High Kick 3: Episodes 54-58
Lots of little beats to sympathize with this week, I thought. Even when the show isn’t going dramatic in tugging on the heartstrings, I’m finding that there are a lot of smaller bits that resonate with me and make me look fondly on High Kick. These characters feel like they live in my world, and possess the same set of emotions as I do, even if our experiences have been, for the most part, entirely different from each other.
SONG OF THE DAY
Rossy Punky Perfume – “Falling In Love” [ Download ]
EPISODE 54 WEECAP
Nae-sang has managed to scrape together enough money to set up a new business. Rather than going back to dealing in equipment and props, which requires more money, he launches a service casting extras for dramas. And so, Ahn’s Art — Ahn Ye-seul, not to be confused with Han Ye-seul, hee — is born.
Kye-sang consents to using the extra storeroom for Nae-sang’s (teeny) office, and Nae-sang recruits Seung-yoon, Jin-hee, and Julien to be employees, even giving them titles. However, business is super-slow, and the only messages that come in are constant updates of purchases Mr. Kim makes on Nae-sang’s business card. Most of them come from the convenience store, in tiny amounts, and they wonder what he could be eating.
Young-wook juggles his studies with part-time work, because he wants to treat Ha-sun one last time before taking up residence at a temple for hard-core exam prep. His friend suggests couple outfits, and gives him a tip on a hot trend: Hyun Bin tracksuits.
Ha-sun offers to dress alike for their last date, stifling her embarrassment to show appreciation for his gesture. Young-wook belatedly picks up on the fact that the trend is passé and apologizes, but Ha-sun gamely goes along, saying it’s fine. She also brushes aside a minor shoe issue (her sneakers, worn to match the tracksuit, are uncomfortable) and takes pains to be her usual accommodating self.
Young-wook takes her to an Italian restaurant and urges her to order steak, but she sticks to the cheapest pasta. This time he orders proficiently, having practiced everything to make the date a success.
However, he’s been fighting a cold all night, exacerbated by all the extra work he’s been doing, and finally collapses. At the hospital, he urges Ha-sun to go home right away, but she tells him she’ll wait till he falls asleep.
Yet when he wakes up in the early morning, he finds her curled up on a cot next to his. He spots the bloodstain on her foot, incurred by her uncomfortable shoe. So when his friend calls and says Young-wook must be thrilled to have Ha-sun by his side, Young-wook admits he ought to be happy, but looks at her with troubled eyes.
Later that afternoon, Young-wook arrives at school on his way to the temple and spots Ha-sun laughing freely with her colleagues. She looks much more cheerful than she does in the photo they took together, and with a heavy heart Young-wook chooses not to stop her, instead leaving a note at her desk.
In it, he explains that he’s always been good at gritting his teeth and enduring in times of difficulty — but seeing her do the same for him (or because of him) pains him. He promises to come back and see her after his exam, then boards his bus with a tear in his eye.
Alas, his note falls to the ground with a gust of wind and gets swept up into the trash.
Nae-sang’s new company gets its first job with a call for a number of extras, and he presides over his assembled group at the drama set (lecturing them about maintaining sageuk reality, heh). Filming begins — and hey, it’s MBC’s Kye Baek, with the extras playing citizens on the run during battle.
EPISODE 55 WEECAP
Jin-hee tries one of the nurse’s lipsticks at work, pleased with the color until Kye-sang fails at rustling up a polite compliment; he admits he can’t lie and says the color doesn’t suit her. But, you know, with that trademark Kye-sang smile that is alternately adorable and infuriating.
So when Jin-hee finds the office empty and the clinic blog up on Kye-sang’s computer, Jin-hee rolls up her sleeves to add a few comments of her own, contradicting everyone’s praise of his angelic smile. She gets carried away, chuckling to herself as she rants about his horrible manners, and just barely escapes before he returns.
Ahn’s Art continues chugging along (today’s request comes for ajumma extras for the “MBS” drama Me Only, Flower, haha). Seung-yoon splits his time between the job and singing his song for Soo-jung at her command, like he’s her personal one-song radio.
When Soo-jung’s invited to a concert but can’t afford to go, she hits up Seung-yoon to take her, pouring on the pouts and aegyo. But he doesn’t want to go see a boy band and declines, and in annoyed retaliation Soo-jung tells him his song stinks. He says he’ll give it to someone else, and she snaps at him to go right ahead.
Only, when she actually hears him singing the revised version with Ji-won’s name instead, she grows miffed. She didn’t want it herself, but she doesn’t want anyone else getting the song about Ji-won’s number 1 smile, shining “brighter than crystals” (HA!) — especially when it starts catching on and her own family starts humming the tune. Julien even uses a clip as his ringtone.
