Love is in the air, or at least a whole lot of crushing, as lovelines come flying left and right, and end up crossing one over the other like one big web of angst to come. We see another side to our hero and our villain as well, for a nice change of pace, and the boys gear up for the first big battle over practice turf, with the odds stacked against them.
EPISODE 4 RECAP
Ji-hyuk kneels in front of Seung-hoon, blowing everyone’s minds, including mine. He grits his teeth and asks him to make it so that they can remain at school. Do-il holds the other guys back from jumping in.
Seung-hoon takes Ji-hyuk aside to talk it out, and asks why he’s so dead set on going to school here. Ji-hyuk just says it’s because they have to, and tells him to make it happen. Seung-hoon reminds him that it’s Pyo-joo he should be talking to, not him.
But Ji-hyuk knows to go straight to the leader, and besides, Seung-hoon knows exactly what happened to Byung-hee that night. “You saw it happen. You could’ve stopped it.” He tells Seung-hoon to reveal the truth about Pyo-joo’s involvement that night. Seung-hoon asks how, and Ji-hyuk just breezes, “You’re the smart one. Figure it out,” and stalks away.
Su-ah gathers her things in the art room, and Deo-mi happily reports on the glorious day when “our side” won, and Ji-hyuk bowed to Seung-hoon. Su-ah tells her she doesn’t know what “our side” and “their side” means anyway, and pretends not to comprehend her. I like her, this girl.
Deo-mi wonders what she’s doing, and she says she’s not going to waste expensive art supplies on a talent she doesn’t really have, and plans to drop art class. Not realizing that it really is about the money, Deo-mi guesses that Su-ah’s father required her to drop her frivolous classes for more business-related ones so she can prepare to inherit the company. Su-ah doesn’t have the guts to correct her.
Eye Candy angsts it out in the schoolyard, about how unfair it is that some people can just toss envelopes of money at people to get away with their crimes, while others have to you-know-what just to remain in school.
But they vow to do right by Byung-hee and stay here, and win that rock festival for him. Now it’s just up to Seung-hoon to deliver on that promise, whether it’s out of guilt, self-preservation, or both. By the end of the school day, he tells the principal.
Maro informs Ha-jin and Kyung-jong that the battle for the practice studio is back on since the charges have been dropped, and they happily call Ji-hyuk with the good news. To each other, they gush about how a man kneeling is putting his life on the line, and that their leader is really something. Aw.
Ji-hyuk lets out a triumphant shout just as Seung-hoon drives by in his fancy towncar, and though they don’t show it to each other, they each smile to themselves.
Su-ah starts work at the restaurant, and tells Dad over the phone that she’s okay and no one’s come looking for her yet, and besides, it’s not like she knows where Dad’s hiding out anyway, so there’s nothing to tell.
But that night Ji-hyuk comes home to find two scary thugs knocking on the door to Su-ah’s downstairs neighbors, looking for her. He quickly runs up to his roof and throws something at Su-ah’s window, trying to get her attention without calling out to her.
He alerts her to the thugs and she cowers in fear, but he directs her to the other side, where he helps her get down via ladder. She slips on her way down and he catches her in his arms, startling both of them.
I love that it’s the eye contact that does them in. They look away awkwardly, which is even funnier because he’s still holding her. Ha.
They manage to sneak up to his rooftop room undetected. As soon as they get inside, her stomach growls, and he snickers that she could be hungry at a time like this, and says she must be stronger than she looks.
He makes her a pot of ramyun and asks if she got herself into some trouble, and she says no. But he doesn’t make her explain: “Princess, rooftop room, gangsters. I pretty much get the picture.” Heh. Watch a lot of dramas, do you?
She sees a guitar nearby and asks if it’s his, and he pauses before saying that it’s Byung-hee’s. She grows silent, and he tells her again that it’s not her fault, and to stop blaming herself.
By the time he’s done with dishes she’s already asleep, huddled in the corner. When she wakes up in the morning, she’s in his bed all cozy, and Ji-hyuk is curled up on the floor below.
