Fun fun! As much as the polar-opposites rivalry between the street rats and the prep boys is driving the conflict bus, it’s also fun to see where the worlds collide and/or mesh. And how that can sometimes spur other, unexpected conflicts on the side.
SONG OF THE DAY
Sung Joon – “무단횡단” (Jaywalking), the song that the boys enter into the festival.
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EPISODE 5 RECAP
With only a minute left before they forfeit the play-off, Ji-hyuk makes his decision and grab’s Su-ah’s hand. Already the students are reacting to the news flash that her Dad’s gone bankrupt, and as they race outside, they just barely escape the loan shark gangsters on Maro’s borrowed motorcycle.
The boys of both Eye Candy and Strawberry Fields follow them outside, just in time to see them driving off.
Stopping for a break under a bridge, both Ji-hyuk and Su-ah eye their phones with dismay, ignoring calls — him from Do-il, and her from Seung-hoon.
Su-ah says bitterly that her schoolmates must all be giddy with the gossip about her family’s ruin. He says she should’ve told them earlier since this was bound to come out, but she says she wanted to hide it if she could, at least till graduation. That she wanted to forget her predicament.
Ji-hyuk sees that she’s on the brink of tears and says forcefully, “What’s wrong with living in a rooftop room? You won’t starve or freeze to death. That’s how we all live, every day. We live fifty thousand times more energetically than those chicken farm chicken-heads! We live just fine!”
The tears fall anyway. Ji-hyuk pats her on the shoulder with adorable awkwardness, letting her cry.
Ji-hyuk drops Su-ah off at her restaurant job, where Seung-hoon is waiting. He tells Ji-hyuk he’s done enough playing of the black knight today, and Ji-hyuk leaves the pair. Su-ah promises to tell Seung-hoon the details later and heads in to work, leaving him frustrated and out of the loop.
The Eye Candy boys also stew in frustration at the pool hall, where Ji-hyuk finds them. They glare and demand an explanation. So what if that girl was in trouble — who is he to swoop in as her rescuer? Ji-hyuk fumbles for a plausible excuse and lands on, “She’s Byung-hee’s muse!”
Funny enough, that’s the one argument that might work — they understand loyalty to Byung-hee. Ji-hyuk isn’t too convincing (he can’t meet their eyes) and Hyun-soo approaches suspiciously, asking if it’s true. Ji-hyuk scoffs, “Of course. Why would I save her?” as though she’s nothing to him, and Hyun-soo backs off saying he’ll believe it this time. But he’d better not change his tune later.
Hyun-soo’s feeling aggressive today, because he turns his controlled anger to Ha-jin next, telling him to keep his mouth shut today since it was his bass strings that put them in this situation to begin with.
After Ji-hyuk leaves, Do-il comments that he must really be feeling sorry, because he’s never this flustered around them.
Seung-hoon waits till Su-ah’s done with work so they can talk. He’s disappointed that Su-ah didn’t tell him the truth, but she says that admitting it would have made it real. Then she cheers up and uses Ji-hyuk’s words about not freezing or starving just because she’s living on a rooftop: “Don’t worry. I’ll be just fine, living fifty thousand times more energetically.”
Su-ah asks for a favor, and Seung-hoon readily agrees to help. She says that it was her fault the band performance got cancelled, so can they just share the practice space? Seung-hoon’s disappointed that the favor has to do with those guys, but reluctantly agrees to consider it.
Ji-hyuk finds Su-ah listening to music in the neighborhood convenience store, because she’s afraid to face gangsters if they come by tonight. She explains that this song has the ability to make her feel better, but she doesn’t let him see what it is, calling it a secret.
She tries repeatedly to call her father, but he’s been frustratingly out of touch, and she can only leave a message.
Ji-hyuk leaves Su-ah at the store, but soon comes running back to tell her (in his gruff, “I totally didn’t do this to be nice or anything” way) that he checked and no gangsters are around. But just in case, he suggests they switch rooms temporarily.
They pack up the basics and make the swap. Su-ah calls Ji-hyuk to propose that they keep from looking through each other’s things. He agrees to it, while opening her drawer, ha.
He knocks something over and she asks sharply, “What are you doing in my room?!” HA. It’s going to be impossible not to look around, but I love that this occurs to them only after the fact. She especially tells him not to look at her drawings, just as he picks up the dropped nude figure sketch from the floor.
Yet that probably isn’t as embarrassing as the next sketch, which is of his friends, picturing them lighting their sparklers and sending up the sparks to Byung-hee in the sky.
The next day at school, Su-ah finds herself the new object of ridicule, and Pyo-joo tosses a chalkboard eraser at her head. He must have disliked her for a while but now he lets his true feelings show, sneering that she was too busy flirting to do her eraser-cleaning duties. He moves to throw another one at her, but his arm is blocked by Ji-hyuk, and Su-ah hurries out crying.
