Drama Recaps
School 2013: Episode 3
by | December 10, 2012 | 98 Comments

This week looks to be just as strong—or stronger—than premiere week for School 2013, which is doing some really great things with its characters. This episode sees the escalation of tensions and the entry of a new character who’s bound to shake things up a little. Or maybe a ton, given the way his arrival at school makes such a splash. What’s great is that we’re left hanging as to whether this is a good thing for everyone, or a way of amplifying all the existing conflicts and wreaking havoc with the established order. Which, I suppose given this nearly order-less mess of a school, may not be all bad.

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EPISODE 3 RECAP

Se-chan drops the bomb with a smirk: He’ll be taking over the homeroom class from now on. Gah, he and Principal Im are so smug about it; it makes you want to slap those smiles from their faces. In-jae takes it well, though, and turns to her lone student to begin the after-school lesson, since she’s still the teacher for today.

Nam-soon heads out instead, to gather the other kids. He gets on the phone with Jung-ho, ordering him to get his ass to school so they can fight this out, “and bring your underlings along too, so we can have a go at it.”

Uh, are you really spoiling for a fight, or is this a tactic? Please tell me this is a tactic. He texts the class clown to come to school if he wants to see the fight.

Ohhhh, smart. Way to ensure a big turnout, since ain’t nobody gonna miss the show. Of course, now we’ve got to actually find a way around the fighting part…

All is silent and studious in Se-chan’s session, with his full classroom busily writing their essays. (Technically it’s a test, to get into the class in the first place.) Class 2 students tear down the hall, but come up short to find the classroom virtually empty. In-jae tells the students to have a seat, and now they’re stuck.

The same happens to Jung-ho and his posse, who enter the room expecting to see Nam-soon challenging him, and instead get invited to take their seats. Nam-soon enters and points out that they can have their showdown after class.

Jung-ho turns to go, but Nam-soon asks, “Why, you gonna run away?” Fightin’ words. Jung-ho tells his buddies they may as well see what’s going on, and they sit down.

It’s cute how pleased In-jae is to have a full class, and even Se-chan takes note of it as he walks by Class 2.

But as the teachers address their respective students, it’s clear just how different their perspectives are. Se-chan is challenged by an overachiever student, and he cuts her down to size, picking up on the fact that she’s No. 2 and that her question is typical of all No. 2s who dream of getting into the top universities but don’t have the know-how of those who will actually make it. It’s the difference, Se-chan says, between actually getting there and merely dreaming about it. What’s important for his students, then, is setting the appropriate goals.

Over in Class 2, In-jae says that the most important thing is to have a dream, even with subpar grades. That way they’ll have something to buoy them through the hard times.

I love how Nam-soon perks up when the snooty Ha-kyung joins the class—not because he likes her, necessarily, but because he’d been texting her to get her ass to class, and she actually showed. She looks annoyed at him, but hey, she made it didn’t she?

Asked what her dream was, In-jae thinks for a moment and replies, “To be a teacher.” They comment that hers came true, and she tells them, “Whether they come true or not, have dreams of your own. This is something I wanted to make sure to tell you.” There’s a bittersweet air to that, since we know she’s really saying goodbye to the class.

Nam-soon leads the class in bowing to the teacher to mark the end of the session, like a proper class president.

He’s immediately accosted by Jung-ho, who’s itching for his fight. Nam-soon suggests they take it up another time when the teacher’s not around, and Jung-ho counters that they can just relocate to a place without her. Nam-soon dutifully follows the bullies up the stairs, ignoring his classmates’ entreaties to avoid the conflict.

The students follow them to the roof, but get locked out. Do they call the teacher? Or do they let the boys fight it out, since they’re bound to at some point?

Nam-soon asks for a raincheck till tomorrow, and Jung-ho scoffs. Does he think it’ll hurt less tomorrow? Aw, but he’s stalling because he doesn’t want the class to reflect badly on In-jae. At least tomorrow, it won’t be her problem anymore.

In the teachers’ office, In-jae hands over stacks of records to Se-chan. He wonders if she’s really going to quit, and she points out that she’s being fired. Still, he suggests that she stick it out, since she managed to pull together her class.

A student bursts in to alert her to the brewing trouble, just as Jung-ho kicks Nam-soon in the gut. She dashes up to the locked roof door and orders someone to get the keys, and hears from the other kids that Nam-soon must’ve done this to get the class to show up.

Nam-soon balls up his fist, and when Jung-ho swings he ducks easily, then runs… for the edge of the roof. He jumps over the side and onto the narrow ledge on the other side, and oh god this cannot end well.

Holy crap, and then he swings from the ledge by his fingertips down to the story below, then again to the story below. Mind you, the roof is the fourth story. Yeeeesh.

But Nam-soon jumps agilely all the way to the ground, while the bully-minions actually marvel at it, since just looking over the edge has them dizzy. Jung-ho watches with a stone face.

Finally In-jae unlocks the door and everyone spills onto the rooftop, just in time for Jung-ho to taunt, “So I hear you’re getting fired, Teach.” Asked about Nam-soon, they say he went home, though the students wonder how he could have done it. Surely he didn’t jump down, right?

A student asks if it’s true In-jae’s being fired—er, quitting. Tomboyish Kang-joo chides the class clown Byun-ki for causing trouble, saying that everyone ends up ditching them. And Byun-ki reminds In-jae that her dream was teaching.

Another classmate figures there must be a good reason, and Kang-joo adds that she can’t help feeling disappointed, since it was nice having In-jae as their teacher. The others chime in, and whine at her cutely not to leave them. They tell her that if she doesn’t come tomorrow, she’ll have to pay that fee. It’s sweet.

In-jae goes home heavy-hearted and looks through an old notebook. It bears a message from 2007, which looks like something she wrote to herself: “It’s not yet time to let go of the children’s hands.” Kang-joo’s words ring in her ears about everyone always quitting them, and In-jae says to herself, “Not yet.”

