Who knew we still had room in this drama for unexpected connections? It’s one of the reasons this show feels like a real world to me, with real characters, because of the diversity and richness of the relationships.
This week also gave us some seriously tear-inducing and sweet moments between some of my favorite pairings. I love that they can mine so much good emotional stuff out of these relationships, even after a hundred episodes.
SONG OF THE DAY
Wanted – “Like You” [ Download ]
EPISODE 95 WEECAP
School resumes, and because Jong-seok isn’t attending university this year, the expected path for him is to take classes at an academy in preparation for next year’s entrance exams.
An explanation of his situation: Last year, Jong-seok was pulled down to the grade below, but it wasn’t quite the same thing as being held back a year. Think of it as being put in remedial class, because you’re not at the level of your peers. You’re still going to school, though, which means you get to graduate on time. He can attempt university admission again next year, but because everything hinges on a test, sometimes students can get stuck in this in-between waiting period for multiple cycles if they keep failing.
His parents suggest that he could return to high school to study with the now-seniors, which he immediately rejects. He just graduated! That would be the worst humiliation. He’ll just study harder with Ji-won, he says.
Except, Ji-won is a senior now and she’s getting busier, so she has to cut down their sessions. Off to academy it is.
But nobody at the academy is ready to take lessons seriously, and they goof off blatantly. I love that it speaks to Jong-seok’s major development that he’s the only one in class who actually wants to learn, and finds this lackluster environment dissatisfactory.
He’s sent to school on an errand and catches a glimpse of Ji-won studying in class, with all the students busy learning. Suddenly Dad’s suggestion doesn’t seem so bad — only, his pride can’t bear admitting he wants to go back. So he gets to work thinking up a solution.
The clinic is short-staffed, so a temporary doctor is brought in to help Kye-sang, and it’s an old colleague, Lee Ji-hoon (Daniel Choi, another High Kick alum in a cameo). Turns out the two men have quite the fraught history, having been on opposite sides of a fierce rivalry at their old hospital (replete with White Tower parody).
Right off the bat they clash, unable to find common ground in any area, arguing ferociously on the merits of an ice pack versus medicated bandage. Jin-hee marvels at this unexpectedly hard side to Kye-sang.
Jong-seok strategically plans a run-in with Soo-jung so she’ll see the soju bottle and playing cards he’s stashed. Naturally she’ll tell their parents that he’s wasting academy time goofing off, and then he’ll have to go back to school!
Alas, Soo-jung exhibits a very inconvenient sense of pity and tells him she’ll let it go because she can see oppa’s having it rough, and it sure would be humiliating to make him go back to school. Jong-seok regroups and goes for Round #2, sending her a text message by-mistake-on-purpose, then annoys her until she finally loses her temper and tattles.
Jong-seok’s parents sit him down for the lecture and disciplinary action, and he pretends to be aggravated at their punishment, all while secretly smiling to himself. Adorable.
The doctors’ rivalry continues and escalates, with every moment turned into a competition. But when Ji-hoon can’t reach the inflamed cyst on his back to treat it, Kye-sang steps in and contradicts Ji-hoon’s mode of treatment — of course — and decides to excise it.
Ji-hoon cedes to his decision and thanks him with difficulty — finally, some measure of compromise between them.
Ji-hoon soon leaves to take up the position at Johns Hopkins that he’s been throwing in Kye-sang’s face all this time. Only, we see when Kye-sang sends him a congratulatory bouquet that he’s actually ended up at a plastic surgery clinic named Johns Hopkins, ha.
And at school, Jong-seok makes his less-than-triumphant return, joining his old classmates. He gets roundly mocked by everyone but it doesn’t really bother him, while Ji-won welcomes him back. He pretends for the sake of saving face that this is all such a pain, but he’s secretly pleased.
