Drama Recaps
School 2013: Episode 16 (Final)
by | January 28, 2013 | 220 Comments

It’s time for School 2013 to come to an end, and what a ride it was. Talk about an emotional ride—poignant, wrenching, and yes, even a touch bleak at times. But what it gives us at the end of the day is an uplifting sense of closure, not with ends tied tightly and triple-knotted for neatness but in a sense that we’re at a changing of the seasons of life. We leave these characters with a sense that they’re looking forward to their futures, with hope and promise down the line.

SONG OF THE DAY

Never Mind – “눈물비” (Rain of tears) [ Download ]

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 
FINAL EPISODE RECAP

After receiving word that Nari is safe at home, Se-chan slumps down, shaken by his fears that history was about to repeat himself. He tells In-jae that the student who died on his back had been a troublemaker, always cutting class and fighting. After her father’s business went bust and he went to prison, her family broke up, and when she came to see him he put her off.

He doesn’t let himself off the hook either, saying that he had an inkling something was different that day, but still he let it slide. He starts to break down.

It’s enough to keep him home the next day, which he takes off. He leaves In-jae in charge of his class.

I love how our two groups of rebels have now teamed up to become a sort of superteam, and they (minus Jung-ho) gather to worry about this latest problem. With Ha-kyung injured by Jung-ho’s outburst and her mother taking this up with the school, it’s not looking good.

We know that he was provoked by the mean girl’s accusation of thievery, but unless she speaks up this information won’t do them any good. I know I said I hated her too much to learn her name but I suppose for clarity’s sake it’s worth using; her name’s Eun-hye. But I still think of her as She Who Does Not Deserve To Be Named.

Ji-hoon blames himself for being the reason Jung-ho got so upset, and tries persuading Eun-hye to help them. This goes about as well as you’d expect. Eun-hye says in her infuriatingly haughty way that she did nothing wrong and only repeated something that her fellow mean girl Kyung-min said. Both girls basically sniff that everything was Jung-ho’s fault.

The guys are fuming but they hold back, and Yi-kyung gives up trying to get their help—clearly Eun-hye’s not going to do anything. Still, he demands that she apologize to Ji-hoon for calling him a thief. She refuses, stirring their tempers even more, and at this Heung-soo and Nam-soon decide to step in.

Unfortunately, they’re about two steps too slow. In-jae arrives in class, sees the angry boys grabbing the girls’ arms, and takes them all away for a talking-to.

On the upside, at least In-jae doesn’t automatically assume the boys were instigating a fight. She seems to have the pulse on the problem, and sits the four of them—Yi-kyung, Ji-hoon, and Mean Girls 1 and 2—down to write punishment essays.

Not content with making the boys’ (and our) blood boil, Eun-hye gives major ‘tude to In-jae, saying that she can’t miss English class, asking if In-jae will be responsible for her lapse in education. Gah, this girl. Hate her so much. Frankly I’m relieved this is the last episode so I know she can’t stir up too much crap at this stage, and the knowledge that the world is peppered with Eun-hyes is just something I’m going to have to be in denial over for a while.

In-jae takes Eun-hye aside to her office, telling her that there are more important things in this world than good grades. Eun-hye points out that the world doesn’t treat you like a person unless you’re well educated, so what does a good personality matter if you’re a bad student anyway?

In-jae counters that it also means nothing to be a good student who has so little grasp of right and wrong. Eun-hye huffs that she suspected those boys of stealing because they deserve to be the brunt of suspicion—she wouldn’t have doubted someone like Min-ki. Gah. Can I slap her?

In-jae says firmly that nobody in this world “deserves to be the brunt” of suspicion, which goes in one ear, out the other. But Uhmforce has been listening from his desk, and he steps in to suggest a disciplinary hearing for school violence. And Eun-hye is the offender: She spread false rumors based on nothing, which is an act of violence, and under the school rules she’s subject to a hearing.

That instills a bit of fear, and Eun-hye loses her strident air, apologizing. Uhmforce instructs her to apologize to the boys and write an essay for In-jae, and he’ll consider letting go of the hearing.

Clearly he hadn’t intended to go forth with the disciplinary hearing, though he does sigh that it’s a problem when such a threat is the only thing to get the kid to even show a pretense of remorse. Neither believes that Eun-hye means her apology, but Uhmforce says that for now at least she acknowledges the wrongdoing outwardly.

So they return to the room where the others are writing the essays, and Eun-hye manages to eke out a mere “Sorry.” In-jae presses her to really mean it, but Eun-hye grits out that she put a lot of effort into this much, and adds the snappish warning that her mother will be giving her a call.

In-jae starts writing a text to check on Se-chan, but stops because she doesn’t know what to say. He’s much in the same condition, contemplating his phone and starting and stopping a message of his own—to Nari. Aw. He taps out, “Are you okay?” but ends up deleting it. Seconds later, he gets In-jae’s message: “Are you okay?”

In class, phone-theft victim Hye-sun glumly thinks over her fractured relationship with Nari, reading over Nari’s notes about how she wishes they’d be in the same class next year, and go to the same college. Now Hye-sun remembers Nari slipping her that note that day she got distracted, and looks around for it. She can’t find it, so she slides over to Nari’s desk and finds the paper crumpled up in her desk.

In addition to the original message, Nari has scrawled a bunch of other notes, like “I didn’t mean to” and “Will you forgive me?”

Nam-soon hesitantly asks Ha-kyung if she can do something about the school violence complaint against Jung-ho. She says nobody’s likely to win that battle against her mother, and mutters that it’s embarrassing as hell to have her mother interfere like that. And Nam-soon’s request makes her feel even worse.

Jung-ho’s still at his school cleanup duty, and his friends find him out sorting the trash. Yi-kyung asks whether he’s told his father about his upcoming hearing (he hasn’t), and then to the surprise of all, Ji-hoon speaks up: “Thank you. And sorry.”

It’s unexpected, but he also means it; Jung-ho’s never been one to express his feelings in words but he sure stepped up in Ji-hoon’s defense, even though that landed him in this mess. Ji-hoon wonders if begging Ha-kyung’s mother will do any good, an idea that Jung-ho rejects immediately, threatening “You’re dead” if he does.

But as he walks off, Yi-kyung mutters that he’s always just saying “you’re dead,” and adds, “I’m not giving up on you.” Ji-hoon sighs that they’d all promised each other they’d graduate together.

Uhmforce takes the angry call from Eun-hye’s mother, who calls his disciplinary move a threat. Uhmforce handles it very well, all things considered, saying that he’s sorry for Eun-hye’s “emotional distress,” but that she had to be corrected for her wrongdoing. The other teachers sigh that it’s no good trying to teach these kids when their parents are insisting that they didn’t do anything wrong.

Teacher Jo asks if something is going on with Se-chan, and as a roundabout way of answer, In-jae muses that teaching is a job where you can let kids slip by you pretty easily. She asks what Teacher Jo did when that happened to him.

He tells her that people aren’t perfect, and a teacher can’t predict what’ll happen—you can only tell yourself to try a little harder, to pay a little more attention next time.

In-jae calls Se-chan to a cafe just to check that he’s really okay, smiling in relief when he assures her that he’ll be returning to school. Seeing how worried she’d been, he jokes that he’ll have to ditch classes every once in a while, to keep her concerned. Aw.

The boys enter Nam-soon’s room armed with stacks of manhwa books and tons of junk food. Preparing my heart for an overload of squee… okay, let me have it!

They remind each other of their long-standing rules—first one to talk has to be the other’s servant. But they seem to let that slide as Heung-soo asks what Nam-soon did when he quit school the last time, and why he went back when he never liked it.

Nam-soon says he spent most of his time just sleeping, until finally he figured he should leave the house. But there was nowhere to go wandering the streets—just school. Plus, he remembered his mom telling him to graduate high school. Heung-soo smiles and tells him in his typically gruff way, “Good for you, bastard.”

Then Nam-soon orders Heung-soo to get him water, servant. HA. Heung-soo totally forgot the rules, but grudgingly complies, and Nam-soon totally milks it. Which leads to a pillow fight that ends thusly:

Nari comes to school the next day, but loses her nerve at the school gates. She gets a text from Hye-sun, who shows up to show her wryly that her brand-new smartphone has been swapped for a dumb phone just like Nari’s; Dad took it away for her poor grades.

Nari asks her friend if she hates her, surprised at her friendliness. Hye-sun admits that she does kinda, but she still likes her too. That unleashes the dam, and Nari starts to cry as she blurts out that she really didn’t mean to steal the phone, it’s just that she was so upset…

Hye-sun tells her to tell her how she feels in words next time. Nari’s scared to face her class in case they make her the outcast, but Hye-sun assures her she’ll stick with her.

Sure enough, the students see them together and circle the wagons, all ready to give Nari a hard time. But Hye-sun tells the class Nari actually borrowed the phone, and it’s only because she got distracted that she never read Nari’s note telling her so. Aw, that’s sweet of her. I don’t know if it’s a relief or an extra pinch of salt in the wound that the kids let it drop right away with that innocuous explanation; they can turn things into such miserable experiences on a mere whim.

As Nari waits by Se-chan’s empty desk, In-jae bites her nails hoping that he’ll come in today. When he walks through the door she beams at him, although he’s not looking quite his normal self with his shoulders slumped more than usual. Nari offers Se-chan a box of cookies with a thank-you note written on the front (and another of her patented “I couldn’t do my homework because I was so emotionally distraught” excuses, haha), adding shyly that it was the most expensive snack at the stand.

Se-chan says he’ll consider the gift accepted but tells her to eat the cookies herself, which seems like a nice thing to say but also sort of feels like rejection. Then he adds that In-jae will take over supervising her homework, and Nari leaves with her shoulders droopy.

Remedial class. In-jae says they have ten minutes left, and Young-woo adorably asks, “Are we gonna write p-poetry?” The other boys shoot him alarmed looks. Ha.

But instead, she turns over the floor to Ji-hoon, who has something to say. He’s written it out in advance and reads from his note awkwardly, “I don’t know what I should say….”

But he’s too mortified and asks for permission to just give the note to Young-woo to read. We don’t get to hear what it says, but after class Young-woo comes up to Ji-hoon saying sweetly, “T-thanks. For ap-pologizing. Actually, I wasn’t okay about it. But I think I will be now.”

Young-woo waves his hand goodbye, and Ji-hoon waves back at him. He admits to his friends that after writing his punishment essay (the kind that makes you reflect on your wrongs) he kept tripping on old wrongs, and reminds Yi-kyung that he felt sorry too.

Jung-ho remains silent throughout, but Ji-hoon sees that he probably feels the same and adds that his apology will cover Jung-ho’s too. The boys catch up to him and sling an arm around Jung-ho, to which Nam-soon wonders why he feels secondhand embarrassment for them for making such a big show of the apology.

Nari hangs back after class to say something to Se-chan, starting out by saying that at first she didn’t really like him. He never woke her up in class, and when a teacher doesn’t even bother to wake you up, it kinda makes you feel bad. “But now, I hope you can be my homeroom teacher next year too.” It’s sweet, yet it seems to weigh even more heavily on Se-chan’s mind.

Jung-ho’s disciplinary hearing is only a day away, and In-jae urges him to ask his father to come—it might help his case to have him present on his behalf. Jung-ho brushes it aside, since that is clearly not an option.

Se-chan cautions her against calling Dad, saying that Jung-ho probably has a good reason for keeping him out of the loop. Still, she can’t help feel that she has to at least try.

…and the next thing we know, Jung-ho’s in the hospital, having had the stuffing beat out of him. Ack! (I do find it heartwarming that his friends called Nam-soon and Heung-soo (and that they run over in a hurry), saying that they didn’t know anybody else to call. Do they figure four heads are better than two?)

There’s another problem, though, because nobody has the money to pay the hospital bill. Nam-soon and Heung-soo step aside to discuss what to do—isn’t it cute how they do that, like parents?—and figure that they ought to call the teacher about this.

In-jae gets the call while at school that night, and bursts into the office to ask Se-chan about it—only she sees that he’s there late contemplating his resignation letter. Oh no. He says that he’d gotten much more entangled in his students’ lives than he’d intended, and now he has to cut those ties as quickly as possible.

It’s a setback, but one I totally understand given the trauma of his first life as a teacher and his need to set up defenses against that kind of thing happening again. Looks like that thing with Nari really gave him a scare—not only about her well-being but in recognizing that he cared so much. In-jae asks in disappointment, “After holding onto them like that, you’re just going to go like this?”

But she has the more pressing concern of Jung-ho to attend to and runs to the hospital, asking who did this to him. Yi-kyung mouths at her “Father,” and she realizes what must have happened. It takes the wind right out of her sails.

Jung-ho can’t stay the night at the hospital, so she asks if any of the boys can put him up for the night. It looks like the others can’t, but thankfully they have Heung-soo there to offer up Nam-soon’s house. Hee.

