More unexpected connections pop up this week, which is something High Kick does so well. This is one thing that makes a months-long, 120-episode series worth it, because it has the luxury of exploring different storylines with different sets of characters.
On a side note, I can’t believe we’re nearly halfway through already — the time has flown. I suppose that’s what happens when you’re enjoying every episode. It’s impressive for a series to churn out a consistent level of quality for such a long time, and on a daily basis.
SONG OF THE DAY
Star Love Fish – “미안” (I’m Sorry), which plays in Episode 49. [ Download ]
EPISODE 49 WEECAP
While walking Ha-sun home after a date, Young-wook tries to match his answers to hers to show how similar they are, based on what kind of foods they prefer and the like. She goes home feeling bad because Young-wook is a nice guy, but she doesn’t feel any excitement with him. Determined to give it a proper try, she sends up a prayer asking to like him as much as he likes her, then makes him his favorite beef side dish. She also asks him to meet her friends, which he’s happy to do.
Nae-sang decides to revive his company, and to do so, he needs money. He takes on multiple part-time jobs and keeps himself so busy that nobody in the house sees him for days on end — all they see are traces of him (changed clothes, empty food bowl) to indicate he’s been by.
The overwork sends him collapsing, and the family insists he rest up. Opening his bag, they find his multiple job uniforms and see his jam-packed schedule, feeling touched at his dedication. Dad insists he has to show up for work, so finally Jong-seok grabs his uniform and takes off to fill in for his post as apartment security guard. (The ajummas love him and pat his butt — cheeky! In more ways than one — to his alarm.)
Following Jong-seok’s lead, the family divvies up the schedule amongst themselves: Soo-jung sells food on the highway, Ji-seok acts as gas station attendant, Kye-sang as designated driver, Yoo-sun as newspaper deliverer.
When it comes time to meet Ha-sun’s friends, Young-wook surprises her by arriving in a suit, looking sharp and put-together. He speaks well, too, impressing her friends with his civility and bearing, and they nudge Ha-sun knowingly and comment on how she scored a great catch.
Then it’s on to the karaoke round, where Young-wook picks and old song, saying he’s been out of the loop lately. That gives us an excuse to get him singing along to ’90s hit “Angel That Lost Her Wings” — by Young-wook’s real-life pop group Roo’ra. Hee. Yay for old-school kpop meta.
Ha-sun pays for the karaoke room ahead of time, which Young-wook finds when he tries to pay. He’d prepared money for this special outing, wanting to treat her friends out as a proper boyfriend should, so on their walk home he insists she take the money.
Dejected, he admits that he feels like he can’t measure up, and that he’d been afraid to ask why she’d like a guy like him because he feared the answer: “Truthfully, after I started seeing you, there hasn’t been a day that I haven’t felt ashamed.” He apologizes. Ha-sun: “For what?” Young-wook: “For liking you. I’m sorry.”
It’s a moving moment and Ha-sun is affected by his sincerity — but once home, she confesses to herself that she must be a bad person, because despite her best efforts, she still can’t find that spark.
Nae-sang wakes up after sleeping a full day, and bolts for the door to resume his jobs. Only, he finds his family has taken care of it already, and they urge him to rest a bit longer. So the Yoon brothers and the Ahns continue on their split schedule, and the episode caps off with an adorable group number as the family sings, “We are one, the Noryangjin Six,” moving in formation.
EPISODE 50 WEECAP
At the clinic, Kye-sang enlists Jin-hee’s aid in planning an event for seniors, and she proposes the concept of making it a dating theme. You know, since so many TV shows are about “couple-making” these days. (Best Love shout-out!) Kye-sang likes her ideas and asks her to take the lead, which she does with total commitment.
The scores are out for the college entrance exam, and Ha-sun takes Jong-seok aside to ask if he walked out mid-test, based on his score. He convinces her to keep it between them, although Mom worries about the score being lower than anticipated. But Nae-sang tells him encouragingly that he’s glad Jong-seok did his best, which makes him feel guilty all over again.
