Aw, what a tearjerker of an episode, but in the best possible way — not because it’s been overstuffed with tragedy, but because there’s so much touching, heart-stirring goodness baked into the crust.
Also: We were right! I was pretty sure about Baek-hee’s situation at the end of last week, but not convinced the drama would go there. Well, Dream High did, in fact, go there. Bravo, I’m actually impressed that the show dared get into the issue of industry bigwigs sexually preying on their young protégés, and pointing out the cultural victim-blaming problem that afflicts those brave enough to blow the whistle on the bad guys.
SONG OF THE DAY
Napoleon Dynamite – “멀어져 가네” (Growing apart) [ Download ]
EPISODE 14 RECAP
We back up to discover how the Baek-hee/Jin-gook/President issue blew up, starting with Baek-hee visiting the president’s office to ask for another chance.
As suspected, Jin-gook had arrived soon thereafter, intent on confronting the president about using his father for publicity. He’d seen something to infuriate him (we don’t see it) and dragged the president out into the hall, beating him up.
And now, he’s being denounced as a thug by the public. The teachers sympathize with his plight, but can’t do much to help him.
Jin-gook walks out with the K pendant Sam-dong gave him, and sees Hye-mi talking to Baek-hee on the roof. Baek-hee knows she should speak up, but she’s too scared to do it, because that’ll mean doom for her. As Hye-mi holds Baek-hee, she looks up to see Jin-gook looking at her across the way, and her words are as much for him as they are for Baek-hee: That she shouldn’t say anything, “Because that’s what Jin-gook will want. He’ll understand. It’ll be okay.”
Jin-gook watches her with tears in his eyes and gives her a nod.
We get our new challenge o’ the day: An open audition is being held by the label EMG for new talent. (One of my favorite things about this scene is how Ah-jung insults In-sung’s hopes of winning, and he responds by curling his fingers into a claw, as you can see just almost out of frame. Hee.)
The conditions are many: Entrants must submit (1) a 3-minute music video highlighting one’s talents, (2) of a song they’ve composed, (3) with English subtitles, (3) ideally in three languages, (4) who have won at least 10 music-related competitions. So basically, the label wants you to do all the work. Well, can’t say that’s not true to life, eh?
That effectively disqualifies everyone, and they sigh that they can’t participate with those stringent requirements.
Police have seen a glimpse of Baek-hee in the surveillance footage of Jin-gook’s attack, and Kyung-jin and Oh-hyuk find her to ask for an explanation. She nearly collapses from the shock, and confides the truth (which again, we are not privy to).
But the matter isn’t as clear-cut as marching down to the police station and clearing Jin-gook’s name immediately, as Oh-hyuk wants. Kyung-jin warns him that there’s no proof that he was acting in self-defense. Oh-hyuk says it’s simple — Baek-hee can testify — but Kyung-jin calls him cruel to think nothing of Baek-hee’s circumstances: She’ll have to admit to the world that she was sexually assaulted.
Frustrated, Oh-hyuk asks if they can sacrifice one person’s dream to preserve another’s. Kyung-jin, more sensitive to the plight of the female entertainer, says that Jin-gook can recover from this, but Baek-hee can’t. And as sad as that is, it’s probably true, with Korea’s ass-backwards tendency to blame the victim, particularly when the victim is female.
Kyung-jin reminds Oh-hyuk that they’ve seen this happen before, and asks if he recalls the public and the media ever taking the side of the victim: “They’ll tear Baek-hee to pieces.” She vows to never let that happen to her, which Baek-hee overhears.
At dinner, Jin-gook is back in fine eating form and is even looking cheery (as he tries to steal from Sam-dong’s bowl, which Sam-dong is quick to deflect). His good mood is odd since he admits he’s going to apologize to President Yoon tomorrow, along with his father: “Since I made acted wrongly, I should apologize.”
Oh-hyuk comes home in heavy spirits, feeling bad for Jin-gook and patting his shoulder affectionately, feeling torn about his sacrifice but not wanting to make a big deal of it.
