Dream High: Episode 9
Woot! It’s Dance-Off Time! It’s glitter and gold and rivalries galore, as we find out just how much the tables have turned in 200 days. Some people come back with moves, others come back with feelings, and some show up with remorse and a new attitude. Let the games begin.
SONG OF THE DAY
Panic – “기다리다” [ Download ]
EPISODE 9 RECAP
We see that in the 200 days, Hye-mi has been spurred on to dig her heels in and really make an effort to catch up to Baek-hee. We see her and Sam-dong practicing for their latest midterm, which was what we witnessed at the end of the last episode. (And how cute is it to watch Sam-dong dance?)
Oh-hyuk gives the Misfits their midterm scores proudly, but their faces fall when they hear that they’re not high enough to get them out of the university prep class. Their spirits sag at the thought of spending their sophomore year in here too.
But Oh-hyuk has a plan. There’s a dance competition coming up, and if they can enter and win, they’ll earn enough points to get out of Misfitland. But! We love Misfitland!
They balk at being able to win a national dance competition, but Oh-hyuk tells them not to worry; they have a secret weapon. Cut to “Dance God” Yang Jin-man, doing a dance…that I can’t even…with an outfit…that’s just…pwahahaha. I love this guy.
Hye-mi loses a round of rock-paper-scissors (which she suggested, heh) and heads to the arena where she registers the Misfits for the competition. She runs into Baek-hee, who coolly acknowledges that she saw Hye-mi’s midterm dance and that she’s improved.
Now it’s Hye-mi’s turn to thank her frenemy, for being good motivation for her to succeed. She dangles the K pendant in Baek-hee’s face, saying that she was right; it really does have some luck.
Baek-hee confirms that she’s entering the competition too, (In truth, it’d be no fun without you, Baek-hee.) and wonders who will win. Hye-mi: “What does it matter who wins, as long as we try out best…is what I can’t bring myself to say.” HA! She even has the accompanying facial expressions to fake her out.
Hye-mi declares that she’ll win this competition and her way out of the university prep class, and Baek-hee just says we’ll wait and see. But as Hye-mi turns to walk away, she can’t help but get this last dig in: that she’s here to sign up Shi-hyuk (Jin-gook), and Hye-mi pauses at the mention of his name.
Pil-sook looks intently at the poster for the dance competition at school, and tries out a few dance poses, thinking that she’s alone. But Chipmunk walks up right behind her, and starts mimicking her moves. Oh my god, I love the idea that he might become HER secret admirer now. So. Good.
She gets into the dancing and twirls around, only to come face to face with Jason, and fall back in shock. He lurches forward to grab her and keep her from falling, leading to much awkwardness and avoidance of eye contact. It’s adorable.
He asks if she’s entering the competition, and he says he is too, since that’s what Principal Shi required of everyone in K, in order to make up for all their absences. She asks if he came here to say something to her, and he says no…but does she maybe have something to say to him? Eee! Are you fishing for her to re-ask you if you like her?
And by the way, I’m totally in the he-liked-her-before-she-was-skinny camp. Because he looked for her before he knew she looked like this. And because he has to, in order for me to keep rooting for them. Drama, please don’t change my mind about this. Don’t do it.
She says no, and then when Ria walks up, she excuses herself shyly and walks away. Jason can’t hide his disappointment at what she didn’t ask him. Ria wonders who that is, and he tells her it’s Pil-sook, the girl she said would never debut unless she lost 30kg. Ria just scoffs that looks aren’t enough for someone to debut, and Chipmunk counters, “Well, you can’t sing, but you debuted.” LOL.
On her way home with Sam-dong, Hye-mi gets a call that Jin-gook has returned home, and gets a request to bring home cake. Sam-dong volunteers to run and get one, and even write “Welcome home” on it, and sends Hye-mi home ahead of him.
At home, Jin-gook presents the family with gifts, and gets a squeal from Noona over a handbag, and a kiss on the cheek from Hye-mi’s little sister (which hilariously prompts a yelling session from a very jealous Noona). He waits for Hye-mi with a gift in his hand.
But when Hye-mi arrives in front of the house, she’s greeted by a group of fangirls (with posters that say: “Jin-gook Over Flowers.” Ha. They refuse to let her pass because they assume she’s just a crazy fangirl, and she’s quick to tell them that they’re the crazy ones, and besides, she’s not even his fan. They gang up on her and start with the hair pulling, until Sam-dong breaks it up to save her.
Jin-gook rushes out to ask if she’s okay, but Sam-dong blocks him from getting any closer to Hye-mi, and tells him it’s best if he leaves. Jin-gook watches sadly as Sam-dong takes her inside, and sees the welcome home cake splattered on the ground.
Hye-mi goes inside and sees the present from Jin-gook on her desk, and puts it away sadly.