Seung-hoon arrives as Su-ah leaves, and Pyo-joo tells him that Su-ah’s been playing with him. Seung-hoon warns him that if he lays a finger on “my girlfriend” again, he won’t be forgiven. Ji-hyuk looks up at mention of “girlfriend,” and the other students take note of Seung-hoon putting an official stamp on their relationship for the first time.
Deo-mi finds Su-ah in the bathroom and apologizes for her behavior, now that she understands why Su-ah’s been so unavailable lately. She hugs her and says, “I wasn’t even a proper friend!” At least you know it, honey. But she adds that she’s envious of one thing, because Seung-hoon just defended her to the class, calling himself her boyfriend.
That afternoon, the boys gather for the posting of the rock festival results, anxious to see if they made the cut. Seung-hoon’s disappointed that Strawberry Fields placed fourth, but the bigger shock comes at seeing that Eye Candy — whom they’d assumed wouldn’t even make the cut — is in second place. Booyah!
Ha-jin and Kyung-jong pinch each other’s cheeks to make sure this is real, and the boys break out into cheers. Based on the evaluation online, the judges praised their hooky melody, but said they could use a more explosive guitar sound. The guys look uneasily at Hyun-soo, who’s bothered to be named the weak link.
Seung-hoon also smarts at his band’s critique, which indicates a shaky bass line. That’s Pyo-joo’s purview, and he calls him out on it. (Amusingly, Maro has taken to throwing guitar picks instead of darts, trying to mimic Ji-hyuk, though all of his attempts clatter to the ground.)
Ji-hyuk sets out to soundproof their makeshift studio with egg crates. Woo-kyung guesses he’s going the extra mile because he feels sorry to his bandmates, and is particularly annoyed that some other girl was the reason they lost the practice room. She tells him not to look any other girl in the eye, and Ji-hyuk orders her to leave.
This time they’ve gone through proper channels to use this space. The demolition has been postponed so as long as they’re quiet and pay rent, they can play here. Ji-hyuk figures he’ll keep singing guide vocals for extra cash to pay for it.
They mark festival day on the calendar, which is approaching fast. Woo-kyung points out Valentine’s Day on the calendar and tells Ji-hyuk they’d better do something for real this time, and he hurriedly changes the topic to the competition. Now that they’ve got somebody watching from above, “If we don’t win, he might drag us up with him.”
Their new cheer: “Shut up, and let’s win!”
Seung-hoon’s sister, who works in talent management, listens to the contest band entries in her office. She shuts off Eye Candy’s demo when Seung-hoon enters because it’s against the rules to reveal the entries before the show, particularly to a competitor. Seung-hoon scoffs that nobody’s a worthy competitor for him, but noona says that while Eye Candy may be a little rough around the edges, they have the power to move you.
She tells him lightly that he should be a little worried, but adds that she looks forward most of all to her little bro. He returns, “Are you looking forward to it because I’m your brother, or because of me as a musician?”
And then noona adds that the Eye Candy leader happens to be the guy who sang his guide track. The guide vocal that Su-ah was so enamored of…
That night, Su-ah leaves another drink carton in front of Ji-hyuk’s door (well, hers) before settling in at her temporary digs. She turns on the boom box and enjoys listening to the same demo noona had been listening to. Just as it occurs to her that the voice sounds familiar, Ji-hyuk pounds on the door and she shuts it off.
He takes the CD, and she asks if it’s him singing. He points out that they weren’t supposed to touch each other’s stuff.
More pounding at the door sends them both scrambling, and Ji-hyuk stuffs Su-ah behind a curtain, tossing her stuff after her. (A shoe flies into her head.) The boys and Woo-kyung burst in wanting ramyun, but Ji-hyuk shoves them outside, insisting on hamburgers instead.
But Kyung-jong has to use the bathroom and he turns back, evading Ji-hyuk’s attempts to grab him. That puts him face to face with Su-ah, thankfully before his pants hit the ground. They both scream.
So then Ji-hyuk and Su-ah sit in front of the others like wayward teenagers facing disapproving parents. The explanation sounds outlandish even to them, and Woo-kyung demands to know the real nature of their relationship. She is both furious and jealous, while Ha-jin enjoys every moment.
Do-il says he’d have done the same for Byung-hee’s muse, though, and Ji-hyuk jumps on that excuse. But Su-ah is so contrite that the guys grudgingly back off, after hearing about her situation.
The principal asks for an update on the boys. Teacher Kim says that they must have caught on to the demerits-equal-expulsion plan because they’ve been quiet lately, when in truth it’s him who’s stopped pursuing them so doggedly. The principal warns that weeds must be cut immediately before more spring up, and Teacher Kim meekly agrees to keep his eyes open.