Vowing to make a catchier song, she studies pop songs and composes one of her own, all about how her smile is the best. Now to get it to spread: She goes around singing it to everyone and trying to make it catch on. The response is merely amused and dismissive, though — you can’t force a trend.
Jin-hee finds herself in trouble when her silly prank gets out of hand; Kye-sang comes back to his office and looks mighty upset to discover an intrusion. He confides to Jin-hee that this is very serious stuff: Somebody snuck onto his computer and took confidential files, and left some slander on his blog. This is a repeat of a prior incident from a few months ago, and he’s determined to track down the culprit this time.
Gulp. Does she admit she left the slander in hopes of clearing the air? Or does she stay silent, hoping he won’t figure out out?
The clues point at an inside job, so Kye-sang writes everybody’s name down who works in the building, trying to reason out the suspects. Nervously, Jin-hee tries to maneuver her name out of the suspect pile, mentioning her alibi, but Kye-sang reasons that she is still a valid suspect. Purely theoretically speaking, of course — his own name is still in the pile, too, he points out.
Jin-hee gets even more agitated when Kye-sang realizes he’d left on his webcam, which should reveal their evildoer. What he gets is a blurry image of Jin-hee, and she winces to be found out… until he wonders, “Could it be the nurse?” The photo is clearly of her, but she’s not about to point that out and jumps on this excuse and argues that hmm, it could be anybody, who knows?, it’s so hard to tell, whoops-gotta-go!
After she races out, Kye-sang chuckles to himself. A flashback confirms what most of us were probably guessing: That he knew all along. He’d seen Jin-hee at his computer through the window, and couldn’t resist pulling her leg. Now he laughs, admitting that it was just too much fun to pass up.
Too much fun, in fact, not to have one last round. The next day, he shares a breakthrough in the case that eliminates a group of suspects…leaving only Kye-sang and Jin-hee on the list. Jin-hee gasps, now outed… until Kye-sang wonders, wide-eyed, “Was it me?” HA.
EPISODE 56 WEECAP
In the latest exams, Jong-seok scores so much higher — 450,000th place nationally, over his previous 600,000th place — that his family showers him with praise (Soo-jung wonders if he cheated, ha). Jong-seok is adorably pleased at the reaction, while Kye-sang declares it’s a great achievement and surprises him with spending money.
With cash in his pocket, Jong-seok’s eye gravitates toward a display of girls’ hair trinkets, remembering one tutoring session when Ji-won’s clip had broken. He picks out a pretty sparkly pin, only to have Soo-jung discover it among his things and assume he bought it for her. To deflect, he says it was for Mom, who’s so moved that she brushes away tears.
That’s all well and good, but Jong-seok still means to carry out his original gift, so he buys a second pin. This time he keeps it close, but when he goes next door Ha-sun catches him off-guard and spots the pin. Stammering, he lies that he found it and tries to hand it to Ji-won quickly, you know, since it was just lying around and all.
Alas, the conversation veers out of his control and he has to watch in dismay when the girls decide to play a game of rock-scissors-paper for it, and Ha-sun wins.
Speaking of whom: Ha-sun’s new car is delivered, and to celebrate, she takes her housemates out for a drive, much calmer behind the wheel this time. She takes Ji-seok for a spin next, confident that her previous driving anxiety is a thing of the past — until she turns onto the main road. Suddenly she’s hunched over again, driving at a crawl, with other cars honking and flashing their lights at her angrily.
Ha-sun is so dejected at the insults slung her way that Ji-seok opens his window and flings a few insults back at the other angry driver. He tells Ha-sun that these encounters are common on the road, but fleeting. If she just says what she feels, she’ll be able to put the bad mood behind her more quickly.
Back to Jong-seok, who is determined to give the hairclip to Ji-won, even if it means buying two more clips with his rapidly dwindling allowance. He practices his excuse — that since Ha-sun won the clip, he wanted to make sure the other two ladies weren’t disappointed. Hence, one is for Jin-hee (the excuse), the other for Ji-won (the stealth present).
The problem? Soo-jung’s eagle eyes spot one of the clips, and she and Mom assume that Jong-seok, sweet boy, bought his sister one after seeing her disappointment at being left out. Aw. And ha!
Jong-seok takes the one remaining clip next door and tries, again, to give it to Ji-won. But Julien interferes this time, suggesting that she and Jin-hee can play for it. Curses!
That means Jong-seok secretly roots for Ji-won to win the chicken-leg battle, although she gets knocked down by Jin-hee’s push. Jin-hee feels bad and forfeits her win — Jong-seok eagerly agrees — but Ji-won says that fair is fair and accepts the loss cheerily. Thwarted again!
Sadly, Jong-seok has used up all his money and can’t afford any more hairclips. So when he sees all the ladies sitting together, each wearing the same sparkly clip — minus Ji-won — all he can do is sigh. And maybe work on his stealth.
