Get ready to have your hearts broken, people. See, this is what happens when you follow a girl to the big city. She stomps on your heart and you end up slinging drinks at a nightclub as you drink your sorrows away…wait, aren’t you a minor? So, the bar is just shorthand for Angst, and he’s drinking juice boxes, right? Or has the show finally gone ahead and made him legal, to keep the world’s noonas from going to hell? You know what they say…the road to hell is paved with pretty boys.
SONG OF THE DAY
Park Jin-young – “너의 뒤에서” [ Download ]
EPISODE 11 RECAP
We see Sam-dong relive the tragic kiss between his girl and his bestie. Gah, high school is so cruel sometimes. He goes to see the doctor (thank goodness) but it’s what we suspected all along…he’s losing his hearing. Noooo! The doctor gives him something to relieve the pain, but it’s a condition that can’t be cured. Double Nooooes!
He gets a haircut, because nothing says “I’m over you so you can’t have this anymore” than a Hottie Haircut. He even adds an I Can Be a Badboy Earring for good measure. Not that he’s actually over her, mind you. It’s just symbolic of his emotional trauma. And his budding hotness. Erm…I didn’t just say that.
As he walks through the streets, he thinks aloud to his mother in voiceover:
Sam-dong: Mother, you lied to me. You said that the heavens would only give me hardship I can handle. But that must not be true for me. The hardship I’m facing is unbearably heavy, and cruel. Mother, I’ve barely started, but I think I have to say farewell to my dreams. What am I supposed to do now?
Just grind up my heart and serve it to the dogs, why don’t you. There he cries, kneeling in the street, sobbing as his dreams come crashing down to earth.
At school, Oh-hyuk offers up his resignation, as promised. He asks Principal Shi to keep his promise about protecting the kids in exchange, and he ushers him out happily, with a goodbye hug in the heat of the moment.
Kyung-jin happens to walk in right at that moment, and stares agape. Her father explains that Oh-hyuk is finally leaving for good, at which she chases him down for an explanation. He doesn’t tell her about her father’s conditions, but just reminds her that he’s leaving his kids in her care now, and walks away.
Hye-mi gets a call from Top Entertainment, and heads to the offices where she runs into Baek-hee in the lobby. She gets offered a contract to join group K, and has till the end of the month to decide. She can’t believe this is happening, pinching her cheeks and knocking her head against a wall to make sure it’s not a dream, and heads home to ask Oh-hyuk about the contract.
He says that it’s a good contract, and seeing her smile giddily, he asks if she really wants to debut that badly. Hye-mi says that it’s because she can clear their debts this way. Oh-hyuk tells her not to debut then, if that’s the reason. He tells her that the terms of the debt are so flexible that it doesn’t even feel like a debt, and that debuting doesn’t necessarily equal big paychecks. He tells her to consider it carefully.
Hye-mi asks if anyone’s seen Sam-dong, and her sister tells her that he went back home for winter break, and said not to call for a while. Hye-mi goes up to his room, wondering aloud that still…he should’ve called. She doesn’t notice that he’s left her cell phone charm behind.
Sam-dong isn’t back home, but wandering the streets of Seoul in a daze. He follows the sound of music to a club, where he watches the concert full of mixed emotions. He cries, moved by the music and utterly broken at the prospect of never hearing it again.
He follows the sound of the beat to the amp, placing his hand on it to feel the vibration and hear it properly. He closes his eyes, and when he opens them, the club is empty.
In-sung finds him sitting there, and tells him not to tell anyone that he’s working there part-time. He asks why he’s not going home, and Sam-dong replies blankly that there’s no sound there, but here, there’s sound, and it doesn’t feel like it’s running away from him. Aw, you’re killing me.
Oh-hyuk stays up late sending out his resume while everyone else sleeps. Meanwhile, Group K has a meeting, and the agency sends Jason and Ria on a photo shoot in London over the winter break.
