What’s Up: Episode 4
Ooohoo… so dark. We went from a lighter episode to a darker, more emotional one in the next. This episode is all about escape, and trying to find a new path from the one that you seem stuck on. I’m surprised – I didn’t expect that we would really get to Jae Hun’s issue right after the last episode. In a way, I’m kind of mad – you just made me so excited and happy, and then you bring me down with this somber episode. (I’m mad in a good way.) But at the end, there’s still hope.
We start with the rehearsals for the A-Team/Chae Young’s team. The team practices their choreography with Mr. Born to Dance, and then open the floor to Ji Eun. She’s a little nervous, but then she blows everyone away with her clear, strong voice. (Episode audio rip below.)
Claps and whistles abound, and Doo Ri sneaks a glance to see Chae Young’s annoyed expression, but she also sees Tae Hee standing up above near the exit, watching them practice. A spy!
Tae Hee crawls back out to the exit, where Do Sung is standing guard. To every senior, he bows and does his greetings, and he rushes Tae Hee to come out because he’s sick of bowing so many times. He even got harassed by a couple of them, who beat him up with drum sticks. Once outside in the campus, Tae Hee mourns the fact that they have to copy the dance moves from another team and that they don’t have their own music; Soo Bin’s music sounds so much better. It inspires Do Sung to try his hand at composing again.
Do Sung quietly works on some music in his room while Jae Hun sleeps. He gets into it, and doesn’t notice Jae Hun’s awake until he’s hit by a pillow. Do Sung quickly shuts off his monitor, which makes Jae Hun think that Do Sung is watching porn.
Jae Hun has enough sense to wonder if Do Sung knows anyone who can compose music for them. I’m not sure why, but Do Sung refuses to volunteer for the task; either he doesn’t want the pressure, be revealed as Hades because of his composing style, or he just doesn’t like Jae Hun’s guts. Jae Hun is a little worried since two days have passed since they were assigned the task – but not that much. He wonders what Tae Hee’s father does for a living, teasing that it’s Do Sung’s girlfriend. When Do Sung asks if Jae Hun has one, he replies that he has a female friend – one who, along with another guy, is part of his three-person group of friends that quit school and hang out together.
The gangster from episode 1 finds Detective Jang, the detective whom Jae Hun gave the slip before. He reports about Jae Hun’s friends’ crimes of pickpocketing, and now possibly involved in a murder. However, the only information he can give is that of Jae Hun’s name.
At 2 am, Lee Da Jung clangs a metal pot waking everyone up, and calling them all to the field in ten minutes for some training for the musical department. Jae Hun’s already outside, doing his own workout, but he just stares at all the other musical students running out. The security guard catches him and asks why he won’t go over, and Jae Hun just doesn’t want to deal with that awful leader anymore. The security guard chuckles to himself – every year there’s one kid who hates the seniors in spite of his peers.
The students all arrive – each bowing in greeting – and Do Sung starts worrying why Jae Hun is nowhere to be seen. That’s because Jae Hun is now in the lobby of the dorm, debating on what to do. Soo Bin catches him there, and asks if he’s the kid who wanted to beat up the leader – Cheon Jin. Everyone knows Jae Hun’s name now, and that Cheon Jin has it in for him. Soo Bin kindly informs Jae Hun that last year, a couple of girls ended up in an ambulance because of him – because of his “step training.”
Out in the field, Cheon Jin has everyone running up flights of steps repeatedly in rows of two. He stops Chae Young though, and tells her to take it easy by running around the field for a bit instead because of her hurt foot. Guess being a star has its advantages with the rest of the student body than with the professors!
While running up the stairs, Doo Ri tells Byeong Gun and Tae Hee a scary story about a ghost that wears only a red tracksuit and haunts the campus. If anyone practices in one of the studios late at night, they just might see the ghost in the mirror. He also died near the steps they are now running at, and this visibly freaks out Tae Hee and Byeong Gun. I think she gets an absolute kick out of scaring them.
Since Jae Hun is the only one missing, Cheon Jin tells everyone that they’re to continue running in this manner until he shows up. Jae Hun finally does show, but he’s already 13 minutes late, and so Cheon Jin orders everyone to do 13 extra rounds for each minute Jae Hun was late. Well that’s gotta make Jae Hun the most hated kid in school.
Jae Hun wants to just apologize, but clearly that’s not enough. Cheon Jin ignores him and warns that if anyone stops, they’ll have to do the round over again. Suddenly, Tae Hee freezes on the steps – afar, she spots the Red Tracksuit ghost! She points it out to Byeong Gun, but it’s gone, and she faints from shock. Everyone stops and gathers, wondering what’s wrong, but Cheon Jin is still heartless. He calls everyone to stop worrying over Tae Hee, and to continue their rounds.