EPISODE 96 WEECAP
Valentine’s Day approaches, which means chocolate-making for the students and lots of gifts for the male teachers. Ji-seok makes Valentine’s dinner plans with Ha-sun, and she notes his new IU ringtone, wondering if he likes her. Ji-seok assures her that she’s a thousand times cuter than IU.
Ha-sun buys a box of chocolates to give him, but sees the mountain of presents Julien has already gotten and is intimidated with how impressive the chocolates are. Her little box suddenly looks sad, so she stays up all night making a chocolate-cake-and-gingerbread house that’s sure to impress.
Unfortunately, she oversleeps as a result and has to take a taxi to school, and leaves the cake box in the cab. She realizes this too late, and miserably tells Ji-seok that she’d spent all night making him this awesome gift. Ji-seok says it’s okay, but she’s so disappointed after all her hard work that she ducks out of school and spends all day trying to track it down.
Jong-seok wonders whether Ji-won is into the chocolate-making tradition, but she tells him she doesn’t really care, and thinks of Valentine’s as an overly commercialized faux holiday. Jong-seok figures it’s better that she not give chocolates to anybody than making some for his uncle.
Soo-jung hands out her chocolates to her male relatives, motivated as usual by the promise of extra allowance money later down the line. One by one they taste and gag. Jong-seok: “Did she poison mine?” Kye-sang: “How can chocolate taste like kimchi?” LOL.
Jin-hee, on the other hand, hasn’t prepared any chocolates, but second-guesses herself when the other nurses buy Kye-sang a small courtesy box. She picks out a small box too, just small enough that it won’t seem too meaningful… until she sees that the nurses’ box is much cheaper, making hers look suddenly extravagant. She just can’t win.
Jong-seok sees Ji-won buying chocolates at the store, which makes him curious all day — will she be giving them to Kye-sang? He even goes to check Kye-sang’s stash of gifts, then stops himself at the last moment, upset with himself for letting his petty jealousy spark back.
So when he sees Ji-won at a convenience store that evening, he places a candy bar along with her purchase and cheekily tells her to buy it for him ’cause he’s dying for one. After she pays, he stuffs it into his mouth and she wonders, “You wanted to eat it that badly?” “Yup,” he replies. And that’s good enough for him.
Ji-seok can’t convince Ha-sun to give up her search, so when he accidentally finds the cake house plans, he decides to remake the gift from scratch, using the other teachers’ gift chocolates as materials. He’s not quite sure what one of her notes means (“W.C.”), but he follows the recipe faithfully and constructs a pretty good replica, and tells Ha-sun that somebody dropped it off at the school.
Ha-sun is mightily relieved, and happily meets him for dinner at the restaurant. Ji-seok feigns surprise and thanks her profusely, but immediately Ha-sun knows that it’s not her house. A flashback shows us that W.C. stands for white chocolate, and his sits there with its dark brown roof.
It hits her that he must have made this replica just so she wouldn’t be upset, and it chokes her up a bit. She excuses herself and asks the restaurant manager for a favor, taking up the microphone next to the pianist to ask for everyone’s attention. She explains that she’s not a very good singer, but there’s somebody she really wants to sing for tonight, because she’s so touched by his warm, large heart.
Ha-sun signs Ji-seok their code-signal for “I love you,” then starts singing the IU song he set as his ringtone. She’s legitimately terrible and the other patrons laugh, but Ji-seok is thrilled and encourages her like the big ol’ cheerleader he is.
EPISODE 97 WEECAP
So the Yoon-Park couple is going strong, but Ji-sun can’t shake the misguided suspicion that Ji-seok is having a hard time getting over her. She tells Ha-sun this in the bathroom… which goes overheard by a couple of students, who squeal, “Daebak!” at this piece of gossip.
News travels speedily, and soon students are teasing Ji-seok and telling him to buck up over being rejected by Ji-sun.