His conversation with Seung-yoon goes overheard by Soo-jung, who’s outraged and determined to tell their parents right away. Jong-seok manages to stop her and explains that Dad’s just holding on and he can’t stand to shatter that faith in him. He starts to explain, with difficulty, that he really wanted to do his best but that he didn’t know a thing on the exam. To his surprise, his admission has Soo-jung in tears, who says he must have had a rough time. She hugs him and swears not to tell.
This is a pleasant surprise, but history has proven that Soo-jung’s mood swings are swift, so Jong-seok is wary of trusting her. Deciding he’ll have to keep an eye on her, he pays close attention to her moods over the next few days, alert to the tiniest shift downward.
Feeling uneasy, Jong-seok takes Soo-jung aside and shares a second story, this one about not wanting to let Mom down either, purposely playing up the sympathy factor while Seung-yoon helpfully plays sad mood music in the background on his guitar.
Soo-jung again assures that she’ll keep quiet, but paranoid Jong-seok thinks her mood will only hold temporarily; this story elicited less sympathy tears. He’ll have to prepare a contingency plan.
When Soo-jung slips on his pen and loses her temper, Jong-seok swings into action with another sob story about being haunted by regret, and again, Soo-jung assures him that she’ll keep her word. But when Jong-seok follows her down the ladder from her attic room, his cell phone falls out of his pocket and smacks her in the head, unleashing her temper.
The clinic holds its event, with Jin-hee and Kye-sang explaining the concept to their senior attendees. They don’t follow the complicated explanation and ask for a demonstration instead, so Jin-hee and Kye-sang find themselves acting out their directions — like looking into each other’s eyes, or eating a Pepero stick from both ends (to see which couple is fastest). And it’s here that Jin-hee starts to feel that heart-thumping, pulse-quickening awareness as they playact the couple.
The four clinic employees go out for dinner afterward, and while the other two nurses are on a restroom break, Kye-sang asks Jin-hee flat-out, “Do you like me?” She’s caught off-guard and embarrassed, so she excuses herself quickly, then proceeds to drink the night away. In the morning, she wakes up in bed and hears from Ha-sun that Kye-sang carried her home last night.
A horrifying memory floats back to Jin-hee, who now recalls grabbing Kye-sang in a back-hug and drunkenly slurring that in answer to his question, yes, she does like him. Horrors! She shrieks in mortification.
At work that morning, she keeps her head down, dreading what Kye-sang will say. But then, the nurses share a photo from last night, which shows her hugging the coat rack, which she was apparently talking to all night. HA. So the confession was real, but made to Kye-sang’s thankfully-inanimate coat.
The next time Kye-sang and Jin-hee go back to that restaurant, though, Kye-sang startles Jin-hee again by bringing up that unanswered question from before: “Do you like me?” Flustered, Jin-hee bursts out about his strange question, only to realize upon his clarification that he wasn’t asking, “Do you like me,” but “Do you like that?” As in, that houseplant over there. Haha.
EPISODE 51 WEECAP
It is therefore adorable that at work, Kye-sang teases Jin-hee about being friendly with his coat. He asks her for an introduction (to the coat), and when he has to step outside, he says he’ll have to borrow her friend for awhile. She’s embarrassed and tells him not to tease, but he just whispers to the coat, “Oops, looks like she’s upset that we’ve become friends. Let’s go!” What is it about grown men acting like little boys that is so endearing?
Seung-yoon brings the Noryangjin Six some beef sent from home, so everyone gathers for a barbecue party, including a visit by narrator Lee Juck. But when the lights briefly go out, the party is crashed by a butt-kicker — literally. In the span of seconds, both Kye-sang and Nae-sang are delivered a swift foot to the rear, with no sign of the culprit in sight.
