High Kick 3: Episodes 18-21
This week on High Kick, we start to solidify the foundations of the various types of relationships between our side-characters. Even our minor characters get their moment to shine and now I want to package Julien as my devoted cheerleader on the sidelines whenever things go sour.
(Note: Monday’s episode aired the following day, so four episodes this week.)
SONG OF THE DAY
SNSD – “The Boys” [ Download ]
EPISODE 18 WEECAP
Jin-hee squeals about an upcoming interview on the phone to a friend who tells her that their mutual friend is getting hitched because she wasn’t able to find a job.Her friend asks about Jin-hee’s current love life and she flashes back to Ha-sun’s earlier comment if Kye-sang’s follow-up visits suggest that he may be harboring feelings for her, but she says there isn’t anyone.
Odd-ball Seung-yoon drops by to see Jong-seok, and mentions that he’s found a group who shares his opinion who think that the Earth is a cube (with its own website to boot). Mom dampens his mood by not-so-subtly mentioning at her displeasure with his visits. She witnesses the boys engaging in their belly button salt dish routine and considers it the last straw – she vows to tear the two besties apart.
The next time he comes over, she gives it to him straight: to not to visit the house anymore because Jong-seok needs to focus on his studies and he should do so if he cares about his friend. Jong-seok interrupts the confrontation, telling his mother not to blame his friend for his academic failure. Seung-yoon apologizes that he’s too dumb for his friend (aw) but they fist-pump their troubles away.
At home, Jin-hee entertains the possibility that Kye-sang could be interested her after he relays information about an internship opportunity to her. So she puts the idea to the test, sending a text message of thanks to Kye-sang. He replies a moment later, and she registers his immediate reply as an indication that he’s interested. She daringly adds a heart in her reply and when he doesn’t answer for the rest of the night, she gleefully concludes that he must be too shy to reply. Or maybe he’s just not that into you.
The next day, she mistakes his visit to treat Ha-sun as visiting her, and sighs that Kye-sang must be nice to everyone. To top it off, she gets word that she’s failed the first round interview.
At dinner, Yoo-sun again prods that Seung-yoon isn’t right in the head which spurs Jong-seok to defend his friend. So she agrees that she’ll concede and approve of their friendship should he pass a psych evaluation tomorrow.
Seung-yoon is put through a battery of tests by the most incompetent psychiatrist ever (comparing projective tests with an objective ones? Yeah, okay whatever) who asks the Ahn family for their input to psychoanalyze his results. Although Seung-yoon’s confidence and cognitive function is low…he’s normal and the boys celebrate in a hug.
Yoo-sun isn’t ready to wave her white flag just yet and tugs at the thread that Seung-yoon believes the Earth is a cube, which piques the psychiatrist’s attention. It’s a tense-filled moment, their friendship dangling on Seung-yoon’s response as he stumbles, “The Earth is…is…round.” He whispers to Jong-seok afterwards, “But the Earth is a cube…”Ha!
That night, Jin-hee’s fear of being successfully married off manifests itself in her dream. She’s led to take a ‘Yoon Kye-sang Marriage Interview’ by a topless Julien. Here Dream Kye-sang lists her lack of credentials: she’s still in school, in debt, and currently unemployed. He rubs in that she’s not pretty enough to make up for them either. Sheesh. The other two interviewees’ (Ha-sun and Ji-won) answers essentially rule Jin-hee out as a potential candidate. In a rage, she grabs Dream Kye-sang demanding that he marry her…
…to be shaken awake by real Kye-sang telling her she’s been sleepwalking and must be suffering from extreme stress. Gosh, I’ll say.
The next morning, Jin-hee asks how come Kye-sang is still single – he’s a decent catch after all. He answers that he’s not popular with the ladies. As an answer to her demand to marry him, he says that he doesn’t think he’ll marry her with that damning smile and Jin-hee backs away to save face, tumbling backwards into a wheelbarrow filled with trash.
EPISODE 19 WEECAP
At school, Soo-jung finds herself short a dime to buy a drink from the vending machine. Ji-won offers to buy one for her and the girls sit outside to chat. Soo-jung remarks that Ji-won’s parents must be exceptionally lenient to let her live alone and drive a scooter around. She asks what they do for a living and where they are, but Ji-won vaguely answers that they’re, “somewhere else.”