In-jae calls Se-chan afterward for some advice/consolation, thoroughly dejected from the realization that she triggered his father’s anger and caused the beating. It’s all her fault, she says glumly. Se-chan corrects her: “No, it’s the fault of the person who hits.”

She asks what can be done about his situation, and Se-chan gives her the sad truth that protective services won’t be much help to kids like Jung-ho. He adds with sad resignation, “One must take care of one’s own life.”

In-jae recognizes Se-chan distancing himself again, and asks with tears pooling in her eyes, “Have you really let go? How easy, letting go. But what’s the difference between losing something and letting it go? Losing something hurts, but is letting go okay?” Oof. Good questions.

Slumber party at Nam-soon’s house! Jung-ho has been silent this whole time and goes right to bed, facing the wall. Yi-kyung and Ji-hoon just spread out bedding right next to him, to Nam-soon’s disbelief, ignoring his urging for them to go home. They’re all, And leave Jung-ho? No way! A-dor-a-ble.

Again, Nam-soon and Heung-soo totally look like they’ve turned into the parents. Hm, who’s the dad, and who’s the mom?

Oh well, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. So Heung-soo pulls out more bedding and spreads it out for himself. Nam-soon gripes, “Aren’t you gonna get up?!” Answer: Snooooooore.

He finally gives up and settles in to join them, next to Heung-soo of course. Lights off, they head off to sleep. Except by the wall, Jung-ho opens his eyes, having been awake the whole time.

In the morning, Se-chan arrives before everyone and places his resignation letter on Uhmforce’s desk.

The five musketeers file into class together, and one look at Jung-ho’s battered face sets off a new wave of gossip. Nam-soon pulls Ha-kyung aside to pay her back for the tardy pig incident, and she asks whether they’ve found a solution to the Jung-ho situation since her mom isn’t budging.

Nam-soon informs her that the victim doesn’t show up to the hearing, they can’t proceed. She practically rolls her eyes at him—now he says so! Aw, I love that she doesn’t even consider the alternative; of course she’d help.

Se-chan comes face to face with Jung-ho in the hallway, and can’t quite dismiss him despite his obvious wish that he could. He tells him he should’ve run away from the beating, and asks if he’s eaten.

Meanwhile, Yi-kyung and Ji-hoon nervously await Ha-kyung’s mother in the lobby, bowing respectfully and introducing themselves. The instant she hears they’re Jung-ho’s friends her eyes narrow like they’re scum, and huffily ignores their plea to forgive the accident. Jung-ho witnesses the scene as she storms off.

Disciplinary hearing. The suggestion to go light on Jung-ho’s punishment is dismissed immediately, because Principal Im points out the ramifications—it’ll give the school the reputation for going easy on delinquents, attracting more of them, and the good students will all leave, blaming the teachers. Principal Im says she doesn’t want to expel Jung-ho either—and to give her credit, I believe her—but her duty is to the school, and he’s been given enough chances.

In-jae leads Jung-ho to the meeting, giving him some final words of encouragement, asking him to put in a good appearance because she really wants him to stay at school. So it’s to everybody’s utter shock that Jung-ho finally opens his mouth to ask for a second chance. He even admits that he was wrong and says that he’ll do better in the future.

Of course, he says it in his gruff, grudging way—but all the teachers recognize what a huge leap forward this is for him. Not Ha-kyung’s mother, though, who sniffs at his poor attempt at supplication.

Ha-kyung slips out of school with Kang-joo, jumping the fence to ditch for the rest of the day. Kang-joo wonders, “For Oh Jung-ho?” She replies, s”No, for me.” After all, who wants to be the reason some kid got expelled? They race away, giggling.

Thus Ha-kyung doesn’t show at the hearing, and she sends In-jae a text: “Please tell my mom I’m playing hooky.” Ha.

All this does is delay the hearing another two weeks, and Ha-kyung’s mother says she’ll see them then. In-jae’s plea to reconsider falls on deaf ears, but now Se-chan speaks up—and as we’ve seen, he does have a particular persuasiveness with parents. Even when he’s giving them unpleasant news, they listen.

He presses Mom to consider why Ha-kyung ditched the meeting, reminding her that Ha-kyung was the offender against Kang-joo in that incident with the ruler. How must Ha-kyung feel with her mother wielding her power to slide her school-violence case under the rug while insisting on expelling Jung-ho?

His words are effective, and Mom drops the case. In-jae, perhaps sensing a turnaround for Se-chan, asks him to give Jung-ho the news.

Se-chan does, and asks Jung-ho if he wants to leave home. Jung-ho’s voice breaks on the question, “Where would I go?”

Se-chan gives him materials on a teenage shelter and tells him to think on it, and to come to him for help.

Jung-ho spends one more night with Nam-soon (and Heung-soo), but leaves in the middle of it, and morning finds him wandering the streets, looking pensive.

At school, Teacher Jo hands Se-chan’s resignation letter back, asking him to consider. Se-chan admits, “The kids are too heavy.”

Teacher Jo agrees that they can be, if he’s trying to be responsible for their lives through the end. But teaching isn’t about that—they’re just there to hold out a hand for the short time they’re passing by in the students’ lives. And if they should form connections, all the better—because even the most desolate kids might not fall apart because they have that thread.

He assures Se-chan that nobody ever fell to ruin just because of one person, and urges him to let go of his burden just a bit. Se-chan listens, but doesn’t take his letter back.

Jung-ho doesn’t show up to school, and that has In-jae fretting up a storm—he can’t face more truancy just when he’s just faced threat of expulsion. Only, an even more distressing text comes in from Jung-ho, stating his intent to quit school altogether.

Immediately In-jae gets up, ready to track him down. Se-chan balks, but when Teacher Jo offers to take over the class, he heaves a sigh and grabs his coat.

The teachers try Jung-ho’s house, and his friends scour the usual haunts trying to locate him. No dice. He doesn’t turn up at home, nor does he at school the next day.

Se-chan keeps waiting outside his house, though, and the next night Jung-ho finally does come home. Turns out that his father got hurt, and that means Jung-ho needs to earn money to stay afloat. Se-chan urges him to go to school anyway while they figure out a solution, and in desperation he even offers to help him with money.

Jung-ho asks him how long he’d do that—a month? Two? What about next year? “Are you going to give money to every bastard like me you come across?” He knows he wouldn’t be able to pay back the debt, and since there’s no hope of college, he may as well enter the workforce early.

“So let go now,” he says. He means physically, referring to Se-chan’s death grip on his arm. Se-chan doesn’t for a long moment, but slowly the words sink in and he lets go, ever so slowly. Even Jung-ho looks a little stricken by it, not wanting to be let go.

But as he heads inside, he turns to give Se-chan one last teary promise: “Don’t worry too much. I won’t live doing bad things.”

Se-chan laugh-cries in response, sort of quietly devastated. When he returns to school, he gives In-jae a long, speaking glance through the classroom window. Rueful, perhaps.

But when he returns to his desk, he rips up his resignation.

Some time passes, and then they’re at the end of the semester and it’s time for the class to move up a year. In-jae’s still at her phone, texting Jung-ho that if he comes today, he can still advance to the third year.

Se-chan sees what she’s up to, noting that she’s still at it. As the head out to class, she asks if he’ll come back to teach next year. He asks the same of her, and she half-jokes that she will if he will.

Together, they congratulate their class as third-years, and dismiss them for the day.

The students file out, and Nam-soon and Heung-soo head up to the roof where they marvel at the fact that they’ve both made it to this, their final year of high school. They wonder what they’ve got planned for the future now, and Nam-soon answers that he’ll have to start thinking about it. Heung-soo answers likewise.

In-jae stays behind in her class, looking at Jung-ho’s empty seat. She’s hopeful even now, as someone enters the classroom—but it’s just Se-chan.

He knows what she’s hoping, and points out that the schoolday’s not over yet. They beam at each other and stick around. She’ll keep waiting.

 
JAVABEANS’ COMMENTS

Oof, what an ending. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about the end even as the minutes ticked down and I saw that there was so little time left—how to resolve the Jung-ho situation and give a sense of closure about the rest of the characters’ lives? I fully expected Jung-ho to come back to school until quite late, but ultimately I’m really pleased with the way this drama handled his character and his storyline.

The thing is, if they had won him the right to stay at school and then sent us off on a hopeful note that he would graduate along with his best friends, half of me would have loved it, while the other half would have been rolling my eyes at the neatness of the resolution. In the scheme of things, while this way leaves a sense of bittersweetness behind, I appreciate what it means for the story—and I mean for reasons other than simply “It’s more realistic.” (I hate when bad things happen for seemingly no narrative purpose and then get explained away as being realistic. Realistic doesn’t guarantee that a story makes sense!)

What it does, though, is turn the story back around to a different message, one that is ultimately more uplifting, I think, even if it ends with a bit of a heart-breaker for Jung-ho himself. What I didn’t want this show to be about was delivering the message that at the end of the day, all a troubled soul needs is a caring teacher to have faith in order to straighten out and live right. Not for this kind of story, which lives in a world that’s similar enough to our real world that the logic does need to reflect some real-world resonance, and that seems like the wishful thinking version.

Instead, it gives us the moment of realization for Se-chan to have to actually let go, to see that this is as far as his role in this kid’s life takes him. He can help, but he can’t take over Jung-ho’s life or become his new father figure. Se-chan’s struggle is with extremes, either caring too much or not at all.

But there was that lovely scene with Teacher Jo where he talks of holding out your hand while you have these students in your keeping, but not feeling that you are a success or a failure based on how those kids do. For a teacher, I think that’s one of the hardest struggles, balancing how much to care. But it’s a valuable insight, to know that you don’t have to be everything in order to be something. And a freeing one.

By the way, I do think they give us hope with Jung-ho as well; it’s just a different kind than may have been expected with the expulsion storyline. The true moment of hope for him was when he promised Se-chan he would live right. He might not finish school and his future may be riddled with hardship, but he’s gonna live honestly. And that, really, was when I felt he would be okay. Had he stayed at school I would have still felt uneasy for his future, because let’s face it, he would probably face expulsion at every turn anyway. But for him success is a vaguer notion, and perhaps one that’s more important—this decision to try being a decent person.

So it’s meaningful that Se-chan comes back from that last talk with Jung-ho and decides to stick around after all. The old Se-chan would have fled, taking this failure to heart and retreating into himself, but now he’s figure out a little more clearly that you do what you can and hope for the best.

It’s a similar trajectory for In-jae, although admittedly her idea of “doing what you can” is a bit different from his. But I love the ending scene, where she continues to faithfully wait for Jung-ho—not because she expects him, but because she will always have hope. And Se-chan may tease her about it, but at the end of the day (literally!) he’s there to wait with her, and encourage that hope.

Looking at School 2013 as a whole, I’d say it’s not a perfect series and there are things I wished were done a bit differently, or better. The show isn’t that interestingly filmed, and the visual quality isn’t among the standouts of dramaland—whose numbers are growing with every season. Some of the acting was pretty green from the unknowns, and the pacing, though mostly good, did lag.

All that aside, those factors didn’t really register while I was watching the show (except for in a vague sense in the back of my mind), because this was a drama where the story really came on strong and tugged our heartstrings with so much earnestness and true-to-life angst. I wanted the best for everyone, and felt my emotions well up alongside the characters. It was an immersive watch, to be sure, and one of the most heartfelt in recent months.

 
GIRLFRIDAY’S COMMENTS

I really appreciated a finale that felt like every other episode of this show. So often finales feel rushed, cobbled together bits and pieces, too busy tying everyone’s bows that the hour does nothing but feel like a laundry list. It was so nice to get a finale that was in the spirit of the show both in tone and story, that gave closure in a realistic way.

I’m actually surprised that Jung-ho’s story was left open-ended, but it resonates so much more with me because it is. We already got one neatly bow-tied happy ending in Nam-soon and Heung-soo’s friendship, so it was a nice balance to leave Jung-ho’s story less resolved. Maybe he’s a lost cause and maybe he isn’t; maybe school’s what’s best for him and maybe it’s not. What works is that there’s no simple answer to his problem. But it was enough for me that he said with sincerity that either way, he wouldn’t live badly.

Se-chan’s return from the brink felt earned in a really nice way. The easy solution would have been to have him save Jung-ho and be the hero. But it’s actually the harsh lesson that brings him back—he learns that he can’t save a kid from his own life. More than saving Jung-ho from his latest crisis, I thought it poignant that he joins In-jae at the end of class to wait hopefully for Jung-ho to return. It’s a sign that he’ll stop hanging everything on one success or one failure, and that he’ll keep trying, and keep hoping.

