High Kick 3: Episodes 90-94
It finally happened — a reason to like Soo-jung! And it only took nearly a hundred episodes. Still, better late than never, I say, which is nice because she’s probably the flattest character in the drama, along with Julien. Even tertiary characters like Yoon Gun have more going on under the surface, so it’s refreshing to finally find Soo-jung somewhat relatable.
SONG OF THE DAY
Soul Cry – “사랑의 시작은 고백에서부터” (Love begins with a confession) which was used in Episode 92. [ Download ]
EPISODE 90 WEECAP
The Yoon brothers run into Ha-sun and Jin-hee in the neighborhood and walk together. Ji-seok and Ha-sun have gotten used to signing each other, which is pretty adorable, and sneak messages back and forth.
Kye-sang can’t resist teasing Ha-sun about that time she fell on the ice and split her shorts, knowing she’ll react with her usual exaggerated expression. He’s the only one amused, and gives his usual “I’m just joking” excuse.
That annoys Ha-sun, who complains about his bad manners to Jin-hee at home. Jin-hee, on the other hand, thinks Ji-seok is dumb for misspeaking the word for cholesterol, and this leads both ladies to leap to the defense of the men they’re dating/crushing on. The mood gets increasingly tense, and they go to bed in a huff. That passive-aggression spills into the next day, with Ha-sun nagging Jin-hee and Jin-hee responding like a sullen teenager.
It’s graduation season, and that includes Jong-seok; it’s a happy occasion, though Yoo-sun sighs that he’d be going to college if he was still playing ice hockey. Kye-sang offers to buy Jong-seok a netbook as a present, but Jong-seok still feels the sting of losing his crush to his uncle and declines.
Ji-won agrees to act as graduation photographer, but she falls asleep on the bus and misses the event. Jong-seok distractedly keeps an eye out for her, which Kye-sang seems to pick up on. He gives some uncle-like advice, about how even though he may feel like he’s lost a year — he’ll have to wait till next year to attempt college admissions — sometimes you think you’re late only to find you’re early. Jong-seok says sometimes you feel late because you are late, and Kye-sang agrees that that’s also true.
Ji-won apologizes for missing graduation, and to make up for it Jong-seok brings her along on a scooter ride to the beach. She gives him the glass-half-full encouragement about having time to work hard for the future, but he sighs that he feels too far behind already, like starting a 100 meter dash late: “So I’m just going to die. Have a nice life.”
Jong-seok walks right into the ocean, to her alarm, and she dashes in after him to pull him back. He’s not actually suicidal, but he grabs her in a hug and thanks her; he doesn’t specify why, but I’m guessing he’s glad she bothered to try to stop him.
At home, the passive-aggressive battle continues. Ha-sun nitpicks Jin-hee’s cooking, and Jin-hee bangs Ha-sun’s feet while vacuuming. They snipe at each other, with a hapless Julien caught in the middle, trying to appease both sides. Finally things erupt and Jin-hee storms out with bag packed, saying she won’t live where she’s not wanted.
Ha-sun lets her go, ignoring Julien’s pleas to make up, but as time ticks by she starts to worry. She ends up scouring the neighborhood for Jin-hee, finding her huddled in the cold by the curb, and they both break down into tears, apologizing for their behavior. Ha-sun admits she started dating Ji-seok, and Jin-hee admits she likes Kye-sang. They cry, “I love you Jin-hee” and “I love you unni.”
Jong-seok explains his dip in the sea was just his graduation ritual — like how students douse each other with flour at the ceremony — and starts to explain something. He’s too cold so he borrows a wet suit while his clothes dry, but every time he starts to talk, Ji-won bursts out into laughter — he looks pretty hilarious in the full-body suit.
It’s only on the ride back that Jong-seok explains what he’d been trying to say, though it’s only in voiceover:
Jong-seok: “This is what I wanted to say to you at the beach. To me, graduation meant graduating from the feeling that I was already too late, and the feeling of liking you but knowing there was someone else. That’s what graduation meant to me. That’s what I wanted to tell you. And the moment I held you, it felt like I had graduated from those feelings.”
