It’s time to set up rivalries all around, but to be honest, I found myself struggling to care in this episode, though it did pick up somewhat in the latter half. Most of the hour was spent rehashing conflicts we already knew about, though the rivalry between Hae-sung and Ri-an has hints of promise and might take an interesting turn. And we do get our first glimpse at one pair’s romantic sparks, which probably saved this episode for me.
Dream High 2 isn’t faring very well in the ratings, dropping with each episode from 10 to 9 down to 7.2% with this episode. Light and Shadow led the timeslot with 16.8%, and Salaryman came in at 14.6%.
EPISODE 3 RECAP
JB says it’s annoying to have distractions in his practice studio, and Yoo-jin takes issue with that. Trying to break up the fight that’s brewing, Hae-sung pipes up that it is the agency’s school after all, and Yoo-jin’s squatting here, adding major insult to injury.
It’s enough to break up the standoff though, leaving Yoo-jin fuming at her. She chases him down outside, but he yells at her, asking if she doesn’t have any pride, if she’s just so nice that it doesn’t bother her that they took what was hers.
She hangs her head, and says that well, it’s not that they took, but that she lost her spot (from her own lack of talent). Yoo-jin asks what the difference is, or is it because they’re idols that she feels like it’s a given?
Meanwhile Ri-an confronts Kang-chul about his move to purposely out her from the movie. She asks to be allowed to act, and he tells her that she gains nothing from acting other than critics saying that she acts with her feet. Her retort: what idol doesn’t start out feet-acting? HA. No argument here.
But Ri-an asks what the lifespan is on her group – three years, at most? She muses that the other girls are good singers so they have roads to make it beyond their idol careers, but what about her? Should she just open an internet shopping mall and call it a day? He doesn’t even flinch as he tells her that it’s not a bad idea, since acting is not for her.
Later that night she moves into her dorm room, where Hae-sung and Soon-dong refuse to move out. She sees Hae-sung’s shrine to all things JB, and calls her a stalker-fan. As they fight, Hae-sung finds a picture of Ri-an with JB among her things.
Things escalate into a tiff about whose stuff goes where, and Hae-sung ends up sniffling on the floor amidst her broken trinkets, gluing the pieces back together. Yoo-jin’s words ring in her ear.
Jin-man gets called to unclog a toilet, now demoted to lowly handyman under Tae-yeon’s rule. He complains that she’s changed just because of the new agency, which she doesn’t see as a problem. Aw, it’s too bad ’cause I really did want her to stay nerdy and be one of the misfit teachers.
Jin-man drags his feet back to his attic room, more dejected than ever, and finds Yoo-jin waiting for him inside, with a whole basket of bananas as a housewarming gift. Jin-man can see straightaway that it’s a bribe to stay there, and starts to kick him out.
But Yoo-jin sees how frustrated he is over being the resident handyman, and offers to do all the fixing around here, in exchange for sharing a room. Jin-man considers it.
Hae-sung knocks hesitantly on JB’s door, and asks him out of the blue if he’s seen Dances With Wolves and Avatar. She explains that these two movies have something in common – interlopers come to a peaceful place and take over, stealing the residents’ homes and land. HA.
She says that the same thing always happens in those movies: a hero switches sides and joins the natives, and fights to protect the land and bring peace. He just stares blankly. She says that it’s the same thing that’s happening in the dorm, and hopes that JB will be that hero and take their side.
He just blinks and says it’s her problem and starts to close the door. But she sticks her foot in and looks at him in shock, “But… it’s because of you guys that we’re being kicked out…” He doesn’t think that’s his problem in the least, and shuts the door in her face.
Cut to: Kang-chul’s office, where he reads a report that basically looks like a third-grader’s scrapbook of Avatar, and peers over it to the dorm’s ousted students, standing there with blue feathers in their hair. Pffft.
He barely holds in his laughter as he attempts to understand the situation – so they’re the natives, and he’s the bad guy? He tells them to take it up with Principal Joo, but they already have, and got a big, “What do you want me to do about it?”