This drama certainly had its weak moments—recycled plots, a huge build-up to In-jae’s central conflict that sort of petered out and didn’t deliver its full potential, a lack of subtlety when it came to pointing out the problems with the system. But it did some great things too. It carried an entire narrative without romance, and I for one found it really refreshing. It wouldn’t have hurt to give our leads some teenage rom-com cuteness, sure, but at the end of the day I like that the character development stuck with friendship at the core. In-jae and Se-chan didn’t need to fall in love to change each other’s lives and make each other better teachers. Nam-soon and Heung-soo had a bond and a brotherly love and affection that was as sweet and gripping as any love story. And Jung-ho didn’t end up a thug on the street because he had friends looking out for him and teachers who cared.

My favorite thing about this show was its sense of realism, from beginning to end. There was nothing easily earned; nobody’s life was drastically altered, in a dramaland fairytale way. And yet, they were all changed by the end. Nam-soon and Heung-soo went from being lost to finding home in each other and smiling again. In-jae and Se-chan chose to get back up and keep fighting the good fight. It was a hopeful drama through and through, despite the lack of perfectly sealed happy endings. I love that they all graduated to being seniors without fanfare—tomorrow will be a day just like any other, and kids will go to school, and their problems won’t be magically solved. And teachers will go on trying to make a difference, even if they face failure after failure. Sometimes that’s the most heroic thing of all.

 
RELATED POSTS

Tags: , , , , , ,
SPONSORED VIDEO
220 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. snow_white

    thanks a lot for the lovely recaps…..surely gonna miss this school….
    first i’m going to watch the ep myself…..then i’ll read the whole thing….

     (1)


    • 1.1 mariolawpanda

      My meter for a really good show is when I get the feeling of on the verge of tears when it ends; breathing deeply, feeling melancholic, sad but satisfied.

      Now I really feel like I know what I want in a good drama, which is a really really great story. Visuals may carry me to the end of a show, the cheesy love may help me coast along, a good laugh or two may keep me pre-occupied until the end, but only the ones with a great story will keep me longing for more or make me re-watch the whole series.

      Thanks for the awesome recap!

       (6)


      • 1.1.1 eternalfive

        That description for a good show is perfect. :) It’s pretty much how I feel after every one of my favourite dramas.

         (0)


        • 1.1.1.1 pabo ceo reom

          This is definitely on my list of favorite dramas too. I dreaded watching the finale because I was still in denial that this is the end. I’m left feeling bittersweet, but more important, I’m also left feeling satisfied. That’s a feeling I haven’t had lately with other dramas I’ve watched. It’s a great feeling. I love you, School 2013! :)

           (1)


  2. MeeisLee

    Awww. I’m so sad that it’s ending. It’s been a nice ride!

     (0)


    • 2.1 Dominique

      How I wish I could say the same.

      In my mind, this drama invariably evokes the Hunger Game.

      I did not like how the Hunger Game ended. It seemed as if the movie lost its courage and succumbed to the pressure to end it on a happy note. Nevertheless, something real and terrible was at stake in the movie’s story and her ordeal gripped us till the end.

      In contrast, School 2013 never seemed real. I do not mean the story. The story is plausible enough. I meant the emotion that each character professed or displayed on screen, which seemed so unreal or fake or prefabricated or programmed. Nothing seemed spontaneous or genuine. I suppose some people really do respond with pre-determined emotion on cue.

      And the gender imbalance that so many comments point out. Yes, the degree of gender imbalance in this drama was unconscionable, even for the Korean dramaland. A big bad mark on the production team.

      My lingering memory of this drama will be what comes after the first photo we see in this blog. The two boys we see in that photo turn around and the camera shows their derriere. Yikes, was the stylist taking a nap? The two boys look as if their legs are freakishly short or something.

       (0)


      • 2.1.1 MeeisLee

        [Other reply (2.2) was not a reply to this comment but I came back after finishing the episode and coincidentally we posted around the same time. Just a disclaimer in case there's some random confusion/misunderstanding like the ones that plague dramaland]

        Hmm, I think this just goes to show that people can have different reactions to the same thing. I have to disagree with the comment about “fake” emotions though since I probably overlooked other aspects of the show because I felt so emotionally connected/invested. Not sure if I have much to say on the gender imbalance issue other than that I don’t think all the characters needed to be redeemed but I think they were given a chance to. I think with Ji Hoon and Yi Kyung starting to get physical in this episode was a tantamount to the fact that old habits don’t go away that easily and that they weren’t fully ‘good-guys’ at the end. I’ll probably have some better developed comments/thoughts when it’s not 4am.

         (0)


      • 2.1.2 pogo

        The Hunger Games? Seriously? That was a weak-ass Battle Royale from Day 1, no matter how much people liked to pretend it was ‘edgy’ or ‘gritty’ you could see the conclusion to a lot of the stuff coming from Chapter 1 (the love interests, for one thing).
        School 2013, on the other hand, lost a great deal of potential predictability when it sacrificed its love storylines, and that is a decision I cannot help but applaud – it’s not a perfect show, but it’s an insult to its writers to compare them to relative hacks like Suzanne Collins.

         (0)


        • 2.1.2.1 Ruth

          Although I love a good love story (redundant…sorry), I was also glad that the writers decided not to go down that route. I think it would have only wasted time that could be better spent on the actual characters and their stories. As it was, I wanted to know even more…and there just wasn’t time.

           (0)


      • 2.1.3 Alamxi

        You must not be a Asian right? Cos if you are one, I bet that it would be ridiculous if you can say this drama is fake or unreal. School 2013 showed us the real situation of current education system in Asia countries, especially in countries such as South Korea, China, Vietnam. After watching this drama, I felt like I’m watching my own story, back in schooldays. Since the education system in Asia is very different from that in Western or US, I think that’s must be the reason why you think that this drama is unreal cos you can’t reflect to it.

         (0)


    • 2.2 MeeisLee

      Oh man, what a heartfelt story this was. I understood and sympathized with the majority of characters and found their actions incredibly realistic. I’m a little surprised that I was able to watch a show that had zero romance but the bromance (!!!) and friendships made up for it 100 fold. I seriously can’t wait until the end of the year so I can vote Heung soo and Nam soon as best bromance!

      This show resonates with me even more because I’m at that pinnacle age. I think we all go through parts of each character from School 2013 during our adolescence or lives in general. I’m taking my experience from watching School 2013 to reflect a little. The college admissions decision for my first choice college will be available in just a few days. It’s something that will definitely shape my life for the next four years and I know I’ll be incredibly devastated and admittedly a little depressed if I get rejected. However, I’m holding out hope not just to get accepted but that things will work out either way as long as I stay active in controlling my life. And I think that’s something great to take away from the show, being able acknowledge your failures as a way to earn your success.

       (0)


      • 2.2.1 eternalfive

        Aw, good luck! I hope you get your first choice. :)

         (0)


      • 2.2.2 yumi

        I hope you get into your first choice and if you don’t, make where ever you go your best option.

        Unless the institution is horrid and deliberately treats you badly it is really true that you get out of college what you decide to get out of college.

        Best of luck.

         (0)


  3. smile134

    Thank you so much for bringing the recap to us :)

     (0)


    • 3.1 smile134

      I suddenly feel empty when School ends. It has been so long since there was a drama that touched my heart in many ways. It reminds me of my high school time, of the friendship I’ve had for years and my Math teacher in secondary school… I’m happy that School gives us an open and hopeful ending, but not a feeling of closure. In my imagine, there will be a happy ending for everyone :)

       (0)


  4. melonhead

    Don’t think I’ve been so sad to say goodbye to a series before….but I’m glad it ended perfectly.

     (0)


  5. whooa

    Finally, last episode *cry

    I love this drama. It is not a perfect one, but I still enjoy it. Honestly, I want more about boy-girl romance. I just wait and wait until the last episode here, and here we go with nothing boy-girl romace. I’m okay with that, since the romace is not the main focus here. I’m so happy and satisfied watching tons of cuteness friendship and amazing boys in the drama. I love the boys.

    Thank you School 2013 for the beautiful memories. Haha. I hope there will be more of k-drama who bring the fresh story about teenager and school life. So much fun watching drama like Dream High and School 2013. Don’t forget to bring the cute boys on the story! :)

     (0)


  6. lovin it

    thanks for the recaps..
    not a bad ending. but i’ll still take a bow-tied ending any day

     (0)


  7. Ivoire

    Thank you for the recap and the commentaries, JB and GF!

     (0)


  8. verte

    eee! so good <3 thank you!!

     (0)


  9. Wynn

    The End? Tell me it isn’t so…Thanks for all your hard work! :))

     (0)


  10. 10 xianzhongfan

    Finally!! Thanks for the recaps! Love this show!

     (0)


  11. 11 TS

    I feel devastated this show is over.

    I know sympathy is for the rude boys over mean girls, but I feel like this episode okayed for the boys to get rough with the girls, which is not okay.

    And if the girls are acting out now when they can, if we allow thee boys to have been provoked, can’t we accept the girls will act out in their own immature way? Plus, until these three boys were eventually calmed down by In Jae, they were nasty and violent to her too. So basically im saying, if you cut one group slack, cut the other group slack too.

    I want to see what NS and HS plan for themselves. And in the viki subs, NS tells Ha Kyung thank you, she asks what for, he stays silent and then she smiles. I really didn’t get that. ( It’s probably obvious like who bought the painting in Cheondamdong Alice, but I’m not seeing it.)

    Ah well, I really didn’t feel good with this episode…

     (0)


    • 11.1 anais

      The nasty girls, I feel, had been given slack for all of the series until this very episode. I did a fist pump when Uhmforce finally called her out for slander. When Eunhye snapped that Injae should acknowledge the half-assed apology as evidence of great effort, I wished Injae had snapped back, “You should try harder. If you think this is evidence of great effort, you won’t amount to much out there in the real world where you WILL need to muster more effort faking sincerity.”

      I find verbal assaults – especially ones as destructive as these girls’ have been in their consistent provocation and incitement to physical violence – to be a lot more insidious and harmful than overt physical violence, oftentimes because perpetrators weasel their way out of shared culpability.

       (1)


      • 11.1.1 Mika~

        I agree that Eunhye is a total bitch, but even I don’t think her verbal assaults warrant physical violence. What she says is slanderous, harsh, and cutting, but that doesn’t mean the boys can coerce her into an apology by asserting their “manly” physical power. Although I was pleasantly surprised by Jihoon’s later apology to Youngwoo – I had pretty much given up hope that the boys would ever repent for being so horrible to their victims – I was extremely disappointed that he reverted back to bully-mode (even thought it was only temporary, and it was to a bitch) when he dealt with Eunhye and Kyungmin. Of course, I was disappointed in Yikyung too, but of the three (including Jungho), Jihoon was the one who changed the earliest and the one who changed the most, so I was really expecting a lot more from him. I still love the boys to pieces and I still hate the mean-girls with a burning passion, but I can’t deny that Jihoon and Yikyung were very wrong to use physical violence.

        As for Jungho quitting school… I was absolutely shocked. Throughout the show, he had me worried when he misbehaved, but those were only momentary worries. I didn’t expect the show to actually go through with it! In fact, I had been so convinced that he would graduate that I didn’t even consider for a moment that he would end up not graduating, it wasn’t even a question… until I saw that there were two minutes left to the show. I suppose this was a very realistic ending, but I can’t help feeling like everything went to waste. Yes, Jungho has changed for the better, but he finally got the chance to go back to school after Hakyung’s mom nearly got him expelled, and he decides to quit?

        Although never failing to provide the good ol’ bromance (seriously, I think I could watch an entire drama just based solely on Namsoon and Heungsoo’s whole bromance arc), the show left a pretty heavy feeling overall. Despite the optimistic overtones of the last scene, I feel weighed down by the ending, by the depressing realization that, well, a person can only change so much before reality comes charging in and demands to be faced.

         (0)


        • 11.1.1.1 yumi

          Jung-Oh didn’t decide to quit casually.

          While I agree with Se-Chan that he should have run away from his father, it is clear that his father is the only family connection Jung-Oh has. And he felt a responsibility towards his father. He left school to take care of his father. Abused children are sometime perversely loyal to their abusive parents.

          I’m sure Jung-Oh wanted to stay in school, if he did not would not have apologized.

          Sometimes good intention and effort can’t overcome the harsh reality of poverty.

           (0)


          • 11.1.1.1.1 anais

            What Yumi said. It was a very realistic ending. I only wish that there were other options in Korea for students like Jung Oh.

             (0)


          • 11.1.1.1.2 JoAnne

            This actor became the person I was most interested in watching, over the course of the series. To take such an unlikeable person and make him someone who tears at your heart – and not in any grand way, like he dies saving children from a burning building – but just in small things, and his gradual acceptance of life, whatever it is…he was really a stand out to me, and Oh Jung Ho became a boy that I cared about as much as I cared about the two Princes of the show. His friends, too, especially Ji Hoon. The other one didn’t get much attention. But the guy playing Oh Jung Ho – I thought he did a fantastic job in White Christmas, and then he was pretty marginal in SUFBB – but here, I think, I hope, I pray – directors and producers please take notice and give him bigger roles. He can do the work, and I want to see more.

