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High Kick 3: Episodes 110-114

If that screencap doesn’t get your curiosity firing, I don’t know what will. Ha. What could possibly explain it? Has High Kick lost its mind? Or maybe that’s just Seung-yoon.

Heads-up: The show will be getting three extra episodes, but it’s not a noteworthy addition; this is standard procedure for dailies to fill out the finale week. (High Kick 3 was pre-empted enough times to have gotten off-schedule.) This means that Episode 123 will be the last one, airing in two Thursdays; the show will air a special in the final Friday timeslot.


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For some cash, Jong-seok picks up a gig as a drama extra, shooting a scene where he’s part of a businessman’s entourage. The shoot is crashed by a very loud pint-sized bundle of trouble named Hae-ri (Jin Ji-hee, another High Kick cameo), who’s the director’s daughter. She demands the star’s autograph and refuses to budge, and not even the grown men can keep her in line.

Jong-seok has no trouble being firm and tells her to calm down and stop interrupting their work. Hae-ri looks up at him and gapes, in awe, at his Yeom-like aura of prettiness. She’s smitten and finds him after the shoot to offer him a cookie (a cookie! How cute is that?). Jong-seok raps her forehead like she’s an annoying kid sister and she runs after his van calling him a butthole (her favorite word for everyone), then declares that he’s just her type. What, disapproving older men? I foresee a turbulent adolescence in her future.

Ha-sun and Ji-seok come home from playing basketball, and he invites her over for a beef dinner. This reminds them of the forehead-flicking game they played the last time, which makes her remember how frustrating it was losing to Kye-sang over and over again. He overhears and teasingly offers up his forehead to make it even, in his irritating jokey way.

So when Kye-sang wins the game again, and flicks her super-hard again, Ha-sun feels the indignity sorely. Ji-seok tells her not to let Kye-sang get to her, but she says he just has a way of pissing her off.

The next day, Ji-seok and Ha-sun run into the clinic employees at the gym, and he proposes a game, betting on the dinner bill. He tells Ha-sun this can be their revenge — beat Kye-sang and make him pay for their dinner.

Ha-sun gets into the game, but Kye-sang remains infuriatingly cheery, and his smiling face taunts her. When he outmaneuvers her, he laughs in her face and enjoys how much this upsets her. So finally, she can’t take it anymore and charges Kye-sang… and yanks down his sweats.

He’s so shocked that Kye-sang immediately turns serious and walks away silently. Ha-sun’s sense return to belatedly, and she’s mortified. Worse yet is how he turns this into another way to tease her — by grabbing at his belt every time he sees her, pretending to be afraid she’ll go for another try.

Hae-ri follows Seung-yoon home from the drama shoot, determined to find Jong-seok. Her loud bratty ways clash with the family (she’s cute and harmless, but totally rude) but they generally ignore her. She interrupts tutoring to demand that Jong-seok take her to an amusement park. He ignores her and locks her out.

Jong-seok uses his extra wages to buy Ji-won a necklace, which he gives the her as a thank-you for the tutoring, assuring her that it has no meaning.

Undaunted by failure, Hae-ri returns the next day to issue her demands, and Jong-seok relents, telling her they’ll go after tutoring. Ji-won returns the necklace because she finds it too big a burden, and adds that she thinks they’d better stop tutoring. Jong-seok isn’t happy, but he agrees, with the concession that they have one last session.

As promised, Jong-seok takes Hae-ri out afterward, and she clocks his interest in Ji-won and wonders why he didn’t insist on his way. That’s what she would’ve done — if she like something, she goes after it until it’s hers. Jong-seok answers that if you like somebody, their feelings become more important than your own.

Hae-ri doesn’t understand, but perhaps it sinks in eventually, because when we cut to one year later, we find her a little more grown up, a little quieter, and a lot more polite — adopting Ji-won’s mannerisms, perhaps?


Kye-sang sees that Ji-won is still intent on going to Rwanda, which he finds upsetting. He consults his thinky binky for some brainstorming time, and comes up with a plan. He consults with Soo-jung, offering her allowance in exchange for some tips: What do people her age do for fun?

