, where Jin-gook spots her and asks to talk. Still upset with him, she mutters (with a full mouth) that they have nothing to say to each other.
In the morning, Kyung-jin spots Oh-hyuk sleeping on the common area couch, since a room hadn’t been available. As she nudges him awake, he mumbles sleepily, “Teacher Shi… I have to talk to you…” and the realization that he’s somehow dreaming of her makes her aflutter with nerves. It’s hilarious to see the icy, hardass teacher reduced to schoolgirlish insecurity so suddenly — and by Oh-hyuk, at that. Well, stranger pairings have happened… (and if I have any hope for a certain leading couple, it’s that Dream High seems to be fairly consistent about the opposites-attract pairing over the two-of-a-kind type).
Another case in point: Jason hits the web to research all the various possible symptoms of the kinds of hepatitis, and grimaces when he finds one entry that lists hepatitis as a leading cause of death. LOL. I mean, death by hepatitis is no laughing matter, but Jason’s earnest concern? CUTE. Then he swipes Sam-dong’s pillow out of pique, accusing him of being a bad friend for sleeping through this crisis. HAHA.
In the hospital, Pil-sook (who has given in to her mother’s temptation of smuggled pork, despite the diet) takes a call from Hye-mi, who’s relieved to hear that Pil-sook’s all better now and will be discharged tomorrow. Jason spots her as she hangs up, and hesitantly asks about Pil-sook’s condition. Hye-mi asks, “Is this interest or manners?” and he readily replies, “Manners,” then asks for clarification of which type of hepatitis it is.
Hye-mi clocks his uncharacteristic intensity and starts to reply, “Of course it’s A…” but seeing how he reacts, she adds, “…is what they thought. But it turns out it’s B.” Jason freaks out, and Hye-mi adds with a secret smile that Pil-sook’s going to be hospitalized for a while.
Hye-mi points out that he sure is concerned for this to be mere manners, to which he retorts by accusing her of not caring at all, then storms off in a huff. Hye-mi scoffs to herself, not believing for a second that he’s so worked up over manners.
Later, the Kirin kids head over to the set to watch as the K members shoot a music video. Oh-hyuk reads over the synopsis for the MV and laughs at the absurdity, since the plot features Jason injured and bloody, reaching out for Baek-hee, who sees a figure in the distance and throws herself in front of him to take the bullet instead.
As Baek-hee collapses, Ria cries, then turns the gun on herself. Jason’s tear hits Baek-hee’s cheek… and revives her. Oh-hyuk chuckles, calling the “Midas touch” director a “minus” instead (ha).
While watching the proceedings, Sam-dong listens to the song playing in the background (it’s K’s single), and tells Hye-mi that while it’s a well-designed track, it doesn’t quite feel seasoned enough. It just needs a little “salt” to make it great, and Hye-mi agrees, thinking the repetitive tune may be the culprit.
Pil-sook freaks out about a 2 kilogram weight gain, which is why she misses Jason’s phone call. Worried to death, he’s at his breaking point and declares that he’s heading back to Korea asap, now that the shoot is over. Aww. What nice manners they teach in America.
Sam-dong recognizes one of the crew members at the shoot as one of the street-performing guys from the day before. The difference is, while yesterday he seemed like a petulant prat, today he’s much more polite and hard-working. He greets everyone respectfully, then heads out to distribute flyers for his crew’s first concert, though most of them get tossed immediately in the trash. Sam-dong muses to Oh-hyuk that today the guy looks pretty cool, whereas yesterday he hadn’t, and wonders why. Oh-hyuk smiles, and merely offers that those kids remind him of Sam-dong & Co.
It’s their last night in Japan, and Kyung-jin warns her students to keep it a low-key affair. The kids send each other winks and loudly proclaim their intentions of sleeping early, while Oh-hyuk invites Kyung-jin out later that night. She thinks he’s suggesting a date — while he remains oblivious — and accepts.
Oh-hyuk leads his kids out for the night, running into the K members on their way out. They’re heading back to Korea tonight and can’t come along — or at least that’s the excuse until Jin-gook tags along, and everyone follows his lead.
The Japanese dance crew is, appropriately enough, named Dreamer, and the hall is sparsely attended, with the audience sitting docilely on the ground. The lead singer stiffens to recognize Sam-dong, wondering if there’s going to be trouble. Instead, Sam-dong smiles and leads the Kirin kids in livening up the atmosphere.
Kyung-jin gets ready for her “date” (primping hurriedly while grumbling like she soooo doesn’t care) and makes her way to meet him, getting to the concert when it’s in full swing. Dreamer’s lead singer takes a moment to signal their Korean guests and introduces “yesterday’s enemies and today’s friends,” inviting Sam-dong and Hye-mi up to sing.
Sam-dong gives the violinist a note, then the music begins — what he’s done is (supposedly) create a riff on K’s song (the tune that needed a little dash of something extra), transforming it from empty techno beat to a catchy melody. The teachers are awed at his impromptu accomplishment, while the Hotshots recognize that this is their song and join the others onstage.