EPISODE 91 WEECAP
At school, Ji-seok brings coffee to Ha-sun, buying Ji-sun and Julien drinks as well to cover his real intentions. Then at a teachers’ dinner, he makes sure to serve Ji-sun along with Ha-sun, to deflect suspicion.
The plan works too well, because Ji-sun confides to Ha-sun that he must like her (earning a spit-take from Ha-sun). Ha-sun tries to suggest that it’s not true, but can’t press too hard without offending Ji-sun.
Ji-won’s narcolepsy continues to crop up, and Kye-sang decides to bring Ji-won in for treatment with a colleague. When he suggests the idea, though, she declines. Sensing that she can’t be persuaded, Kye-sang offers to take her to a Chagall exhibit… and then reveals he’s taking her to the doctor.
Ji-won is thoroughly peeved that he tricked her, and the session is a waste because she refuses to talk to the doctor. Angry at his betrayal, Ji-won declares that she’ll do the opposite of everything Kye-sang says — he tells her to get in the car, so she’ll take the bus. He tells her to take the bus, so she takes a taxi.
Ji-seok surreptitiously gets Ha-sun to hold her hand out while actually feeling her fingers, and buys them couple rings. Ji-sun discovers them by accident, and is even more convinced that he bought them for her. Ha-sun tries to reveal the truth, but can’t bring herself to when Ji-sun says it’s been a long time since she felt appealing as a woman, after all her heartbreak.
Ha-sun tries to fake surprise when Ji-seok gives her the rings, but he catches on and she admits that Ji-sun told her and fills him in on the misunderstanding.
Ji-seok asks to meet Ji-sun to clear the air. However, he feels that same pang and can’t crush her feelings after she admits that men don’t like her because of her appearance, and she has tried to tell herself it doesn’t matter even though it hurts. Still, she isn’t attracted to him and turns him down gently, and Ji-seok goes with that as his graceful exit, telling her he’ll give up readily to spare her feelings.
Haha. It’s the perfect way out of a tricky situation… only Ji-sun posts a consolation message via a twitter-like service. Which means that everybody at school knows he got “rejected,” and make him a subject of teasing.
Ji-won continues to be upset, even saying sentences backward to emphasize how much she refuses to communicate with Kye-sang. When he urges her to be careful crossing the street, she actually walks straight into a busy road just to be contrary, and this gets Kye-sang genuinely angry. He declares that he’ll do the same, then, and warns her that he’s going to fall backward into the road. It’s up to her to catch him.
Ji-won warns him that she won’t, but when he falls, eyes closed, looking like he’ll hit the ground head-first, she darts forward and catches him. He thanks her, and with that backwards-ritual broken, the tension eases a bit.
Later Ji-won overhears Yoo-sun talking to a friend about her mother’s death, and how young Kye-sang had played the backwards-falling game with her. Only, she had been so sick she couldn’t catch him and he’d gotten hurt, and Mom always felt sorry about it, even apologizing to him on her deathbed.
Kye-sang takes Ji-won to the museum after all, and she asks why he fell backward. He answers, “Because I had faith.” In her, he means.
He reminds her of that painting of the girl and the snowfield, and tells her that her reaction — that the girl was looking at something she’d lost — mirrored his. He says that nobody can understand how she felt about her father’s death, but he had hoped to help her by opening her closed heart a little. She’d once asked how he was at 19, and now he answers: “I lived thinking there was no comfort in the world. Sometimes, I see that me in you.”
He offers to be a listener for whatever she might have to say in the future, adding, “And next time, I’ll catch you.”
So on the drive home, Ji-won tells him that after Dad left and she was left in the car alone, she was terribly scared.
EPISODE 92 WEECAP
Kye-sang has decided to go to Rwanda after all, at the end of next month. While straightening up the clinic, Jin-hee tells the plant Jin-sang that she’s having trouble letting go, even though she has to.