Nae-sang is still pissy about Jin-hee tattling to Yoo-sun about Nurse Im — at least, he’s convinced it was Jin-hee, even though she protests that it wasn’t her. She retorts that she’s the one who should be upset with him, not the other way around — after all, he tried to hit her with that frozen banana the last time.

At school, Julien naps at his desk and Ji-seok decides to play a silly prank, dabbing some (smelly) bean past on his upper lip. His students tease him and start calling him a nickname meaning Poopy, and is still fuming when he sees Nae-sang later and tells him about the prank.

Nae-sang sees the perfect opportunity to get his own revenge on Jin-hee, and makes “an offer you can’t refuse” — what if they swap revenges? That way they can escape suspicion and form alibis.

Kye-sang asks Ji-won to spend an entire day with him, telling her they’re going to have some fun. Armed with Soo-jung’s suggestions, they go window-shopping, get pedicures, hang out at a coffee shop, and even go to an idol concert — starring Krystal’s group f(x), giving us a meta joke about how that idol sure looks a lot like Soo-jung.

For Julien’s revenge by proxy, Nae-sang sneaks into Ji-seok’s room and draws on his face with permanent parker. Ji-seok wakes up furious and naturally assumes it was Julien… who conveniently has an alibi. That stops him short — then who?

Now for Nae-sang’s revenge: He hands Julien a frozen banana and instructs him to hit Jin-hee with it. But as Julien stands over a sleeping Jin-hee, he finds he can’t do it and tells Nae-sang he has to back out. Well at least somebody has sense.

Kye-sang and Ji-won follow the concert with an enthusiastic noraebang session, telling each other how much fun they’re having. But the day is wearing long, and they’re both faking it at this point — as they smile and sing, each one thinks privately how hard it is, being in pursuit of such fun.

When they finally head home, Kye-sang has a few last words for JI-won: that the world contains more enjoyable things in it for her, if she takes the time to explore. She tells him she understands.

Nae-sang overhears Seung-yoon complaining about Kye-sang (he caused an uproar by posting in his Earth Is Square cafe) and seizes the chance to make another offer: Does he want revenge? So Nae-sang sneaks into Kye-sang’s room with another marker — only this time, Kye-sang wakes up and confronts him in front of the family. They decide that Nae-sang can’t just get away with this, and return the favor.

So when Soo-jung complains about Seung-yoon, Nae-sang pops up with his newly decorated face and asks if she’d like revenge…


Jin-hee runs into fellow lonelyheart Jong-seok and gives him a few encouraging words about Ji-won. They don’t see Seung-yoon standing there till too late, and he’s stunned. How could his best friend keep this from him?

Moreover, Seung-yoon can’t stand to see his friend so lovelorn (aw), and takes it upon himself to help the couple along. Thinking Jong-seok has been pining in secret, he tells Ji-won plainly that she should think about dating Jong-seok, and starts to talk him up.

Jong-seok catches wind of it and races next door to drag his friend away, and informs him that Ji-won already knows how he feels. Seung-yoon is even more shocked to hear that Jong-seok was rejected, and starts to storm right back to give Ji-won a piece of his mind, which I find endearing and awesome. But Jong-seok makes him promise not to do anything.

Ji-seok and Ha-sun fight over who pays for their dates, even though his card gets declined for reaching its limit. She advises him to be less spendy, because he’s always offering to pay — not just for her, but for the other teachers too.

Ji-seok has to ask his brother for some cash until payday (tomorrow), and Kye-sang agrees, in exchange for a puing-puing. Ji-seok very reluctantly complies, but Ha-sun overhears the exchange; it hurts to see her boyfriend having to beg for money, and she vows to do everything to protect his cash. Aww.

With her mind set on this goal, Ha-sun’s senses sharpen whenever Ji-seok’s money is on the line. For instance, the teachers play a game to determine how much each person pays for pizza (one person gets a freebie, and the others pay varying amounts from ten to thirty dollars). She analyzes the game diagram frantically and ensures that Ji-seok wins free lunch. Score!