Their friendship is nipped in the bud when Soo-jung accidentally drops Ji-won’s cell phone onto the ground in the classroom. She churns with anger when Ji-won doesn’t accept her apology, unaware of the phone’s sentimental value. It’s not broken, but the thunder and lightning foreshadow something dreadful ahead.
Resident Gosiwon Young-wook offers his umbrella in exchange for Ha-sun’s phone number when she’s stuck in the pouring rain without one (Ji-seok stomped on hers when it wouldn’t open). Evidently exchanging digits with Young-wook means opening Pandora’s Box to frequent novel-long messages, sending her minute details about his life every few minutes throughout the next day. She’s too nice to mention it but my creepy detector is flying off the chart.
Back at school, Soo-jung decides to form an alliance against Ji-won, but her only successful recruit is the top student who’s always studying. Her continued efforts prove futile – she gets caught shooting a water gun at her teacher and gets hit by a ball in gym class.
She arrives home fuming about how Ji-won annoys her and Kye-sang takes a private moment to talk to his niece. Explaining that Ji-won lost both her parents, the outdated phone is the only memory she has left of them.
This news brings tears to Soo-jung’s eyes and she charges over next door to apologize to Ji-won. She’s ready to stay up all night, just like best buds, but Ji-won says they’ll catch up next time because she’s heading out. The pseudo blow-off turns Soo-jung’s melted heart to freeze over in an instant. So much for being best buddies.
Ji-seok can’t make it to a baseball game with Ha-sun that evening (he’s stuck grading papers that night) and passes the tickets along, telling her to bring anyone she likes. She recalls Young-wook’s desperate messages and cautiously invites him to the game.
Later that night, Ji-seok receives word from Jin-hee that Ha-sun has taken her ex-gosiwon buddy to the game and he blazes through the rest of the grades to catch up with them.
At the game, the boys battle for Ha-sun’s attention, the latter completely unaware. She flippantly remarks that she’d like to catch a home-run ball and the two boys clamor to catch the next one flying in their direction. They both fall onto the field in the process, crawling to snag the ball like a shiny trophy.
EPISODE 20 WEECAP
Yoo-sun tries to set up a date for her brother, who refuses with a wide smile, and she mumbles why he wants to volunteer in Rwanda over getting married. Nae-sang overhears the conversation and wonders where they’ll live if he does get hitched, and Yoo-sun scolds him for his selfishness.
Things looks bleak for Jin-hee after a possible internship turns sour. When her mother calls, she tells her that everything’s fine, that she’s eating enough, and things are going well at work. She adds that she misses her mother’s homemade kkotketang (crab stew) while sitting at a convenience store, a rice ball in her hand.
Nae-sang receives word that his defected business partner is back in town so he gathers both households together, asking for their help to track down the weasel. He divides and sends the group to four places he’s likely to show up, while he maintains HQ.
After an all-day stake-out, Julien offers to cook dinner and Jin-hee mentions that she misses her mother’s cooking – she’d cook crab stew to strengthen her daughter. Julien takes a mental note of this and says he’ll figure something out.
Meanwhile, Yoo-sun and her brother are on the swings and she asks him to consider the blind date. He says that he misses this – his noona worrying about his well-being. Since their mother died when they were young, he regards Yoo-sun like another mom and wouldn’t know what to do without her. Yoo-sun replies that she’s embarrassed to rely on her little bro while her family is struggling with finances, but he reassures her that everything will turn out okay. Aww.
Julien calls Jin-hee over to eat and she pauses when she spots tiny crabs in the stew. He apologizes that there weren’t any decent crabs available but promises to make a proper crab stew when they’re back in Seoul. She’s touched at his thoughtfulness and shares about the soup’s significance: her mother would cook her crab stew before she was sent to to her grandmother’s during breaks. A bittersweet memory, she’d savor each bite knowing she’d have to leave when it was gone.
He sweetly tells her that she can eat up – she doesn’t have to go to grandma’s this time and reminds her that tomorrow is another day. She asks after his secret ingredient and he teases, “Ramyun soup powder?” Hehe.
It turns out the whole covert operation was for naught because Nae-sang hears that the business partner is still in the States. Lee Juck narrates that there isn’t such thing as a wasted day: that relationships can change for the better or for worse so today is different from yesterday.
Ji-won runs into Kye-sang studying Rwandan and she picks up a language book to learn alongside him. Now she calls after him in Rwandan every time she sees him, and he adorably runs away in response.