The next morning, Nam-soon arrives at school and sighs, “Today I’m dead.” Ha-kyung pulls up next to him and indicates her phone—what was yesterday’s text all about? Ha, it turns out he’d threatened to blab about her going to Se-chan’s academy. She warns him to keep his mouth shut, but do I see a softening in their sniping? Cute.

In the parking lot, In-jae nervously waits for Principal Im, who pointedly tells her there’s no need for formal goodbyes. In-jae argues that the grades are starting to improve, and asks to remain as Class 2’s teacher. Principal Im points out that they have a new teacher, just as Se-chan arrives to join the conversation. He’s eager to wash his hands of the burden, though for appearance’s sake he pretends to reluctantly-but-graciously hand over the class. There—both teachers are in accord, so it’s settled, right?

Not so fast. Principal Im argues that there were PTA complaints as well. In-jae proposes the idea of being joint homeroom teachers, and before the principal can shoot down the idea, Se-chan jumps in and lauds it as a great notion, smoothly steering the conversation his way. Ha, I know he can be sort of smarmy, but when he’s using his powers for good and not asshattery, I get a kick out of Se-chan’s glib cleverness.

The kids hear that Se-chan is to be their new teacher, and commiserate with Nam-soon for sticking up for In-jae only to get stuck with that punk instead. He grumbles that he didn’t do it for her (suuuuure), that he only did it because he didn’t want Se-chan (which I wholeheartedly believe, though it totally doesn’t negate that first part).

Se-chan walks in to begin class, and everyone settles down and waits for Nam-soon to start the morning salute. He stands up… and heads straight for the door.

Only it opens before he gets there, and In-jae walks in. Yay!

Se-chan explains the joint situation, and announces their goal: to improve from last place in the upcoming midterms. I love that this seemingly modest goal has the whole class grumbling like he’s just asked them to scale Everest.

To that end, he hands out a study plan assignment, due tomorrow. He wraps up and asks for the president to close the session. Nam-soon remains resolutely silent, and finally it’s Ha-kyung who stands and leads the salute. Oh, interesting. She actually bothered.

Then the students huddle ’round In-jae to confirm that she’s going to stick around. She reminds them that they asked her not to abandon them, and although there’s some minor grumbling (“Two teachers means twice the nagging”), it’s clear they’re all happy to have her back.

Se-chan is eager to pawn off all the annoying work, and says that he’ll be in charge of the students’ grades while In-jae can be in charge of nagging the kids and handling the administrative stuff. I know he’s a lazy bastard, but I do enjoy his ability to wriggle free of responsibility with that charm of his. Maybe because we know his comeuppance is on the way.

Young-woo comes up to Nam-soon at the fountains to ask if he’s going to miss class again (Se-chan’s, which he refuses to take). Aw, we know Young-woo only sat out to keep him company, and Nam-soon tells him to stay in class today. Nam-soon adorably turns on a faucet for him, then gives Young-woo a pat on the butt. Omg. Too cute, these two.

Sure enough, Nam-soon stands out in the hallway during the lesson. Gym Teacher Jo sees, and tsks-tsks. More for Se-chan the indifferent tutor than for Nam-soon, I think.

In-jae hands out an assignment in her class, which is a questionnaire asking the kids to outline their goals and dreams. Jung-ho and his bullies stroll into class at the end, and he pointedly says that since school’s still in session he’s technically only tardy, not truant. He’s clearly here to fight Nam-soon, and In-jae says she wants to see them after class, wanting to stop it.

Nam-soon gets up to walk out of class—whether away from the challenge or into it, I’m not entirely sure. But Gym Teacher Jo steps in and requests to speak with Nam-soon, and In-jae’s relieved to have the excuse to keep him away from trouble.

Jung-ho sneers that it’s nice having the teachers on his side to shield him. “I’ve got lots of time,” he adds. “I’ll be seeing you.”

Teacher Jo takes a perplexed Nam-soon to the gymnasium and instructs him to clean it. Nam-soon wonders if he’s supposed to do this all by himself and is told of course not… just as Se-chan arrives. Ha! Is Teacher Jo playing meddling matchmaker? I love it.

Teacher Jo hands them two mops and says that they’re both in need of some discipline: the student skipped class, and the teacher looked the other way. They are to both clean the gym, equally (no foisting it off on the student, he warns), and every day Teacher Jo will drop by the class to make sure everything is hunky-dory. Should more of today’s class-ditching occur, they’ll be put on cleaning duty again. HEE. I love Teacher Jo.

Se-chan is first to suggest they wipe the slate clean and have Nam-soon rejoin the class, wanting to end this the easiest way possible. At least Nam-soon agrees, though it cracks me up that Se-chan is totally surprised by his easy capitulation.

Teacher Jo watches them limping out of the gym, chuckling, “They’re exactly alike.”

The next morning, when Se-chan prompts the class prez to lead the greeting and collect homework, Nam-soon sends him an annoyed sneer (hee), but complies.

The students complain about the double homework, some of them only opting to fill out one—either Se-chan’s study plan or In-jae’s About Me questionnaire. Or in Nam-soon’s case, neither.

Both teachers start to lecture him, which is hilarious since it sounds like nagging parents. Se-chan asks what his dream is, and he says there’s nothing. So he has no dream, and no plans for college—why come to school? Nam-soon offers to think it over and leaves.

In-jae criticizes Se-chan’s tactic of asking a question like that so baldly. Se-chan points out that her questionnaire contains the same question. She turns away in a huff. I could watch this all day.

Ha-kyung gets cornered by a trio of girls, who all happen to be the top in their class. They’re led by that huffy No. 2 girl who sniped at Se-chan, and I find it oddly funny that at this school the mean girls are the nerds. Ha-kyung has been skipping out on their special study group, made for the smartest kids who want to get into Seoul National University, and they’re peevish about it—does she think the group is beneath her level?