But it’s a bigger challenge to spare his wallet when Ji-seok is congratulated for his class’s good scores, and the other teachers wheedle for him to treat them to dinner. She scrambles to offer everyone chocolate — ruining their appetite for expensive meat — and then takes charge of ordering dinner, making sure to order cheap cuts and lots of rice. Ha.

She succeeds in whittling down the dinner bill… but simpleminded Ji-seok ruins all her efforts by offering to buy a round of drinks, since dinner came out so cheap. D’oh!

Seung-yoon can’t resist trying to help his friend again and offers to make the last tutoring session truly memorable. He prepares a red carpet and acts as photographer, presenting them with flowers and a thank-you speech. He even starts to cry while singing backup music (“Is this the end?”) until Jong-seok kicks him out in annoyance.

Seung-yoon’s sentimentality seems excessive, but as the tutoring session winds down, both Jong-seok and Ji-won start feeling the finality of the moment. They reach the end of the chapter, and it’s a bittersweet close to this chapter of their relationship as well.

Jong-seok walks Ji-won home, and they shake hands as they part ways, both weighed down by unspoken emotions that they keep to themselves. He flashes back to earlier tutoring sessions, and it really shows how far he’s come — how he first asked for help with such difficulty, then went to such lengths to hide his lessons. And now here he is, voluntarily repeating his senior year so he can learn more.

He takes one last look in Ji-won’s direction with tears in his eyes, then returns to his desk where he turns the page to the next chapter. Starting on his own this time.

At the bar, Ha-sun madly searches for a money-saving solution, seeing every dish as a price tag. She spots a sign offering a challenge to score a comped bill, and fixates her eye on the spinny dart wheel, aiming for the tiny sliver that wins free drinks. Alas, Ji-seok interrupts her throw, making her miss by thatmuch. She collapses to the ground in tears, wailing that she was just trying to protect his money. It’s adorable.

Ji-seok promises her that he’ll take more care to be thrifty… and Ha-sun asks for all of his pants. Wha?

We find out what she means on their next date, as Ji-seok reaches for his wallet — in the extra interior pocket that Ha-sun has sewn into all of his trousers. To fish his money out, he has to unbuckle his belt and shove his hand down his pants — eliciting alarmed looks all around — which is a literal way to ensure his promise not to “take out my wallet so easily.” Because he can’t.


This one’s particularly long, but there’s a reason for it, and hopefully one that makes it worth the length:

Seung-yoon decides to submit an entry into the broadcast station’s scriptwriting contest, and finds ideas in the family interactions around him. But what he actually produces is the watered-down, excessively saccharine version of Ahn family life: Instead of bickering, Jong-seok and Soo-jung compliment each other; Mom and Dad dote on each other; and Ji-seok and Ha-sun are the happily married newlyweds. Kye-sang even breaks into song, loving his harmonious family.

Nae-sang tells Seung-yoon that nobody wants to watch a drama where everyone’s happy — you need birth secrets and conflict.

Seung-yoon goes back to the drawing board, and now his family drama’s faux credits go from sweet Ojakkyo-style cheer to makjang thrills, with love triangles galore. In his revised script, the scene starts out exactly as before, but with a twist — this time Soo-jung (er, renamed Soo-jin) is nice to Joon-seok… because she has a crush on him. HA, and ew. Both in equal measure.

Meanwhile, Yoo-sun is the bitter harpy who always snipes at “Hae-sun” and opposes the marriage, while “Jae-seok” is the pushover husband who lets his sister walk all over his wife. Dae-sang (Kye-sang) steps in to defend Hae-sun, who have a forbidden attraction.

Speaking of forbidden attractions, Soo-jin ends up in the hospital after an accident, and Joon-seok realizes that she has a blood type that’s impossible… unless a birth secret is involved. Turns out she’s just some orphan girl they took in, and now the not-quite-siblings ask permission to marry. Instead, Yoo-sun kicks her out.