Dream High OST – “Dream High” — this isn’t a rip, but the OST track posted in a previous recap. [ Download ]
Hye-mi takes the mic to (I presume) freestyle some lyrics, and here’s where we just set aside that whole suspension-of-disbelief issue and enjoy the effect, sort of like those old Hollywood movies where people “spontaneously” start dancing and end up in magically coordinated dance numbers. We’re just goin’ with it.
Jin-gook joins in with a rap, Dreamer dances with them, and it’s a big, warm, fuzzy ball of awesome.
Landing in Korea, Jason cabs it to the hospital and races inside to find Pil-sook. Directed outdoors, he finds her jumping rope (with her Jason doll).
She’s shocked to see him, and asks (with a teeny bit of censure in her voice) if he’s skipped out again, since he’s supposed to be shooting an MV. Upon hearing that it was hepatitis A (and cursing Hye-mi), Jason had turned to go, but at that he starts to exclaim, “Do you know what you put me through?”
He cuts himself short and says scornfully, “You really annoy me,” though it’s pretty clear it’s himself he’s upset with (though he hasn’t realized that yet). Just as he turns, Pil-sook hits the ground behind him, unconscious. He rushes to her side in worry, then carries her inside.
After the concert, the Kirin kids join the Dreamer crew for an afterparty, and Ria notes that Baek-hee and Hye-mi seem to be on better terms now. Baek-hee admits that she’s starting to think it’d be nice to get along again, but it’s a short-lived feeling; as soon as she steps out, she overhears the agency president (who’d followed the kids to the concert) talking with his assistant about how great Hye-mi is. In fact, he’s thinking of swapping her in for Baek-hee, and making her the face of the group. Ah, truce is so fragile.
The Dreamer singer gives Sam-dong two tickets to the Ferris wheel as a gift, explaining that he works part-time there. Excitedly, Sam-dong arranges to meet Hye-mi out in front, wanting to take her — but once again he’s one step too slow, because Jin-gook gets to her first, and wrist-grabs her off while Sam-dong (sob) waits patiently.
Hye-mi’s annoyed at his autocratic manner, her mood further tested when a couple of Korean girls recognize Jin-gook and snap a photo of them. Hye-mi’s about to swipe the camera away from them angrily, but Jin-gook intervenes and asks pleadingly for them to help him — he’s wanted to talk to his friend for ages, but has been unable to. “She’s so important to me that I don’t want to lose her like this. So please, help me so she doesn’t run away.”
The girls back down grudgingly and leave them in peace, but Hye-mi glares, saying that this is why she didn’t want to be seen with him and dragged into scandals. She’s more angry that Jin-gook was the one who broke the promise to debut onstage together, and he finally confesses that debuting was the only way he could stay in Korea, since his father was about to have him shipped off to America (has the script so soon forgotten that it was Canada?). If he hadn’t done anything, he would’ve just been swept away cleanly, part of his father’s messy past.
Hye-mi’s anger fades at his explanation, and Jin-gook asks her not to fight with him anymore — time’s too valuable for that. By way of response, Hye-mi takes her scarf and wraps it around his face to cover it up, suggesting that he wouldn’t be recognized with her this way.
Argh, I really, really wish this touching exchange were performed by better actors. I want to feel for them, really… but I’m fixated on how technical Jin-gook’s declaration feels. More on this later.
Kyung-jin is waiting for Oh-hyuk to make his move, so when he starts talking about how he thought she used to hate him, she listens expectantly. He, unaware of her line of thinking, asks her to take good care of the Misfits, who’ll be joining her class, and goes on to highlight their good points:
Hye-mi, for instance, seems difficult and irritable, but she’s actually quite soft-hearted and will follow eagerly if led gently. Sam-dong seems simple and foolish sometimes, but his innocence lights him up, and he’s a talented songwriter. Pil-sook’s just the opposite of Hye-mi — she looks weak, but she’s strong, though she doesn’t know it yet.
Kyung-jin comments that his statements are excessive, like someone about to leave for good, and rather than explain that that’s exactly what’s going to happen, he goes with it. Kyung-jin accepts his answer, but there’s something about his behavior that bothers her…
Pil-sook wakes up at the hospital with Jason at her bedside, having overexercised herself into exhaustion. He’s in a tense mood, and she asks if his behavior this time was also mere manners, expecting as much. He tells her no, but fumbles to explain that he only wanted to hear her sing, stammering a bit about how he likes — only — her singing.
Well, that’s not much of a compliment and Pil-sook nods glumly, while Jason grimaces — SO not what he meant. But instead of correcting himself, he digs himself deeper, telling her not to mistake things — he only came because he had nothing else to do, and he’d made sure to come after his activities were over.