Ha-kyung says in her awesome deadpan that they shouldn’t say things like that… because it’ll injure their pride. Ha.

No. 2 girl smirks that she’ll want to show up to study group now, and they dangle the bait: Se-chan’s prized, super-hard-to-acquire “golden notes.” Ha-kyung says she doesn’t need it, leaving them gaping.

There must be satisfaction in knowing that they’re desperate to have you because they want your brainpower, and Minion 1 says as much. But she’s the one who managed to get the notes with her connections, and without Ha-kyung there as incentive to share it, she’s not inclined to let the others in on it. Watch out there, No. 2 is just about to blow her fuse.

No. 2 probably needs a name now, and it’s Eun-hye. Her day just gets worse when she finds that she’s failed to make Se-chan’s special essay class… and that Ha-kyung got in. But Eun-hye wonders how Ha-kyung got in when she didn’t take that test.

Man, for all the things Se-chan is terrible at as a teacher, he sure is on the money when reading students: He pegged Eun-hye as a desperate almost-best type with an inferiority complex, and she proves that by swiping her classmate’s golden notes and taking photos of every page like she’s on some covert op.

In-jae and Se-chan are busy in yet another bickering session when they are informed of a new transfer student on the way. One look at his record is enough to label him a “school shopper”—the kind of problem kid who transfers out of every school after causing trouble there. He’s already got five transfers on his record and is behind after taking a year off. One of the other teachers sighs that putting him in the same class as Jung-ho is bound to be problematic.

In-jae’s more willing to take the kid than Se-chan, saying that he’s got to go somewhere. They resume the bickering, with In-jae arguing that the kids need to figure out their About Me questions more than they need a study plan right now, and he points out that he collected more of his plans than she did, and she counters that they started with the easiest assignment…

Uhmforce points out how silly they’re being (but so cute!) and orders them both to deal with the transfer kid together. He’s like their marriage counselor, which cracks me up.

Nam-soon stays behind to finish collecting the assignments, and sees the golden notes in the trash—it’s where Eun-hye dropped them to deflect suspicion. Nam-soon recognizes the notes, though, and assumes that Ha-kyung left them behind, and returns it to her desk. Uh-ohhhh.

Se-chan agrees to take on the kid, and how funny is the cut that shows us that In-jae’s standing on a huge step to be eye level with him? He warns that as soon as School Shopper causes trouble, she’ll back off and he’ll get to dictate how class is run. After all, she’s the one on thin ice right now, and she’s already got two problem students on her plate.

Golden Note girl is quick to point the finger at Eun-hye for stealing her book, until the suspicion hits her that there’s another possible culprit. She roots through Ha-kyung’s things and finds the notebook there, and accuses her of being a hypocritical thieving bitch. Well, don’t hide how you really feel.

Nam-soon speaks up to say he put the notes in Ha-kyung’s desk… only he doesn’t have an explanation for why he assumed the book was hers. Not without giving away Ha-kyung’s secret about taking the class, which she clearly doesn’t want him to say. So thief she is.

The teachers step in to calm the situation, although In-jae still doesn’t get the reasoning behind it and both Se-chan and Nam-soon have been warned—ordered, rather—by Ha-kyung not to say a thing about her taking that class.

Eun-hye brings her homework to Se-chan’s desk and sees the roster for his essay class. On it, she sees that the last spot for the class was actually hers… until Se-chan scratched out her name and wrote in Ha-kyung’s. Ooh. Wanna take bets on just how loud Eun-hye’s going to get about this? We’ve seen Se-chan intrigued by Ha-kyung’s studious habits and surely it’s his prerogative to organize his own class, but Eun-hye… well, reasonable doesn’t appear to be one of her dominant qualities. She snaps a photo of that list, too.

Eun-hye steps out of the room just in time to hear Se-chan telling In-jae how Ha-kyung attended his academy and received the book from him. Ergo, she didn’t steal it. In-jae wants to rectify this by distributing that notebook to everyone, fairly, but Se-chan objects. Students go to extremes to pay out of their ears for that book, unfairly.

In-jae: “I see you’re still a tutor. Not a teacher.”

Eun-hye asks Se-chan to add her to his special class, and he says she didn’t make the cut. She points out that neither did Ha-kyung, to which he replies that Ha-kyung merits special consideration as No. 1 in the school: “What rank are you?” That shuts her up, but something tells me this is far from over.

After school, the bullies wait to corner Nam-soon. Today he has no excuse, and he follows them to an alley and proceeds to get the daylights kicked out of him. Ugh. It’s a pretty brutal beating, especially since he doesn’t defend himself.

Even Jung-ho wonders at his lack of participation, but Nam-soon says, “Let’s stop here.” Aw, he just wants to take his beating quickly and go home, which is terribly sad. He invites Jung-ho to tear him apart—’cause he’ll be tearing his own life apart while he’s at it.

Well, that sounds fine and all from an existential point of view, but I’m more concerned about the physical part where you don’t get turned into a bloody pulp.

Jung-ho swings his fist… which gets caught by another hand. It’s Transfer Student. (Yaaaaaaaaaay!)

And then new kid Heung-soo (Kim Woo-bin) says, “Long time no see, Go Nam-soon.” Omo, they’re old friends?

Heung-soo smiles… which then twists with derision as he calls him a crazy bastard. So not friends then. Nam-soon looks decidedly unthrilled about this meeting.

The arrival of Uhmforce breaks up the reunion, and the boys scatter. Heung-soo makes his way to the school, bumping into Kang-joo along the way and making a poor impression with the rude way he kicks her bag at her.