Inspired by his sing-off with Heo Gak, Seung-yoon goes on audition, wanting to be a singer. He passes the first round and wants a piano-accompanied song for the second round. Soo-jung offers herself for his services — in exchange for a steak dinner. He buys it for her, but she brushes aside his attempts to practice together, saying they can practice separately.
Jong-seok and Nae-sang both tell him he got conned again, because Soo-jung doesn’t know how to play the piano, and they don’t even have a keyboard. (She’s practicing the song on a paper keyboard.) Seung-yoon has his misgivings, but he wants to believe her and accepts her answer that she learned while she was in LA. Still, he wants a demonstration before he’ll fork over any more cash, and she offers to go to the piano store to show him.
The shop is closed, though, and Seung-yoon’s doubts return — did she know it would be closed? She’s offended at the lack of trust, while he refuses to believe her and calls the whole thing off.
Ha-sun sees what a hard time Jin-hee is having and offers to take her out. Over drinks, Ha-sun encourages her to confess her feelings to Kye-sang, to get them out. A song starts playing on the radio request line — “Love Starts With a Confession,” posted above.
Seung-yoon shows up at his audition nervous, having had trouble practicing “Piano Man” on guitar. At the last minute, though, Soo-jung bursts in to accompany him — and it turns out she’s great, just as promised.
Jin-hee and Ha-sun wake up in the morning hungover, and Jin-hee realizes that she’d confessed her feelings drunkenly to Kye-sang last night, freaking out in mortification. She goes to work on edge and apologizes to Kye-sang, playing it off as a joke.
Alas, she accidentally squeezes a teddy bear — the kind with a recording device, which had recorded her sad confession to the plant about liking Kye-sang. She frantically tries to shut it off, but it plays the message in full, right in front of him.
In flashback, however, we see that Kye-sang had already heard it play last night. Plus there was the radio request line he’d been listening to, where Jin-hee had texted her own request. He’d recognized the description of a health clinic employee asking him not to leave — that he doesn’t have to like her back or do anything for her, if he would just not leave.
EPISODE 93 WEECAP
Following the teddy bear confession, Kye-sang is a lot more serious and burdened, so Jin-hee puts on a brave face to tell him not to worry about her. She calls herself easily infatuated and assures him it’s not serious, so he can act comfortably around her.
Jong-seok accompanies Seung-yoon to the bakery, and picks up a package of cookies for Ji-won. He hands them over carelessly, all, “I got them for free, whatever.” She’s off to visit relatives for the week, so their tutoring sessions will go on hiatus. He brushes it off, but finds himself frustrated with how slowly the days crawl by.
He leaps for the phone when she calls, and she offers to help with homework via phone if he has trouble. He plays it cool, saying he won’t call at all… and then ends up calling incessantly with trumped-up excuses.
Math turns out to be hard to explain over the phone, so Ji-won sends Jong-seok a video explaining the problem. He’s first disappointed that only her hand is visible, then admires the hand, and then perks up adorably at the brief greeting that shows her face. He replays those last three seconds over and over, long into the night.
Kye-sang invites Jin-hee to join him for dinner. His sunbae Lee Juck mentally grumbles, since everything makes him cranky, but he soon cheers up because Jin-hee heaps praise on him — his fashion sense, his music skills, his looks. His ego enjoys the bolstering, while Kye-sang seems to key into the fact that Jin-hee’s trying to prove she’s over him, as she insisted.
Kye-sang asks to talk, and he wears the gloves she knitted him, telling her that he won’t lose, or forget, them. Just as she had requested. He admits that he must have confused her with his consideration, because he’d wanted to take care of her like a sister, and apologizes for leading her on. Jin-hee tells him she understands, and that she’d confused her own feelings, so he needn’t take it to heart.
Teasingly, she says they’d better not be awkward after this — she’ll be sure to punish him if he acts weird around her because of it. He jokes back that he’ll cut her wages.
She cheerily salutes a goodbye, but once alone, both sit in moody silence for some time.