With that, he heads out, though he immediately stops in the hall, upset with himself. And then, he hears the strains of a guitar playing from her room. Pil-sook starts to sing “Waiting,” and this time, the lyrics are appropriate:
Pil-sook version [ Download ]
Waiting for you, I thought to myself
You’ve left, and you’re hurting so much
You’re crying on the road to returning to me
Watching you, the thought came to me
If the sky brightens one day
Just like I’d left you, you’ll come quietly to me
You, in front of me
Will you be able to see me again?
I’m not in your eyes
Familiar gestures and small smiles
linger dimly, and make me cry, but
You’ll return to me
If your heart calls out to me again
Don’t hesitate and come back to me, in front of me
and I’ll hold you like before
Sam-dong, still waiting for Hye-mi, hears that she left earlier with Jin-gook, and glumly trudges to the Ferris wheel. He arrives at the adjacent restaurant where the Dreamer leader works, explaining that he was stood up.
Sitting inside a car together, Hye-mi comments that Jin-gook had mentioned wanting to ride these cars before. Jin-gook explains that as a child, he’d had family for one day — his father had come on Children’s Day, and he’d gone to the amusement park. Because there were so many people there, the only thing he could ride was the cable car, and it had been surprisingly pleasant, content to spin round in it all day.
Tearing up, he confesses, “When Father abandoned me, when he used me, I could’ve just hated him. But because of that one day, I can’t throw my father away. Without that day, it would have been easy.”
Hye-mi’s moved at his pain, and cries silently as she listens. Jin-gook notes that she’d cried for him once before: “It was the first time someone had cried because of me.”
He kneels in front of her to wipe her tears and asks why she’s crying, knowing it’s because of him but wanting to hear her words. She answers that she doesn’t know, and he kisses her.
Which is, of course, the exact moment that Sam-dong looks out the window.
And, adding insult to injury (or perhaps its injury to insult), his hearing fritzes out again, and he falls to the ground in pain. While clutching Hye-mi’s heart-shaped trinket.
Noooo, you can’t make Sam-dong deaf, d’you hear me, drama? That would be too cruel — you can’t make him lose the girl and his hearing! This is one case where I’d be perfectly happy to accept some medical deus ex machina of ridiculousness with a newfangled surgical procedure that magically restores deaf ears. Just sayin’.
My favorite episode before this one (which is still my favorite, I think) is Episode 5, which was mostly because of that street performance by the then-quartet of misfits. Despite the cheesiness of buying that these kids are just coming up with everything on the fly, I do like the impromptu performances more than the staged ones, because it’s about a more organic expression of music (at least organic in a narrative sense, since they’re actually polished and slick with dubbed-over vocals). And those moments are where music the theme collides with music the plot, and jives in this really nice, layered way. It’s like in stage musicals, where the numbers come out of the emotions of the moment more than a plot point of performance.
And I do love that each episode takes one (or more) old pop hits and revives them in a fresh way — practically after every episode, there are news articles quoting the original singers/songwriters thanking the show for such a respectful expression of interest in their work.
As for the acting… well… mostly I’m willing to overlook the flaws, because I’m so won over by the story. And I swear I’m not (very) motivated by my love of Sam-dong when I say that the Jin-gook and Hye-mi pairing just doesn’t work for me that well because of the lack of chemistry — in a romantic sense, but also an acting sense. It’s too bad, because I’m eating up their pairing in a narrative sense. I just wish I could feel for them, too.
I have no illusions that Taecyeon would bother to read this, but apparently he’s asked for acting critique, so here’s what I’d have to say:
He’s not explicitly bad. He cries at the right moments, he delivers dialogue adequately (though he can’t quite muster heartfelt yet). What I have a problem with when watching his scenes is that he feels very much like he’s performing to the camera. Which you’d think should be fine, only it’s like he’s only aware of what’s in front of him, and neglects to act with his whole being, and only acts with his mouth. Or with his face. Or with his eyes. You know how you look at yourself in the mirror and you think you look great? And then you go out and catch a glimpse of yourself walking past a window, unawares, and are horrified? You realize you’ve only dressed yourself for the mirror — the frontal, angled, prettily posed view — and forgotten that you’re in 3-D, and everyone else can see the rest of you.
That’s what he’s like for me (and to be fair, he’s not the only one). He’s acutely aware of his angles, and what exact pose looks the coolest, or emphasizes his beautiful bone structure the best, or highlights his intense scowl to the best effect… but he’s trying to look cool, and therefore he’s not in the moment. Whereas you look at someone like Sam-dong/Kim Soo-hyun, and he’s just IN the moment at all times — if you look at him from any angle, he’s there. He’s present, alive, and eminently relatable.
Anyway. My two cents.
- Cuteness abounds on the set of Dream High
- Will Pil-sook’s doll be the next Pig-Rabbit?
- Dream High: Episode 8
- Dream High gets a special, no extension
- Dream High: Episode 7
- Dream High: Episode 6
- Dream High: Episode 5
- Dream High: Episode 4
- Dream High: Episode 3
- Dream High: Episode 2
- Dream High: Episode 1