Later Jin-gook returns to their old studio, and finds Sam-dong there, practicing till late. He asks if Hye-mi’s around, and thanks Sam-dong for saving her the other night. Sam-dong gets up in Jin-gook’s face, and says with dramatic tension, “I don’t think that’s something you should be thanking me for.” (As in: you are not her keeper, so don’t pretend I saved your girl.)
Oooooh. I miss the days when you were wearing each other’s underwear (I was really hoping there was a gift box for Sam-dong with a pair of boxer briefs.) but I do enjoy that there’s a new rivalry in town.
Sam-dong reminds him that he asked if he liked Hye-mi and he said he didn’t. Sam-dong: “If I ask you again now, will your answer be the same?” Jin-gook: “No.” Aw, yeah.
Sam-dong gives it to him straight: He likes Hye-mi, and he’s never going to give her up. Gah, I freaking love your bleeding heart high school boy adoration. It’s totally unrealistic, but that’s what high school love is like.
It’s time for Dance of the Year, as the contestants gather for team-picking and such. Presiding over the events is the judge, a cameo by Koo Jun-yup (DJ Koo of Clon). The team captains are picked at random, but of course Hye-mi and Baek-hee get chosen.
Hye-mi has first pick at her team, and both Sam-dong and Jin-gook stare nervously as she looks between them…and then picks Jason. Hahaha. Hey, first pick means you get first shot at the best dancer, and I love that Hye-mi’s like, screw boys, imma win.
Baek-hee picks Jin-gook, and Hye-mi chooses the rest of the Misfits to round out her foursome. Next comes the performance order and theme, which is strangely enough, an animal. Hye-mi’s team gets Bird, while Baek-hee’s team gets Snake. Even the kids note that it’s an interesting coincidence, as birds and snakes have very obvious connotations in folklore as signs of good and evil, respectively.
Easy-going Jason is happy to join the team, and even gets a welcome high-five from Sam-dong. Yay, I much prefer Chipmunk as a Misfit. Jin-gook looks on wistfully, but gets a stare-down from Sam-dong and Baek-hee wonders if she did the wrong thing, picking Jin-gook when he wanted to be on Hye-mi’s team. He says she did the right thing, and that they have to win.
The Misfits head to the studio to practice, and as they explain their studio space to Jason, he says that he knows—he’s been there before. Pil-sook turns around to ask when, and he sheepishly confesses to following her that day they went to the noraebang, because he was “bored.” Bored, my ass.
Sam-dong teases them for appearing to have a deeper history than they let on, but both PIl-sook and Jason deny it. They reach the studio, but find that the entrance has been blocked. They call Oh-hyuk with the news that the landlord sold the place. (I thought it was abandoned…so who was paying rent on it this whole time?)
Oh-hyuk is in the middle of making a payment to debt collector Man Doo-shik, who hears the news and offers up his nightclub (before hours) for the kids to practice in. He even offers it at no charge, prompting Oh-hyuk’s fluttering eyelashes of gratitude. Doo-shik jumps back, yelling at him not to make that face anymore. Why, are you afraid of being the Terius to his Candy again? Keh.
They get to practice, as Jin-man plays videos of birds for them to watch. Jason doubts Jin-man’s skills as a dancer and choreographer, prompting an almost-dance-off (which would have been awesome) but sadly, Jin-man backs down. Heh.
At practice, he tells them to think of the birds and move like them. Jason pecks like a chicken, Pil-sook flutters, Sam-dong clucks, and Hye-mi….isn’t even a bird, as she does a classical Korean folk dance. Ha. Jin-man bursts their bird-bubbles, and shows them how to flap their wings, as he choreographs their number, featuring a solo for Chipmunk. Can a chipmunk play a bird?
In the coming days, Sam-dong learns Jason’s moves, and Hye-mi catches him in the studio, practicing Jason’s solo. He asks if it’s so crazy that he could maybe learn it better than Jason and scoop the solo out from under him…and Hye-mi answers truthfully that it IS that crazy. Sam-dong knows it but he doesn’t care. He gets close to her, and says that he’s not going to give up…on anything. Rawr?
But of course, things are never that easy for the Misfits, as they run into another snag. The cops find issue with their presence in a nightclub, and they get hauled off to the police station for questioning. Doo-shik gets punished, while the kids get to leave with their teacher…and in walks Principal Shi. Uh-oh.
Principal Shi brings Oh-hyuk in to ask not about the practice space, but about the man he saw at the police station, remembering him as the talent agent who borrowed the school’s auditorium the day of the showcase. We don’t see how Oh-hyuk talks himself out of it, but he tells the kids that they’re okay to compete. They wonder where they’ll practice now…
They stand awkwardly in the middle of a jjimjilbang (24-hour sauna) as Jin-man wonders if this is really what it’s come down to. Oh-hyuk tells them that it’ll be fine, and they practice, with Sam-dong filling in for Jason’s solo.