Hae-sun and Dae-sang are caught in an incriminating backhug by Ji-seok, who runs tattling to Big Sister to fix it. But while Yoo-sun was dead-set on disavowing the marriage, now she forbids a divorce — ’cause she’s gonna make sure Hae-sun sticks around and is miserable forevah.

At this point, Nae-sang bursts into our drama-within-the-drama, telling Seung-yoon that this kind of makjang stuff is too ordinary. (Ha. So true.) Given that Seung-yoon is titling his script “First Time Ever” (Seung-yoon: “Because it’s my first script ever”), it should have never-before-seen plot twists.

So then we resume:

Soo-jin coincidentally happens upon her birth mother selling eggs in the street, and joins her. One day a well-dressed businessman bumps into her and breaks her eggs — it’s Seung-yoon, Chaebol Style. (Rawr.) He tells her, “I think I’m going to fall for you” and asks her out, buying her entire egg supply to boot.

They date, and Seung-yoon proposes while Joon-seok sulks at home, not knowing where his sister/lover has run off to. But when Seung-yoon brings his fiancee home to Mom, they find that… Soo-jin is really his sister! Mom had used a surrogate to give birth to twins, and the surrogate ran off with Soo-jin.

Seung-yoon wants to run away anyway, but Joon-seok finds them and the boys fight over Soo-jin.

A speeding car hurtles toward them… and swerves out of the way. Just as a truck then backs up into them from behind, which cracks me up. The three wind up in the hospital, all with amnesia.

The truck driver takes them home and decides they must all be siblings. Happy and ignorant, the star-crossed lovers/siblings agree that he must be right.

Dae-sang makes his desperate proposition to Hae-sun to run away together… via Love Actually placards, hehe. They dash off (Jae-seok whines to noona to fix it) and vow to be happy together… which is when Dae-sang is hit in the head with a boomerang and suffers irreversible head trauma. The only solution: brain transplant. LOL.

Yoo-sun’s spite gives her cancer and she’s deemed terminal. She runs into Hae-sun at the hospital and volunteers her brain for transplant, because she’s dying and he’s her kid brother.

So Dae-sang gets her brain, and the couple go to spread her ashes… which is when Dae-sang turns on Hae-sun with his sister’s sniping voice, full of complaints as ever.

At the broadcast station, the judges read Seung-yoon’s script and decide that it is, indeed, a first. But, “What good is it if it’s a first? The plot is rubbish.”


Seung-yoon hears about Jin-hee’s tough family and financial situation and feels sorry for not having been more attentive to her, deciding that it’s better late than never. He declares himself her new guardian angel and brings her health tonics and offers words of encouragement. Could he be any more adorable?

On the other hand, Lee Juck finds Seung-yoon strange, from his odd beliefs to the weird things he says; today Seung-yoon’s new word is Hola, which he uses extensively.

Juck drops by the clinic, and since Kye-sang is out Juck invites Jin-hee to lunch. They’re having a nice conversation as Juck listens sympathetically to her concerns about her mother’s health, and he offers medical referrals and advice. But then that irritating Hola! interrupts and takes over the date.

Juck’s displeasure therefore mounts the next day when another fun activity is interrupted by the interloper. He’s at the ice rink and runs into Soo-jung, who offers to teach him to skate. Just as he’s enjoying himself, Seung-yoon shows up and leaves him to flail and fall painfully on his own.

Ha-sun is busily studying English for a trip to visit her parents in Boston, and starts speaking English at home with Julien. It makes Ji-seok feel left out, especially since the other two have also been bonding over Julien’s lovelornness over Ji-sun (following the kiss, she’d pretended it didn’t happen).

So when Ji-seok hears that Julien wants to continue living with Ha-sun despite the school wanting him to move out, he finds this troublesome. He asks Nae-sang for his opinion (uh, you might not want to go to him for romance advice, ‘s all I’m sayin’), and Nae-sang plants the seeds of doubt, saying Julien may have his sights on Ha-sun.

