This week on High Kick, we’re on a rollercoaster of love for some of our characters from the early stages of infatuation, to a little bit of heartbreak. I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m invested in the side characters more than the main family. Maybe they’re just written better, or have more depth, or maybe their vulnerability is something that as a viewer I can relate to.
Note: We finally get a full five-episode week after lots of pre-emptions. Enjoy!
SONG OF THE DAY
Edith Piaf – “La Vie en Rose” [ Download ]
EPISODE 25 WEECAP
Ji-won meets Kye-sang fixing a broken lantern in the passageway connecting the two households. There they discover an inscription scrawled on the wall: “I hate Gong San-dong,” and entertain some notions about its origins. A scorned lover? Or an unfortunate man named San-dong? (The name can also be translated to ‘Communist.’)
Ji-won remarks that the author would be insulted to be remembered with their absurd guesses, but Kye-sang wonders if that’s better than becoming a forgotten memory in the past.
He fixes the lantern, but Ji-won falls and injures her ankle. He leaves to fetch a first-aid kit, and Ji-won asks in a worried voice if he’ll be back quickly. The dark encapsulated space triggers her fears of abandonment and drifts asleep. Ji-won dreams about a Japanese invasion in the 16th century, where a man promised to return to an injured woman, but he was shot by an imperial guard and she died waiting for him.
She awakes to find herself fully mended by Kye-sang. She wonders if the tunnel dates back further than the Korean War and if people in the future will remember who they are, to which Kye-sang replies, “Someone will.”
Meanwhile, Ji-seok has the most fortuitous day – he catches the bus in the nick of time, and scores a pair of gift certificates to an expensive restaurant. Ha-sun dreamily marvels at his good luck, and he bucks up the courage to ask her to accompany him, to which she agrees. Finally, a date!
His good fortune is in stark contrast to Young-wook who misses his exam after eating some rotten food and gets a harsh reply (sent by Jin-hee) from Ha-sun to his text o’ misery. He curses Fate at his rotten luck, “Can it get any worse?” and it suddenly downpours. Yes, it can always get worse.
Ji-seok’s lucky streak continues when he runs late to meet Ha-sun that evening. He hesitates, however, when he spots a florist vendor about to close up shop. So he decides that today is the day he’ll confess his feelings, running to buy a bouquet…at the same time Young-wook chases down a pick-pocket in the opposite direction.
You know what they say that love is about timing. Ji-seok arrives at the riverfront, surprised to see the place swarmed by paramedics. The crowd murmurs about two folks who fell into the river and how the man saved the young lady. It’s Ha-sun and Young-wook, being taken away by ambulances, Ji-seok one step behind them.
Back in the passageway, Ji-won scribbles her own mark of history on the wall and covers it with the bandage Kye-sang used to mend her.
EPISODE 26 WEECAP
At the hospital, Young-wook survives from the near-drowning experience. His worried mother rushes into the ER, and he assures her that he’s okay; all that matters is that he saved Ha-sun, calling her his “life’s vitamin.” Aw okay, that’s cute.
Ji-seok hurries into the ER to check on Ha-sun and Young-wook’s mom notes that his ‘vitamin’ already has a boyfriend, to which both parties vehemently deny. The other patients and nursing staff suggest that Young-wook and Ha-sun would make a cute couple, and man-child Ji-seok takes out his frustration on the bouquet.
Nae-sang decides to go to the sauna and runs into ex-BFF Julien. He convinces noobie Julien into scrubbing his back (It might sound gross, but it’s an act of closeness, usually reserved between family and good friends). Julien scrubs carefully at first, wary about hurting his friend, but with Nae-sang’s
nagging encouragement that it’s too soft, he rubs harder.
But at home, his wife tells Nae-sang that his back is bleeding and he flips his lid, running to Kye-sang to take a look. Seung-yoon wonders why he’s so sensitive about a little blood and we flashback to when Nae-sang was young and his over-reactive parents would usher him to bed at the mere sight of a nosebleed.
He calls to confirm with Julien who says he bled a teeny bit and Nae-sang construes his answer as sadistic and trains to get revenge, exercising his arms and buying the scratchiest scrubber.
Poor Ji-seok wallows at the headlines concerning Ha-sun and Young-wook, and even the teaching staff encourages them to date. He’s glum for the rest of the day and asks after Ha-sun to Jin-hee. He smiles when she reassures him that women aren’t easily swayed by popular opinion and there’s no way those two will get together.
However, when he arrives to school, the principal enthusiastically puts him to work – blowing balloons and hanging a banner in the auditorium. It’s too bad Ji-seok is too dense to put the pieces together.