Ji-won calls Jong-seok to check in, and eats the last of his cookies. So he runs out to buy several more packages, and drives all the way to Daejeon — hours away — on scooter. He calls her out of her aunt’s apartment and says he was just passing by and gives her the cookies. Rather than staying to chat, he acts as though he’s busy and that he really only dropped by since she was on his way, leaving right away.
But once she goes back inside the house, he creeps back quietly and snaps a photo through the window of her eating his cookies.
EPISODE 94 WEECAP
Seung-yoon surprises the family by telling them he has a girlfriend now — a girl named Cassie he’d met at his last audition. She’s a gyopo and can’t speak Korean, but he says that they get by on love and Konglish. Hee. That should be a band name, Love and Konglish.
Still, English would be helpful so he asks Soo-jung for lessons. The two most important phrases he needs? “What do you want to eat?” and “What presents do you want?” Ha, he should just date Soo-jung and cut out the middleman. Annoyed, Soo-jung says Cassie’s just dating him for his gifts, but Seung-yoon’s happy to buy her things. That’s what boyfriends are for, right? He requests a third translation: “Don’t worry about money, just choose whatever you want.”
He brings Cassie to the house, who is apparently played by an idol named Tia from a group called Chocolat. She is terrible, so the less said about her the better.
At dinner, Cassie explains that Seung-yoon bought her loads of new stuff at the department store, and Soo-jung is the only one who finds this distasteful. She urges Seung-yoon to break up with Cassie and date her instead, if he’s so intent on buying a girl presents. Or at least make her No. 1 in line to date him after they break up. Seung-yoon laughingly agrees, but says they probably won’t break up since he really likes her.
Ha-sun finds out that Jin-hee’s confession didn’t end well, and she feels bad for her. To cheer her up, she cooks Jin-hee’s favorite crab soup, but Jin-hee has an upset stomach and can’t eat it, which Ha-sun attributes to heartsickness. So when she sees Kye-sang next door in a good mood, she glowers at him for having the audacity to be cheery while Jin-hee can’t even choke down dinner. Aw, that’s sweet.
Kye-sang brings home beef, which they share with the neighbors. Jin-hee still can’t eat much and excuses herself early, so Ha-sun glares at Kye-sang, offended at how heartily he’s eating. When the others propose a mook-jji-ppa tournament with forehead-flicking as a punishment, Ha-sun leaps to join in, to avenge Jin-hee, and easily beats the others one by one, giving them light flicks on the head. She gets to Kye-sang determined to take him down… and loses.
Fine, then she’ll try again. But all she gets is a sore forehead and a seething temper as Kye-sang beats her, over and over, and she’s left to stew in defeat.
Ha-sun adorably climbs into bed next to sleeping Jin-hee and apologizes for failing in her revenge. When Ji-seok hears about the tournament (he’d been out), he feels indignant at his brother’s behavior toward his girlfriend and urges her to take her revenge now, rather than letting the anger fester.
Ji-seok leads her to Kye-sang’s bedroom while he’s asleep, and she takes her revenge flick. She runs back to her room before he can wake up and assures Jin-hee that she made sure Kye-sang felt pain (and then regrets her lack of flicking technique, wishing the pain could have been greater. She’s so cute).
Soo-jung is out teaching Seung-yoon how to ask, “Do you want a notebook or a tablet computer?” when he spots Cassie in a cafe. He runs toward her excitedly… then sees her ignore his phone call and cozy up to another guy.
He’s crushed. Soo-jung tries to cheer him up, but she sees that he’s devastated and looks at him with sympathy. True, he seems better in a few days (they joke that they won’t date now, but maybe later after he becomes president) , but Soo-jung still feels sorry for him.
So when she spots Cassie walking in the street with her new man, she swoops in, grabbing Cassie by the hair and shaking her furiously for a few good seconds, then darting off before the boyfriend can retaliate.
Yay for Soo-jung! For the first time, she does something that doesn’t have her own interests first and foremost. She’s had a few nice father-daughter moments with Nae-sang, but I never doubted she could love somebody — I doubted whether she could ever put somebody before her own frivolous interests. Or care about something that had nothing to do with her.