Soo-jung shares the gossip with her family, and Yoo-sun perks up at this news of her little brother’s love life. She’s so curious that she goes to school for a parent-teacher conference with Ji-sun and can’t help peppering her with questions, admitting that she knows Ji-seok likes her. She comes home with a favorable impression of Ji-sun and sighs that it’s too bad she isn’t interested.
Ji-seok comes home drunk mumbling about “Teacher Park” because he misses Ha-sun, who is away for a few days for a teaching conference. The family naturally assumes he’s drowning his sorrows over Ji-sun’s rejection, and decide to step in. Especially since everyone seems to think Ji-sun can be persuaded to accept Ji-seok’s suit with a little prodding — and Ji-sun does seem to be warming to the idea.
Jin-hee runs into Jong-seok at the library and catches him looking at a photo of Ji-won, immediately guessing at his feelings. He tries to deny it, but she’s a pro in the unrequited-love department and offers to buy him a drink as a fellow lonelyheart.
A few drinks loosen their tongues and they give each other lots of encouragement, telling each other that their indifferent others must be blind to not see their appeal. They throw compliments back and forth, then come up with their own form of greeting gesture, spelling out L-O-V-E with their bodies, since they’re both united in their thwarted loves.
Jong-seok spies a rogue shopping cart and suggests a joyride, and they speed through the streets madly. He loses his grip on the cart, though, and it knocks into a lighted sign, to the shopowner’s ire.
Soo-jung and Yoo-sun spearhead the effort to get Ji-seok’s romance going, and organize a grand gesture for the big proposal. They enlist Julien to help, who in turn gets the other teachers to join in; they decorate the teachers’ room, then bring both teachers there so they can urge Ji-sun to accept Ji-seok’s affection.
Julien mentions the plan in a phone call with Ha-sun, who freaks out and races back to Seoul from her trip. She arrives just as Ji-sun starts to accept this time, and screams her protest, halting the proceedings: “He’s MY man!”
The teachers go out to dinner and everyone congratulates the real couple for their relationship. Ha-sun feels sorry for putting Ji-sun in the middle of it, but Ji-sun tells her it’s understandable. Julien finds her feeling down, though, and offers her his jacket in sympathy.
Jong-seok offers Jin-hee half the reimbursement cost of the light they damaged, and this buzzkill is enough to put a damper on their newfound camaraderie. They’re a bit sheepish the next time they run into each other, recalling that they were supposed to do their L-O-V-E chant. But it’s not the kind of thing you do sober… which is why it’s a good thing they decide to stop by a pojangmacha for dinner, which leads to a few drinks, and a return of the lonelyhearts’ chant.
EPISODE 98 WEECAP
Kye-sang and Ji-won find that they’re both, coincidentally, reading the same mystery book. They make a bet over the culprit and plan to check in tomorrow when they’re both finished.
Seung-yoon helps Yoo-sun set up a blog to share recipes, and she gets a few comments complimenting her on her looks. Nae-sang tells her to take down her photo from the site, which prompts some childish bickering back and forth, prompted (or maybe emphasized) by the old-school prop candy that reminds them of their youths.
Nae-sang had chided his kids for fighting like children, but now it’s him and Yoo-sun who devolve into immature fighting over the blog and her photo. It gets worse when Nae-sang deletes the photo without her permission, and soon they’re chasing each other around the house, tossing around schoolyard insults and taunting jibes. They even divide their bed down halfway that night, stuck in petty peevish mode.
Kye-sang texts Ji-won about the mystery’s culprit, but she doesn’t receive it because her old cell phone starts to die. She goes from repair shop to repair shop looking for a fix, but is told over and over that nothing can be done about it. The phone is too old, and the parts just aren’t made anymore.
Kye-sang understands what the phone means to her — a last memento of her dead father — so when she seems despondent and ready to give up, he takes up the charge and helps track down various parts dealers. They have no luck there, either, but he keeps up a positive attitude until they find one possible warehouse. They make plans to meet tomorrow night, since the trip will require driving through the night.