It’s not just him; everyone’s feeling pretty bad for Jin-gook, but nobody knows exactly how to show their support. Sam-dong does it by passing along the forms for the EMG competition, and is surprised when Jin-gook says he already got the forms.
Sam-dong mutters in disgruntlement, “I didn’t even have to worry,” which makes Jin-gook smile. He prods, “Were you worried about me?” Sam-dong sputters and protests. Oh, just admit your lurrrve, already!
Hye-mi apologizes to Jin-gook: “I know I should be on your side instead of Baek-hee’s, but I can’t do that.” She feels even worse than Jin-gook, who smiles at her understandingly, fine with her choice.
Sam-dong tries to cheer her up with a lame pun, which doesn’t work, so he pinches her cheeks and tells her to force a smile anyway:
Sam-dong: “Do you know what it means to become an adult? It means there’s less and less to smile about. So we’ll have to smile even more, even if we have to force it. Like Jin-gook.”
She comments that the old Sam-dong has returned. He replies with a noncommittal, “The old Sam-dong? Hmm.”
Jin-gook’s father waits outside to take them to the president’s office, and Oh-hyuk takes a moment to tell him that there’s probably a good reason that Jin-gook isn’t offering up an explanation for his attack. He doesn’t betray the reason, merely says that he knows Jin-gook, and that he is likely acting to protect something.
Father and son are mobbed by reporters on their way to the president’s hospital room, where Dad bows his head and apologizes for Jin-gook’s rash behavior. Jin-gook offers his apology as well, kneeling on the ground to pick up some fallen fruit as he does so. The slimy president slaps Jin-gook on the head a few times, deriding his ungratefulness to the president who made him a star, and the generous father who adopted him as his son.
The president’s blows get a bit aggressive, but when reporters burst into the room to record every gory detail, Jin-gook can do nothing but apologize again, and the president’s slaps turn into gentle pats for the cameras’ benefit.
However, Dad catches the sly change, and his hackles are raised to see his son disrespected. He intercepts the president’s hand, and declares that Jin-gook is not adopted, that he’s his blood child. Omo!
The cameras flash away but Dad ignores them and Jin-gook’s request to not continue, declaring that he’d lied because he was embarrassed of his past. He says that Jin-gook has such a foolishly pure heart that he doesn’t believe for a second that such a kid would hit the president out of the blue. Even though he doesn’t know what that reason is, he’s certain there is one.
He takes Jin-gook’s hand and leads him away. Both Jin-gook and Dad’s secretary urge him to go back and fix this, but Dad is resolute. He won’t ask Jin-gook for the reason, but he guesses that the president was behaving badly, and Jin-gook confirms it. Dad is satisfied with that explanation and takes Jin-gook’s hand.
The resulting scandal about Jin-gook being his love child effectively puts to bed Dad’s political aspirations. But the fact that Dad would give up his upcoming election bid to stand by his son stirs some speculation among the Kirin students that perhaps Jin-gook’s the wronged party in his own scandal.
Baek-hee broods, thinking of how Jin-gook once promised to have faith in her, how Hye-mi comforted her, and Kyung-jin promised to protect her. So when Hye-mi texts Baek-hee to ask if she’s doing okay, she gets back the response that Baek-hee’s on her way to the police station to confess the whole story.
Hye-mi runs after her, but Baek-hee slips away in a taxi. Hye-mi calls to tell her to stop, but Baek-hee no longer wants to live by cheating, admitting that she’d wronged her, too, by dropping the flower pot.
Baek-hee: “I think it started then. Like you said, I felt like I was living in hell. I was always scared, cold, and lonely. I’m sorry, Hye-mi. But there were a lot of people who cared about me, so I’m okay now. I’m not lonely, or scared. No, I’m a little scared now. Hye-mi, can you sing me a song? I really want to hear you sing.”