Hae-sung says it isn’t fair to compare them with idols, while Eui-bong asks to be given a fair shot against them. Kang-chul scoffs, asking if they really think they can beat them, and no one dares to accept the challenge. They shuffle back to class, defeated.
Kang-chul wonders if Principal Joo is really on his side or not, and decides to keep watch to figure out if he’s really a toothless tiger, or if he’s actually a hyena keeping his teeth hidden.
Tae-yeon gives the students a breathing test in singing class, by taping strips of tissue paper to their noses, and having them compete to see who can keep theirs afloat the longest. The idols win out, with Nana leading the pack.
She announces the upcoming midterm as a duet performance, and tells them to choose their partners and get to work.
Ri-an and Hae-sung bicker while heading into the bathroom at the same time, and then a group of girls comes in after them. Soon-dong is among them, and when her friends ask about her duet partner, she names Hae-sung right away, and then adds that Ri-an will lose some face this time around.
Her group’s got three members, which means there’s no way they’d include her. Ouch. It’s embarrassing enough to know that Hae-sung has heard all this, but then Ri-an is forced to acknowledge her presence when she drops her tissues into the stall next door.
Hae-sung is seconds from helping her out, when she acts like a brat about it, and Hae-sung happily leaves her hanging with the reminder, “You told me not to touch your stuff.” That’s karma for ya.
Kang-chul makes an announcement (though why he felt the need to film it like the five o’clock news I have no idea) that the upcoming midterm scores will determine the fate of the dorms, in response to the protest today. And to make it fair, the judge will be Principal Joo.
The students cheer and thank Hae-sung for her crazy idea, but as soon as talk turns to duet partners, everyone including Soon-dong disappears at the speed of light. Aw, poor Hae-sung. Soon-dong sets out to get on Yoo-jin’s good side to partner up with him.
Ri-an’s suspicions are confirmed when Ailee sidles up to Nana, and JB says he’ll partner up with Shi-woo, as expected. There is the problem of finding Shi-woo, because apparently he’s MIA and due for a rebellion of some sort, and JB sighs.
In the dorm, the bidding starts for Hong-joo as duet partner, and Hae-sung almost succeeds in out-bidding everyone, until Nana shows up and says she’ll bid her voice. They launch into a duet on the spot, as we montage into everyone practicing for the midterm.
Partners it is, and the Nana-Hong-joo pairing throws everyone for a loop – Ailee, who assumed she’d be partners with her bestie, and Hae-sung who’s lost out on her sure bet to score well.
Ri-an is busy watching her drama episode of Dream High where they’ve cut her in as Hye-mi in the Kirin audition scene with Baek-hee. Ha. She’s so terrible that even SHE cringes, watching herself. Yeah, it’s that bad.
She drowns in the online chatter about how awful she is and how it’d be better to make Baek-hee the lead. JB comes by to ask her about it, and she wonders if he still likes her. She cheekily tells him that dating is against the rules, as if challenging him, and he laughs.
Ri-an’s been fielding calls from her mother for days, and finally heads out to meet with mom and a new agency rep, who assures her that if she switches teams, he’ll take care of the back end and make sure that her image remains untarnished, while promising her that her primary career will be acting. But the meeting is discovered by a reporter, and is quickly called to an end.
Shi-woo heads out to a club where he drags one girl out from the crowd. She’s a has-been idol buried in scandals, and pretty much resigned to her fate. He tells her that it’s not the first time, but she says that her life is over at twenty-two, and that she never should’ve become a singer.
JB arrives at the club looking for him (with a tip from Nana) but misses him and ends up walking back alone. The sound of a guitar stops him. It’s Yoo-jin, playing out in the street with a sign advertising guitar lessons.
People applaud, take flyers for lessons, and leave him money, and when he stoops down to collect it, someone tosses in a 10 won coin. He looks up and it’s JB, musing that he hasn’t changed his repertory in years. He tosses in another coin and commands him to sing another.
Yoo-jin scoffs that he doesn’t sing for just anybody, and offers the crowd another song from the soul, not “imitating other people.” He starts, but then the crowd suddenly screams, “It’s JB!” nearly knocking Yoo-jin over to get to him. JB smirks and Yoo-jin is left gaping.