Ha-sun takes out her car again, determined to get over her timidity. Recalling Ji-seok’s advice, when she’s tailgated and honked at again, she screws up her courage and shouts back an insult, then calls Ji-seok in giddy excitement over the rush. How refreshing, how liberating!
Except… she picked the wrong car to mess with. Scary ajummas ride her tail and scream at her, sending Ha-sun’s newfound confidence crashing. Ji-seok advises her to take a side road and escape, but the ajummas cut her off and corner her, shaking her car menacingly.
They agree to let things slide if Ha-sun apologizes face to face, and naive Ha-sun complies… only to find herself knocked around, keys stolen. Ji-seok drives out to find her huddled at the side of the road, locked out and freaking out. She blames him for giving her bad advice and refuses his consolation, a mess of tears.
Ji-seok promises to find the ajummas and right this wrong, which gets her to calm down. He wipes away her tears, drapes his jacket over her, and takes her home.
EPISODE 57 WEECAP
Jong-seok is still defensive about receiving tutoring, rejecting Ji-won’s urging to admit the truth so they can stop sneaking around. Today they’re in his room, with everyone scheduled to be out late. There’s a moment when he finds himself looking at Ji-won, jerking his gaze away nervously when she catches him at it.
To his horror, his parents come home early, so he urges Ji-won into Soo-jung’s attic room to escape notice. She points out that this is a whole lot more suspicious than just telling the truth, but he reminds her about his “last piece of pride” and refuses to give in.
Too bad Soo-jung also comes home early, and now there’s no way for Ji-won to sneak out (Jong-seok: “Jumping out the window… would be impossible, huh?”). Desperate, he convinces her to fit into a duffel bag, so he can carry her out.
Too bad Soo-jung fights him over the bag, leading him to drop Ji-won. Jong-seok opens to the bag to find her unconscious. And, well, this looks suspicious.
The family turns narrowed eyes onto Jong-seok, coming to the natural conclusion: Are they sneaking around because they’re dating? Faced with (1) dating Ji-won or (2) being tutored by Ji-won, he decides upon the lesser of two evils and he mumbles, “Um, yeah, sure.” And adds that it wasn’t his idea to date, no way in hell — which makes it sound like Ji-won was the one chasing him around.
Meanwhile, Yoo-sun picks up extra work selling fruit juicers, which Seung-yoon suggests she sell them online. Julien, for instance, has a popular blog where he posts his recipes.
Julien isn’t keen on opening up his blog to shilling for a product, but Yoo-sun and Seung-yoon assure him that the mixer is solid and that they’ll handle all the work. He reluctantly agrees, and they get to work filming the video.
Seung-yoon takes up the role of creative director, which explains the insistence on weirdly saggy pants and the Sandara Park hairstyle and makeup. I love that Yoo-sun complains about the pants, saying they make you look like you’ve pooped your pants, while Seung-yoon insists they’re trendy. Hee. Yeah, trend or no, I’m gonna stick with not looking like I crapped myself, thanks.
They sing about the mixer’s capabilities to 2NE1’s “I’m the Best” — and contrary to their expectations, the gimmick is a hit. Orders come pouring in and Yoo-sun becomes known as that cool ajumma from that funny video.
Ji-won doesn’t realize until the next day that Jong-seok explained her presence with the excuse that they were dating. Peeved, she marches over next door to tell everyone the truth, and is just barely swayed by a panicky Jong-seok to keep the secret for another day, until he can work up the nerve to tell everyone himself.
As a cover story that doesn’t involve dating, they agree to say they were working on an act for a school contest. The winner takes home a tablet PC, so at least this explanation is pride-salvaging.
However, on Ji-won’s way out she runs into Kye-sang, and when he’s told by his family about the dating news, Ji-won breaks. She can’t have him thinking she’s dating Jong-seok, so she tells the family it was all a lie, explaining the whole tutoring thing.
Too bad for Yoo-sun’s budding mixer-selling career, the product is discovered to be faulty, and all the juice it makes tastes metallic. Julien is furious — his blog credibility was sacrificed for nothing — and races next door. Yoo-sun and Seung-yoon run away, thankfully assisted by the increased mobility of their loose-fitting poopy-pants.
EPISODE 58 WEECAP
Jin-hee realizes too late that she hasn’t finished her laundry, and has nothing to wear to work. With a sigh, she shows up in her pink bunny sweater, which turns out to be an unexpected boon: They’re doing children’s vaccinations for the next three days, and the kids respond well to it.
In fact, it’s such a hit that when she shows up the next day wearing the sweater again, she finds that Kye-sang has found a matching one for himself. (That is adorable.) Together, they make cute jokes and entertain the kids with their playful attitudes.
Plus, well, there’s that whole dressing-alike-makes-you-look-like-a-couple aspect that Jin-hee secretly thrills at. One of the kids asks if they’re married, and at a coffee shop, the clerk gives them free matching phone charms because they look so cute together.