Thus when the three teachers go out for drinks, Ji-seok downs shot after shot and seethes privately, his imagination getting the better of him. When Ha-sun steps aside, Ji-seok asks straight-out if Julien likes her — but, you know, using the name he always uses, Teacher Park. Which also works for Park Ji-sun. Julien admits that he does like her, ever since the night they kissed — and, well, that sets Ji-seok off. He socks him in the face for trying to steal his girlfriend away, before Ha-sun hurries back to clarify the mix-up.

Ha-sun urges Julien to make his feelings known, and offers to facilitate. She calls Ji-sun out and asks her (while the boys, sitting nearby in bad disguises, listen) how she feels about Julien, pointing out all of his good traits.

Ji-sun admits that she likes Julien too, but she’s guarding her heart, because it’s obvious he’s just going to leave. She dismisses his feelings for her as mere loneliness.

At that, Julien interrupts to correct her. Frustrated, he switches to English (which works since Ji-sun’s the English teacher), while Ha-sun translates for Ji-seok: Basically, Julien feels happy with her, she makes him smile, he loves her. Okay, the whole love confession is totally overblown, but it’s a cute moment so I’m trying to overcome the full-body cringe I’m experiencing so I can at least enjoy the plot point.

Ji-sun takes his outstretched hand, and the matchmakers clap.

It’s still unclear which lady is Lee Juck’s eventual wife, but by now it’s clear we’re dealing with two contenders, and tonight he runs into both of them, together. Jin-hee and Soo-jung invite him along to catch a movie, and afterward, they stroll along pleasantly while he thinks how happy he is — especially with her at his side.

But… is that a familiar voice… shouting Hola! at them? Lee Juck desperately prays that it’s not, looking around with dread.


You know, I find myself pretty interested in the question of Lee Juck’s mystery wife, which surprises me given how little I liked him in the beginning. But he’s definitely been improving as the series has gone on, and while he’s not the friendliest or nicest guy around, you start seeing his good intentions underneath the crankypants exterior. And while I feel like Jin-hee’s the obvious choice, I feel like maybe it won’t be her because she’s the obvious choice. I’m not necessarily invested in those three people, but I do want a satisfactory ending for them from a story point of view.

That goes for Julien and Ji-sun — I don’t have much attachment to them in particular (probably because Julien’s acting tends to be so cringe-inducing, if good-natured), but I’m glad nonetheless that they get their own pleasant resolution to round out the happy endings.

I’ll admit the parody episode was one of those bits that took a while to get going, because in the beginning I didn’t really find it that amusing. Like Nae-sang pointed out, it was just a pastiche of familiar makjang storylines, so I was wondering what the point was. But as with the rake joke principle, the longer it goes on and the more absurdly it twists, the more it started to grow on me. Especially since it gave us the chance to see some alternate pairings that we definitely aren’t going to be getting elsewhere.

For instance, the Kye-sang and Ha-sun loveline. I did enjoy seeing them paired together in this alternaverse, especially since when you look at the cast list without knowing about the show, you sort of assume they’d be paired together anyway. I love her with Ji-seok and I’m glad the show “proper” never worked in that love triangle — I’ve had enough of two brothers fighting over a woman just from my romantic comedies alone, thanks — but it was fun to see bizarro-world versions take it on for one episode.

Same goes for Jong-seok and Soo-jung — I know there were lots of assumptions before the show started that they’d be romantically involved, leading to confusion when they were cast as siblings. There’s also a bit of a wink at the audience, I’m sure, because Lee Jong-seok has said in interviews that his favorite female co-star is Soo-jung. (It’s usually asked in the context of Ji-won, so he may have been thwarting expectations on that one, but still.) I think it speaks to how much I buy them as siblings, though, that I found it totally squicky to suddenly have them in love. Because they are siblings, blood or no blood! HA.

And if anything, it’s an episode that shows everyone’s level of acting talent, because even in an utterly ridiculous storyline, you had them pouring on the angst and emotion. Some better than others, but that’s to be expected. I’m convinced Ha-sun can cry at anything, whether it’s over a dart game or a brain-dead lover.


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