             (0)


          • 11.1.1.1.3 cheekbones

            @JoAnne

            I so agree with everything you said. I shed so much tears for Jung-ho. And, indeed, he’s a good actor.

             (0)


          • 11.1.1.1.4 ladysarahii

            Yeah, I managed to hold everything until he said he promises to live honestly. What beautiful acting from both actors, and my heart ached for Jung-ho.

            What a horrific situation to be in.

             (0)


        • 11.1.1.2 anais

          Somehow my response to your comment ended up elsewhere, so here’s the important part: “I don’t think anyone would defend the physical force the boys used.”

           (0)


    • 11.2 asianromance

      The two boys and the two girls were all supposed to write reflections as punishment for their parts in this whole fiasco. The two boys and Stressed Out Mean Girl were willing to do so (and that punishment ultimately got JiHoon to reflect upon and apologize for his part in bullying Youngwoo), but Really Mean Girl obviously didn’t feel like it was worth her while to reflect and didn’t feel bad about it. Even Ha-Kyung’s mom felt some shame by the end of the episode.

      Like anais, I also fist pumped when Uhmforce offered to get her listed as a perpetrator in a school violence case for verbal violence. Verbal assaults are still as destructive as physical ones. You don’t need a shove in the hallway to feel bullied. Rumors (which then can end up spreading through social media and then there’s the whole bullying via social media aspect) can destroy a person. And didn’t she want to work in broadcast also?

       (0)


      • 11.2.1 TS

        Eh, I still think if you cut one group some slack, then you do the other one too.

        On a personal note, I don’t like either set – and no, I don’t care about the trio’s bromance, it just really didn’t affect me the way like the friendhsips of HS-NS/HK-KJ/CellPhoneGirls did – but I don’t think one group can be brushed off while the other redeemed. Another reason I found this ending too abrupt.

         (0)


        • 11.2.1.1 Laeah

          No one ever punished the mean girls though. Not really. So it’s not like Uhmforce wasn’t cutting slack – he just finally found a real reason to teach her a lesson.

           (0)


        • 11.2.1.2 anais

          But I guess I don’t understand why you think that the girls weren’t given slack. As I said earlier, I totally think they were given slack the entire time. Everybody tiptoed around their bullying because all feared the mean girls’ mothers. Those mothers did not hesitate to destroy other people’s lives and to take advantage of their power.

          If you think the girls shouldn’t have been asked to write those essays along with the boys, I think that’s grossly unjust. The boys have been held responsible all along for even the tiniest misdeeds, even ones they didn’t inflict. If it were the girls’ first offense, perhaps but it wasn’t.

          I don’t think anyone would defend the physical force the boys used. What I would like to take to task is the violence inflicted by the mean girls and their parents and how they’d been cut slack repeatedly, with the first successful attempt at punishment doled out by Uhmforce in episode 16.

           (0)


          • 11.2.1.2.1 TS

            Has anyone considered the girls might have been releasing months if frustration with bullies who’d disturbed their studies, class room, and even exams?

            Again, not saying they were right, but my reading is that o nce they were less afraid with HS around (they were thrilled when he stood up ti Jung Ho & posse) they let that frustration loose in the way they knew how, by mean talk.

            Those boys had no right to go disturbing anyone else’s goals: they risked a backlash and some latent anger.

            And I’m cool with the girls writing essays too, which Kung Min did quietly btw, so she was changing. I just wish this show had written in their development and improvement. Women are complete human beings too!

            There’s a societal bias against intelligent women: I felt this show catered to it. Even Ha Kyung’s goals were undermined as something she just felt she had to do. What would’ve been wrong with her having ambition for herself?

             (1)


          • 11.2.1.2.2 anais

            I see.

            I agree with you about social bias against intelligent women. I do disagree about your read of the Eunhye (as one of those intelligent women with ambition) and Hakyung as having been undermined.

            Eunhye’s ambition is to marry well. The reality is that a lot of Korean women think as she does. That’s not likely to change in a big way any time soon. She was the stand-in for that kind of thinking.

            As for Kyung Min, I saw elsewhere that we got a redemption arc for her. It was evident that she was pushing back against Eunhye when Eunhye was trying to pass the buck onto her. And we were allowed some understanding of her situation (not as well off as either Eunhye or Hakyung).

            No, neither girl got as much development as the boys did, but what’ll you do. It’s k-drama. K-drama regularly focuses on the boys/men over girls/women, even when a woman is the protagonist. Sigh.

             (0)


          • 11.2.1.2.3 TS

            @anais I’m going to miss our discussions on this show!

             (0)


          • 11.2.1.2.4 liza

            Violence never pays, I am all in for being “zen” Ghandi is my hero, love not war, can’t we all get along, make love not war. turn the other check do not hit, do not fight, etc, etc,.
            All this being said, the only reason they did not have the mean girls mess with another girl,is because that conflict could only be resolved with a fist fight anything else would look too fake.
            I am not saying that all girls are violent or vicious. I am saying that there is no teenage male in any high school in any country in this galaxy that can be as vicious as a girl can be. Put males together they may not fight, put girls together and it is when, not if there will be a fight. Boys in a mix class temper the competitiveness and lack of tolerance between the girls. The boys presence act to calm the same way the race horses’ companion horses do.
            ( I agree, not the best example)
            Many reasons why the girls did not get equal air time.
            No rotten tomatoes please, it has been proven.

             (0)


        • 11.2.1.3 yumi

          Those girls got nothing but slack.

          The society and power construct of the school was designed to give them slack. Not because they were girls, but because they came from “good” families with mother’s who were willing to intervene on their behalf-fairly or not.

          Yes, this series was very slanted towards the male/low socio-economic status struggle perspective. And the one person who didn’t have an economic struggle that we got to know was male Min Ki.

          I feel as if a story about Mean Girl # 2, who had been paired with one of Jung-Oh friend was meant to happen, but didn’t.

           (0)


    • 11.3 ravens_nest

      I understand what you’re saying. I think my main problem with the balance in this show was that the writer spent ALL of the drama reforming all the douchebag male bullies but not any of the douchebag female bullies were redeemed.

      I had a huge problem with that, actually. Like…Jung Ho, Yi Kyung, and Ji Hoon were doing some real fucked up shit in the start of this drama. Slapping around Young Woo and stealing his money, beating the crap out of Nam Soon in back alleys, terrorizing the whole class. Jung Ho almost punched Jung-saem in the face and Yi Kyung was ready to hit Kyung Min with a desk. The girl bullies in the drama were basically your classic gossipy smart mouthed little shits and once they destroyed Ha Kyung’s books.

      The boys got these touching explanations for why they were grade A douchebags followed closely by heartwarming redemption arcs but the girls got almost nothing.

      So what you’re saying is that the physically violent bullies had more reason to beat the crap out of helpless classmates than the snarky gossipy girls who were really just evil little shits that have no redeeming qualities?

      I thought we were going to get a redemption arc from Kyung Min when Jung-saem finally sat down with her and we learned that she was so bitchy because she was so stressed out. They hinted that she has practically no help at home with her studies and she’s frustrated that her grades are still poor no matter how hard she studies while the teachers keep spending all this time on the bullies and neglecting actual lessons. Most of her reasons for being annoyed, frustrated, and bitchy were valid and I actually understood them but the Writer decided to drop that whole plot line and focus even MOAR on the “bromances.”

      So now all the female bullies are just heartless bitches and all the male bullies are misunderstood kids with hearts of gold.

      Yeah, I’m a little salty about that. SMH, Drama. :/

       (1)


      • 11.3.1 Laeah

        I think the drama did well in portraying a whole range of female characters student-wise.

        There were only two real bitches here and one barely.

        The girls were catty but did nothing that could really warrant any punishment until the end so they could never be taught a lesson for something that is pretty acceptable or at least normal in that kind of society and system until the end when she went too far.

        And I just feel like the last episode was lazy in the writing department, but they had to wrap stuff up I guess.

         (0)


        • 11.3.1.1 anais

          I do think Kyung Min got a redemption. It was clear in the essay punishment that she wasn’t being held to the same degree of responsibility as Eun Hye.

          I also see Ha Kyung as having been positioned as a mean girl who was redeemed. Very fully.

          Now, I can get behind the uneven treatment of male vs. female characters. The females that the show focused on were girls like Nari, the vapid ones adrift. It clearly positioned those girls as the girls who were “at-risk,” rather than the mean girls. It is an interesting gender bias.

           (0)


          • 11.3.1.1.1 ravens_nest

            Ha Kyung was never a mean girl. She never maliciously spread rumors, she didn’t bully anyone, she didn’t cause any trouble in class, she never cheated, and she never behaved rudely to her teachers.

            She was simply cold, reserved, didn’t like being involved in other people’s business, and had difficulties expressing her emotions. She also had problems with unresolved jealousy and feelings of inadequacy but the only way that manifested was that it made her curt sometimes with other people like Kang Joo, Nam Soon, and Kang-saem. Whenever she said something extra, it was obvious that she immediately regretted saying it.

            People always scrutinize a female harder for not being chipper, cheerful, friendly, and open. With men, it’s cool/charismatic but with women there’s something wrong with them. Even though both Nam Soon and Heung Soo were equally as reserved as Ha Kyung, people sympathized with them because “Tragic past. Oh, my bbys! Bromance!” whereas Ha Kyung got a barely explored past or personal life and so many people just call her a bitch even though it was just her struggling to express herself outwardly mixed with a being anti-social.

            Either way we both agree the women had less screen time and it’s a shame because they really could have done more with the girls’ stories and they just dropped the ball there.

             (1)


          • 11.3.1.1.2 eternalfive

            Okay. ^THIS so much (referring to ravens_nest’s comment).

             (0)


        • 11.3.1.2 ravens_nest

          No what I’m saying is that I agree that there were a wide range of female students. There were a wide range of male students too. The problem is that ALL the douchebag male students got redemption arcs and none of the female douchebag students got one.

          How can I tell? It’s very simple. Just look at the audience reactions to the characters.

          In the beginning of the series everyone clearly hated Jung Ho, Yi Kyung, Ji Hoon, Eun Hye, and Kyung Min for valid reasons. When you look at the comments now that the series is over, everyone loves/sympathizes with the three boys but barely anyone even so much as tolerates the two girls.

          The comment section on Viki for last episode is rife with comments worded like, “I hope he beats the crap out of her [Eun Hye],” “Slap that bitch,” “I wish the class was everyone but those two girls,” etc.

          And before anyone says Kyung Min got a redemption arc, no. Her being a little quiet and less vocally snooty is not a redemption arc, it’s a “less screen time” arc.

          In the last episode no one is going around saying, “Oh my baby Kyung Min! Let me hold you and dry your tears. ILY, Kyung Min!!!” like they are with Jung Ho, Ji Hoon, and Yi Kyung.

          So what that reaction tells me is that the three male bullies got successful redemption arcs, while the two girls did not.

           (1)


          • 11.3.1.2.1 liza

            Sorry to disappoint, had the drama treated the females the same as the males, I would pause ever second to check if the writers are Korean. After the romantic, rose color haze of viewing korea as if the dramas was
            real life, never forget the fact that Korea is a misogynic society.

             (0)


      • 11.3.2 asianromance

        Yeah, I do agree that the writing overall is skewed towards making the boys – giving them more screentime and opportunities for change.

        Overall, I think the boys’ problems are easier to work with. They are more easily detected and because violence doesn’t really help you blend in with society, there is more of a desire on both the parts of the teachers and the students to curb that (remember how Jung-ho got fired from that server job). And not to mention, that beating people up can eventually get you jailed and Ji Hoon never planned to live as a loser punk after high school anyways. I think if we had violent female gangster kids, they may have been given the same growth and change in the show.

        Eun-hye’s problem is hard to nail down and punish. Her attitude is something that is more accepted by society.
        She’s a good student, privileged, and can function perfectly well in society even though she has the conscience of a psychopath. So what is there to punish really? Punish her for being a judgmental person who spreads rumors? It’s sort of a waste of time to address that issue when you have violent kids. Eun-hye will go on, be successful, and marry a chaebol. For her, it isn’t so much a change of habit that is required, but a change of worldview.

         (0)


        • 11.3.2.1 ravens_nest

          “It’s sort of a waste of time to address that issue when you have violent kids. Eun-hye will go on, be successful, and marry a chaebol. For her, it isn’t so much a change of habit that is required, but a change of worldview.” –

          That right there is the bias I’m talking about! Why is it a waste of time to help Eun Hye become a better person but it’s not a waste of time to help Jung Ho? I don’t understand that mentality. Because she’s never done anything to physically hurt others and so you can’t give her a physical punishment, she’s not worth the time to figure out how to help her change her mindset? Just brush it under the rug and hope she doesn’t become a sociopath later after she marries some chaebol? What?