Nae-sang accuses Jin-hee, as he is wont to do, saying he can just sense it. Seung-yoon, on the other hand, has a different theory. Kye-sang and Nae-sang’s names start with the first two letters of the alphabet (ㄱ,ㄴ), so maybe we’re dealing with an A-B-C attacker. The third letter is ㄷ, which means that a D-name is next. For example, Julien, whose Korean nickname is Dagu.
It’s a wacky theory apropros of the offbeat Seung-yoon, but as it turns out, Julien is attacked when he heads to the tunnel to retrieve something. A note is found on the ground with the names Kye-sang, Nae-sang, and Dagu written on it. Could the space cadet be on to something?
The next name alphabetically is Soo-jung, although Ha-sun freaks out thinking it might be her, based on a childhood nickname (Maeng-soon, which meant she was an airhead), but is assured she’s safe since nobody knows about the name.
Kye-sang in particular becomes intrigued with solving the mystery, while Dad and Jong-seok watch over Soo-jung closely to defend her against potential attack. (Aw, that’s sweet.) They apprehend a lurker, only to find that he’s a pipsqueak from school with a crush on Soo-jung, here to deliver his confession and a gift. Okay, that’s cute. But if Soo-jung’s not the target, then…?
Sure enough, Ha-sun is being tracked unwittingly, with the hidden attacker ready to spring. But he’s intercepted by Kye-sang, who has guessed his identity: Lee Juck. In Sherlock Holmes fashion, Kye-sang ticks off all the clues that led him to his sunbae: disinfectant smell in the tunnel, the note written on a Post-it taken from Key-sang’s room, shoes full of the same reddish dirt as the tunnel.
Lee Juck explains that Ha-sun was his real target, because she’d angered him the last time he visited when she slapped him accidentally in the limbo contest. He’d suspected the slap was intentional, and felt she was laughing at him. So he took advantage of the situation to get his revenge — but he assures Kye-sang that he wasn’t the initial kicker. Somebody else attacked Kye-sang and Nae-sang; he just seized the moment, allowing those earlier attacks to provide his cover.
So the question remains: Who was the real attacker?
Cut to: A nurse at the clinic sending Jin-hee on a series of annoying errands. Jin-hee eyes her with scary eyes, vowing to get her revenge at the first opportunity.
EPISODE 52 WEECAP
Seung-yoon shows up at the Noryangjin Six house with newly pierced ears, which are no big deal to anyone but Mom: Yoo-sun (already biased by her dislike of Seung-yoon) thinks it’s awful. Everyone else, though, votes that Seung-yoon is cute and helpful.
Ha-sun has a downer of a day, unable to control her rowdy class. The principal chides her for being too soft and lacking charisma, which is why she can’t command any teacherly respect. Feeling dejected, she ends up at a beauty salon and asks for a new haristyle, wanting a fresh change.
Teacher Ji-sun goes on a dismal blind date, who is disappointed in her looks and accidentally sends her a text message he was intending for a friend, which describes her as a “bomb” of a date. Ji-sun walks out of the date (yay for her), but then has to deal with the blow to her pride. So when she’s invited out for drinks by a friend, she goes.
At the beauty salon, Ha-sun falls asleep in the chair and gets mixed up with another client. At the nightclub, Ji-sun drinks herself nearly to sleep and mumbles an okay to a stranger who offers to jazz up her style.
And thus it is that Ha-sun ends up with a punk-rocker mullet, and Ji-sun ends up with braids. Not exactly the change they were going for.
Both Teacher Parks seek out the same beauty salon to correct their hair disasters, only to be told they need to wait out the weekend. After skulking out with their heads in wraps, Ji-sun proposes that they live it up for a night. If they’re stuck with this hair, might as well try to work it with confidence.
Seung-yoon is left alone at the Ahn-Yoon household when everyone else heads out on errands of their own. He’s bored silly until Yoo-sun comes home (he perks up adorably, like a puppy desperate for company), and when she searches for some medicinal herbs for her upset stomach, he sniffs it out with his “dog nose.”