Nam-soon runs off clutching his side, and a flashback fills us in:

Some time in the past, Nam-soon is being kicked around by a group of bullies, much like today. Only in this case, it’s Heung-soo who’s the ringleader, smiling as his posse beats Nam-soon up. Oh no. This is not turning into a good year for our hero.

Nam-soon gets a call for his errand-running job, and hears that the customer wants something from his school. With a sigh he retrieves a bag from Ha-kyung’s desk to deliver the bag of her stuff across town… to a bathroom?

Ah, it’s a change of clothing and she needs it before she can join her academy class. Just as Nam-soon apologizes for the notebook mishap, a classmate happens by… and sees Ha-kyung in uniform. She realizes that Ha-kyung’s been lying about her school, which I guess is a Big Fuckin’ Deal here because you have to have certain school credentials to be admitted to the academy. We get it. You’re like the Harvard of Harvard-prep schools.

Ha-kyung seems rattled but manages a cutting reply: “But I’m still a better student than you guys.”

Nam-soon sticks around while Ha-kyung changes, then intercepts her—she doesn’t mean to go to academy now, right? That girl already spread the news far and wide.

Ha-kyung works up her nerve and heads to the academy, but Nam-soon pulls her away, knowing she’s not going to be up for the reception there. He pushes her on his bike and she lets him take her away, brushing at her tears during the ride.

While crossing a bridge she has him stop, seeing the message written on the railing: “What troubles you?” She yells that it stinks, everything stinks, and throws her uniform over the side. She says she’s humiliated, ashamed of her school, though she supposes he wouldn’t understand.

Nam-soon calmly reminds her she’s smarter than that other girl. What’s to be embarrassed about?

Ha-kyung asks, “Is there anything you want to throw away? Then throw it away here.” He doesn’t respond and she sighs that whatever, he probably has nothing.

But Nam-soon says, “Me. What I want to throw away is me.”

Oof. What kills me about the moment is the way he says this so simply, like it’s no big deal, just a fact of his life.

Ha-kyung insists on walking the rest of the way and heads to a bus stop. Nam-soon follows and watches, just to make sure.

Later, he turns back to his About Me homework. He’s been trying to fill it in for days, but the problem is, he just has nothing to say. The first introduction box says no more than, “I…” He can’t think how to finish it. Under the categories for dreams, problems, hopes and the like, all that’s written is “None” and “I don’t know.”

He starts to fill in the last box asking why he goes to school: “To be honest, I don’t like going to school.” This continues as a voiceover as he arrives at school in the morning, and sees Ha-kyung standing awkwardly in front, dressed in street clothes since she threw her uniform away.

“I don’t know why I go, and when I go I always feel embarrassed or annoyed.” Nam-soon shrugs off his jacket and hands it to Ha-kyung, heading in without a word.

“I’m a bad student, I have no dreams, and I don’t like getting hit. But the strange thing is, when I wake up in the morning I automatically head for school. So if you ask why I go to school, I have one answer.”

In class, Nam-soon erases the entire box he’d written before, and writes in: “Just because.”

He breaks your heart, doesn’t he?

Ha-kyung walks up and drops the jacket on his desk: “Dummy. How can I wear boy’s clothes?” She says it without bite, and the interaction gets their classmates oohing.

The teachers begin class, and introduce their new addition. In walks Heung-soo, looking surly and mean. Nam-soon looks up in alarm, and you can practically hear him gulp. Oh boy. Not this, too.

Nam-soon is called upon to lead the salute, and it’s only now that Heung-soo notices him. And smiles, like the cat just caught the canary.

Then as Se-chan leaves the class, he’s accosted by Principal Im and a group of suits. They’ve received reports of his illegal tutoring activities.

 
COMMENTS

No, not my Nam-soon! I don’t know how much angst I can see him enduring, even though part of that angst, I think, is necessary in prodding him to find where he’s going. He’s got growing pains to go through, and I wouldn’t necessarily have him avoid that just to stay comfortable because I’m so invested in seeing this kid maturing and finding himself.

It’s just that I love this kid so much already, and it hurts to see him knocked about by life, and I don’t even mean in a physical sense. Yeah the beatings hurt, but you almost get the sense that he’s okay with the physical pain, having gotten used to it. At least he knows what to expect there. But it’s so sad, seeing him having no sense of self-worth. I wouldn’t call it low self-esteem, but quite literally just having no concept of offering the world any value, any purpose. He’s just here because he is, not because there’s a reason. That hurts my heart, but also makes me really excited to see how he develops that from within.

It’s also why I’m liking the slow build between him and Ha-kyung, which connects them in a real, significant way. This isn’t a romance built on attraction or giddy puppy love; they bring something out in each other that is important and real and maybe a little painful. They force each other to confront some truths about themselves, things they’ve been successfully masking to everybody else. I love that, and I really want to see where they go with this.

Something this show is doing that I appreciate is the way it plays out conflicts. There’s a certain expected rhythm that comes into play when we trot out the usual stable of problems and antagonists, so that while I’m watching I feel like I know where something is headed. And then the drama pulls back on the obvious answer and goes in a different, less stereotypically dramatic way.

For instance: the way the notebook made the rounds and got Ha-kyung accused of thievery. I was wondering if we were going to get the usual escalation and misunderstanding, and felt like I could predict how things would shake out. But instead we headed in a different direction, not one that dealt with thievery (which would have been a detour conflict) but cut straight to the chase—Ha-kyung’s whole issue about going to that academy in the first place and feeling somehow ashamed of herself, even though her outer shell has all the right answers for why she shouldn’t.

I like that we used the moment to highlight her personal struggle, rather than just being an external clashing that could have happened to anybody. It gives me faith that we can expect this show to continue presenting meaningful trials and tribulations, and not conflicts that are just there to jerk us (and the characters) around.

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98 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. kbap

    Thank you so much for the recaps! I love Nam-soon… :)

    • 1.1 pabo ceo reom

      I love him too! I’m so attached to his character and addicted to the show.