Cue dance montage, as both teams practice. Aw, yeah!
We go straight into the competition, as Team Snake does indeed writhe around like a snake, dressed in all black, in case we forget who the bad guys are. Team Bird is dressed in all white, of course, and I’m lamenting the fact that we didn’t get to see Sam-dong during his makeup session where he got sprayed with all that manly glitter.
Backstage, Jin-man tells Jason that they changed a part of the routine, and tries to teach him the steps. Oh-hyuk steps in to say that since Sam-dong’s been to ALL the rehearsals, he should do the solo. Chipmunk and his giant ego argue that he doesn’t even need to learn new steps; he can just freestyle it.
Oh-hyuk asks Sam-dong if he can do it, and he hesitates, so Oh-hyuk tells him that the longer he thinks, the less courage he’ll have. He says he’s up to the challenge. Jin-man and Jason protest, but Hye-mi backs Sam-dong. Put to a democratic vote, Pil-sook is the final word. Chipmunk smiles, thinking he’s got it in the bag…as Pil-sook votes for Sam-dong. Burrrrrn.
In the audience, Jin-man complains to the other teachers about Oh-hyuk’s crazy stunt, and Kyung-jin marvels at Oh-hyuk’s dogged principles. She can see that he’s trying to teach Jason a lesson—that talent does not win over hard work.
Team Bird does their routine to a hip-hop version of Swan Lake, which is weird, but pretty to look at. Essentially, they aren’t better dancers than Team Snake, and Sam-dong does a good job, but in truth his dance skills aren’t the show-stopping kind.
Backstage, Chipmunk tells Pil-sook that if he’d done the solo, they would have gotten first place instead of third. Pil-sook thinks it’s fine if they managed to get out of the university prep class, but then can’t take his complacency anymore.
She tells him that he should have been angry that his solo was taken, but here he is, not a care in the world, and that he never should have abandoned his own showcase for hers. Pil-sook: “You have no desire, no dream, no goal.”
Jason gets defensive that she’s trying to lecture him, and Pil-sook adds the kicker: “It’s because I genuinely feel bad for you.” Ouch.
She apologizes for making him feel bad and starts to walk away. Jason: “I wasn’t going to say anything because I’m embarrassed and it hurts my ego, but…why aren’t you keeping your promise?” Eeee!
Pil-sook: Promise? Oh…the 200-day proposal. You know, it was really hard for me to lose weight. I couldn’t eat or drink what I wanted. I nearly died and came back to life. And then when I thought about it…about doing all that because of you…it felt like a waste. I wonder if I did all that for someone who has no dreams, no goals. So, I gave it up.
God, I love that she’s not just thoughtlessly in love with him anymore, and that maybe he’s why she started her diet, but not the entirety of HER dreams and goals. Yay for Pil-sook.
Chipmunk’s ego is bruised beyond…well, probably worse than he’s ever been bruised, considering he’s the golden boy who just coasts through life. So he lashes out at Pil-sook, who says that she’s saying all this because she’s his fan. He says she’s not a caring fan, but a fan who’s overstepping her bounds. He leaves her, clutching her last yogurt cap, the 200-day marker that she’s still holding onto.
Hye-mi smiles at her third-place trophy, and Baek-hee smugly puts her first-place one right next to it to gloat. But to her utter surprise, Hye-mi congratulates her on winning with genuine praise. Baek-hee literally does a double take, wondering what bizarro world she walked into, and explains that SHE won…while Hye-mi lost…
Hye-mi says she knows, but her goal today was to get out of the university prep class, which she did. She adds that someone once told her that not being able to congratulate a friend on her success is living in a hell of your own making. She says sincerely that she doesn’t want to live in that hell, and tells Baek-hee that she did a really good job. Baek-hee reels, somehow angrier that Hye-mi seems to be above the petty rivalry.
Outside, Sam-dong beams at Hye-mi, having overheard her quote his words to Baek-hee. He adds that he told her so, about not giving up, and getting to do the solo. She admits that he was right, and in his glee, he gives her a kiss on the cheek, and then runs for his life. Ha.
Jin-gook witnesses the kiss, and his face falls. Dude, you’re the one who went away and didn’t call. Don’t be mad at underwear boy for taking his chance. Gah, the sad puppy dog faces on either side of this triangle just kill me.
Kyung-jin finds Baek-hee stewing alone, wondering why she isn’t celebrating her victory with the others. Baek-hee: “I feel like I’ve been using all my strength to play tug-o’-war, only to find that my opponent has dropped the rope and left me.”