She asks for their audition song, “Goose’s Dream,” and amidst her tears, Hye-mi sings:
I have a dream
Even if it is shredded or torn,
In my heart,
I’ve cherished it like a treasure
Even if I’m mocked behind my back,
I could stand it,
waiting for that day
You always say worriedly,
Foolish dreams are poisonous
Just like the world is a book with a fixed ending,
it’s a reality that can’t be turned back
Yes, I have a dream
I believe in that dream,
Watch and see
In front of that cold brick wall called fate
I can stand confidently
One day, I’ll climb over that wall
I’ll be able to fly as high as the sky
Even this heavy world can’t tie me down
At the end of my life,
on that day that makes me smile
Be with me
*Sniff* All right, let’s see a show of hands — who (else) is crying?
Bolstered by Hye-mi’s support, Baek-hee makes her statement to the police, which blows up into a huge story. The barely pixelated photos of her circulate in the media, which report that one of Group K’s members, known as Ms. K, was sexually assaulted by the president.
To her credit, even (formerly) cold-hearted Mom confronts President Yoon and throws the abalone box (sadly empty) at him, screaming at him for his crime.
At school, Jin-gook confronts her, upset that she ignored his instructions to keep quiet. She says she’s sorry, but assures him she’s holding up okay.
She tells him she likes him a lot, but that he’d only had eyes for Hye-mi, which had hurt her and made her wonder, Why Hye-mi? But now she understands: “Normally when people give people something, they hold back their share. Even when protecting someone, they do it after protecting themselves first. But you’re different — you threw yourself away to protect me. That’s enough for me. Hoping for more will only bring me punishment.”
She thrusts out a handshake and thanks him for sticking to his promise through the end, and he shakes.
This means that all the Group K contracts are terminated with Top Agency, and a new agency has selected four members for a new group, which excludes Baek-hee and Jin-gook. The other agencies are gun-shy of crossing President Yoon, which makes it difficult for them to be picked up by anyone else.
Principal Shi tells Kyung-jin to talk to the two students: Since it’ll be nearly impossible to build their careers, it’ll be best they find a new career path. He calls it their duty as teachers, but Kyung-jin angrily balks — they can’t tell them to quit now, when they’ve just started. Teachers should help them stand again, considering that they’d fallen at the hands of a wicked adult: “That is our duty.”
Principal Shi almost loses his temper, but Oh-hyuk supports her, and the other teachers do as well.
Jin-gook’s father asks to meet in a place away from prying eyes, and so, Jin-gook finally gets another trip with his dad in a Ferris wheel. Dad’s here now that he knows what the fight with President Yoon was about. He tells Jin-gook he’d decided correctly, because if he’d told him the truth, he would have acted rashly, sacrificing Baek-hee to save him.
He wonders if Jin-gook’s reputation will recover sufficiently in four years — he’s planning to rekindle his political hopes and run for mayor then. Jin-gook promises to be careful.
Oh-hyuk works on persuading Doo-shik to take on Sam-dong, Jin-gook, and Baek-hee under his White Entertainment aegis. Doo-shik is reluctant, knowing that each student comes with problems, and says that he established his company to realize his precious dream. He’s not about to throw it away carelessly. Oh-hyuk turns his own words around on him, arguing that these kids have precious dreams, too — dreams that will die unfulfilled if not cultivated. But working together, they have the capacity to turn their dreams — including Doo-shik’s — into reality. Oh-hyuk does have a way with words when dealing with him, and Doo-shik is almost persuaded…but slaps himself out of it.
Baek-hee practices her dance moves alone at night, having skipped her classes, and Kyung-jin finds her in the studio to ask about it. Baek-hee says she finds it embarrassing to face the other kids. Rather than scolding her, Kyung-jin blinks back tears and decides that they can conduct their lessons here, instead — every night at 9pm, just the two of them.
Baek-hee hugs her teacher and thanks her earnestly. Kyung-jin assures her that things will be okay, and holds her while Baek-hee gives in to her tears.