          Eun Hye needs a change in worldview? Yes, but so did Jung Ho! He hasn’t been a physical bully in the last several episodes. His character arc either way has primarily dealt changing his worldview. His outward behavior was fueled by his mindset. He felt like the world was against him, he felt hopeless, he felt powerless, he felt trapped in a situation he could not control and he compensated with an overabundance of pride and outward displays of frustrated anger. His change in this episode specifically deals with getting him to change how he lived his life through changing how negatively he viewed the world. So, no, I don’t accept that Jung Ho’s problems were easier to solve than Eun Hye’s problems.

          But let’s say that Eun Hye IS beyond hope. That nothing will ever change her mind. What about Kyung Min? Why was there no scene where she apologizes like Ji Hoon did? People say she had a redemption arc but there’s no real concrete evidence of it coming full circle like the guys’ arcs. They should have at least had a scene when Kyung Min apologized to Jung-saem for being such a rude little shit about her teaching techniques. But there wasn’t, so instead she just ends up being slightly less offensive than Eun Hye. :/

           (0)


          • 11.3.2.1.1 magnus

            You basically pointed out my main issue with this drama that leaves me a little bitter and unable to put it on my favorites list. So glaring a gender skew taints my enjoyment, especially upon rewatching it. Love School but that irritated the hell out of me, especially Kyung-Min not even being given any screen time to apologize to the guys when they were writing the letters or something for letting her stress get to her and treat people horribly like a judgmental shit.
            Win some lose some :/

             (0)


          • 11.3.2.1.2 TS

            @magnus & @ravens_nest I think this bias, which just is glaring in the final, is what’s got to me.

             (0)


          • 11.3.2.1.3 asianromance

            I just feel like violent kids are more at-risk than kids with bad attitudes, given a teacher’s limited resources, you’d try to cure the violent kid because sooner or later that violence can get him or her ( since there are female violent bullies out there) jailed or killed.

            I also think in terms of dramas, most school dramas tend to deal with violent boys. The writers knew the whole routine about a teacher giving the violent kid a reason to live better and more honestly. Transforming a girl who is overly judgmental and incredibly unapologetic, especially when she only got spotlighted near the end, is difficult. Most kdramas just give mean females an 11th hour epiphanies/lobotomy. While School 2013 was a joy for me to watch and was full of heart, it had its weaknesses when working with unfamiliar drama territory (curriculum decisions and sadly, transforming unlikable female characters into likable ones).

            I suspected that at the beginning the writers may have planned for the female characters to get more screentime, but with the popularity of the male characters, it seems like there was pressure to increase the male characters’ scenes at the expense of the female ones. I lapped up the Nam-soon and Heung-soo scenes, but it is sort of obvious that the drama really milked their story and did some fan-service-y things at the expense of using that time for the other students. In-jae even ended up getting sidelined a little bit for Se-chan.

            I hope if they have a School 2014, it would be skewed towards the gals. After the success of the kmovie, Sunny, a few years back, I’m surprised that no one was jumping to make some drama about young female friendships. And let’s have some likable female punks! And I feel like violent girl bullies are a lot scarier than boys. I’m sure there will be sharp objects involved and some victim will be sent to some dangerous crack den.

             (0)


        • 11.3.2.2 yumi

          I think one of the reason the snarky girls’ issues weren’t addressed is because to do so would mean not only addressing the girls issues but also the parents.

          The drama talked about the snarky girls behavior being supported at home. One way they could have done it is to give the Min Ki story to a female character, perhaps Kyung-Min.

          As it was they tried to show some reason behind that kind of behavior with Ha-Kyung’s Mom.

          Ah. It’s over. It was fun.

           (0)


      • 11.3.3 TS

        Pretty much my view on the imbalance. We should’ve been given a chance to see Kyung Min’s full reformation & that of Eun Hye too.

         (0)


      • 11.3.4 TS

        Agreed.

         (0)


      • 11.3.5 yumi

        “So what you’re saying is that the physically violent bullies had more reason to beat the crap out of helpless classmates than the snarky gossipy girls who were really just evil little shits that have no redeeming qualities? ”

        Yes. They are just evil little snots with no redeeming value. They’ll remain that way until they realize they are not the only human being in the world that has value.

        A physical beatdown is bad, but a beatdown of the soul can cause greater paralysis and often there are less options to fight. Those snarky little snots are soul killers.

         (0)


        • 11.3.5.1 ravens_nest

          This comment is exactly why they needed a story-line exploring the root of the female bullies’ issues and sending them along a redemption arc just as much as the boys.

          I rest my case.

           (1)


          • 11.3.5.1.1 yumi

            The teachers talked about the reason for Eun-Hye’s and her cohorts’ behavior several times, it is the way she [and the others] is/are brought up and indulged at home. The conversation UhmForce has with Eun-Hye’s mother was to demonstrates that. Ha-Kyung’s mother’s behavior to Kang-Joo when her daughter is “perpetrator” and Jung-Ho when her daughter is “victim” was a demonstration of what was causing those soulless wonders.

            While they didn’t bring Eun-Hye’s mother on camera, the impression the series left was that she was very similar to Ha-Kyung and Min Ki’s mother. All the information about what happened in school is shared on the Mothers’-Partyline.

            Ha-Kyung and Min Ki’s mother stood as extreme contrast in dealing with their children, one micro manages the other is almost limbless in how hands off she is. What both on camera parents have in common is that they make their high expectation clear to their children and will crush anyone in school that gets in the way of their plans for their children.

            Ha-Kyung’s mother are those snarky girls grown up after learning how to pretend that her world isn’t limited to what she see in her own mirror. School 2013 the girls editions: where all the second female leads on k-dramas are socialized.

            For me the problematic skewed view the drama unintentionally perpetuated is that your gangbrothers are the only ones that will go out on a limb for you, and stick with you no matter what. Only in gangs are the bonds of true lasting “i’d die for you bro” bonds are made. That is a dangerous message to send.

             (0)


          • 11.3.5.1.2 ravens_nest

            @yumi

            You’ve only described the topic being lightly touched upon or hinted at. Not a full exploration.

            Either way the script short shrifted an explanation and redemption arc for Kyung Min and Eun Hye when they really could have. It doesn’t matter that the teachers talked about why they acted out because they did it for all of five minutes (combined scenes). The dialogue itself has them basically saying it’s the parents’ responsibility and looking worried while doing little to talk to the girls to try and change them. (They both get one private talk scene each.) Alternatively the teachers spend the entire drama persistently going after the male bullies despite physical danger and constant angry rejection.

            If the script had cut a few of the plethora of filler bromance scenes and moved Eun Hye and Kyung Min’s plot lines up three episodes, it would’ve given the writer the room to at least explore Kyung Min’s character and redemption. They didn’t so it’s still incredibly biased.

             (0)


          • 11.3.5.1.3 yumi

            @raven’s_nest

            Redemption wasn’t solely about the care the teacher’s applied. It was a combination of being hit by the realities of the world and the teacher’s care.

            Ji-Hoon didn’t change solely because of the teachers attention, he changed because he looked ahead and realized if he didn’t change life would continue to kick him in the teeth.

            Nam-Soon changed when he put his best friend in the hospital

            Heung-Soo snapped out of it when he hospitalized someone for two weeks and the police got involved.

            Jung-Oh changed because the world and his dad kept beating him up and In-Jae and Ji-Hoon showed him other possibilities.

            Yi-kyung changed to hang on to his friends.

            For those girls to change, reality would have to start knocking them about or they would have to have been more evolved than the average person. They are not, if they were they wouldn’t be the way they are. They have no reason to examine the constructs they are living in. It works for them. Until who they are stop getting them what they want they have no reason to change. No talking or pleading from teachers will help.

            I had an eight grader plagiarize a paper–the whole thing, and I asked her to bring her parents in to discuss the issue. The father came during class time, interrupted my teaching, said she apologized why am I making a case out of it. I realized then that while I can keep teaching that child, many of the lessons won’t take hold until real world consequences started to hit because the off book topic taught in class was not supported at home.

             (0)


          • 11.3.5.1.4 ravens_nest

            @yumi

            “For those girls to change, reality would have to start knocking them about or they would have to have been more evolved than the average person….They have no reason to examine the constructs they are living in. It works for them.”

            I’m critiquing the writers but you’re still inside the drama. Everything you said is correct and I don’t disagree. I’m just saying the writers could have written a worldview change for the female bullies too.

            The moment when Kyung Min realized her grades weren’t getting better despite all of her douchebag ploys could’ve been the starting point. We saw that in the drama. Instead of using that moment and her talk with Jung-saem as her worldview shake-up, the writers back-burned her story and she remains locked in her one note caricature.

            You say reality needed to knock them about and it didn’t? I’m asking why didn’t the writers write the world knocking at least Kyung Min about. Attempted suicide, jail, or punishment for a crime are not the only reasons to reexamine your life. The continued lack of progress from your desperate actions despite everything is plenty of impetus to change. That could’ve been explored with Kyung Min and they didn’t do it.

            The writers have complete control over the world of School 2013 because it is fictional. There is no reason they couldn’t have written a redemption arc for at least one of those bully girls.

             (0)


          • 11.3.5.1.5 yumi

            @ravens_nest.

            Thank you. Your last post was very clarifying and pinpointed the differences in our vantage points.

            I am critiquing/responding to the drama and you are responding to/critiquing the writer.

            I hope what I say will not sound *?*?* can’t think of a word that doesn’t carry an incendiary potential. So let’s just say I have the best intentions as I try to explain where I am coming from.

            One of the subject I teach is writing and when students respond in class to others work, the rule is–critique the work the writer wrote, not the piece you wish she had written or the piece you want to write. In class–not necessarily on this blog–the point is to help each writer realize his/her unique vision. If students don’t think an issue is addressed that should be, then they are free write their own story righting that wrong. I think irritation and frustration can be inspirational.

            I try to remember to be grateful when an artist creates something and puts it in the world. Sometimes it moves me and sometimes I think it is crap. If I think is is a good idea that failed in the execution, I work to figure out why it failed so I can learn from it. If I think it is a crappy idea well executed I figure it was not meant for me and i leave it alone.

            I think individual artists should be allowed to create what he/she wants to create.

            However I understand the frustration that results when as a group artists presents the same misogynist worldview that marginalize and/or trivialize the women over and over. It’s annoying. So I get your irritation when it seems with a little more effort the writer might have changed some perspectives.

            So taken in context with the countless other drama’s that have been presented, I can understand someone feeling like School 2013 is a missed opportunity.

            BUT, I think the creative team told the story they wanted to tell and they told it successfully. I am happy to have been able to spend time with those character as written.

             (0)


          • 11.3.5.1.6 ravens_nest

            @yumi

            Yeah, I can understand what you mean about critiquing the work itself. I’m not one of those people who bombards an author/writer with hate or mindless screaming. I’m not going to scream sexism/misogyny because that’s not who I am. And yet I wonder what change can be brought with simply saying, “It is what it is.” What do we do? Just ignore a glaring oversight? So…I critique and I try to do it in a calm and intelligent manner. (Tho sometimes I get heated and I’m working on that. lol)

            I wouldn’t be this critical if I didn’t love this drama. Despite the fact that I mostly just expressed negatives here, this drama is actually one of my favs of the last 5 years. But the fact that I like this drama so much makes the glaring imbalance more upsetting.

            I am also an artist, a writer, and a person from a humanities background, so I understand artistic freedom. However we can’t just say that erases responsibility and exempts us from social critique.

            Because the PD/Writer team of this drama went on record saying that they intended to present a well rounded, realistic, critique of the South Korean school system and parent-child interaction within an educational setting. While the drama did really well and did far more than I was expecting towards that goal, I can’t help but acknowledge that there was something missing. Though I am critiquing the writer, I am also keeping it within the parameters they already set. A drama that is biased toward the problems of male students while shoving the female problems to the back burner is not well rounded or realistic and so the writer/PD has not 100% met the goal they set out to accomplish.

            But at this point we are simply going over and over the same points, I think. Perhaps we should just agree to sort of disagree. I apologize if I sounded snippy. That was not my intention. hahaha

             (0)


          • 11.3.5.1.7 yumi

            @ravens_nest.

            cool!

             (0)


    • 11.4 Dita

      I think the reason NS and HK smile to each other is NS knew that HK will help Jung Ho. Because,before then, HK asks NS what can she do to help Jung Ho :)

       (0)


    • 11.5 Dita

      I think the reason NS and HK smile to each other is NS knew that HK will help Jung Ho. Because, before then, HK asks NS what can she do to help Jung Ho. HK also helped Jung Ho before, right? with lending her money :)

       (0)


    • 11.6 Ditu3ka

      I think it was the same situation as with Min-ki. Remember when Min-ki thanked NS (after his suicide attempt) and NS said “for what?”, pretending like nothing happened, that there was no need to say thank you between friends? I think it was the same here. NS thanked HK for her help and by saying “what for?” she simply said “thre´s no need, we´re friends”.