Jason tells him that he’s going to skip out on this one, since he’s enrolled in the special songwriting class over break, and he’s got Japanese class too. Jin-gook marvels at this new side of Jason, since no one’s ever seen him try hard at…well, anything. He even throws on a pair of glasses to signify that he’s going to be Brainy Chipmunk from now on.
Baek-hee sees that Jason’s attitude to study harder gets him in good with the agency president, so she raises her hand that she’ll be doing the same, and Ria follows suit as well.
At school, Pil-sook puts up Jason’s daily lollipop, and then notices something on her locker. Oh! Omo, is Jason finally reciprocating with candy of his very own? She gapes at a Japanese test taped to her locker, with a giant A+ on it. Omg, that’s so cute. It’s even better than candy! It’s nerdtastic!
She realizes that Jason’s put it there to show her that he’s getting his ass in gear, and she grins from ear to ear. Jason walks past her, trying to play it cool, and picks up his lollipop like it’s no big deal. Pil-sook jumps up and down to congratulate him, walking straight into a pillar mid-thumbs-up. Heh.
Jin-man waits around for Kyung-jin, finally working up the courage to ask her…if she’s seen Oh-hyuk. Keh. Not what she was expecting. Doo-shik shows up behind them, just in time to hear the news that Oh-hyuk resigned to protect his students from the showcase fallout.
It turns out that they have yet another eavesdropper, as Hye-mi walks up, stunned. She marches straight into the staff meeting to ask Principal Shi what he did to make Oh-hyuk quit, because she’s delightfully tactless that way.
He tells her that Oh-hyuk has had the lowest scoring students the entire time he’s been teaching at Kirin, making him the lowest scoring teacher (though I don’t understand why there’s a one-to-one correlation there, but whatever). Hye-mi reminds them that her class scored well on every exam, and the other teachers start to nod their heads in agreement.
But Kyung-jin steps in to tell her that their good scores don’t erase the years of bad ones, and ups the ante. If they can all gets A’s in the songwriting class, then they’ll acknowledge Oh-hyuk’s skills and Principal Shi will reconsider him.
Hye-mi accepts the challenge, adding that if they all get As, that means Oh-hyuk gets reinstated. Principal Shi grabs Kyung-jin aside, wondering why she’s undoing all his effort to get rid of Oh-hyuk. She makes excuses about credibility, either lying to cover up her feelings, or in a great big vat of denial about them.
Baek-hee gets called in by her agency president, who’s ready to cut her loose because her star’s not rising like the other members of the group. Baek-hee pleads on her last leg, saying that she’ll become the kind of performer that he wants, and that she’ll work on songwriting.
She begs him to reconsider, once she comes back with her scores from her songwriting class. Obviously it’s a way to manufacture stakes for this songwriting class, which is fine for dramatic purposes, but really, does the one class have to have everyone’s fate on the line?
Speaking of which, Hye-mi fills Pil-sook in on their stakes—all A’s to get Oh-hyuk back his job. Pil-sook stares agape, and then realizes that their ace Sam-dong is MIA. Hye-mi says she’ll just have to get him back, and tells Pil-sook to work on faking Sam-dong’s accent, so that they can at least get him past roll call until they get him here.
Pil-sook hilariously practices her saturi accent, as Jason listens from the next table over. Hye-mi calls Sam-dong’s mom, only to figure out that he’s not home at all…he’s disappeared.
They go to class, where Teacher Maeng introduces their songwriting teacher. (A cameo by Joo Young-hoon, Lee Yoon-mi‘s real-life husband, hence the inside jokes at the poor soul who has to live with her and the flashing of his wedding ring.)
He starts with roll call, and Hye-mi and Pil-sook share a moment of panic, and when the teacher calls Sam-dong’s name, Pil-sook squeaks out a tiny “Here.” The teacher calls for Sam-dong again, but this time Jason jumps in to save them. Aw. Pil-sook looks over at him, stunned, and he flashes her a smile.