At lunch the next day, Baek-hee holds her head up high as she sits alone, where Hye-mi finds her to suggest they enter the EMG contest together. Baek-hee protests that she doesn’t meet the qualifications, but Hye-mi says airily that she doesn’t, either: “And if I don’t, then the whole country doesn’t.” Hee. Love her confidence.
She concludes that the impossibility of meeting the criteria means she can just ignore them altogether (ha) — which is exactly what Pil-sook and Jason have decided. As have Jin-gook and Sam-dong, who join them a moment later. (Adorably, Pil-sook and Jason have also set aside an application for Jin-gook, as Sam-dong did.)
Aww, yeah! The group is complete: Wonder K powers, activate!
They all agree to help each other make their music videos (well, Jason balks, until Pil-sook readily agrees, and then he joins in on the fun).
Afterward, Hye-mi corners Pil-sook to ask about her Jason situation, and Pil-sook reveals the note he’s slipped into her locker: “Miss Sushi, I love you.” OMG.
Hye-mi asks how Pil-sook knew she liked Jason, which is hilarious but perhaps understandable, as the Hye-mi Bot conversion into full human is yet incomplete. Pil-sook answers that he’s always the first person she thinks of, and wants him with her always. Hye-mi walks away shuddering at the cheesiness.
Speaking of humanization: Doo-shik comes to the school and finds Kyung-jin, just as she’s (adorably!) primping (and not wearing all-black for once), adding a flower pin to her hair. She’s so cute as the fumbling flirt since she’s so bad at it, as well as being embarrassed to be caught in the middle of it.
Doo-shik wants her recommendation for students to sign, because she has a reputation for cool-headed, objective judgments. Yet his face falls as she declares the three students worthy of recommendation: Baek-hee, Sam-dong, Jin-gook. (Suspiciously, he asks if she’s planned this with Oh-hyuk. Heh.)
Jin-man bursts in, and Doo-shik asks for his opinion as well, only to get the same response. Aggravated, Doo-shik asks for any other recs, and Jin-min supposes there IS one more…but no, he can’t say it. Doo-shik presses him eagerly, and the playing of Park Jin-young’s “Don’t Leave Me” in the background clues us in to the turn of Jin-man’s thoughts as he declares that this guy has the best dance skills EVAR: himself.
Hye-mi puzzles over how to show her star potential in her music video, and Oh-hyuk offers the suggestion that instead of trying to show their future, they should show their past. If they trace how far they’ve come in the past year, they’d be showing promise of future growth.
The kiddos ahh thoughtfully and think back — and is Hye-mi actually imagining herself as a ROBOT? I love this show.
Jin-gook and Sam-dong smile over how far they’ve come, but Hye-mi figures she was just the same a year ago. Jin-gook reminds her by mimicking her Robot Voice: “I. Have. A. Dream. I. Trust. That. Dream.” Sam-dong adds to that by reminding her of the time she sang while pooping (HAHAHA) and how she did her chicken dance at the sauna.
But when Hye-mi and Sam-dong get caught up in recounting all the hilarious scenes in their past, Jin-gook looks at them a little sadly, left out of the memories.
Hye-sung finds Jin-gook brooding and offers to listen to his problem. He asks who she’d like better: The one who’s with her for a long time, or the one who can’t be with her because he’s busy.
She wants examples, so he asks who she likes better: Sam-dong, who’s been around, or himself, who’s been busy. She thinks a bit, then motions him in closer…then kisses him on the cheek and dashes away. That’s my girl, thinking fast on her feet!
Jason and Pil-sook submit the group’s applications for the EMG contest, and totally make my heart squeeze by the way they look at each other and count together — one, two, three — just so they can bow and say “Thank you” in unison. OMG. Yes, they are THAT couple.
Pil-sook chooses the spot for their shoot — a museum of sorts — and while Jason isn’t thrilled about the backdrop, he agrees to her choice.
Sam-dong’s video — replete with full-size cardboard cut-outs of his old self — takes place in the basement studio. He offers up two “languages”: his “native” accent and his Seoul voice, which is hysterical because he affects this stilted Seoul accent that sounds ridiculously stuffy.