Alas, Kye-sang has a patient with a medical emergency and can’t make their meeting time. He calls Ji-won, but she doesn’t answer because she’s leaving her phone off, to preserve the remaining battery life. He texts her anyway and leaves messages, hoping she’ll give up waiting and go home.
But she doesn’t, and he finds her still waiting late that night, shivering from the cold.
They head to the warehouse, but this last hope turns out to be another dead end. Kye-sang looks at her with deep sympathy, but it’s Ji-won who tells him lightly that it’s okay — they did everything they could, so she isn’t upset.
Ji-won offers to show Kye-sang the text messages from her father, because soon they’ll be gone. She explains the texts one by one, like the one he sent when she was late to the movies, or the one about her birthday gift — a camera that has since been lost.
She confides the reason she resisted treatment for her narcolepsy — it’s because every time she falls asleep, she dreams the same dream. It’s a peaceful scene of her napping, her head in her father’s lap.
When Ji-won wakes up the next morning clutching her phone, it’s dead.
She finally buys a new phone, and gets her text message from Kye-sang offering to buy her lunch. She runs to meet him cheerily, and he treats her just like he always does, except today he’s dropped the formal jondaemal. Kye-sang has the quirk of speaking to everybody in jondaemal, and the sudden shift is jarring. Ji-won wonders why it’s changed, but Kye-sang just muses, “Hm, I wonder.”
EPISODE 99 WEECAP
With Ha-sun and Ji-seok’s relationship in the open, the family members are curious about the details. How did they start dating? Who made the first move? What does she like about Ji-seok? It makes the comfortable vibe suddenly awkward, and Ha-sun doesn’t quite know how to deal with it.
For instance, they praise her for being so gentle and sweet, and she suddenly feels the pressure to live up to their expectations. She’s not really that nice, she insists, but they laugh it off.
Yoo-sun pops by her house while she’s drinking a beer with Julien, and Ha-sun nervously shoves the beer away and blames it on Julien. Yoo-sun doesn’t judge her for drinking, but Ha-sun’s nervous about making a negative impression.
Nae-sang runs into Nurse Im at a cafe, and to make up for the way their last encounter ended (when he gave her a gift and was forced to take it back), he buys her a cup of coffee. But Yoo-sun hears about it from somebody who sees them together, and this infuriates her — especially when Nae-sang lies about his whereabouts. Eek.
She calls him out on it, but it’s too late for him to tell her that the coffee meetup was just a coincidence — even though this time he’s being honest — and she angrily shoves him into the tunnel for a time-out. She calls Julien and gets him to block the door on the other side for good measure.
Nae-sang finds himself sitting in the dark with nothing but his thoughts for company, and a plate of dumplings that Yoo-sun lowers into the tunnel. Oldboy style.
Soon his thoughts turn to his unknown tattler, and he narrows down the possibilities to Jin-hee. She saw him with Nurse Im before, so she must have seen him this time and gleefully told on him. Now he’s concocting revenge schemes, determined to repay this injustice.
Ha-sun shares her concerns with Ji-seok (sporting a new haircut, yay), and is further discomfited when their date is discovered by students. He’s not worried, though, and says that she’s gentle and kind, even if she doesn’t think so.
Over drinks with her friends, Ha-sun admits that she feels the pressure to not disappoint her neighbors. Her friends tell her not to be such a perfectionist, and that it’s okay to act comfortably as usual, but when Yoo-sun invites her to dinner, she accepts despite being tipsy.
Ji-seok runs late so Ha-sun is left to fend for herself. The pressure is really mostly in her head, but she lets herself be urged into drinking more, and soon she’s close to wasted.
She starts to gag and rushes to the bathroom, but doesn’t make it in time and spits up on the floor. Horrified, she starts to clean it up, but ends up tripping and falling over instead. Ji-seok arrives home and finds her, and carries her home to sleep it off.