Kye-sang helps her attach her charm, and then on their way back he stops when she looks wistfully at the coffeemaker prize in a couple contest. He encourages them to participate, and joins her in the dancing. There’s just something so extra-silly about watching former pop idol Yoon Kye-sang dancing in character, like a big ol’ dork.
Nae-sang’s business runs into a snag when one of his extras gets chewed out by a drama director for messing up the scene. Nae-sang decides acting lessons are in order and brings the ajumma crew home for rehearsals.
Most of the ajummas are legitimately terrible — looking at the camera, saying their lines awkwardly — but a newcomer shows promise, to Nae-sang’s delight. It’s Park Hae-mi (Mom from the original High Kick), and she is alternately a decent actor and a total ham. Hae-mi is one of those pretentious types, armed with an elaborate backstory for the smallest of exchanges, but Nae-sang loves her and holds her up as an example to the others.
On the next acting job — heh, this time it’s MBC’s Hooray for Love — where Hae-mi has a bit part as a woman slinking into a motel with an ajusshi. The director is dissatisfied with the man’s performance, so Nae-sang steps in and basks in the glory of seeing himself on television.
Yoo-sun, on the other hand, is peevish. First off, that’s hardly a scene to be bragging about, and secondly, she is not a fan of the self-important Hae-mi (who mistook her for hired help on their first encounter).
Nae-sang enjoys the company, though — they’re basically two big talkers, puffing up each other’s egos — and joins Hae-mi on the next shoot. This time they’re an argumentative couple at a police station, whose fighting escalates into shouting and hair-pulling, performed with their brand of dramatic excess.
While getting ready for the third and last day of children’s vaccinations, Jin-hee spills juice on her shirt, and freaks out — not today! She can’t ruin her last chance to bask in a little stealth coupledom!
She hand-washes the stains as best she can and arrives for work in a mostly-clean shirt… only to find that Kye-sang isn’t wearing his today. He’s got a meeting after work, and tells Jin-hee that she’ll have to be rabbit enough for both of them today. Aw. She walks away dejectedly, imagining her rabbit’s ears flopping over in disappointment.
So when she drops by the Ahn/Yoon household sometime later, she perks up to see Kye-sang wearing his bunny shirt, which is comfy for wearing around the house. This perks Jin-hee right back up, her shirt-bunny smiling happily.
This was a lighter week for High Kick, which is now playing with its established lovelines more openly and obviously. I enjoy that despite none of the lovelines really seeming like sure things (except Ji-seok and Ha-sun — they’ve gotta happen, right?), I enjoy watching them play out anyway because they’re full of tension and real-life truisms.
For example, I don’t exactly want Jin-hee and Kye-sang to stand together as an established couple at the end, but for once I don’t feel like I have to necessarily root for a pairing in order to enjoy seeing it play out. It makes sense to me that Jin-hee would develop a crush on her boss, and read a little too much into his small kindnesses, in the way you do when you’re a young twentysomething in a new infatuation.
I was surprised to actually feel an emotional tug at a beat that isn’t necessarily emotional — when Jin-hee feverishly washes her sweater so she can wear it another day, hoping to match. Who among us hasn’t clung to a tiny connection, and then felt dashed when a circumstance didn’t play out as expected?
The fact that her bashful crush alternates with mortification/irritation at Kye-sang also makes it feel real, because how many of us have been stuck in infatuations we know we ought to let go of, but can’t? One sweet gesture will get us giddy and excited, while one careless word can crush the mood for an afternoon and have us muttering curses underneath our breaths, determined to end it for good this time.
Ah, to be twenty again. (Okay, not. Life really does get better with age. It’s just that watching these interactions onscreen expressed in such simple, slice-of-life ways is really taking me back with the occasional flashes of nostalgia. It’s an unexpected bonus to a show, a side I didn’t anticipate but that I find welcome.)
Then there’s Jong-seok’s hilarious budding interest in Ji-won, which he’s still trying to convince himself doesn’t exist. Aw. In another drama, a character failing to give a gift that many times in a row may be frustrating, but he’s a kid who hasn’t admitted that he likes her, and who’s juggling this adorable mix of cool kid and awkward bumbling teenager. I love that this aspect of him makes him a more complex character than the straight-up rebel, and contributes an extra facet of vulnerability.
I found the Ji-won/Kye-sang moment another example of something that’s completely true to life — the part where Ji-won blurts that she’s not dating Jong-seok, because she doesn’t want her actual crush to think she is, even if he probably wouldn’t think much of it. Ji-won can have moments of being an old soul, but when she’s with Kye-sang she’s also refreshingly young, and that seems like a total young-girl-with-a-crush reaction.
- High Kick 3: Episodes 49-53
- 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