Jin-gook dances in the school studio, while Hye-mi’s video contrasts her old Robot Voice clip with the current Aegyo Hye-mi…which she flubs because she can’t stand the indignity of putting on the cute act. Awesome.
Baek-hee’s video acknowledges her tarnished image, saying that right now people see her as Ms. K, “But I’ll work hard to make the name K a star representing Korea.” Foreshadowing!
Oh-hyuk shows the clips to a stone-faced Doo-shik, saying that these six are the only ones bothering to enter the competition. Everyone else gave up, but they took up the challenge — and doesn’t that mean they’re the top six? Doo-shik is finally moved, and agrees to sign the contracts.
Kyung-jin, who’s been reading the Baek-hee news with a heavy heart, is therefore thrilled with Jin-ma’s good news that Baek-hee, Jin-gook, and Sam-dong are signing with White Entertainment (who’s showing interest in Jason, too).
Squealing in glee, she links her fingers through his in a celebratory gesture, but poor Jin-man has to deal with the disappointment when Kyung-jin pulls her hands away and tears out of the room looking for Oh-hyuk.
Finding him in the hall, she grabs grabs him in a surprise hug. The students cheer and clap at the spectacle, while Principal Shi has palpitations in his office, and Jin-man watches sadly.
Jin-man cheers up when Hye-mi comes by and reacts excitedly to the news, doing the same finger-linking gesture in happiness. When she likewise turns to go, he whines about being ditched again (lol) and asks who she’s running off to find. Jin-gook? Sam-dong?
Hye-mi replies easily, “Who else? Of course I’m going to—” and then stops, surprised with herself.
The moment of realization has come — it’s the person who came to mind first, as Pil-sook described. And then, just to make us stew in our seats a little longer, Hye-mi sees both boys heading toward her, and ducks out of the way.
However, it’s Sam-dong her gaze fixes on, and she sighs to herself, “I must be crazy!”
MUAHAHAHA! Sam-mi it is!
I’m relieved at the way the president storyline resolved, not least because it means Jin-gook’s daddy issues are finally at an end. Phew! It did drag on for a bit longer than I would have liked, but seeing how it tied in to the larger picture, I’m satisfied. It’s particularly effective that Jin-gook’s big scandal is solved not merely by the truth coming out, but by his father’s complete acceptance of him. He doesn’t care that much about public perception — at least, not more than saving Baek-hee — but he does care about Dad, so it’s fitting that Dad’s love (rather than a rehabilitated image) is his true reward.
As for Hye-mi’s feelings, I daresay many of us predicted this, though I suspect that many were still holding out hope for Jin-gook. This drama has done a particularly good job making both boys a viable option for her, but the reason I’d always believed it would be Sam-dong is because in a k-drama, once a heroine’s feeling’s start to stray away from a guy, he isn’t going to be the one she ends with. It just doesn’t work that way. The dramas are all about realizing your “true” love, no matter the pain and drama and makjang craziness that that entails, not about settling to “love the one you’re with.”
As for K: We got our first strong hint today, and now I’m pretty convinced it’s gotta be Baek-hee. Prior to this episode I’d thought she was possible because of the round-robin of the K pendant. It’s true that all sorts of pendant transfers could happen in the last episode, but the course of this drama has seen it travel from character to character in moments of despair, and with Jin-gook getting it this late, it stands to reason that either he’d keep it, or it would make a poetic full-circle return to Baek-hee. Plus, there’s a nice symbolism to her reclaiming the name K after being tarnished as Ms. K in the media.
But there’s that scene with the pendant when Hye-mi’s playing with it and accidentally drops it into that school drop-box. I thought initially that it was played for a laugh (and it got one from me), but after Baek-hee’s declaration to make the name K proud, it occurred to me that perhaps Hye-mi never fished it out. Now that everyone’s gotten their use from it, perhaps it’ll stay in the box, where Baek-hee will find it at a later date…
- Dream High: Episode 13
- Dream High: Episode 12
- Dream High: Episode 11
- 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 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