Ha-sun wakes up with a start, though, remembering the vomit she wasn’t able to clean up. Ji-seok offers to clean it for her, but she’s mortified — and still drunk, which makes her even more obstinate — and insists that she has to do it.
They’re too late, because the family has all seen it and deduced that Ha-sun must have had too much to drink. But Ji-seok urges everybody to pretend they didn’t see anything, and they dutifully comply. He helps Ha-sun stagger drunkenly upstairs, although she falls so many times the family is hard-pressed to pretend they don’t notice. Ha-sun grits her teeth and continues on.
Nae-sang spends most of dinner giving Jin-hee the evil eye, planning his revenge. For some strange reason he thinks hitting her on the head with a banana will be appropriate, and freezes it to give it more bite. So when Jin-hee heads out after dinner, he takes his frozen banana and stealthily follows her, ready to strike.
Too bad for him, he has last-minute misgivings which trip him up (literally), and just as he’s trying to strike, he falls. The banana falls and hits him in the head. Ha.
He wakes up in the tunnel once again, with Yoo-sun disapprovingly shaking her head over his revenge impulse. He needs more time to reflect on his wrongs, and she sends down more dumplings to keep him company.
How much do I love the Ha-sun and Ji-seok relationship? I totally buy that they have the romantic attraction of a dating couple, but what sells the connection is all the little (and sometimes not-so-little) things they do for each other. You can feel that they love each other in how much both of them are always giving, more concerned with the other person than with what they’re getting out of the relationship.
I love watching a normal couple go through the normal issues of a relationship, unmarred by the super-dramatic angst that characterizes most regular dramas. I think the mundane-ness of the setting actually heightens the emotional aspect for me; it feels genuine and heartfelt, conveying love in a way that the bigger dramas don’t always pull off.
Jin-hee and Jong-seok were a nice surprise this week, and it wasn’t till they were put together that I even realized they hadn’t interacted much till now. I love that they had a moment of commiseration — misery loves company and all that — and found some solace in each other’s encouragement. Even though it may be an alcohol-fueled connection. I thought Jin-hee’s interfering with Ji-seok’s one-sided crush on Ha-sun sometimes veered into annoying (she overstepped a few times, albeit with the best intentions), but this has a different vibe; here it’s a calmer, more bittersweet shared disappointment.
Kye-sang and Ji-won have a way of hitting some of the more heart-achy moments of this show, and I mean that in a non-romantic way. There’s something really sweet about the way he has slowly been with her as they work through her pain over losing her father, which I think she’s generally dealt with by refusing to admit. She’s a cheery person in everyday life, but there’s that untouchable part of her that we can see, which strikes me as very, very sad.
The loss of the cell phone is such a little thing, the kind of glitch we all go through and shrug off and move on from, only with her it represents such a huge loss that it feels a little bit devastating. Sure, she can write down the contents of the messages and she hasn’t lost anything for real, but there’s a physical comfort in clinging to something that connected you tangibly to someone who’s gone. A thing that existed when Dad was around, which bore witness to the fact that he was alive once. When she woke up and the phone was actually dead, I felt a little pang of finality. Oof.
But it’s also something that needed to happen. Ji-won couldn’t bottle up her feelings up forever, and it seems fitting that Kye-sang is the person to get her to open up, and also let go. It was a witty little touch to work in Kye-sang’s own quirk of speaking jondae to Ji-won, because all series long, he has spoken to her, Seung-yoon, and the clinic kids in jondae. It’s a way of treating children like adults, to take them seriously. I think it’s adorable when he does it to a young child — but it’s different to an almost-adult, where the very act of making that distinction emphasizes that you’re still a kid. Close, but no cigar. It made me think back to that episode where Ji-won dressed up like a grown-up and wore heels and looked like she was trying too hard to match Kye-sang’s grown-up friends. And now, in reverting to banmal, it’s like she’s grown up.
- High Kick 3: Episodes 90-94
- 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