      • 1.1.1 rainbow

        me too ♥

  2. melonhead

    Yay, School! (Never thought I’d ever say that hehehe :D)

    • 2.1 mary

      HAHAHA :D

  3. rei

    thank you!!! i totally can relate to ha kyung!!

    • 3.1 Wildflower

      Yup, totally agree. I guess I’m like her, in a way? My parents and grandparents want me to be something big in the future, like a lawyer or doctor, and I study hard for them, but I just want to be what I want to be the most—an author.

      “…and I find it oddly funny that at this school the mean girls are the nerds.”
      Oh, you don’t know how common this is, especially in my school. The “No. 2s” love to make my life a living hell just because I do better than them.

  4. Miss D

    While Nam-Soon was getting beat up there was all I could do from shaking my computer in frustration and screaming “DON’T HURT HIS BEAUTIFUL FAAAACCEEEEE!”

    And then we he was consoling Ha-kyun and replied that he wanted to throw himself…oof!…what a gut wrenching moment. She should be the one making him feel better.

    • 4.1 sesr

      his face is ugly tho

      • 4.1.1 Rose Angel

        My first reaction would be to call you blind, being the Lee Jongsuk fangirl that I am. But that’d be immature, so I won’t call you that.

        I’ll just stick with calling you childish for criticising Jongsuk when you most probably don’t have a handsomer face, nor acting skills as good as his.

    • 4.2 Lang

      I though the whole reason, why she didn’t want to ride with him back was because she was afraid she might die too, because obviously the kid is suicidal. And being the smart girl that she is, she took note, and decided to take the bus home, rather than risk it with a suicidal angst ridden boy….

      • 4.2.1 Snowdrops, Raindrops, Teardrops

        I’d ride on his motorbike if it meant I wouldn’t have to die alone.

  5. cg

    Thanks :)

  6. sol

    thanks for the recap!

  7. crazedlu

    dude i friggin love this show!!!!

    heart.

    • 7.1 crazedlu

      augh. that is a dang good song attached to this post. perfect. and i cry.*

  8. stars4u

    Finally Kim Woo-bin!!!
    This show is getting better with each episode and each additional characters!

    • 8.1 mysterious

      I’ve been waiting for Kim Woo-Bin to show up too. I wonder if Heung-Soo will end up with Kang-Joo cause that would be just freakin’ awesome.

      • 8.1.1 claire bear

        Yeah,right?! They will be so cute together….Oh,I can’t wait to see that~

  9. Danna

    Woobin Oppa!!!!!!!!
    *Happy Dance*

  10. 10 mysterious

    This show is so good! I am still in awe over the fact that Daniel Choi is playing the teacher but is only 3 yrs older than Lee Jong Suk who is playing a student 16 yrs younger than DC’s character. DC looks older than he is, which isn’t a bad thing since he can play different roles and not be stuck in one role until his looks can mature. He already looks mature. (I can relate; when I was 12 people thought I was 21.) And then Jang Nara is older than DC but playing a younger character because she looks so young. Wait a minute-they played in Baby-faced Beauty together didn’t they? Only now it’s reversed. His character is older this time. Ha! I’m loving this.

  11. 11 LYD

    I. LOVE. THIS. DRAMA.
    With a strong passion too, mind you.
    And I know I’m going to fall deeper in love with it when I get the bts story between Nam soon and Heung soo!! Ugh nam soon is wrenching my heart to pieces but that’s why he’s so awesome ’cause he has so much room for internal development.
    Keep it up school, you’re my fav drama rn

  12. 12 LYD

    I. LOVE. THIS. DRAMA.
    With a strong passion too, mind you.
    And I know I’m going to fall deeper in love with it when I get the bts story between Nam soon and Heung soo!! Ugh nam soon is wrenching my heart to pieces but that’s why he’s so awesome ’cause he has so much room for internal development.
    Keep it up school, you’re my fav drama right now!!

  13. 13 Noelle

    OMG I was wondering who Kang Joo was when I was thinking to myself wouldn’t it be cute if Woo Bin falls for the tomboy…. and Kang Joo IS the tomboy. Please writers make that happen! I never wanted anything as much as that in a drama… well almost. Love ya Woo Bin!!!

    • 13.1 piggy68gal

      Omg, I thought I was the only one who thought that way! It will be so awesome to see them together :D

      • 13.1.1 JoAnne

        I had that thought too – want to see her boss that big boy around!

  14. 14 ravens_nest

    Everything about this drama is fantastic. /end

    • 14.1 rearwindow

      Agreed. It’s so good!!

      • 14.1.1 ilikemangos

        Rearwindow, hope you read my post back at year end review about watching this show!
        I’ve caught up to ep.2 (:

  15. 15 sPark*

    I am officially in love with this show! I haven’t felt this excitement to watch the next episode in some time :) I am so behind on all other dramas, all I can think about is this one. The first two made me perk up, but this episode really sealed the deal for me. I hope they continue with the low key way they handle high school drama stereotypes :)

  16. 16 lovenicole

    Come on,School,where is Hyoyoung???

    • 16.1 javabeans

      Hyo-young has been in all the episodes. She’s the tomboy with short hair, Kang-joo.

      • 16.1.1 TS

        Isn’t she the same actress who played the tomboy little sister in Bad Guy?

      • 16.1.2 lovenicole

        Wow,she has been in all the episodes?I guess her role is REALLY small.

        • 16.1.2.1 Lavony

          Not really she has a substantial character as well.

    • 16.2 shepo

      and,maybe you’re looking for Dani (additional t-ara member)??well,,she only has one line so far = “o yeah,,i forgot”,,and it’s in english..

  17. 17 Rica

    First of all thank you javabeans for recapping this drama. I really really like this drama and i hope that it keeps up with its stories and the conflicts between the characters. I am looking forward to see more of the conflict/relationship between Nam Soon and Heung-soo and their past.