She gently puts the pillow under his head and covers him with the blanket before giving a little wave and a smile. So cute. He waits till she sneaks out before opening his eyes.
Seung-hoon’s sister drops him off at school and wonders why he’s suddenly so interested in school again, even turning down Dad’s offer to go study abroad. He just says that things have suddenly become really interesting.
She asks how things are with Su-ah, and he wonders why she keeps asking about her. She says that there’s been a lot of chatter about her father’s company lately, that it’s in some trouble, but doesn’t say anything more.
The principal assigns their old teacher with the task of keeping the boys in line, and Teach of course wants to resort to fists first. But the principal says that’s not how they do things around here, and gives him his new weapon: the point system.
He goes on a rampage following the Eye Candy boys around, deducting points left and right for being tardy, for eating candy, for having too strong an accent (ha), for having rock n roll hair, for being girl-crazy.
He happens to catch Ha-jin horsing around and trying to give Do-il a kiss for getting rid of those gangsters last time, and Teacher interrupts them, “What kind of relationship do you have?” Minus points.
What they realize is that the point system isn’t just an annoyance, but a danger – once they get up to 60 negative points, it’s expulsion. They wonder how long they’ll make it, and Ji-hyuk just says they have to last till the festival.
Seung-hoon summons him to discuss the battle for the practice room, and Ji-hyuk saunters in. Pyo-joo is as tightly wound as ever, but Ji-hyuk treats him like a child, putting his arm around casually as if to say, you are the opposite of scary.
They flip a coin to determine the order (rich boys first) and decide that an audience vote is the fairest way to pick the winner. Both sides agree to the terms. Pyo-joo can’t help but get a dig in, that he should give up now unless he wants to get on his knees again in front of the whole school.
Ji-hyuk pushes his face away, and then grabs a guitar pick off the table, and sends it flying into the dartboard that Pyo-joo was playing with when he came in. Badass. Maro and Pyo-joo gape at it afterwards, in awe.
The boys wonder where they’ll practice for now, since they have to win the battle to win the studio, and Hyun-soo mentions that Woo-kyung’s been calling Do-il looking for Ji-hyuk because he doesn’t answer his phone. Ha-jin wonders why it’s always Do-il she calls when she can’t find Ji-hyuk, and something about the way Do-il looks down says it bugs him for a different reason.
Just then Woo-kyung comes running in with big news, saying that she got Ji-hyuk a present because he’s been so down lately, and she’s his muse after all. She takes all the boys to a building on the verge of being torn down.
There’s a basement space there with an old set of drums, and she tells them that they can use the space until it gets demolished. They ask when that is, and she says, “Well I’m sure it’s not tomorrow!” They do not look reassured at that.
Ji-hyuk thanks her and promises to buy her dinner, but that’s not the thanks she had in mind. She puckers up her lips. Kyung-jong goes gaga and Ha-jin shields his eyes, while Do-il watches with a sad look. Oh noes, he really does have a crush.
Ji-hyuk stares blankly, so she grabs his face with her hands and pulls him in for a kiss. Nice. I like your style. The boys go crazy while Ji-hyuk stands there awkwardly, and Do-il sighs to himself. Aw.
Kyung-jong didn’t get to see it happen, so he gestures at Ha-jin, pointing at his own tongue. Pfft, are you asking if there was tongue? Hee.
A few of the boys gather for practice the next day, and wonder where Ji-hyuk ran off to. Do-il says he picked up a part-time gig for his uncle again, which seems like a common occurrence.
It turns out that he’s recording a song, as a session musician. (He’s singing the guide version of the song as a placeholder.) He begins to sing the soft ballad and then Seung-hoon’s sister comes in to check on the recording. She calls her brother to ask if he can make it, calling him the songwriter.
Ooooh, interesting connection. Ji-hyuk’s standing there singing Seung-hoon’s song. Meanwhile his sister watches, wondering who this kid is, and tells the producer to get his contact info.