Meanwhile, Nae-sang invites Julien for another sauna date, this time determined with bloodthirsty eyes of revenge. Innocent Julien mentions that he’s curious about what it’ll feel like and Nae-sang answers that it’s ‘refreshing,’ and proceeds to scrub and scrub.
During the school assembly, Ji-seok mentions to Ha-sun about the principal’s strange requests, when the lights turn off and the spotlight shines on Ha-sun. The doors open and Young-wook slowly staggers in, bouquet with hand, dragging an IV next to him. He serenades her (and starts hacking halfway through) with an ostentatious banner completing his proposal. The crowd cheer and shout, and good-natured Ha-sun reluctantly accepts the bouquet, along with Young-wook’s heart.
But at home, both Ha-sun and Ji-seok fume, rolling around on their respective beds, infuriated at the entire situation.
EPISODE 27 WEECAP
After another brush with the debtors, Yoo-sun grows tiresome of living in constant fear. She heads out to the market and on her way back, she encounters a mysterious man riding on his bike (cameo by songwriter/singer Jung Jae-hyung) who sweeps her off her feet with his charm.
They sit and chat over a cup of coffee, and he shares that he’s a songwriter along with his love for Edith Piaf. Yoo-sun is captivated by his sophisticated laughter: covering his mouth with a delicate ‘Oho,’ so unlike any of the men in her life.
The Ahn siblings’ rivalry continues in full force both at school and at home with the motto: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Jong-seok mistakenly kicks a desk into Soo-jung’s stomach at school and she vows to get even, yunno, by kicking him in the nuts. Their uncle advises her against it, since it could lead to serious health concerns (like not being able to have kids). Hey Doc, I think that also applies for injuring a woman’s uterus too. Just sayin’.
After coffee, Mr. Charming invites Yoo-sun to listen to music at his studio, not willing to part so soon. She hesitates for a moment, but receives a call from Nae-sang, nagging that he’s hungry. She declines the offer and turns to leave, but he quickly jots down his number, telling her to call him anytime she’d like to come visit.
Later that evening, she daydreams on what-could’ve-been: they might have listened to more Edith Piaf at his studio; she would have been led to tears by his original music, and ended up in a passionate embrace. She quickly snaps out of it and lets the number, along with her fleeting encounter, blow away with the wind.
Soo-jung falls ill, leaving her unable to move and Jong-seok breathes a sigh of relief. But it doesn’t stop her from crawling around the house, still trying to punch him. So Seung-yoon gives him a sports cup to protect his nether region since he sees how determined Soo-jung is to get revenge.
The ruffians pay another visit to the house and Yoo-sun hides under the sink. But she recognizes a familiar voice and yep, the mysterious musician is one of the thugs sent after her family. He laughs the same ‘Oho’ but now it rings with lackluster idealism. When they’re chased out, she crumples to the floor, her romanticized affection shattered into pieces.
Whenever Soo-jung tries to attack her brother, he’s protected and it doesn’t affect him. He takes it off some time later, assured that Soo-jung’s given up by now, but as soon as he walks out, she shoots him where the sun doesn’t shine with a smug smile on her face.
EPISODE 28 WEECAP
Kye-sang runs into Jin-hee on her way home and offers to treat her to dinner with the money from the photo shoot.
At school, Ha-sun gets scolded by her boss about her boring teaching style, adding that the students’ interest is a reflection of a teacher’s capability. Pfft. She simply bows her head apologetically and Ji-seok looks on, unable to intervene.
A new teacher arrives and she gets the entire office rolling in laughter as soon as she opens her mouth. Even the students find her enjoyable and Ha-sun catches a glimpse of her lively classroom.
It’s then Ji-seok drops by to encourage her: a fun class doesn’t necessarily mean it’s any better, and everyone has their own teaching styles. But Ha-sun overhears some students talk about how entertaining their new class is. So Ha-sun comes in early to draw up new lesson plans.
Jin-hee drops by to deliver Kye-sang’s portrait and gets invited to see him at the clinic the next day. She observes his gentle demeanor with his patients and blushes a fierce red when it’s her turn. He worries if she’s coming down with something (and she gets redder) and flashes his trademark smile.
But before she can hop on a train to Dreamy Kye-sang Land, she runs into him on her way to buy some beer. He says that it doesn’t suit her because she looks so young that he mistook her for being younger than Soo-jung. She’s clearly offended by the frank, offhand remark and miffed for looking like a child in Kye-sang’s eyes.
Ha-sun’s revised attempts in the classroom fall flat, and the new teacher says in a lofty tone that kids have such short attention spans nowadays. It’s enough for her to finally snap and she spends the rest of the night researching comedy until she settles on someone to imitate.