       (0)


    • 11.7 Ruth

      The handling of the violence issue was a little weak, I thought. Because I’m not familiar with the intricacies of Korean school administration, I don’t even know if it rang true or not, but it did wrong.

       (0)


  12. 12 Banjak

    This show to me was a little slice of life, seen through slightly rose colored glasses. I loved its realism and commentary on the school SYSTEM – parents, students, teachers and regulations – being broken because of pressures to meet/exceed someone else’s expectations. I don’t think the show offered any easy solutions, but it perhaps tried to show how little concessions and efforts could have a big impact on someone else’s life.

    I liked that they saved Ji Hoon, while Jung Ho remained a question mark. And I loved the resolution of Nam Soon and Heung Soo – still directionless, but by no means lost.

     (0)


    • 12.1 Rachel

      Totally agree with you. I liked how the last episode didn’t feel like last episode at all. I never watched any of the drama’s episodes for one full hour, but this one had me sit through it. I was surprised that Jang Na Ra never ages and goes out of the perfect shape, of the unbelievable cuteness Nam Soon and Heung Soo generate, the drama portrayed dedicated teachers. Especially here in America something like this is unimaginable. Teacher was voted as the third most unhappiest job in America, for no one respects all the hard work teachers do, everything is their fault for something that’s not, and the pay is inanely low. Plus there are limitations as far as bonding with students go due to all those regulations and policies. Students texting with teachers? Here if teachers and students are facebook friends, that fact alone is frowned upon. So it was nice to see a sweet relationship between teachers and students.

       (0)


    • 12.2 pogo

      late, but I agree with this. Even at the start, it felt different from other Korean high school dramas we’ve seen, and the fact that occasional bleakness and loose ends were allowed to remain does help that along.

      And I really, really like that the teachers aren’t just waving a magic wand and making everything ok, but that things do change, even for them as individuals.

       (0)


  13. 13 anvesha

    When I was watching for the first time, I was like, what? That was it!?! But after mulling on the ending for some time, I like it.

    I wanted graduation for Jung Ho, but that was only something I wanted, but the show looked beyond it.. what is good for Jung Ho. I am happy that at least he said he would live honestly, because that, in and of itself, is a huge leap from the guy who scoffed at living honestly and sincerely. Love it.

    I only wish we’d seen the reconciliation with his friends/In Jae as well because they were on his side through and through.

     (0)


  14. 14 Eulaliee

    I’m going to miss this drama, entirely as a whole and each of the characters too. I really hate dramas like this…. They make us watch them from the very beginning in bad shape then lead us onto a roller coaster ride, experiencing their ups and downs with them and just watch them grow as an individual. Each one of the characters played their part very well, even if it was just a small part.

    I definitely loved how they ended Jung-oh’s crisis with Teacher Kang. The both of them learned something very important from one another. jung-oh learned that no one is going to hold onto something for you if you don’t hold onto it yourself. No one can live your life for you and make your decisions for you, you have to do that yourself. And teacher Kang learned that caring too much isn’t a bad thing. You can’t live your life always reflecting on bad mistakes or good mistakes.

    I remember this quote from baker king when tak-gu and ma-jun finally had their man-to-man talk. Tak-Gu said, “Just because something good happened today it doesn’t mean that something bad isn’t going to happen tomorrow. Because I still have to live. Just because today was a bad day, it doesn’t mean that my life is going to end.” This quote just made me thought of jung-oh and Kang.

    I’m going to miss my soo-soon couple theeeeee most, you bet!! I can’t wait for ‘School 2014′!! Thanks so much for the recaps!

     (0)


    • 14.1 TS

      I’m downright bereft its over. Oh Heung Soo, wherefore art thou, Heung-Soo? Wuv u.

       (0)


    • 14.2 Dita

      Nice quote.

       (0)


      • 14.2.1 Eulaliee

        Thanks! I love that quote as well. It makes me think that I’m not the only one in the world that’s suffering… And even if I’m suffering to where I feel like dying, I won’t die because I still have tomorrow to live. It’s only a bad day, not a bad life.

         (0)


  15. 15 KZ

    Thanks for the recap. Reading your recaps helps puts things into perspective sometimes. Cuz I’ll admit it, I didn’t love this ending at first. But now I get what they were going for and I appreciate it now.

    *Plus honestly the first time I was watching this ep, I was still holding onto a little hope that there would be romance between Namsoon and Hakyung haha. But this was a great drama nonetheless.

     (0)


    • 15.1 TS

      I really didn’t understand the NS-HK resolution.

       (0)


  16. 16 stellar

    but what about jungho-ya? he made it right? i’d like to think so….;~;

     (0)


  17. 17 YT629

    I sorta missed not having ANY romance despite this being a high school drama. I did like that Injae and Sechan were changing each other without being in love, but I could see how they would be good for each other as a couple too. That and they just look so darn cute together :)

    But of course, the forefront of this kdrama was the bromance. Between Namsoon and Heungsoo, between Jungho, Yikyung, and Jihoon. Basically any scene with ramen in it got me all worked up, ready to cry.

     (0)


    • 17.1 Lassie

      About romance non-existence, I do think back of my high school time and try to find out the existence of romance :-)
      Just like 2013, mostly it was friendship, ‘sismance?’…betrayal in the friendship…etc.
      Romance as such…it’s just a passing of knowing someone liking me but never to the stage of me accepting any of them..
      So, I am fine with the lack of romance :-)
      Those friendship -borrowing Javabeans words- is as gripping as any romance :-)

       (0)


      • 17.1.1 asianromance

        In high school, romance was either hormones or just not-so-great decisions. And a lot of couples didn’t last through college. I think if Ha-Kyung and Nam-soon had a romantic storyline, then her mother will get involved and I’m not sure if college gal, Ha-Kyung and potential ramyun-shop worker, Nam-soon would have worked out. And then what happens when the guys do their army service right after high school or a year or two after high school?

        If this was a melodrama, then of course, the characters will fall in love in high school and continue loving each other as adults.

        Since the drama ended on a hopeful note, I do think that maybe years down the line, Se-chan and In-jae will end up seeing each other as romantic prospects. And you know Teacher Jo wants it to happen anyways.

         (0)


        • 17.1.1.1 TS

          Yes, I agree on your points re High School romance. Although some frisson was hinted, really the show was about high school friendships and growing out of teenage angst.

           (0)


        • 17.1.1.2 TS

          I actually would’ve been curious to see how HK’s mother would’ve gotten involved. Never mind now.

           (0)


        • 17.1.1.3 Eulaliee

          I totally agree with the high school romance thing. The majority of us experience our first crush or puppy love in high school… Along with our first kiss and heartbreak.

          The difference between girls and guys in high school is – guys usually just fight to see who’s the best and their ego at that point in life is the highest of the high. As for girls, girls usually compete with one another over grades, looks, clothes, and of course, boys. I do believe that when it comes to girls, we are much more competitive and we get extremely jealous to where even backstabbing and gossiping can get involved. I’ve known many friendships that fell apart because of mistrust, boys, and gossips. But it’s up to the individual if they want to make it with their friend, usually out of every friendships, there’s always that one person who wants to make up. Also, take dream high as an example. Hye-mi and Baek-hi friendship fell apart mainly due to jealously and competition. Just saying…

          But yeah, if HK and NS were to go out, I think it would had been weird for NS. It isn’t in his personality to confess or face his true feelings. I don’t think that NS would had been able to confess his feelings for HK, and the same for HK (unless Heung-soo steps in and help them out because he obvious can see that the two slightly like each other). If they were to date, it would had probably been way later on maybe after graduation, just before they enter college.

           (0)


          • 17.1.1.3.1 yumi

            You reminded me of something I keep forgetting to mention.

            Nam-Soon’s relationships illustrates so clearly how our friends help in our socialization.

            Heung-Soo was always the one guiding Nam-Soon’s behavior from middle school on. At the beginning of the series, even before Heung-Soo showed up it seems Nam Soon had internalized Heung-Soo’s lessons and was restraining himself to keep out of trouble.

            Once Heung-Soo returned he was again nudging Nam-Soon to do the right thing and get involved. Most of the time when Jung-Oh’s minions needed help they reached out to Heung-Soo, who brought Nam-Soon along. [Of course that might have been because Jung-Oh had targeted Nam-Soon previously]

            The other student training Nam-Soon was Ha-Kyung. She was teaching him his responsibility as class leader.

             (0)


          • 17.1.1.3.2 TS

            Eventually NS would’ve dated someone in his life. Probably Kang-joo, because, and I hate to say it, socioeconomic factors do come in, and she would’ve probably been more comfortable for him. Plus, she kind of actively pursues him compared to HK, and he’s a bit passive, so she would’ve likely got there first. But so unlikely that any of this would’ve gone past high school.

            We’ll never know now…

             (0)


          • 17.1.1.3.3 selina

            @ yumi

            Thank you. I thought I was the only one who saw this. Heung-soo really is the hyung-older-wiser-more caring-understanding-leader in the friendship(s). In the rebuilding of their friendship, the way Heung-soo forgave Nam-soon (the level of acceptance, understanding, empathy, love, and willingness to truly let the past be past) allowed Nam-soon to forgive himself. Even after this Heung-soo continued to lead Nam-soon along through present nudging as well as past remembered examples.

            I know everyone is in love with Jung-ho now (and boy was his arc satisfying) but my favorite character hands down is Park Heung-soo. The moment he grabbed Jung-ho’s fist in ep 3 I was intrigued. I know that we didn’t get much background other than what involved Nam-soon, but from the little we got his life wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows (no dad, mom in a coma, living with older sister and cared for by relatives) and at the core he s such a good guy. I don’t know many people (hell I don’t think I could) who could have not only forgiven and forget but truly rebuild a relationship and be there for a friend that had done you such wrong. What he came to mean not only to Nam-soon but the other classmates as well; the guys is awesome. In my life I know many people like and who have gone through and go through things that Jung-ho has (myself included) but rarely have I met (at such a young age) a true friend like Heung-soo. I learned so many lessons from his character ad his friendship with Nam-soon. K-dramas do a lot of bromances, but the Soo-Soon (along with the ones in’Friends, Our Legend) has felt the most real and impacted me so much.

            Basically Park Heung-soo is one of my favorite kdrama characters for the reasons you listed and more. Also Heung-soo and Nam-soon’s bromance is in my top 5 of all time bromances.

             (0)


          • 17.1.1.3.4 eternalfive

            Yay, Heung-soo FTW!!! He’s my favourite character too, and pretty much for what you said.

             (0)


    • 17.2 pogo

      I missed the romance a little bit too (adored the idea of Heung-soo+Kang-joo, esp. since she was the only person to treat him like a normal person and not someone super-scary like the rest of her class), but ultimately sacrificing that meant we got to properly explore relationships and characters that are pretty much sidelined in most regular Korean dramas – would we have got to spend as much time with, say, Min-ki or Ji-hoon if there was a focus on romance storylines?

      But yay for a drama that recognises and honours its friendships, I loved watching all of them – Nam-soon and Heung-soo, the rapport between the teachers, and even Ha-kyung and Kang-joo.

       (0)


      • 17.2.1 YT629

        Yeah, I guess I wouldn’t have wanted romance at the sacrificing of the cute and meaningful friendships that developed. (I’ll never hear the phrase “byung shin ssay kki” the same again!) Maybe the way to have our cake and eat it too would have been to have a longer series. I’m satisfied with how it ended but can’t help thinking that it would have been nice if this were a 30 or 40 episode series like the previous seasons of School….

         (0)


    • 17.3 pogo

      I missed the romance a little bit too (adored the idea of Heung-soo+Kang-joo, esp. since she was the only person to treat him like a normal person and not someone super-scary like the rest of her class), but ultimately sacrificing that meant we got to properly explore relationships and characters that are pretty much sidelined in most regular Korean dramas – would we have got to spend as much time with, say, Min-ki or Ji-hoon if there was a focus on romance storylines?

      But yay for a drama that recognises and honours its friendships, I loved watching all of them – Nam-soon and Heung-soo, the rapport between the teachers, and even Ha-kyung and Kang-joo.

       (0)


  18. 18 Annie

    It was really weird. I loved the series, but I was quite bored by the finale.

     (0)


    • 18.1 TS

      Me too, now you say it. I think that’s a big reason I’m disappointed.

       (0)


    • 18.2 owl

      I wish it was 20 episodes because even the way it ended, there could be 4 more episodes to fill out the major and minor storylines. Plus more face time with HS and NS. But I didn’t hate the ending.

       (0)


    • 18.3 Ruth

      It was a little boring…

      but it reminded me of what school is actually like. I mean, remember in spring, when all you want is for it to be over for the summer? All of the class drama that’s constantly going on and all of the worry just winds down to that final day when everyone is just focusing on getting the heck outta Dodge.

      The last episode really seemed like the last day of school to me. Something that you look so forward to…and something that ends up being a little anti-climatic.