Both Baek-hee and Jin-gook spend their victory party brooding over Hye-mi, for very different reasons.
The next morning, the story finally breaks that Jin-gook is the illegitimate son of Chairman Hyun. What the…what was the press doing for the past 200 days? Anyway, everyone, including Hye-mi finds out.
Jin-gook braces himself, as Daddy calls and tells him how they’re going to handle it. The next thing you know, they’re giving a tv interview, and Dad is claiming that the stories are false: he adopted Shi-hyuk when he was ten. Oh, that’s just mean. The worst part is, Jin-gook totally lets himself get bamboozled by Daddy, because that’s how much he wants to be loved.
He says that even if the rumors were true, he would have continued to love and respect his father. Aw. It kills me that you love your fakey fakerson father so much. Out in the hall, he asks if this means he really doesn’t have a father anymore, and walks away. In the car, Dad finds a gift left behind by Jin-gook. That’s right; you’d better feel guilty.
Later Jin-gook comes to find Hye-mi to lean on. He tries to be cute with her, but she’s not having any of that, so he chooses a backhug instead. Melt. He even cries on her shoulder, literally, for good measure. She starts to thaw a little when she realizes that he’s crying, but he says he’s fine and walks off.
By the time she turns around to catch up to him, she finds him with Baek-hee, who’s come to check if he’s okay.
At school the kids lament that they can’t afford to go on the class trip to Japan, where group K will also be shooting their music video, at the same time of course. Japan? I was lucky if I got to go to a few local museums when I was in high school. Yeesh.
Oh-hyuk really wants to send them, but they refuse to let him spend more money on them. He goes to see Doo-shik anyway, who has a better idea than giving him another loan: if the kids will sing at his friend-of-friend’s wedding in Japan, he’ll pay for the expenses. Hm. Something tells me this isn’t going to be an ordinary wedding.
Pil-sook volunteers to find the song, and in the library, she sees Jason listening to a song, and then sneaks a listen once he leaves. It’s Panic’s “기다리다,” or “While Waiting,” posted up above. Another Boys Over Flowers reference?
The song plays as Chipmunk goes to his locker, at first ignoring his daily lollipop taped to the door. But in the end he can’t leave it there, and takes it with him. Aw.
Sam-dong and Hye-mi get ready for the big trip, and hurry Oh-hyuk along. He watches them with a thoughtful smile on his face, as we flashback to his meeting with Principal Shi. We find out that the principal couldn’t mess with Oh-hyuk because of his ironclad contract with President Jung, but threatened to expel the kids instead.
Oh-hyuk made a deal to keep them in school—he’d resign, as long as they got to stay. Principal Shi agreed to terms, and set the class trip as his final deadline.
Back in the present, Hye-mi and Sam-dong egg him on, and he smiles at them wistfully, putting on a brave face. Aw, teacher, don’t go!
This drama continues to be insanely awesome, and I was ready to say that even before the dancetastic preview intercut with Jin-man’s “Too Legit 2 Quit.” I mean, what is there to even say about that, other than it makes me smile like an idiot?
The love triangles in this drama are so well-matched, that every five seconds I’m rooting for someone new, and basically I just end up in circles, except I’m happy about it the entire time. It’s more like a tilt-a-whirl than a triangle, and I’m throwing my hands up and going “wheeee!”
I was worried that I would end up hating the Pil-sook/Jason couple after she went on her boy-motivated diet, but now I find them much more interesting, because the 200 days created enough distance and misunderstanding for the tables to turn. Now Chipmunk’s the one who’s confused and orbiting her, so it makes them more evenly matched. And not because she’s pretty now, but because she’s discovered things about herself and her dream in the process.
I also like that they’re doing something with Jason’s character, and jolting him out of his golden-boy complacency. The idea that he’s resting on his laurels while everyone else fights tooth and nail is an interesting dynamic to bring up, and I hope Pil-sook’s words challenge him to find a dream.
But the best part of the reversal is Baek-hee’s feeling of being left behind by her rival. She’s someone who’s motivated by competition, and now that Hye-mi doesn’t want to play that game, she’s actually feeling adrift. It redefines the frenemy relationship, and makes their connection so interestingly layered—it’s love and hate, fuel and poison. I think theirs is the relationship to look out for.
Besides, how’s a girl to choose between these two?
- Dream High: Episode 8
- Dream High gets a special, no extension
- Dream High: Episode 7
- Dream High: Episode 6
- Dream High emerges as ratings leader
- Dream High: Episode 5
- Dream High: Episode 4
- Dream High: Episode 3
- Kim Soo-hyun cleans up for Dream High
- Dream High: Episode 2
- Dream High: Episode 1
- JB and GF face off: Battle of Delusional Hopes
- Lots and lots of Dream High stills