Feeling guilty, Jae Hun interrupts – he’ll do it instead. He will run 13 rounds for all 22 people in the class. And he’ll do it in one night. Cheon Jin holds him to that deal.
The next day in class with Sun-Man, the students all sit on the floor. Once again, he asks if everyone in here wants to be a star. He’d be hard-pressed to find one who doesn’t. Doo Ri raises her hand; she’s not here because she wants to be a famous actress. She’s here because there are dorms. (I love her.) Jae Hun also raises a point with Sun-Man: what qualifications must an actor have to be considered a “star?” It can’t just be the money, because not every actor makes a lot of money.
Sun-Man challenges him to act “happy” then – he’ll pay him some money, and if it’s good, he’ll pay a little more. Jae Hun is offended; he first tries to get away from it by saying he’s only a model, but he also points out he’s not some kind of street monkey. But aren’t all stars like a street monkey, Sun-Man asks. After all – they’re all paid to do show something.
Next thing you know, Yeon Joo bursts into the classroom screaming “JANG JAE HUN!!!” Girl – do you not know the proper etiquette of entering a classroom? You don’t just burst right on in and interrupt class! Actually – it’s ok, you made me cringe and laugh out of embarrassment for Jae Hun… so stay clueless, my friend. And Sun-Man pays Jae Hun for cracking him up, even though no acting was involved.
Jae Hun drags Yeon Joo outside. She wants to go to the Philippines. Or Malaysia. Or Thailand. Anywhere far. She wheedles with him – didn’t he say that school is absolutely useless? He can’t possibly want to complete the course to graduation.
He knows something is up, and so Yeon Joo admits to having the police looking for her and Ha Geun. Jae Hun doesn’t want to be involved. He absolutely cannot end up in the police station again, especially after last time, which hurt his mother. (What’s the last time? When he was caught thieving? Hmmm…)
Speaking of his mother, she’s getting romanced (quite lamely) by a fellow painter who helps her every so often and drives her to her work. Oh it’s so sad, seeing him sheepishly ask for a meal and/or coffee. That’s when Detective Jang arrives, looking for Jae Hun. His mother claims that she hasn’t spoken to her son in a long time, that he’s gone and run off. But Jang tells her that her son is involved in a murder, and that he pickpockets for a living. That makes her blood run cold.
While talking outside, Jae Hun is approached by his group mates, Glasses Girl and Chae Young’s Roomie. He promises to have practice that evening and they’ll discuss the script and music, and Yeon Joo feels like she’s seeing a totally new person now. They go to lunch, and immediately Byeong Gun, Do Sung, Tae Hee, and Doo Ri join in, wanting to be introduced. HEEHEE! Do Sung asks, “So is this your girlfriend?” while Doo Ri notes that this “girlfriend” didn’t bring any food as gifts. I love how no one believes that she’s just a friend, and Jae Hun is rattled when he sees Tae Hee staring at him blankly.
Yeon Joo honestly tells everyone that they’re part of a gang together, that the three friends go around and pickpocket people. His school friends are shocked – though they make light of it at first, Jae Hun’s dark expression confirms that it’s true. Yeon Joo even says that she accrued a large debt in his name because he had given her all of his identity cards when he asked her to sign up to college for him. He gets really pissed with her, and she pouts and says that it’s all the more reason for him to run away with her!
That evening, as they all head back to their rooms, Do Sung passes by the TV in the common room, and it’s airing the news. It’s his mom – and she’s a former TV newsperson who is now a government representative and interested in running for a higher position. Whoa… hence the secret child!
Yeon Joo stays at Doo Ri and Tae Hee’s room for the evening, and Tae Hee gives Yeon Joo her clothes and washing accessories before leaving for practice. It’s awkward in the room, as Doo Ri isn’t the most social of people.
Jae Hun hosts the meeting in a darkened gym. He went to the library for some ideas on a play – and he came up with nothing. They have three options: 1) change the director (but they can’t because Sun-Man appointed him); 2) just surrender to A-Team (no one wants that); or 3) everyone does their own thing (whuuuuut!?). They don’t notice Doo Ri and Yeon Joo watching from above. Doo Ri isn’t interested in what they’re doing, but Yeon Joo has never seen her friend act so zealously about anything related to school (even if he is slacking off). Doo Ri notes that Jae Hun has had a hard time since the first day, pissing off both Professor Yang and the sunbaes in school – and yet, he still manages to smile. She also knows that Yeon Joo is lying to herself.