  18. 18 piggy68gal

    I really liked this episode! It is the best so far, and I am expecting it to be even better. I liked how the drama introduced more backstory of characters like Ha Kyung. But of course the biggest question for me right now is, why is Nam Soon always the one being picked on and bullied? I also can’t wait to see the next episode to understand more of Nam Soon and Heung Soo’s past relationship.

    Kim Woo Bin is awesome, although he only appears towards the end! :) And Hyoyoung too, I really like her character Kang Joo. She is so easy-going and loyal! These 2 are actually who I was planning to watch this drama for in the beginning. (Now I am interested in the other characters and the storyline too, of course.) I sure hope for more interactions between them! It will be interesting~

    • 18.1 piggy68gal

      And thanks to javabeans for recapping! :D

    • 18.2 bjharm

      dont korean and japanese schools for that matter have a special name for ‘victim’ the one that always on the outer and always open to bullying? At a guess that what Nam Soon seems to be.
      As for Kim Woo Bin I was so hoping he would be the one, as the older student to put the brakes on the bully threesome, not take their place! Though it to be seen if he picks up with Nam Soon where he left off when last they meet or in the year he got left behind he grow up a bit.
      Nice to see some humor in the drama, otherwise it would get too depressing, i know they trying to cover serious issues but you have to have counter point to all the dark storyline.

      • 18.2.1 dtp_jnr

        I don’t think he’s a bully par-say, he’s a strong fighter with a personal grudge against Nam Soon….

  19. 19 jollyroger

    One School 2013 recap and I’m good for the day. Thanks jb.

  20. 20 anna

    That boy really breaks my heart.

  21. 21 KZ

    Damn. Another great episode. I was expecting ol transfer student and Nam-Soo to be like childhood friends or something. Something stereotypical. Wasn’t expecting (from the flashback) an old bully or something like that.

  22. 22 Sajen

    what I wonder is if Se-chan will become a real teacher before I put a hole through my monitor, also whether they’ll have the typical former bully becoming friend with Nam-soon and one of the bullies or if that’s too stereotypical for this show.

  23. 23 dtp_jnr

    The way i see it, Nam Soon may have beaten up someone related or close to Heung Soo that put the person in a critical situation…..Hence when he was getting beat up by his class bully, he started talking to me about the pleasure of hitting people that it gets hard to stop and he should just hit him to pieces (or something like that)…..That’s cos he can actually fight but has seen what his fist can do to people hence he stopped….

    Also if you watched the preview, you would see Nam Soon asking Heung Soo for forgiveness with teary eyes, That alone proved my theory…..

    In conclusion: Nam Soon is a really good fighter, he seriously hurt someone that’s related to Heung Soo in the past hence the dislike from Heung Soo and the fear from nam Soon….

    • 23.1 heayun

      Ooh, that sounds about right. I’d been wondering about why Nam Soon doesn’t just beat Jung Ho up when he obviously has the ability to.
      You’d make a good drama writer:)

  24. 24 wonbinlover

    Omg i love this show. Oh Namsoon i adore you but you make my heart hurt for you. I just want to give this kid a hug.

  25. 25 kokoro_chin

    is the background music (when nam soon was talking about why he goes to school) out yet? =_=

  26. 26 Ebi

    Thanks for the recap!
    I just wanted to say, but that last screenshot really reminds me of the scooter scenes of Jong-seok and Ji-won back in High Kick 3 hahaha

  27. 27 Faranak

    Wooooo! LOVE THIS SHOW ! Love nam-soon,so hopeless and heartbreaker,but still lovely :-*

  28. 28 A

    I love this drama. It’s so rare nowadays that a drama can capture my love and interest such early on in its third episodes. The drama has so much heart and I feel for every single character. It’s showing (quite beautifully) the journey of growth for all of them and understanding their sacrifices and what they believe it. It reminds me a lot of some japanese dramas which deal a lot of with life, love, and growth.

    I can’t wait to see more and I hope this drama does really well because it really deserves it :)

    • 28.1 boholAnna

      That’s what I’ve been thinking as well. This drama feels like a Japanese dorama.

  29. 29 shepo

    i’m still amazed, that schools in south korea do this “salute” thing to the teacher also,,just like in my country indonesia (or maybe just in my city where i lived),,

    anyway,,beside in south korea,,is there another country who does this “salute” thing also?

    • 29.1 TS

      Pakistan, I think, and probably pretty much any Asian or Middle Eastern country. It’s a respect for teachers thing that’s more part of Eastern culture than Western.

    • 29.2 Nallali

      Tanzania (East Africa), well atleast back in the early nineties we did before i moved schools/countries, pretty sure they still do it cuz we r like that with respecting teachers/elders and stuff…

    • 29.3 Wildflower

      Yes, in Singapore. However, unlike Korean schools, the whole class stands and bows to the teacher at the end of every lesson, not just the class president (which we call the class monitor).

  30. 30 Rock-C

    I love this drama so much! It would epic if Kang Joo would be pairing with that new boy! Love the sweet scenes between Nam Soon and that long hair girl. Can’t wait for next episodes! ^_^

  31. 31 TS

    Another great recap!!! (Hulu, hurry up and post this episode.)

    Okay, Korean Tutoring Questions since I’m not Korean:

    1. How do you illegally tutor someone? Tutoring is a private contract between individuals. It’s not a public school teacher giving free tutoring to some kids that gives them an advantage after class while refusing others.

    2. Again, with the private contract, you pay for it, you get it idea, why do only kids from certain elite schools get night school tutoring? If Ha-kyung is paying for it, what’s the big deal in her attending that night school?

    • 31.1 PFC

      Sorry in advance, my english is not perfect. Hope this helps.