The reason Seung-hoon blows off the recording session is to follow Su-ah after school. He follows her all the way to her part-time job at the restaurant, and puts together the pieces, from what his sister said.
Late that night, Su-ah walks home and senses someone coming up behind her. She braces herself, grabs her backpack, and whirls around with it with her eyes closed, and spins right into Ji-hyuk’s arms.
She stammers, “Oh it was you?” and he laughs that she should learn how to swing properly if she wants to use that thing as a weapon, otherwise it just looks like she did it on purpose to get a hug. HA.
He suggests she not come home so late if she’s so scared and she pretends not to be, but looks up at her rooftop, clearly scared to go up there. So Ji-hyuk goes first to make sure there aren’t any thugs tonight, and gives her the all-clear.
Up on her roof he asks for her phone and stores his number, for her to call if they show up again. She thanks him and he goes back down and up to his own roof.
What they don’t see is that Seung-hoon has followed her all the way here, and has seen the whole thing.
The next morning at school Ji-hyuk and Ha-jin head up the stairs, and turn right back around when they see Grumpypants Teacher standing guard outside the door, waiting to dock points for every little thing.
They quickly tuck in their shirts and straighten their ties, as Ji-hyuk sighs that it’s high school, not Miss Korea. Teach sees them coming up and practically rubs his hands in glee, only they arrive perfectly dressed, bow, and salute him. Heh. Thwarted at your own game.
Seung-hoon gives Su-ah the recording of his new song, which is hilarious because he has no idea that Ji-hyuk’s the one singing it. She looks up in surprise as soon as she hears the voice, but doesn’t let on if she knows who it is.
Seung-hoon tries to give her a bunch of gift certificates to a mall, but she turns it down, saying that it might not be very much to him, but it’s too much money for her to accept between friends. She walks away and he berates himself for the misstep.
Ji-hyuk sits outside with Do-il and Kyung-jong, and Teacher comes out from behind them, ready to go all Wyatt Earp on their asses. He scrambles their surroundings and finds the perfect smoking gun: a cigarette butt.
They swear it’s not theirs, but of course their protests don’t matter. Kyung-jong asks for a DNA test, ha. Ji-hyuk says he should just beat them instead, quoting what he used to say to them every time he hit them before, about how they’d end up street thugs if they didn’t get their act together.
He scoffs, “How can someone who calls himself a teacher run around trying to get students expelled?” Well I’m glad someone said it. Teach stews for a while, but it niggles at him all day, and eventually he scratches out the demerits in his notebook with a sigh. Aw. So he has a heart after all?
That night they practice in their basement studio, though Hyun-soo has been conspicuously absent for a few days straight. Woo-kyung arrives with snacks, calling Ji-hyuk “jagi,” which makes him cringe.
Suddenly sirens blare and they hear noise outside, and Woo-kyung goes to check it out. Some neighborhood ajummas have complained about the noise, swearing that it’s an abandoned building but they heard something.
Thinking quickly, Woo-kyung plays drunk and distracts the cops long enough for the boys to sneak away… only Kyung-jong drops a cymbal on his way out, leading to a chase.
They split up, and Ji-hyuk and Do-il end up in his pool hall, lying on a table and wondering why their lives are always this way. They have a good chuckle over it. Ji-hyuk sits up for a minute, “I think this is the first time in my life I’ve ever worked so hard. I want to hurry up and show them.”
Do-il gives him a pat on the shoulder to say he gets it, and Ji-hyuk pushes him away to cut the mushiness.
Su-ah leaves work that night to find Seung-hoon sitting outside the restaurant. He’s clearly waiting for her but they both lie that they happened to be there, and he takes out a red scarf for her, saying that it’s an apology for earlier. Aw.
He asks if that’s okay as a present and she smiles, so he wraps it around her, and then plants a little kiss on her forehead. They walk hand-in-hand to the bus stop, and he sends her off with a wave.
On the bus, she sighs as she touches her forehead, while in the street, Seung-hoon smiles like a goof looking at his hand. I’m glad we get to see this side of him, because up until now he hasn’t been the most sympathetic or layered character.