Jin-hee dolls up for dinner and bats her eyelashes towards Kye-sang who tells her that he’s wants to take care of her – like a niece. So she tries harder, moving closer to him until an ahjumma moves behind her… and out pops a bra pad. To make it worse, it catches fire and Kye-sang picks it up with his tongs. AHAHAHA!
She’s too embarrassed to face him, hiding anywhere she can, even (literally) hiding in a mousehole, where the paramedics have to drill her out.
Meanwhile, everyone soon finds out that Ha-sun plans to enact ‘Crazy Cow’ (a sketch from a Korean comedy show ‘Gag Concert’) and try to convince her not to go through with it. Determined Ha-sun thinks that they’re worried she can’t do it and declares that she must. So she gears up, getting a thumbs up from the new teacher, and greets her class, fully clad Crazy Cow Ha-sun.
EPISODE 29 WEECAP
The teachers head out to lunch when Young-wook arrives to go on a lunch date with Ha-sun. Ji-seok mutters that she promised to eat with them first, but she leaves when the others give her the okay.
His spirits lift the next day when she talks to him about the previous baseball game, saying that their team has to even the score so the series can continue to Game 7. Ji-seok tentatively asks if she remembers that she’d promised to watch that game together and she jokes if he had someone else in mind. He brightens up when she says of course she’ll watch it with him.
Nae-sang discovers a white dress and a long wig and pokes some fun with the rest of the family, scaring them at any opportunity. They’re all unamused, thinking Nae-sang childish, and poor Seung-yoon literally collapses with fear.
But no reaction is quite like Kye-sang’s, who doesn’t even flinch when Nae-sang tries to scare him. He explains that 1) it’s too bright for a ghost to appear 2) why are they all dressed in white with long hair and 3) he’s too disheveled for a ghost, even if they existed. Yeah, you tell that to Sadako and see how you fare.
Kye-sang adds that it’ll be tough to scare him. Nae-sang takes him up on that challenge and buys up costume gear to scare his brother-in-law, much to Yoo-sun’s dismay. Kye-sang even catches him while he prepares with that same smile.
Ji-seok buys Game 7 tickets as soon as it’s available and shows Ha-sun with glee, like a kid showing off an A. But she receives a call from Young-wook about attending a movie together, and it tugs on her guilt strings.
So she tells a disappointed Ji-seok that she has to cancel. Ji-seok could take anyone else to the game, but Young-wook only has her… because she’s his girlfriend. Oh man, you can almost hear his heart crack.
Ji-seok responds that she made a promise with him first, so he’ll wait for her at the stadium and tells her to keep that promise. Aww.
On the other side of town, Kye-sang walks around the neighborhood and hears a strange rustling noise around the bend. So he takes a look and in terror, “B-b-bear! …is what you thought I’d say, huh?” and gives a lecture to the hairy monster in front of him, thinking it’s Nae-sang.
The Ahn family watches the news at home and they hear about an escaped bear from the zoo…and we cut back to Kye-sang lecturing the bear, oohing over how real his costume looks. He gets swiped by the bear and is headed to the ER.
Ha-sun and Young-wook stroll on the street after their movie date and she spots a TV on the display – her team won the series. She smiles half-heartedly, and says Ji-seok must be ecstatic.
And we cut to lone Ji-seok, still waiting outside in a crowd of exuberant fans, the fireworks exploding in the sky.
So far, this season of High Kick hasn’t had an “off” episode thus far – even the so-so episodes still have me engaged and invested in getting to know the characters. I can tell that the producers are taking their time to cultivate the characters so that even if you don’t see much of one person, you grow to know another.
We haven’t talked about the Ahn family in a while, and I’m glad that there was an episode that focused on Yoo-sun again. She may be shrill, but she’s a middle-aged woman unhappy with her stagnant life, crippled in fear. I do enjoy whenever they work through her conflicts, be it menopause or a charming new man – these are topics that are seldom touched upon. Yoo-sun adds a sense of realism to these events, something I’ve always admired about the actress, and her character is the most well-rounded in the Ahn family.
Soojung, on the other hand, I could really do without. Every week I hope that the producers will write something different for her character, but every week she appears as the same snotty brat princess who grates on my nerves. Sometimes my keyboard spits fire as I type her name. The sibling rivalry is getting pretty old already and it makes me want to press the skip button as fast as possible.
Something else I particularly don’t enjoy is how the producers are taking something I love and making it into something I hate. Case in point: Kye-sang’s smile. I know that it’s just for comedy, but paired with his blunt and sometimes clueless replies, I can’t help but agree with Jin-hee and want to spit on his beautiful face too. High Kick, please don’t do that anymore or I’ll have to send you to time-out.