      1. If you are a school teacher OR an instructor officially registered in a certain private institute (the latter in this case), it’s illegal to tutor someone privately and get paid fot it OUTSIDE the school or the institute.

      2. Of course any student can attend most private institutes in general only if they pay for it. The thing here is, where Hakyung attended is a kind of high-standard institute which is apparently not for everyone.
      There are roughly two types of high schools in Korea. General highschools and Elite highschools. Elite schools are kind of special schools that provide highly advanced education to gifted students in various fields from science to foreign-languages, and of course it takes hard competition to get accepted.
      So, the institute Hakyung attended were for such elite schoolers. Of course it’s not a legal issue. It may just be a kind of marketing strategy as a premium institute. “We only accept elite schoolers, that’s how high our education standard is” – kind of, and of course this kind of institute must ask for premium fee for that.
      Hakyung wanted to attend there so she lied she’s from a foreign-language highschool (one of many types of elite schools).

      • 31.1.1 Enz

        Thanks so much for this. I was puzzled too. This clears it all up for me

  32. 32 mitty

    NAM-SOONAAAAA~ ;A;

    I shouldn’t have watched this. Should’ve waited for more episodes. I can’t wait for the upcoming eps. UGH. Why is this soooo good?

    Thanks for the recap. =D

    • 32.1 smo_ore

      I know how you feel. I just watched episode 4 and I don’t want to wait another week. I don’t even have school to distract me anymore.

      I don’t think I’ve ever been this attached this early in the game.

  33. 33 owl

    Javabeans, you’re amazingly fast with recaps these days!

    I’m loving nonchalant Se-can and optimistic In-jae together.

    I actually like Nam-soon and Ha-kyung together – two different high school types but similar inner conflicts and struggles and both just good people.

    Hi Screwel. The game of it all is the pits.

    And then Kim Woo Bin enters. I’m good.

  34. 34 eeeeek

    Yay! It’s so nice seeing JB excited about a drama again.

    I’m REALLY enjoying the characters, and the slow build-up of trust between Se-kyung and Nam-soon. And KWB enters!!!!!! Off to watch episode 4~

  35. 35 Lori

    I like how there are two casts members now from White Christmas on this show. I am really loving this show and i just want to give nam soon the biggest hug. it really breaks my heart how he has no self worth. so sad. i do hope some happiness enters his life soon.

  36. 36 dany

    I remember the new guy form White Christmas, Kang Mi reu was his name, right? Anyway, great show, thanks for the recap.

  37. 37 Carole McDonnell

    I am so loving the normalcy of this show. I adore normalcy and organic plotting. Even though Nam Soon does noble things, he isn’t quite a noble idiot. He is just not a tattler…and the writing is so perfect. And the love story is going so well. Nothing over-the-top. New hottie troublemaker enters and I so fear for our little hero. What is going on with them, i have to wonder? So far, though, i don’t see guys arguing over the same girl. So that’s totally refreshing. Feels like real life. Thanks so much for the recap.

  38. 38 Jeannette

    I love this show. I am officially LOVING IT. I found my new TTBY in this.

    I can’t wait til you post ep 4 because I am all caught up now and dying to squee with someone over it! <3

    • 38.1 Wildflower

      Haha, I found my new Reply 1997 in this!

  39. 39 Julia

    There are things I’m loving about this show and things I’m not. I really like the student characters, and I think it’s interesting that we have not just one “bad kid” but kind of… 2.5 haha? Nam Soon really isn’t a bad kid, he just is stubborn and ends up getting into trouble. I really like Ha Kyung, because I think her and Nam Soon are really going to bring out some interesting things in each other. The rest of the class seems like normal kids that you’d find in high school which brings a sense of realism to the show.

    What I dislike is how cliche the overall set up is. You have the more sentimental female teacher who dreamed of helping her students achieve their goals. Of course she’s in charge of the “bad students” class where all the trouble makers/failing grades are. At first they don’t like her, but eventually they warm up. The principal/president of the school finds the female teacher incompetent, but the kids love her so they beg her to stay… and then to some degree it turns into an underdog story about how the kids were motivated to raise their grades.

    I’ve seen this in God of Study, Biscuit Teacher, and Gokusen (jdrama), and I’m sure there’s more. I just feel like this doesn’t always have to be the set up for a school drama.

    • 39.1 bjharm

      can not say anything against the ‘cliché’ but really sometimes life is a cliché that is after all where the ideas comes from after all.
      She is charge of the bad student because she a temp and lowest ranked teacher..thus set up for any fall out, thus protecting the school and her senior teachers..you find the same set up any where in Korea really….it not that she as you say thought incompetent she is more the sacrificial lamb if anything goes bad

      • 39.1.1 Julia

        Is this the typical way things happen in Korea? Newest teacher gets the toughest class? If it is, then I forgive them for using this set up so often, because it’s realistic.

        I always just thought they did it because that’s Korea’s ideal teacher, someone who really CARES about the students AND gets them to study. I know that the philosophy in Korea is, as long as you work/study hard enough you can get good grades. I figured that’s why they always have the underdog story in there.

        • 39.1.1.1 bjharm

          it a two sided thing one is the real world..the new person always gets the sh*t and the ‘ideal’ side that the work hard and everything well come your way and so on, and as we all know once we grow up the world never a fair place…thus for here they showing the real, ie how simply In-jae accepts what happens and the ideal as her students pleading for her to stay so leading to the ‘fairytale’ drama side of things.
          The trick to any TV drama that pretends to reflect the ‘real’ world is they still have to keep to certain golden rules of TV drama so it a matter of balance. There are government control on all TV drama after all so they really not allowed to show korean life in too much of a negitive manner.

        • 39.1.1.2 Jeannette

          That’s how it is in the US too! My friend was given ALL the bad kids her first year teaching. I later found out that’s how they tend to break new teachers in. What a bunch of jerks.