       (0)


      • 18.3.1 TS

        I always hated and loved those days. Hated because anti-climactic and loved because there was cake. :-)

         (0)


      • 18.3.2 CL

        In entirety tho, even if the ending was anticlimactic, the 16-ep series was more exciting than my entire school life put together. But maybe that’s just me, haha.

         (0)


  19. 19 Lassie

    I wish many other dramas will deliver the slice of life just like School 2013. It keeps your feet planted to the ground.
    Some people might say that reality is harsh enough…why watch something as harsh as one.
    I’d say, School 2013 is priceless because although it reflects the hard truth, it also gives us that caring for each other, forgiving, second chances do make a huge differences. That’s a beautiful lesson..
    Forgive me for saying this: many K-drama tend to sell a highly unbelievable life stories…and that’s an insult to human intelligence.
    This one drama…treat you well and more…

     (0)


    • 19.1 Ivy

      Well said :) I agree very much. Dramas like this are so rare and precious.. and yet crazy-unrealistic dramas can be fun to watch too, they just don’t make you feel as much and don’t really inspire you

       (0)


  20. 20 nomad

    How poignant this story is… I’m actually okay with Jung Ho not finishing school, only..if only, not finishing school also means that you can still achieve some kind of a dream. Is this possible in Korea?

     (0)


    • 20.1 bjharm

      well he pretty much going to be cleaning windows at a gas station or something like that for the rest of his life, but at lest he will not being drifting into a gang and worse. There nothing wrong in pumping gas and earning an honest $. Plus there is always night school or an online degree, while it not going to get you into any big company it may get him a chance at something better.

       (0)


  21. 21 Minnetter (aka: Min)

    I’ve been waiting for the recap since I saw the episode… I want to cry T_T I’m really sorry to have to let go of the show and it’s world and I wish we could get an epilogue with them showing their high school graduation… but i’ll just have to imagine it myself… or can fanfic writers please write an epilogue type thing :)
    anyways thank you JB and GF for the recaps!!

     (0)


  22. 22 eternalfive

    *SOB* Damn it, I change my mind, I want an extension!!! I want an extension NOW!!!

    Seriously though, wow. It’s ended. Even though I wish I could spend more time with all these characters, and I know I’m going to go into School withdrawal (and Kim Woo-bin withdrawal and damn it where will I go for my weekly doses now and omg I will never see any Heung-soo/Namsoon bromance scenes anymore!!!), I really did love the ending. :’) It was bittersweet but hopeful, and incredibly inspiring despite how low-key it was. I loved Jung-oh’s resolution so much, and his simple declaration that he wouldn’t live badly anymore made me tear a bit. Just this, really:

    “I love that they all graduated to being seniors without fanfare—tomorrow will be a day just like any other, and kids will go to school, and their problems won’t be magically solved. And teachers will go on trying to make a difference, even if they face failure after failure. Sometimes that’s the most heroic thing of all.”

    So yeah. It wasn’t perfect and I’m still annoyed about how the girls had such little screentime with storylines that were resolved too quickly. I actually really liked Ha-kyung – you don’t usually get female leads like her in kdramas and she had such a common teenage struggle that I wish they’d done her justice. Also, I’m still disappointed that they got rid of all the romance. I didn’t care much about a teacher romance, but some among the students would’ve been nice. Other than that though…well, everything else was perfect and beautiful and just – I think I’m going to cry myself to sleep tonight. Waah. T_T

    And thank you so much for recapping, javabeans and girlfriday! :) Loved your ending comments too, as usual.

     (0)


    • 22.1 TS

      If they limit themselves to 16 episodes, how can they develop other characters and complementary story lines like Ha-Kyung’s struggles, and what the non-S uni kids were going to do? So frustrating.

       (0)


    • 22.2 asianromance

      I’m also a little disappointed that the girls got less screentime, but given the kdrama landscape of pitting females characters against each other, I’m glad that there were some nice girls who were able to bromance-it-up also. Look at the slick move of Hye-seon’s in helping Nari. I like how they were able to forgive each other so easily and don’t hold grudges.

      I’m glad Ha-Kyung’s struggle wasn’t resolved, but that she was still able to carve out a piece of her life for herself – like playing hooky to thwart her mom.

       (0)


  23. 23 yumi

    Thank you so much.

    Jung Oh broke my heart today.

    the finale felt like the end, yet open enough for another season.

     (0)


    • 23.1 TS

      I hope they all come back. :-)

       (0)


      • 23.1.1 JoAnne

        oooh that would be awesome – somehow I thought that even though this has been a multi-season series, each series was a stand alone. (Of course this one would be, it’s been so many years since the last.)

        I would LOVE to either have another season where they are in Grade 3 but In Jae and Se Chan go WITH them, and we get to see what happens with Oh Jung Ho too…or even a season where we have the teachers still in Grade 2 with a new class, but the seniors drop in enough that we can have a feel for their new lives as well. Including Jung Ho again, naturally.

         (0)


    • 23.2 yumi

      I would also like to recognize those old soldiers, Umhforce and Teacher Jo who have been in the trenches holding on to students for years without becoming jaded and without getting much recognition for a job well done.

       (0)


    • 23.3 yumi

      When I think about how many things can go wrong when a human being is conceived, gestated, then born I’m amaze that so many of us come into the world mostly right and mostly functioning.

      In many ways I think putting a drama together is only just a little less complicated than making a baby.

      Thinking up the story, writing it effectively, getting someone who share your vision to support it, finding a director, cinematographer, actors, make-up people, caterers, stunt people, baby wranglers, and trained monkeys. And for it to work well, every one has a role to play must be at least competent.

      When I think that through, I’m amazed at how many dramas turn out to be watchable.

      writing is hard
      acting is hard
      directing is hard
      cinematography is hard
      catering is hard
      working with people is hard.
      doing it all with little sleep is harder

      The way you know it is hard to do is when see it not working.

      When I read the harshness of some of the critiques it makes we wonder if folks realize that despite the flaws, people worked really hard to bring you what you saw.

      A playwright friend of mine has a rule, that it took me sometime to buy into, that when you go to the theatre you should always applaud, even if you didn’t like the experience because the folks on stage worked hard for you, and it is only polite to say thank you.

      Before Kevin’s rule, i’d not applaud poor performances because I didn’t want to give hope to the talentless. But after much consideration, I now agree is that it is good to thank people for their effort.

      So when I read complaints of lazy writing in episode 16, when we know how hard end of drama shooting schedule can be [thankyou King of Drama] I think, be gracious and grateful for the hard work people put in to entertain and move you.

      If I had had an issue with Ep16, I’d have thought exhaustion more so than lazy.

      School 2013 Huzah!!!

       (0)


  24. 24 beckster

    Thanks for the recap!

    And like you said, it’s not the perfect show but, for me personally, it got stuck to my heart more than probably ANY other tv show, Korean or American/Canadian, purely for it’s ability to just make me FEEL….to the point that now my co-workers and friends, most of whom don’t give a fig about non-reality shows, much less foreign television, know all about this drama and how desperate I was each Monday and Tuesday for work to be over so I could go home and watch the latest episode!

    Now all I have to say is that I never knew just how awesome bromance could be until this show…and I sincerely hope future dramas will take an example from the kind of flavour this drama had: Love without romance, friendship that hurts but is still worth fighting for, and that sometimes the happiest of endings just isn’t need for closure.

    Thanks again!

     (0)


  25. 25 asianromance

    Thanks for the recaps, javabeans and girlfriday! I can’t believe this drama is finally over. It’s probably premature of me to say so, but I get the feeling this may be my favorite drama of the year. It’s a drama that makes me think about what all the characters are up to even hours after the finale. And it’s that rare korean drama without romantic storylines. The way kdramas likek to shoehorn romantic storylines into everything, I’m surprised that this was allowed.

    It broke my heart when Se-chan had to let Jung-ho go and the look on Jung-ho’s face when Se-chan did let him go…=*(

    A part of me really wanted In-jae and Se-chan to wave their magic wands and resolve everything for Jung-ho and have him rush into the classroom at the end, but ultimately, it was a good choice for the writers to end it on a realistic, but hopeful note. I’d like to think that years later, Jung-ho would get the korean equivalent of a GED or something.

    I wish the drama had a few more episodes, so that we could have developed some of the earlier conflict about curriculum and having In-jae tweak her teaching style.

     (0)


  26. 26 anais

    Thank you, JB and GF, for the recaps. I really enjoyed the finale. It was the most satisfying finale I’ve seen in a while.

     (0)


  27. 27 icecream

    The moment when Young Woo received the apology was a touching moment. It showed a reconcillation between the bully and the victim

     (0)


    • 27.1 TS

      I did like that part. I also liked how NS was secondhand embarrassed, because I was squirming!

       (0)


    • 27.2 dbfan

      It was just one of things that most viewers probably brushed over, because of other overly intense storyline, but I for one was truly touched by that scene.

       (0)


    • 27.3 asianromance

      I loved that scene too! A lot of dramas tend to forget what happened in the early episodes by the time they got to the end, I’m glad the writer went back and had Ji Hoon apologize. I didn’t even think of it and sort of forgot about that part. Ji Hoon was more conscientious than I was.

       (0)


      • 27.3.1 Carmensitta

        This scene was handled well, but I wish the writer did better when InJae surprised them in the middle of the argument. A bit of Ji Hoon realising he stepped back a bit too much in his old bully ways would’ve been nice. And they definitely had time for that, there were way too many draggy scenes in this episode.

         (0)


    • 27.4 icecream

      It was a good closure for Ji Hoon. I will imagine that he will be a sincere adult and that he will not be as impulsive as he was. I really root for him. His repentance was very genuine.

       (0)


    • 27.5 selina

      beautiful scene that had me grinning and so proud of the growth in Ji-hoon.

       (0)


  28. 28 Mic

    I’m so glad the ending wasn’t picture-perfect, leaving it up to the viewer’s imagination. All my favorite dramas seem to end that way. Somehow I feel like it gives more closure.

    I do wish this drama had one, clear-cut plot that ran through the entire show, though. The Nam-soon/Heung-soo friendship was mended quite quickly, tbh. It just didn’t feel like they had an overarching plot.

    Love the characters and show, overall, though. Nam-soon and Heung-soo’s bromance is totally one for the books. :)

     (0)


  29. 29 Byul

    Thank you so much javabeans and girlfriday, for all your hard work. My, what a ride this drama was. I personally thought that the ending was one of the best I’ve seen, simply because it suited the tone of the drama but also was hopeful. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t spend the next hour imaginiing how the entire class will grow up and all my otps will have beautiful babies together, of course, but I really truly loved this drama, all through the gut wrenching, heart breaking, but also happy path it took us on. School 2013, you will be remembered:)

     (0)


  30. 30 lizzzieq

    This articulates everything I loved about the ending and series. Thanks for the recap! I don’t think dramabeans will post on the special tmr? Anyways it’s been a wonderful ride.

    Just some random points since everyone’s already sharing my thoughts:

    -I think I heard Namsoon slip into kyeonggido (?) accent when with Heungsoo in his room. That was a perfect touch. And the “hyung” – NS is such a baby sometimes

    -How can anyone have such a permanent b*tch face like Eunhye? should i congratulate the actress for her portrayal? She’s a pretty girl but i feel like my brain would hang if i ever saw her smile

    -speaking of actresses, is gye na ri a rookie? I love what she’s done with the character throughout, she feels a 100% real. Plus she’s got the most beautiful eyes and the clearest skin i’ve ever seen, even among koreans.

     (0)


    • 30.1 asianromance

      Gye Na-Ri was definitely impressive and her eyes really stand out to me as not being the usual rounded eyes we get from kdrama actresses. They’ve some slant to them and look beautiful.

       (0)


      • 30.1.1 TS

        Oh I thought Gye Na Ri was so pretty too! I would’ve liked to have seen her apologize to Heung Soo for getting him into trouble. It was too much that he got publicly shamed because of her losing it.

         (0)


        • 30.1.1.1 yumi

          She didn’t get Heung-Soo in trouble, his past did.

           (0)


      • 30.1.2 JoAnne

        Yes, I found myself watching that actress a lot even in the beginning when she didn’t have so much to do – and I loved the vulnerability and lack of confidence she displayed. I found her very believable but somehow quite young and naive in a way that the other kids really weren’t, you know? And she is truly lovely to look at, I agree with that too!

         (0)


    • 30.2 pogo

      I remember reading that someone in School 2013 was cast via some kind of contest/public audition, and I really do think it’s Na Ri!

       (0)


  31. 31 fdyane

    TT_TT it has ended…really luv the bromance in this drama..the sleepover!!! i wouldnt say i like the ending, but i guess they r just keeping it real.. thanks for da wonderful recap guys!

     (0)


  32. 32 CL

    Wow. This ending really spun me. I’m just sad that this series has ended, but I loved the ending and how they did the whole arc with Jung-ho. The charm of School 2013 is that it’s truthful and not like an overt script. I’m even happy that there’s no conclusion on the boy/girl romance!:)) I am sooo going to miss them all!!