When she asks why he’s wearing that hat inside the house, he says it’s because she doesn’t like the sight of his pierced ears. (Aw.) She’s unexpectedly touched by that display of consideration.
But Yoo-sun’s stomachache grows worse, and she needs emergency treatment. Seung-yoon carries her to the hospital on his back (double aww), panting at the exertion.
But in his rush, he forgets to lock the front door and Yoo-sun urges him back home, where he comes across a burglar. Seung-yoon takes him down and won’t let go of his hold, growling and biting the man’s pant leg like a guard dog.
Ha-sun and Ji-sun go shopping for some new clothes to match their new attitude, then hit up a nightclub. Their bravado is wearing thin, but they force themselves onto the dance floor and get caught up in the energy, dancing it up. In fact, Ha-sun finds that people start mimicking her moves and she leads them in an impromptu dance sequence, while Ji-sun crooks her finger at a guy who hurries to dance with her.
They dance the night away and marvel at their newfound confidence. They cap off the night with beers, with which they toast each other.
They return to school looking like normal, but Ha-sun now has the authority to inspire an appropriate level of obedience in her wayward students. As she and Ji-sun pass each other in the hall, they give each other a nod of respect, and picture each other as their rocker personas — which, narrator Le Juck points out, offers them the encouragement to make it through their everyday lives.
Meanwhile, Seung-yoon accompanies Yoo-sun on a walk through the park, her attitude toward him now softened. He assures her he’s great at frisbee-catching, and proceeds to demonstrate…by catching it with his mouth. Woof woof.
EPISODE 53 WEECAP
Ha-sun gives Kye-sang some old reference books, and as he takes them, he notices something in her eyes and advises her to stop by the clinic for anemia tests.
Ji-seok overhears the kids mention Jin-hee’s sleepwalking, which worries him because he fears she might say something in her sleep about him liking Ha-sun. She assures him that her sleepwalking hasn’t happened in a while… but later that night, Ha-sun is creeped out when Jin-hee looms over the bed, mumbling, “Unni…it’s so frustrating…Teacher Yoon…really likes you…It’s a secret but he likes you…”
In the morning, Ha-sun asks her about it and Jin-hee plays it off as nonsense. But now that the seed has been planted, Ha-sun wonders if it could be true.
Of course, “Teacher Yoon” could refer to multiple people in this drama, since “teacher” is also what you use to refer to doctors. So it could be Yoon Kye-sang, Yoon Ji-seok, or music teacher Yoon Gun.
Ha-sun rules out Yoon Gun (Jin-hee doesn’t know him) and Ji-seok (Jin-hee’s not that close to him)…which means it must be Kye-sang. HA! I love that this works logically, but is so wrong.
Jin-hee warns Ji-seok about the slip, and he freaks out. After mulling it over, he decides on a plan: For now, he requests that Jin-hee sleep with a mouthpiece to garble any of her unconscious muttering.
Meanwhile, Ha-sun is in the market for a car, and Ji-seok offers to put her in contact with a salesman friend. He asks Kye-sang for the info, so when Ha-sun drops by Kye-sang’s room with more books, she overhears his phone conversation about the car. Only, she only hears his side, and his comments give her the wrong idea: “Next-door teacher,” “pretty,” and “shapely rear end.”
Shocked, Ha-sun imagines Kye-sang in a seedier light, and that he likes her purely for her ass. HA. So when he calls her over to test for anemia, she’s curt and standoffish.
The test results come back normal, but she’s borderline so Kye-sang advises her to eat nutrient-rich foods. Ha-sun can’t wait to bolt and replies sarcastically about his exceptional concern for her health. When she bends over to retrieve something that has fallen, her own bag knocks her on her butt, sending her leaping to the wrong conclusion. With righteous indignation, Ha-sun accuses Kye-sang of calling her over with ulterior motives and having a butt fetish. Haha.