This is what’s been missing from her all this while; she doesn’t have to be a nice person, or even likable. She could be a brat and selfish and still stir interest if only she had a little depth of feeling. While I doubt she’d make my shortlist of favorites, now that I see she can care about people, it makes her infinitely more interesting.
For a second I wondered whether we were getting teased with a Seung-yoon romance, because she was markedly cynical about his relationship with Cassie, and he seemed so touched when she showed up to his audition. The show did sort of nip that in the bud, though, by having them address the “Let’s date when you break up” issue by agreeing it was just a joke, with no apparent disappointment on either side. I suppose it’s still a possibility, though rather late to develop if it goes there. It does seem rather neat if they got together, although I like that Seung-yoon has readily admitted Soo-jung’s appeal all series long (he’s called her charismatic and appealing, although he hasn’t been interested in her himself).
In any case, I love that she saw Seung-yoon’s heartbrokenness and did something about it, even if it was in her customary immature way. Actually in this case, I think that’s what makes it endearing — she didn’t do something mature or thoughtful or even hurtful, she just had a moment of childish satisfaction. And that in turn gave me a sense of vicarious satisfaction. Cassie may not know what hit her, but we do, and that’s enough.
Clearly his relationship wasn’t going to have much of an impact on Seung-yoon, or even the story, given its suddenness. So what this show did well was in conveying emotion despite the randomness of the girlfriend storyline. Sure, we don’t care about the relationship since it dropped in our laps out of nowhere, but we do care about his reaction. And since it affects him, it affects us.
Moving on to a more long-standing relationship: Aw, is Jong-seok really moving on? was my first thought at the end of Episode 91, and I was partly disappointed at the end of a storyline, partly pleased that he resolved things with himself. But after he continued to crush on Ji-won later, I took a second look at that graduation sequence, and it seems more that he meant he would put his petty competitive angst behind him, not his feelings entirely. Phew!
That’s a lot more satisfying to me anyway, because I’m happy to see him come to terms with the uncle-rivalry in a mature, healthy way. And what a lovely way to symbolize that, with the graduation motif. As I mentioned in previous recaps, his Ji-won crush goes hand in hand with his insecurities about his future — they’re related, but not interchangeable — and it is such a nice way to represent him growing in both aspects, taking that step forward, understanding that the future is unknown but deciding that he won’t just let that fear overtake him. He may have gotten a late start and he may feel like he’ll never catch up in the race… but then again, maybe he can. All he needs is a perspective adjustment, and I’m really pulling for him. He’s grown so much over the course of this series that I feel this extra attachment to him, and want him to succeed.
I’m glad that the Kye-sang / Ji-won relationship was tested, for several reasons. First, it’s been a little overly sweet, with him being the perfect ajusshi and her being the nice smart student. I definitely sided with Ji-won when he pushed her into that trip to the doctor, which would have angered me, too — an adult who’s not related to you, forcing you into something you’ve declined to do, because it’s “good for you”? Good intentions, lousy execution.
But I like that he misstepped, and that there was a reason for his overstepping his bounds. Ji-won pushed back, and also went stupidly overboard in walking right into a car’s path just to piss him off, and I feel like they both had to cross that polite boundary before making real progress.
I think we’ve all seen the similarities between them that have allowed them to establish this connection, but Kye-sang has been an elusive character all series long. You have this engaging actor, and yet you keep him frustratingly oblique, always at arm’s length with that annoying “I’m just joking” shtick. I’ve thought he was the most wasted actor of the High Kick bunch, so what a relief to have him show a touch of real emotion — first anger at Ji-won’s obstinacy, then sadness over their respective scars. The museum scene was lovely, and it’s fitting that it’s only after Kye-sang opens up himself that Ji-won follows suit.
- High Kick 3: Episodes 85-59
- High Kick 3: Episodes 82-84
- High Kick 3: Episodes 78-81
- High Kick 3: Episodes 73-77
- High Kick 3: Episodes 68-72
- High Kick 3: Episodes 63-67
- High Kick 3: Episodes 59-62
- High Kick 3: Episodes 54-58
- 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