Meanwhile, Ji-hyuk sits inside a convenience store, staring out the window. He passes the time with ramyun, snacks, and then jumps up with a start and smoothes his hair before running out when he sees Su-ah pass by. Are you waiting there for her? Why so cute?
He silently walks behind her and then notices that she’s passed her own house without realizing it. The way he gets her attention? He chucks a lollipop at the back of her head. Ha.
She yells “Ow” with a start and turns around, glaring. She picks up the lolli and says if it were gum like the last time, she’d have his head shaved, and rips the wrapper off.
His face turns to horror when she makes a move to eat it, screaming, “THAT’S MY LAST ONE!” Hahaha. Well maybe you should’ve thought of that before chucking it at people’s heads, buddy.
She scoffs at his nerve and says fine, she’ll give him the candy if he apologizes. He pauses, and then agrees, “Yes, that’s apple flavor [apology and apple are homonyms in Korean],” and snatches it out of her hand and pops it in his mouth. Cheeky.
He wakes up the next morning and finds a yogurt sitting outside his door.
At school the students are abuzz with bets on which band will win the practice room battle. Deo-mi asks Su-ah which side she’s rooting for, and gasps when she implies that maybe it’s not for the side she thinks. But Su-ah just says that they can enjoy a good concert either way.
They start setting up for the battle, and throw insults back and forth at each other about their instruments, and Ha-jin goes to take out his bass… which he finds stringless. Whoops. He realizes that he lost his strings in that panic when the cops crashed their practice space.
Eye Candy asks to push the time back, but Maro insists the rules must be kept, and instead tosses his motorcycle keys to Ji-hyuk. They go on as planned, as Ji-hyuk races to get the strings before their turn.
Seung-hoon’s band plays a jazzy piece as Ji-hyuk finds the strings and rushes back. But as Eye Candy sets up and waits, a news story pops up and starts circulating on everyone’s phones.
It’s news that Su-ah’s father’s company has gone under, and that he’s being prosecuted. She stands in the crowd, frozen, not knowing what to do.
Ji-hyuk finally arrives but then sees the same thugs from the other night standing outside the school, asking after Su-ah. He runs inside, and his bandmates ask for the bass strings. The other band announces that they have a minute to start, otherwise they forfeit…
Ji-hyuk turns around, grabs Su-ah’s hand, and they get the hell out of dodge.
I didn’t actually expect the relationship between Ji-hyuk and Su-ah to develop so quickly, but I really like their growing friendship. I love their little moments of chemistry, like awkwardly doing the doorway dance just to get past each other, or every time they get close. It doesn’t feel strange because Ji-hyuk was the one who had a connection with her even when Byung-hee was around, and Byung-hee’s muse-crush on her was so one-sided and crazy.
I’m glad that Seung-hoon isn’t being written as a total sociopath or something, because I was concerned that he was going to end up a one-dimensional villain type, while everyone else got interesting backstories. But he’s shaping up to be more than just the bad guy, so I like that there’s the possibility of something other than just the expected rivalry between the two bands.
But I’m the biggest fan of Ji-hyuk’s character, who continues to surprise me at every turn. You think he’s a punk kid, but then he schools the teacher on right and wrong, and it turns out he listens to everything he’s told even while being beaten. He seems like a reckless prideful leader, but puts that on the line when they need to stay in school. And then again, when the battle is on the line, he puts Su-ah’s safety first. I can’t wait to see where else we go with his character.
I think what resonates with me the most is this world, the way it conveys the teenage malaise and feeling of being lost. It’s not actually a depressing world to me because they struggle with a version of the same things every young person fights against – feeling powerless, lacking purpose, wanting everything and having nothing. Tonally it strikes the perfect balance to say that this is what they feel, but that they can also have a sense of hope and pure joy in something that might seem insignificant: a piece of music, the perfect performance, a connection with one other person who might get it. And that just gets me in the heart.
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