Jin-man calls Oh-hyuk for the billionth time, yelling into his phone for him to just pick up. Oh-hyuk is busy taking English classes and giving little adult education classes in music, as he struggles to find a new job.
Baek-hee gets shopped around by her agent for publicity gigs, to no avail, so she digs her heels into songwriting. She struggles with it for a while, until she spies some sheet music sitting in the studio, and in her moment of desperation, she considers poaching a song. Oh, Baek-hee. If I could spoon-feed you some self-esteem, I would.
Meanwhile, Hye-mi goes out in search of Sam-dong, combing through every possible place he might be. She finally gets a call from In-sung, who figures out that something’s seriously wrong with Sam-dong, who’s become dark and angry.
Hye-mi rushes to the club to try and take him home, but he shakes her off and tells her to go. After the concert, she tries again, trying to take his hand and lead him out. She tells him that they need him to save Oh-hyuk. He shakes her off again, as he says, “You’re asking me to come with you again. Do you know what I’m thinking these days? A thousand, ten thousand times a day, I regret following you to Seoul.”
He tosses her hand aside angrily, as he stands up. “Why did I get off that stage and take your hand that day? Why did I believe your unbelievable lies? Why did I hear your song?! Why did I follow you…and end up crazy about music?” Oof.
He tells her to get lost and walks out, leaving her crying.
She heads home to find Oh-hyuk asleep on the couch, and wakes him up out of spite. She asks with tears welling up in her eyes how he could leave them like that, and if he only knew how hard she was trying, he’d never throw them away. She storms off and Oh-hyuk sighs to himself that he could never throw them away.
Hye-mi learns and takes notes diligently, and then shows up at Sam-dong’s club day after day to drop off her notes. He ignores her repeatedly and pushes her aside, but she tells him that she’s never going to give up, on him or on Oh-hyuk. Nice to see the tables turning in this relationship, and to hear her say what he used to say to her.
The songwriter teacher gives them their assignment—he hands them lyrics, called “Dreaming,” and tells them to write a song. Pil-sook and Hye-mi ponder how they’re supposed to write something that, as the teacher suggested, calls upon true emotions.
Kyung-jin sneaks up on them to suggest watching a movie or talking to adults, to help them figure out emotions that they might not have encountered yet. They wonder if she’s possibly helping them, and she sneaks back to assure them that she’s on their side this time, and she’s rooting for them to get A’s. Oh, you.
Hye-mi asks Jin-man for some help, so he starts to tell her the beautiful story about how he met his girlfriend, which quickly devolves into a bitchfest over how he sold his livelihood to buy her a ring but she didn’t understand the sacrifice. When he finishes his story, he realizes that Hye-mi’s long gone. Ha. The story’s soundtrack is Park Jin-young’s “너의 뒤에서” (Behind You), posted above. Cracks me up, this show.
Pil-sook finds a movie ticket taped to her locker with the words “For Studying Songwriting” written on it. She (very trustingly) goes to the movie by herself (which happens to be Love Story), and Jason sits down next to her, insisting that this is for research purposes only. Too cute.
She immediately starts jotting down the music in her head, inspired by her not-a-date. At home, Hye-mi finds inspiration in Sam-dong’s drawings, as she thinks about when they first met, and all the times he’s been there to save her. She starts writing her song.
Baek-hee struggles with her song, and in a moment of weakness, steals the song she found the other day. Oh, dear.
Hye-mi writes her song and goes to the club to give the assignment to Sam-dong, but this time he hides and tells In-sung to lie that he’s moved on to some other club. Hye-mi searches every single club in the neighborhood looking for him that night.
She gets accosted by some drunk guys who happen not to care that she’s a high school student (ew) but Sam-dong finally appears to save her, and get some of his aggression out at the same time. He reminds her that he said to get the hell out of his life.
Hye-mi: And I told you, I’m not giving up on you. When I hit rock bottom, you and Kang Teacher were the ones who pulled me up. Now it’s my turn.