        • 39.1.1.3 Wildflower

          If I’m not wrong, this actually happens a lot around the world. It is the case for my school—my class gets the best teacher just because we’re the best class, and the foundation class gets the kindest teacher because she “might have a calming effect on them”.

  40. 40 Sajen

    first does anyone know who’s singing the ending song.

    • 40.1 skillz

      4minute

    • 40.2 Enz

      Love that song!

  41. 41 tamagoxyaki

    After these few episodes I have come to the conclusion that I like everything about this drama except for jang nara/In jae.I know she hasn’t done anything wrong and
    she cares dearly for her students,but I just find her awfully boring and I’m not a fan of jang nara’s acting here.I just can’t like her and I find myself fast-forwarding through all her scenes .I mean I can endure if she’s at least a minor character but she’s the main uugh.She is the typical goody good morally upright female lead that irritates me and is the reason I dropped otherwise good dramas.It’s a shame cause the lead pairing is so so good,and the other story lines are done so well that I wish(as harsh as it may sound)that she was off the show completely or just given less screen-time.

  42. 42 Abbie

    I love this show so much.

    First, Kim! Woo! Bin! Yay! So glad he showed up. I already like his character and am eager to see how in integrates himself into the class. I really want him to put Jung-ho in his place, too. Also, I hope he has some redeeming qualities. The way this show is going so far, I’m really hoping he might.

    Second, Poor Nam-soon. The guy just can’t catch a break. His home life isn’t exactly stellar, and I hope we get some insight into that, then he comes to school and gets the crap beat out of him by the class bullies. I hope he finds himself and makes a goal and a dream. And somehow, I think his dream will be to become a teacher. I don’t know why I think this, but I can see something in him beneath that “I-don’t-know” and “I-just-don’t-care” facade: the makings of a leader. It would be a pleasant, not-quite surprise.

    Third, Ha-kyung is another pleasant surprise in this drama. I’m eager to see her shell crack a little and let Nam-soon in. That would be great, and a nice way to bring these two together.

    Thanks for the recap, Javabeans!

  43. 43 celina

    can i ask why hakyung goes to the academy? i still dont get it. thanks!

  44. 44 TS

    K-Drama Culture question: nam soon gets all paternal with hakyung in this, doing the arm grab, and saying, “who do you take after that you don’t listen” (what HS boy does that?) and putting a helmet on her head etc, so is that what’s expected of a boyfriend? And is that why they get called Oppa, because they’re supposed to take this paternalistic responsibility?

  45. 45 TS

    And anyone else think New Guy looks like a psycho elf?

    • 45.1 Ennayra

      You should watch him in White Christmas. He has the best hair there.

    • 45.2 Wildflower

      Haha, now that you mention it, he does! xD

  46. 46 enz

    thanks for highlighting this show. might have missed it otherwise. such a good drama although i cant fully understand what the big deal is about going to a private academy – i mean i cant understand why it would be an embarassment for ha-kyung.

    i love the teachers, as how they are played by jang nara and daniel choi and i hope they will both rub off on each other – one needs to be more hopeful and invested in his students (more than just good grades) and the other needs to perhaps learn more effective ways of managing her class. a teacher who cares and is good leaves such an impression to the students. the chinese have a saying ” even the river starts from a spring”

    the drama also does a really good job of getting us invested in their stories and hopefully their growth .

    thanks again for the recaps. it always help to clarify certain parts of the drama for me.

  47. 47 Lilian

    Another student to add on to the drama. I agree that Nam Soon is so well written. Can totally understand how lost he feels…I hated filling up those forms in the past but never dared to write so honestly. Haha…

  48. 48 Jessica-Elena

    Go Nam Soon’s character is just so dashing. He really does hold many secrets. I bet he was a gangster along with the new guy. haha I like their smartphone! It’s so cool. Is it LG Optimus VU ?

    • 48.1 Wildflower

      Whichever brand and model it is, I’m tempted to buy it just so I can brag to my friends that I have the same phone as Go Namsoon. Hee.

  49. 49 Selli

    Okay, I kind of feel like I’m the only one, but Nam-soon and Ha-kyung don’t have any romantic chemistry to me. I mean, actors either have it or they don’t and, to me, these two don’t.
    I don’t know, I just can’t root for that pairing. Nam-soon has more chemistry with Kang-joo (who kind of seems to like him anyway), and even In-jae. Oh well.

    • 49.1 merrie18

      I totally get what you meant. Even before the show started to focus on Nam Soon and Heung Soo’s bond, I never felt any chemistry between Nam Soon and Ha Kyung. I think Kang Joo was way cuter than Ha Kyung from the beginning to the end, and she could have had a funny and lovely crush on Heung Soo. I also like all her moments with Nam Soon, such a cute friendship there. Even now I’m still thankful that the producers decided to cut out the romantic content about Nam Soon and Ha Kyung. Well, Nam Soon and Heung Soo’s bromance, or actual love line in some way, was better than anything I’d seen in a TV series, it also helped me realize that although I’d always known all the principles of true love I never really understood what it is.

      • 49.1.1 Wildflower

        I’m actually glad they decided to cut out the love line between Namsoon and Hakyung. Many K-dramas tend to promote this mindset that with love, everything can be overcome. Everything. Even abusive parents (which they technically can’t escape from with just love because they’re still underage), or loan sharks (seriously? You seriously think they’re going to leave you alone just because you have a pretty girlfriend?). I get that they’re trying to promote true love or whatever, but that’s just superficial. That never happens in real life. I’m glad School 2013 decided to promote true friendship, and not some tacky “true love”.

  50. 50 FeKimi

    Just watched the ep 1 and 2 at KBSWorld last night and I like it… the atmosphere is almost similar with Gokusen 1, but with more drama and less Yankumi-wise-word.
    I will keep watching…

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