Belatedly she realizes it was her own bag and flushes bright red, beating a hasty retreat. So when he drops by later to give her the car salesman’s information, she hides her face in mortification.
Meanwhile, Ji-seok’s fears about Jin-hee blabbing his secret give him nightmares of Ha-sun finding out, and he ends up mumbling in his sleep. Jong-seok wonders who this Teacher Park is that he’s talking about, so Ji-seok winds up sleeping with a mouthguard as well, to silence himself.
The family stuff — bonding together to take over Nae-sang’s schedule — totally kills me. In past weeks we’ve explored the more emotional aspect of these family interactions, but I liked Episode 49 giving us a lighter, cuter version with the group song and dance. It’s adorable and sweet.
Another highlight this week was in taking on more unexpected pairings, with characters interacting who haven’t had much time together in previous weeks.
In constantly finding new bonds to explore, the show mimics real life, in the way that you might find youself brought unexpectedly closer to someone through one random incident. Perhaps it happens outside your usual group of friends, keeping the new friendship on the downlow, which is what heppens when Ha-sun assumes Jin-hee must mean Kye-sang because she has no idea that Jin-hee and Ji-seok are on secret-sharing terms.
Seung-yoon and Yoo-sun are another example of this kind of connection, and it’s one I’ve been waiting for. I’ve always felt Yoo-sun was a bit harsh toward the cheery Seung-yoon, who’s harmless and endearing, but at least the rest of the family sees his good nature. But Yoo-sun’s a mother who thinks her son’s better off without distracting negative influences, and I’m sure many of us have experienced Mom’s irrational dislike toward a friend based on reasons she thinks are valid which we find unreasonable. So I was eager for the turnaround, with Yoo-sun finally laughing at his cute puppy ways.
This is where the show’s title comes into play; each character, and each relationship, involves a “counterattack” of some kind. An upswing, a reversal of fortune. Some have already reached that point, like Nae-sang, and Jin-hee to some extent with her first stable job. Some we can see off in the distance, like Ji-seok’s one-sided love, while others are farther off still. But they’ll get there, and I appreciate how that’s built into their arc.
Speaking of which, it’s nice to see a different side of Young-wook, who has probably been one of the least likable characters thus far. Aside from the way he guilted Ha-sun into dating him (although that was unintentionally manipulative), he hasn’t really done much wrong. He has annoying quirks, like his nonstop essay texts, but he’s not a bad guy; it just so happens that he’s dating the kind of woman who’s a pushover, so he doesn’t know when he’s being annoying.
He really is trying to be a good boyfriend, and there’s something really touching in the way he prepares to meet her friends. It’s an official step in their dating relationship, and the boyfriend (who’s on display for the friends) is expected to impress. Ha-sun doesn’t require that of Young-wook, but he’s ready and willing anyway. You can also see how he’d be good at his job once he passes the civil service exam, because he’s well-spoken and courteous, knowing how to say all the right things without being smarmy.
Last but not least, Park Ha-sun is quickly becoming my favorite character, because she is the very definition of a committed actor. No matter the situation, no matter how embarrassing, she goes after it 100%. She could have played her role as the expected type, because it could easily become a bland character — she’s nice, pretty, meek, gullible. But Ha-sun also has a hilarious intense streak, like when she (in previous weeks) freaks out about piano tickets, or sings “Roly poly” wildly as a distraction, or despairs over her writer’s block. She really sells her character, and it’s a pleasure to watch.
- High Kick 3: Episodes 45-48
- High Kick 3: Episodes 40-44
- High Kick 3: Episodes 35-39
- High Kick 3: Episodes 30-34
- High Kick 3: Episodes 25-29
- High Kick 3: Episodes 22-24
- High Kick 3: Episodes 18-21
- High Kick 3: Episodes 14-17
- High Kick 3: Episodes 10-13
- High Kick 3: Episodes 5-9
- High Kick 3: Episodes 1-4