She gives him the songwriting assignment, and then hands him the K pendant. (Awwww, yeah!) She tells him that she doesn’t really believe that the pendant brings good luck, but she hopes it does, for him.
He finally turns to her, and caresses her hair. Sam-dong: “I told you to go. You’re the one who came. Later you’ll come to regret this day.” Well that’s not ominous or anything.
Triumphant music starts to build, as Sam-dong sits at the keyboard and opens up the notebook. He finally puts his hands on the keys, and as the music swells, he starts composing.
The next day, they show up for the final class and turn in their songs. At the last moment, Sam-dong walks in, making Hye-mi silently squeal in delight. After grading their songs, the teacher announces the only three A’s: Pil-sook, whose song he describes as heartfelt and full of love, as if she’s dating right now (aw), Hye-mi, and Baek-hee.
He points out that Baek-hee’s was particularly professional-grade. Uh, that’d be because it is. The teacher also gives an honorable mention to Sam-dong’s song, which he describes as mature beyond his years, and full of sadness. He says that though he didn’t get an A, his song will be performed at the showcase with the other three.
Jin-gook seeks out Oh-hyuk at his ajumma trot class (wearing a sequined jacket, no less) and asks how he could turn his back on them. Oh-hyuk assures him that he’s never going to leave them, adding, “How could I, when I made that grandiose speech in front of everyone?” He assures him that he’ll find a way back.
To that end, the teachers present Principal Shi with the three finalists for Oh-hyuk’s replacement, chosen exactly as he requested, based on objective criteria alone. He’s shocked to find Oh-hyuk’s resume picture staring back at him. Oh-hyuk heads back to Kirin for his entrance interview.
Kyung-jin finds Baek-hee to ask her about the song. She notes that she’s been Baek-hee’s teacher for over a year, and she knows exactly the extent of Baek-hee’s skills, as well as the lengths she’ll go to win.
When she accuses her of plagiarizing the song, Baek-hee doesn’t even deny it. She asks defiantly, “So what if it is? You’re the one who taught me how.” Kyung-jin can’t abide this kind of cheating and reels at Baek-hee’s attitude, but Baek-hee reminds her that she’s the one who taught her to win at any cost, and looked the other way when she lied or sabotaged her competition.
She says that those were her first steps down this path, and now she’s taken ten steps without a second thought. Shaking with tears, she tells her teacher that she’s worked this hard to get where she is, but she’s about to be replaced by Hye-mi in group K, but she’ll die before she gives it up.
Around the corner, Hye-mi overhears the conversation, and gasps.
Not as song- or dance-filled as yesterday’s episode, but this one was awesomely Sam-dong-centric, and full of delicious angst. I don’t want Sam-dong to go deaf, but I have to admit, it’s a pretty great arc for his character and Kim Soo-hyun has the emotional vulnerability and gravitas to pull it off. It’s poetic and tragic, and adds such great story weight to the dream-the-impossible-dream motif.
It’s also not hopelessly tragic, as this marks the major turning point in Sam-dong’s character, who needed to do a little maturing. He faces the truth for the first time, and though it’s a dark turn, it’s a necessary kick in the pants, for him to grow up.
What’s nice is seeing Hye-mi come to his rescue for the first time, and chase him the way he used to chase her. While I miss the puppy dog cuteness, I do enjoy the reversal. Let’s have Hye-mi miss him a little more, and come to her senses about his newfound broody hotness.
I have the sneaking suspicion that Park Jin-young is somehow running away with each show on purpose, but I can’t be annoyed because he’s just hilarious. I have this vision of Dream High turning into Saved By the Bell: The New Class, where he’s Mr. Belding. Or is that just his real life, as JYP?
Can I also tell you, my new favorite thing is Pil-sook and Hye-mi as BFFs? Adorable.
- Dream High: Episode 10
- Cuteness abounds on the set of Dream High
- Will Pil-sook’s doll be the next Pig-Rabbit?
- Dream High: Episode 9
- 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