Byeong Gun is coming back from the grocery store with snacks when he nearly gets run over by a truck. He starts muttering curses at it, and then suddenly the truck backs up to where he’s standing! Freaked that the people inside heard him, he tries to hide, but is approached by none other than Jae Hun’s mom. She’s looking for him frantically.
Byeong Gun directs her and her Romancer to Sun-Man’s office with the security guard, while he himself goes to get Jae Hun in the gym. By the time he reaches Sun-Man’s office, his mother’s already inside.
She pleads with Sun-Man to not kick out her son, no matter what others may say. Sun-Man is absolutely confused, and the Romancer realizes that perhaps the cops did not come visit the school just yet. Sun-Man gets the hint that the police may be involved, and he says that he can’t do anything about it, especially since Jae Hun is already of legal age.
Jae Hun’s mom begs him never to give up on her son. She was never able to raise him properly, and he grew up without a father. He had told her that acting and this school was like an escape – an escape into another life that he may never have known. Her touching words strike a chord in Sun-Man as he sees another side to Jae Hun… but it also enrages Jae Hun. He bursts into the room and drags his mother out.
He drags her out to the street where the truck is parked, Romancer following close behind. They don’t notice Do Sung and Tae Hee across the ways, on their way home to the dorms.
She’s angry that he got involved with the police again, but Jae Hun is even angrier that she just came to him accusing him of a crime he didn’t commit. Why can’t she ever trust him?! He’s tired of her coming to try and fix things for him, and just wants her to live her own life separately from his. It all comes out of a place of guilt, and Jae Hun no longer wants his mother to suffer because of his mistakes – whether or not he made them. He hates that every time they meet, it’s almost always like this, in a negative situation.
Mother gets back into the car and dumps a container of kimchi onto the ground. She doesn’t say another word, so Romancer explains that she brought over kimchi, since he doesn’t like anyone else’s, before driving away. Jae Hun gives a sideways glance and sees Do Sung and Tae Hee, and then he runs off in the opposite direction.
Tae Hee picks up the kimchi: “Smells delicious.”
Jae Hun runs off to the steps and starts running all his rounds. At the same time, Chae Young is practicing diligently in the studio, trying to dance, even though she’s not a natural dancer. Tae Hee listens to music in the middle of the night, perhaps trying to escape her own reality.
Jae Hun takes a misstep and rolls down a flight of stairs. Yowch… He lies on the ground and stares at the full moon above him, and breaks into angry tears. He quickly gets up, stares at the long flight of stairs, and runs up again with renewed vigor.
I love that this episode is all about escape. The school has provided a place of solace for these students, an escape from their ordinary (or extraordinary) lives. The focus was on Jae Hun as he tried to escape his past in his episode. He’s got a lot of baggage, and I truly enjoy getting little insights into each character – especially him – while not giving away too much. I think that’s why this drama really works for me in a way that The Musical doesn’t; I’m invested in all the characters here, and I want to see how all of them will overcome the obstacles of their past. In The Musical, I am currently only invested in Yoo Jin’s character, and merely observing the other characters.
For Do Sung, the revelation about his mother was awesome. I had assumed she was married to a politician, not that she was the politician. Forgive me for my stereotypical mindset, especially when in K-dramas the politicians are usually male and they are the ones who renounce their “bastard” child. I felt so bad watching him watch his mother on TV. Mothers can be so cold-hearted too.
On a side note, at the end of each episode, there’s a little side story for each character that isn’t important to the main story, but gives you some insight to who they are. At the end of episode 1 and 3, we get a little back story on Jae Hun, where he and his friends were running from the gangsters because they were pickpocketing in the gangsters’ “domain.” Jae Hun made his friends hide, then took an empty soda can and smacked the gang leader right in the forehead. He was then able to get the gangsters away from his friends’ tail. End of episode 2 gave us the music video for “Lunatic,” and that music video is basically about Ha Do Sung’s childhood, as he grew up and dreamed of flying away. The end of episode 4 shows Do Sung walking around the school before he got accepted, and he gets interrupted by Doo Ri and her mother taking a tour of the college with another teacher. The teacher thinks Do Sung is a student late for class, so Do Sung quickly scurries away and hides around the corner, watching Doo Ri. Already, she’s got some attitude, despite her long curls and demure dress. She catches sight of him watching her, and gives him a little scare, before smiling sweetly and going away.