Ji-hyuk has effectively forced his teacher to recall his sense of conscience, but the principal is the real problem. He’s emblematic of the privileged world he serves and calls Su-ah in to reprimand her. While it’s too bad she’s in family trouble, they can’t have gangsters running around the school, can they?
To add to his dickishness quotient, he relieves her of her duties collecting class fees — to remove the temptation of stealing, you know. He says it like he’s doing her a favor, which makes it that much more insulting. At least Teacher Kim hears this with as much distaste as we do; there’s hope for his soul yet.
He finds Do-il fiddling with drumsticks in the hallway and gives him two demerits, though he takes no glee in it. He warns Do-il that he’s got forty demerits now — just twenty shy of expulsion — and urges him to stop doing things that make him stand out. He advises, “Let’s live quietly. Just try doing what the world wants you to do.” After all, they can’t change the world.
It’s both touching and sad to hear Teacher Kim’s resigned advice, because this time I do think he’s worried for the guys’ sake. He says that if he’d known this when he was their age, things would have been different for him too, which means he’s got first-hand understanding of where they’re headed. While his advice is hardly the kind of stuff you’d advocate in a feel-good, follow-your-dreams sort of story, it rings true in the world-weary tones of a teacher who’s seen it all and knows what’s in store for them if they don’t change their ways.
Hyun-soo, meanwhile, has been practicing extra-hard at the guitar, forgoing sleep. It’s enough to make his normally adoring sister clap her hands over her hears and declare, “I hate you oppa.” Aw.
Although his friends cheer on his improvement, he’s still dissatisfied. Kyung-jong jokes that his dark circles are so fierce he’s about to shoot “dark beam” lasers from his eyes.
With that, the boys spend the coming days feverishly practicing. Strawberry Fields likewise rehearses busily, determined to win.
It’s early morning when Ji-hyuk stumbles out of practice and runs into Su-ah, who’s heading out for her milk delivery run. Only now does he make the connection, realizing she’d left the cartons outside his door. What, did you just drink it thinking the milk fairy dropped by? This also stirs his memory of the girl at the subway station that night he’d slept on that bench, before they’d officially met. Su-ah: “That beggar was you?”
Su-ah gets good news from her father, who finally calls. It cheers her up, and she finishes her job listening to her special song.
Woo-kyung arrives outside Jungsang High with a group of Eye Candy fangirls, all of whom are here bearing Valentine’s chocolates for their oppas. Oh, that’s adorable. Woo-kyung eyes the chocolates from the girl who’s here for Ji-hyuk and offers to convey them herself, but hilariously, the girl senses danger and refuses to give them up. Smart girl knows to be wary of rival sabotage.
When Su-ah arrives, Woo-kyung confronts her to set the record straight. She’s putting up with their living situation since Su-ah’s in a tough spot, but she warns her not to get any innocent-heroine-damsel-in-distress ideas in her head. In short, “Ji-hyuk is mine!”
Just then the crowd of fangirls mobs the newly arrived Eye Candy boys, squealing and offering their chocolates. Ha-jin loves the attention and accepts his gifts with compliments (“You’re all so pretty!”) while Ji-hyuk pushes away and beelines inside first.
Pyo-joo smirks when Ji-hyuk and Ha-jin enter with their arms full of chocolates, saying that the gifts from their neighborhood girls are cheap, not like the premium stuff sitting on Seung-hoon’s desk. Pyo-joo: “Our girls have things called taste and class.”
But then Ha-jin and Ji-hyuk pull more presents out from inside their desks — from Jungsang girls? HA — and Pyo-joo’s jaw drops. Ji-hyuk: “Your girls’ taste and class don’t seem so different after all.” Ha-jin: “Want one of mine?”
The boys decide it would be best to get an outside opinion to evaluate their performance, and call upon the muse. Ha-jin ignores Ji-hyuk’s protests and invites her to sit in on their rehearsal tonight, but she has plans, though she says it’s not a Valentine’s date. She offers to come by later and heads in to work, eagerly anticipating seeing Dad that night.
Dad waits outside the restaurant for her shift to end, which is where Seung-hoon spots him. Dad thanks Seung-hoon for being so helpful to Su-ah.
Su-ah’s father is full of remorse over subjecting Su-ah to this predicament, but she tells him she’s learning a lot. Now she appreciates everything he’d done in keeping her fed and clothed all this time. Dad tearily tells her that he’s going to admit his wrongs and receive the punishment, then return to her. Does he mean jail time? Su-ah assures him she’ll be strong and live well.
At band rehearsal, the boys wonder what’s keeping Hyun-soo and Su-ah. Woo-kyung has been peevish toward the boys for keeping Ji-hyuk late so they can’t go on a Valentine’s date, missing the part where he probably would have deflected in any case. She glowers at mention of Su-ah, but cheers up when the boys figure she’s out on a date with Seung-hoon — a fact that improves her mood about as much as it worsens Ji-hyuk’s.