EPISODE 21 WEECAP
Jong-seok’s failing marks at school calls the attention of his entire family at dinner. Mom wonders if he needs to be moved down to study with the first-years (and Soo-jung remarks he belongs in grade school), but Ji-seok says that isn’t necessary yet.
At school, Teacher Ji-sun pulls up an interesting video: someone has captured the baseball game incident from Episode 19 and it’s gone viral on the ‘net. Ha-sun panics – it’s already received over 4000 views.
Meanwhile, Jong-seok’s parents and Kye-sang brainstorm ways on how to help Jong-seok improve his scores. Nae-sang suggests that they trade off, have him memorize the material and he’ll be good to go. But Kye-sang disagrees – it’s more important that Jong-seok understands the concepts than relying on rote memorization. When Yoo-sun sides with him, Nae-sang is miffed, determined to prove him wrong.
The trio pow-wows to do some damage control, and Ha-sun’s gesture to wipe off some egg from Young-wook’s face when some angered fans pelts him, leaves Ji-seok seething in jealousy.
That night, Ji-seok asks via text, “When is your birthday?” and abruptly sends it when he gets interrupted. Little does he know that it sends with a typo and he ends up writing, “When is your period?”
So he’s naturally confused when irate Ha-sun avoids him the next day, saying she got his text all right. She fumes why he would want to know ‘something like that’ and jealous man-child Ji-seok says that her new best buddy Young-wook would already know, adding he’d like to ‘take care of it’ (in this case, do something for her).
Fed up, Ji-seok asks why it’s a topic they can’t talk about amongst friends. So Ha-sun gulps and sheepishly confesses it’s (her period) today and she runs off in embarrassment.
Still in the dark, he gives Ha-sun a present along with his congratulations, thinking it’s her birthday. She’s completely disgusted at this point and stuffs him back into the tunnel, saying that (her cycle) isn’t even something parents would discuss with their child. The dropped card clarifies the situation and she quickly calls after Ji-seok to check his phone. D’oh!
Jong-seok fails his test under Kye-sang’s methods and Nae-sang is haughtily pleased. So he drills his son with rote memorization filled with crazy mneumonics such as memorizing his facial expression when he repeats a vocab word.
Young-wook informs Ha-sun some time later that the video culprit has been caught. She excuses herself for a moment and he takes liberty to shoot some selcas of himself on her phone and discovers the infamous text message. He flares up when Ji-seok arrives and which ends up in another tussle, this time the uploaded video is more popular than the first.
Nae-sang bugs his son about his latest test results when he gets home and lights up when he hears he’s not in last place. Jong-seok is actually second-to-last (to a student who writes ‘Idiot’ for all of his answers), but Nae-sang takes this minor success as a testament to his hackneyed memorization technique and continues teaching his son in it, to an impressed Seung-yoon in the background.
Now that we’re over 20 episodes into it, the series is getting into its groove, tackling some funny and serving it with some heart-warming moments. The spotlight mainly shone on some of the side characters this week, giving our main characters who are still around, a moment to breathe. I found myself watching this entire week’s worth of episodes and realized that although the Ahn family was mostly absent, I didn’t miss them too much because I enjoyed digging into some other characters for once.
For instance, Jin-hee is quickly becoming one of my favorites. There is something so wholesome and natural about her performance (even in the dream sequence) that I find myself rooting for her at every turn. I wasn’t completely onboard when she convinced herself for a short time that getting hitched was a better option than finding a job. That’s not to discredit or diminish the value of either marriage or employment, but rather Jin-hee strikes me as someone who possesses enough determination to succeed when she puts her heart and mind to it. It’s understandable that she worries over marriage and consider it an option because her future in procuring employment is gloomy at the moment.
What a glorious moment for Julien’s character when he comforts Jin-hee after concocting a special homemade meal for her. It’s such a sweet moment after Jin-hee shows her vulnerability, disclosing a memory so heart-breaking and he puts her mind at ease in his own words but using hers. It’s too soon to tell if this relationship turns into romance (but given the characters’ descriptions, he may end up with someone else) but even if they end up close friends, it’s a friendship I’m willing to invest into.
On the topic of investing into side characters, I’m left wondering about the music teacher’s significance in the sitcom. We see him for a few brief flashes for comedic relief, but apart from that, he has yet to really contribute anything to the series. I’m hoping that he’ll be slowly introduced like Seung-yoon’s character and that I’ll grow to love him like the rest of the cast. We still have over 100 episodes to go, so that’s 100 episodes for you to come up with a plotline for him, High Kick producers.