Shi-woo leads the girl to her car, but discovers a pair of guys playing paparazzi and snapping pictures of them. He gives chase into an alley and smashes their camera, which only makes them turn on him.
Yoo-jin and JB head back (though why the sworn enemies are walking home together beats me) and spot Shi-woo getting the crap kicked out of him. Yoo-jin makes a move to help him, but JB stops him with a hand to the shoulder, saying that Shi-woo’s always messing up.
Yoo-jin’s jaw drops, “Aren’t you friends? Members of the same group?” JB tells him to stay out of it. But they both end up heading over anyway, and JB actually pushes Yoo-jin aside to help Shi-woo himself.
One of the guys recognizes him and taunts the little idol boy, so JB gets all ragey and throws punches. Yoo-jin scoffs, “You’re the one who said to stay out of it,” and joins them in the fight anyway.
Hae-sung searches for someone to be her duet partner to no avail, while Ri-an gets presents and offers left and right. Wanting to be alone, Ri-an demands that Hae-sung get out, since she doesn’t deserve to be there anyway, and Hae-sung serves it right back, saying that if Ri-an’s an idol she at least ought to be better than her.
Ri-an tells her the story of her uncle who wasted his life away studying for the civil service exam that he could never pass, and tells her that what she needs is a great big dose of reality to make her give up.
It leads to a hair-pulling catfight, but Ri-an ends it with one big kick to the face, sending Hae-sung flying back onto the bed with a bloody nose. She and Soon-dong end up in Tae-yeon’s room, begging for one night’s refuge from their roommate from hell.
Hae-sung stays up late, solving math problems to relieve her stress (well that’s just loony tunes) and catches Yoo-jin sneaking into the dorms. He scares her half to death, and has to drag her into the kitchen just to keep from being discovered.
They share a pack of uncooked ramyun and she asks how his duet with Soon-dong is going. That’s news to him since he never agreed to be her partner, and Hae-sung perks up, “Do you want to be my partner?” He awkwardly coughs his way out of answering her directly.
She sees the cuts and bruises on his face, and takes some band-aids out of her pocket. She patches him up, covering his nose and cheek with little JB band-aids, which is sure to make him crazy later. Heh.
But the closeness stirs him, and he suddenly becomes shy and smiley at her touch. AW. Okay, first really cute moment of the show.
She gets up to go, but then turns back to say that he was right – she’s not going to let them take what’s hers, and she plans to fight for it. He smiles proudly.
They walk out into the hall together, and run right into JB and Ri-an (because he called her to let him inside the locked door). It’s just a silent stare-off, but Hae-sung’s clearly upset, and Yoo-jin clocks her reaction.
Yoo-jin wakes up the next morning to Jin-man staring at his face (or more accurately, his cutesy JB band-aids). Jin-man: “Do you like guys? But you can’t like me, okay? And put on some clothes around here.” Ha.
Yoo-jin pushes him aside and gets up, but one look in the mirror says it all. He screams bloody murder.
Principal Joo gets an unsettling visit in the morning from some cops, and then the school erupts with the announcement that Shi-woo and Yoo-jin have been suspended.
News breaks of yet another Shi-woo scandal and Kang-chul decides it’s time to cut him loose for good. He tells Ji-soo to leak the story and look for another school for his transfer.
Meanwhile Principal Joo helps smooth things over for Yoo-jin with the police, though he’s still on the hook while JB and Shi-woo have paid their way out with a settlement. He then notices the shiny new guitar Yoo-jin is carrying. He seizes it until he’s in the clear, mostly because having the guitar means he’s got access to perform in the street. But he looks like he’s enjoying it personally as well. Yoo-jin stews.
In the hospital, JB reads about Shi-woo possibly being cut from OZ (Ji-soo hospitalized both the boys to sway sympathy their way) and Shi-woo shows him the list of students to be cut.
He figures he was on his way out anyway, so he expected as much, but didn’t think it’d be so soon. JB wonders why he’s showing him the list, and says it’s totally logical that the agency would cut its underperforming artists.