The boys call rehearsal quits, and Ji-hyuk sits deflated. He wouldn’t admit he was waiting for Su-ah, but the other guys wonder if anything happened to her. Ha-jin says she’s probably on a romantic night out, but Kyung-jong worries that she might’ve gotten caught by the gangsters again. At that possibility, Ji-hyuk shoots up and bolts out of there with an excuse.
Ha-jin and Kyung-jong head out too, leaving Woo-kyung to sit miserably with the box of chocolates she’s been trying to give Ji-hyuk since morning. Do-il hangs back and notes that she missed her timing “this year, too.” She starts to tear up and says she’d been deliberating all day over the timing, holding back because she didn’t want hers getting mixed with all the others.
Angrily she opens the box and declares that she’ll eat ’em all and finally put an end to this. She shoves chocolate after chocolate into her mouth, brushing away tears.
Ji-hyuk races home and texts Su-ah (“Where are you?”), only to find the two gangsters waiting to ask questions. He tells them the girl moved away, which they seem to buy. Just as Su-ah texts back saying she’s almost home, however, the men recognize him from school. Ji-hyuk runs off, leading them in the opposite direction from Su-ah.
The thugs soon corner Ji-hyuk and give him a good pounding. Thankfully they’re called off by their boss, who informs them that Su-ah’s father has turned himself in. That means they no longer have to squeeze the man’s family for the money, and they retreat.
Seung-hoon walks Su-ah home and urges her again to move in to his sister’s officetel, for her safety. She just thanks him for accompanying her, and he says that every time she thanks him, he feels distance between them.
Ji-hyuk staggers back home, cut up and bloody. The sight of Su-ah standing in front of her gate, safe and sound, makes him smile in relief… until he rounds the corner to see Seung-hoon with her, pulling her to him for a surprise hug.
Su-ah’s secret living situation is something I was afraid might get dragged out, so I found it a relief to have everything come out into the open. Sure, there’s a lot of cuteness to be had in Ji-hyuk and Su-ah sharing this secret, but you can only do so much before you’re circling the same plot point.
My favorite aspect of this is the shakeup in relationship dynamics, not just for Su-ah and Ji-hyuk, but surprisingly for a lot of the supporting characters. Pyo-joo’s hatefulness toward Su-ah came as a surprise to me, because I’d assumed they’d all been in the same clique since kindergarten. I guess I shouldn’t find it surprising that the asshat acts like an ass, but I didn’t think he’d go so far as to outright attack Su-ah. If this drama ends up breaking up the Pyo-joo/Seung-hoon friendship, I’ll consider it a positive thing for Seung-hoon, who seems to possess a decent character, whereas Pyo-joo is rotten to the core.
I’m still not sold on Deo-mi because despite her acceptance of Su-ah, she still seems terribly snooty to our Eye Candy boys, and, well, if that isn’t a sign of bad taste, what is? But she’s at least a step up from Pyo-joo; maybe in Maro territory, where they’re set in their privileged ways but not entirely despicable.
I did also like how this opens the lines of communication between Su-ah and the boys, like Ha-jin approaching her at school. The drama’s done a good job of establishing the invisible class lines so well that I was actually taken aback at that; it felt like that taboo was real, and that they were breaking rules to be openly talking at school. The incredulous look on Deo-mi’s face was enough to tell us she considered this some sort of line-crossing, and it made me like Su-ah all the more for not seeing that line.
Then on the other side, we have Hyun-soo. Oh, pretty, pretty Hyun-soo. You’re going to cause problems, aren’t you?
That pool hall scene had me on edge, because it felt like the boys were close to breaking out into a fight. Everyone was upset with Ji-hyuk for walking out of the practice room, but it was interesting to see their differing reactions to hearing him out — and I love that the drama bothered to take care in establishing distinct reactions, rather than lumping them into one big group of identical emotions.
Hyun-soo is harshest toward Ji-hyuk, and I was nervous when he took a dig at Ji-hyuk’s so-called leadership skills. Especially since I kind of agreed that it wasn’t sporting for the leader to leave his team in the lurch. For now, I’m relieved that there are enough buffer personalities to keep this group in balance — Do-il is calm and logical, while Kyung-jong and Ha-jin are quick to react, but just as quick to restore their good humor.
Hyun-soo, though, exhibits alpha tendencies that are bound to have friction with Ji-hyuk, especially now that you add musical insecurities on top of the mix. Who else winced when that guitar evaluation was read? I felt that dread, which makes me worry for the boys but is also a great move, narratively speaking. It’s just too bad that these people feel so real to me that I don’t want them to clash, even if it’s necessary for the drama to keep going. You can’t break up the bromance!