He asks if Shi-woo expected him to fight on his behalf. Maybe not fight, but not being an ass about it would be nice. Shi-woo tells him he’s changed, and JB rips up the list and counters that he thinks it’s more pathetic when people refuse to change. Uh, okay then.
Ri-an frets over Shi-woo just being tossed to the curb that way, and Kang-chul uses the opportunity to make his point – that he knows more than she thinks, and that he’s got the power to make it so that Shi-woo (and she, by implication) can’t work in this industry ever again. He warns her not to make trouble.
Principal Joo tries to remind Kang-chul that this is a school not an agency, and that they should maybe try to protect the students and grow them, not just cut people at the first sign of trouble.
But Kang-chul declares that he’s going to make Kirin the best art school in the world, and the way you do that is by cutting those who don’t show promise. He says that giving endless amounts of false hope is just as bad, and that they ought to find what they’re good at if it isn’t this.
Principal Joo just asks for a fair chance for everyone, and Kang-chul says that’s what the exams are for. To make it interesting, he decides that out of each duet pair, only one will make it and the other will get cut. Just for kicks? That’s sadistic.
Yoo-jin chases JB down in the hall to confront him, and JB just tells him that he did warn him to stay out of it, and offers to loan him money if he needs it. He turns to go with a smirk, and Yoo-jin calls him a pathetic bastard. JB stops, and has some kind of reaction… I just couldn’t tell you what it is.
Ri-an finds Hae-sung and asks her to be her duet partner. Hae-sung starts to turn her down, but Ri-an guesses that she doesn’t exactly have a lot of choices right now. Hae-sung eyes her warily and starts to consider it…
Sigh. For most of the episode, I found myself hard-pressed to find a reason to care about this show, because none of the characters were really moving me. The setup has potential, but none of the execution is taking full advantage. It’s sadder knowing how full of spark Dream High was, because the reminders of its better, slicker predecessor aren’t doing this show any favors.
Yoo-jin is so far the only character worth following, and though Hae-sung and Ri-an show signs of promise, they’re still barely out of the gate. Perhaps this duet rivalry will bring something a little more interesting for that pair? We can only hope. I’m already really tired of the JB/Yoo-jin rivalry, only because it’s exactly the same in every single episode, and multiple times in each episode at that. I’m confused why they waste so much time repeating the exact same conversation between them, because, uh, we geddit.
At least give them dueling guitars or something to change it up; just something other than that same in-your-face stare-off for the umpteenth time. And it’s starting to feel like beating a dead horse, but man, if JB were played by someone who could act, I might not feel like all his scenes were sucking the joy out of this show. It kind of kills me that his role is just getting bigger.
The thing is, I remember caring a lot more about every little sing-off and dance-off in Dream High, but I’m perplexed as to why I don’t feel the same pull this time around. I think the answer is that the musical numbers aren’t rooted in narrative the same way — there’s no setup and motivation, just a detour for a song, with no stakes. I need stakes, otherwise I’ll just tune out, no matter what the song is.
The one moment between Yoo-jin and Hae-sung with the band-aids was the first time I saw a spark and a connection worth caring about – it was enough to make me wonder why we’re getting so very little of their interaction in favor of the lesser pairings. And I don’t even mean romantically, (though the cute sparks are a big plus) but these two as characters are a great pair. Their scenes together might be my only lifeline to the show, if things stay the way they are.
We’re still waiting for the show to get better and give us a reason to stick with it. We’ve been on the fence for recaps from the start, but now I’m beginning to wonder if maybe the plus side of that fence was all based on residual feelings from Big Brother Dream High. I’m still rooting for you, Dream High 2, but if you can’t stand on your own two legs, I might have to cut you loose.
- Dream High 2: Episode 2
- Dream High 2: Episode 1
- Sam-dong returns: Kim Soo-hyun lines up Dream High 2 cameo
- Dream High 2’s official poster released
- Dream High 2 unveils its idols-within-the-drama HershE
- Dream High 2 finalizes its cast
- Kim Jung-tae joins Dream High 2
- T-ara’s Ji-yeon cast in Dream High 2
- Dream High concert and final thoughts
- Dream High: Episode 1