     (0)


  33. 33 h311ybean

    Thank you for recapping this series! I read this post and went back to look at the screencaps of Nam-soon and Heung-soo being all parental-like :D I love the resolution of their + the bully trio’s storyline (and do appreciate the open-endedness of Jung-ho’s particular story).

    I have to say the focus was skewed in favor of the male students, but there’s only so much you can do in 16 episodes, and the show did spend some time on the friendship between Ha-kyung and Kang-joo.

     (0)


    • 33.1 yumi

      I keep hoping in five years the trio will be running a little store together and it won’t matter that Jung-Oh didn’t finish high school.

      Does Korea have an equivalent of the GED?

       (0)


      • 33.1.1 h311ybean

        I don’t know about the GED, and it’s also possible that Jung-ho repeated a year or something, so he might have graduated, even if not with his friends.

        AAANYWAY – OMG I can just imagine them running a store near the school, and Jung-ho being the one to actually keep the young whippersnappers in line! :D

         (0)


        • 33.1.1.1 JoAnne

          YES. School 2033 – The Ahjussi Season. There’s a shop where all the kids hang out, and the 3 musketeer proprietors dispense advice, tough love, and the occasional free meal.

          Now. How do we fit our other loves into this scenario?

           (0)


          • 33.1.1.1.1 yumi

            This would be perfect,but only if we didn’t have to wait until 2033 for it to happen.

             (0)


  34. 34 Fidelity

    The last scene between Jungho and Sechan was such a heart-breaker: Jungho coming to face the brunt of his reality, and Sechan letting down any guard he ever had and literally pleading with Jungho to come to school, the one place where he can have the illusion of keeping him safe. I love how Sechan kept trying to hold onto him just a little longer – first offering money, then asking him to at least have a meal before going.

    Then, with Jungho’s promise to him that he’ll live honestly – the scene really ended up defining a perfect bittersweet tone.

     (0)


  35. 35 sajatokki

    MY HEART. I never cried this much over any drama, over any episode. It’s a perfect series all throughout, at least for me.
    I was studying last night and when it hit 9:55pm KST, I held on to my father’s watch til 10:55pm. Then I cried, knowing that School 2013 is over although I haven’t seen the finale yet. I slept at 6:00am and I forced myself to wake up at 10am, anticipating to watch the subs online. I swear I was dreaming of Jung Ho the whole time.

    My thoughts on the finale:
    I started tearing up when Teacher Kang told about how he held on to Yoojin, saying “Just believe in me.” Made even more heartbreaking because he let go of her hand just once, and that one time cost her life. I know he’s not fully at fault but I could just relate how burdened he must have felt since then.

    I thought one episode wouldn’t be enough to cover everything, particularly Teacher Kang’s story but as it turns out, this show did with the bonus of Jung Ho’s story. Their endings felt complete despite being open-ended. I had hoped Jung Ho would graduate with his friends but then I couldn’t point out anything to counter his logic because it’s just.. true. These teachers can’t hold onto him for life; he has to do it on his own. But even when he has to quit after all the struggles he had gone through, I say, school has already taught him one very important lesson: there’s always hope. If it was the old Jung Ho, he would have joined some gang, thinking that people wouldn’t accept him because of his past. But he learned so much from his teachers and friends. Who would have thought Jung Ho would ask for forgiveness and be sincere about it? When he said “Don’t worry too much, I will live honestly” I was completely satisfied. Jung Ho may not finish high school but we know he’s out there somewhere, trying his best sincerely.

    Everything I wanted to say about Teacher Kang has already been said xD

    I thought I would so badly want School 2014 but not anymore. I would take it any time of the day, but I’m really happy with this ending.
    It was a fun ride, School 2013. I will never forget all the warm and fuzzy feels.

     (0)


  36. 36 dbfan

    *wail* NOOOOO It took me months to find a true heartfelt drama and now it’s over. T.T Gahh what a bittersweet ending. I usually like very clear happy endings, but for this drama, the ending does make a lot of sense. Show, Namsoon, Heungsoo, Jungho, gahh everyone, I’m gonna miss you. I’m so happy that I get to revise my top dramas, coz man it’s been a while since I really liked a drama, that’s not a romcom straight-out dating drama. I could seriously go on and on about my love for this show, but as they say, good things must come to an end. I already know that this drama will be unforgettable for me. It’s so awesome!!!!

    Thank you so much for your wonderful recaps. I am and forever will be a dbfan ;)

     (0)


  37. 37 owl

    sob moment when Jung Ho stood before the violence committeee and apologized for doing wrong. There he was, beat up by a parent no less, and the adults in the room weren’t moved with compassion to say something?

     (0)


    • 37.1 asianromance

      I’m not sure if they knew he was beat up by his dad. They probably thought he got into a gang fight.

       (0)


      • 37.1.1 bjharm

        considering the degree of family violance shown in K-drama I do not think they even noticed.

         (0)


  38. 38 crazedlu

    I loved this ending. That nobody really got a happily ever after, just a hint of hope.

    When I was student teaching last year, around this time, I encountered literally all of these students. Eyerolling girls, tough guys, bullies, victims, dedicated students, slackers, everything. And it’s hard.

    I really do feel like a mix of Injae and Sechan is such a great balance; to care about students academically and personally. They had their issues, but together, they were good. Not just good, effective. I have a much more thorough explanation of my love for Injae-Sechan, but this is all I’ll say here. Ha.

    I loved Namsoon and Heungsoo’s relationship. Great development on the production’s part. I could go on and on about how touching their story and friendship was. I loved it. Jungho, Jihoon, Yikyung was so good too. Not gonna lie though, I wanted a little more romance. Ha. But the little bit they threw into the show was perfect. And I gotta say, I loved the sisterhood too. Hakyung-Kangjoo, ftw! Hee.

    I’ve been holding off on my licensure tests since last spring, with other obligations to tend to, but this show made me miss everything that comes with teaching adolescents. And I can’t wait to get back into a classroom. Just gotta pass those tests next week. Ha.

    I’m no extreme idealist when it comes to teaching — I know happily ever afters are impossible for all students — I just know you can’t make it without hope.

    I’m glad School 2013 ended it there.

     (0)


  39. 39 dbfan

    ha, i don’t think i’ve ever done a double post, but I must say, what happened to Minki? I never even saw this in this finale? Yaaa, a part of me really wanted to see Jungho come back, coz I mean he survived first and second year. Gaah so torn with the ending. OMG! I can’t believe I forgot about the bromance. “It was compelling as any love story” <-true Dat!
    Ok well the blabber must stop blabbering and get back to REAL life. *sigh* real life sucks :/

     (0)


  40. 40 owl

    oops, pressed enter before I was finished abov.

    Anyhoot, :) smile moments – lip smacking pillow fight BROMANCE, and the 5 guy sleepover – awww, love!

    Jung Ho – his comment that whether he makes money now or later -it doesn’t matter – that was hard to hear because it rang true for him. So heartwrenching that he told Se Chan he wouldn’t live badly, so don’t worry. The classroom door is still open . . .

    I vote for season 2 of School 2013!

     (0)


  41. 41 dany

    Thank you, girls, for recapping and commenting this great drama.

     (0)


  42. 42 nodame

    what???? nuuuuuuuuuuuuu……i will miss Namsoon n Heungsoo n the girls too. so sad. i want to see their faces again. i hate monday.

     (0)


  43. 43 swol

    thanks for the recap!

     (0)


  44. 44 Ace

    Great show. It started slow that’s why I put off watching this when it started. Then when I did, I wasn’t really concentrating on the show and kept doing other stuff. But then the bromance came on and I was hooked! I loved a lot of things in this show including the No Romance. I didn’t think I’d hate anyone more in a kdrama, but the stage mothers really infuriated me. The mean girls were also bad but it was kind of interesting since the girls-with-attitudes in this drama were also the smart ones. But I kind of get why they’re like that since they did kind of give a logical reason for their behaviors. Haha.

    Anyway, thank you for the wonderful recaps. Nam-soon & Heung-soo for this year’s BEST COUPLE!!!

     (0)


  45. 45 yumi

    Thank you GirlFriday and JavaBeans for the recap and comments.

    I read the Jung-Oh’s ending, especially as it relates to Se-chan, a little differently than most of the comments I have read on the site.

    I too wanted him to graduate, but as much as I wanted things to be different I think the ending of Jung-Oh’s story was not only more realistic but also richer.

    I don’t see is ending as a failure. [Maybe a failure of the system] It wasn’t a failure for Jung-Oh or Se Chan or In-Jae.

    I think in an earlier episode one of the teachers [it might have been UhmForce] said that school was not just about the academics but also about the moral and the social.

    In the end, even though Jung-Oh had to delay/put aside/or abandon his academics, he eventually got the the moral/social aspect of school. Eun-Kye and Ka-Hyung mother never did and that made them more of a failure as human beings than Jung-Oh. [I imagine that will be an unpopular interpretation]

    Jung-Oh began to value himself after witnessing how much others were willing to go out on a limb for him. Over and over Yi-kyung and Ji-hoon were willing to give of themselves to bring him back from the brink. Heung-Soo and Nam-Soon were willing to put in time on this behalf, and so too were Se-Chan and In-jae, even when it/he seemed like a hopeless cause.

    When Se-Chan let go of Jung-Oh for the last time, Jung-Oh seemed surprised, a little scared, and slightly devastated. Because when this teachers let go of him he would truly be without a guide-line in the world.

    However, I think when he turned back to say he would not be living his life doing bad things, he was acknowledging his connection with Se-Chan and In-Jae. He was saying he had learned he was valuable, so he would not throw himself away haphazardly. It also confirmed that the seeming progress he had made that enable him to apologize was not a fluke, not was it a gambit–but it was a true recognition of his infraction and an apology.

    I think Se-Chan recognized the effect he and In-Chan had on Jung-Oh, so even if Jung-Oh did not come of as an academic success, they had helped him aspire to live as a good human being. So Jung-Oh could go down into the success column.

    My reading is that although Se-Chan had lost a delinquent literally, ultimately Se-Chan had manage to save a delinquent from throwing away his life figuratively. Therefore he began to recognize partial victories as valuable even when your preference is to fully rescue and transform lives.

     (0)


    • 45.1 Fangy

      Well said!

       (0)


    • 45.2 Laurita

      While I wished for Jung – Oh to get private lessons from the teachers at least, I also don’t see the ending as failure. Ad you said it really well. :)

       (0)


    • 45.3 yumi

      Posting when I should have been in bed resulted in so many typos!

      Many “this” should have been “his.”

      Who is in-Chan? lol!

      “I think Se-Chan recognized the effect he and In-JAE had on Jung-Oh”

       (0)


  46. 46 DAEBAK!

    School 2013 has been a wonderfully heartwarming drama for me ^^ Thank you for all recaps!

     (0)


  47. 47 Laeah

    Honestly I’m so disappointed with Jung Ho’s ending. It was like the writer didn’t know how to end it. It was touching sure, but it was like all of a sudden the stupid new twist was added just for kicks and because the writer didn’t know what else to put or was lazy.

     (0)


    • 47.1 ina

      The part that I remember the most from drama is when Jung Ho promised to live honestly. The second part of the drama that I regretted the most is when his chair remain empty at the end. Do I want to change the ending? Nope..since these two scenes make me remember “lessons” from class 2-2

       (0)


    • 47.2 Annie

      Yeah, letting a kid stay with his abusive father. And be in charge of the family? That’s even worse.

       (0)


    • 47.3 Jeannette

      I thought it was realistic. I liked how they managed his storyline, especially the end.

       (0)


    • 47.4 Dita

      Well, if I must choose the best scene from this drama, I’ll choose the moment Jung Ho said, “don’t worry too much, I won’t live doing bad things.”
      It was simple, but has deep meaning for me.
      Gah! whenever I call that scene, I can’t hold my tears.
      Jung ho ya~~ you’ve matured!!!

       (0)


  48. 48 pigtookie

    Yes, the conflicts are not too exaggerated, they are existing problems in everyday life that ARE difficult. And I’m all for the show giving up romantic plots (but keep their vague hints of romance that could develop) to spend more time on showing gradual progression on these relationships and personal struggles. Kudos to the actors for Jung Ho and Se Chan, for taking on characters with hated qualities but not making them flat but rather as real, conflicted people. They were truly the memorable characters of this episode, as the ones with the farthest journey in the scope of this drama.
    I was very confused when Jung Ho didn’t show up by the end, watching the progress bar approaching the end of the video, but that was without subs. And after reading recaps, I accept this ending too. It feels slightly incomplete, but I think that is more because I haven’t watched the ending in full subs yet.

     (0)


  49. 49 Fanboi

    I promised myself to watch the ep before I read the recap. BUT I JUST CAN’T RESIST. LOL.

    This show could’ve really benefited an extension. I think there was more to tell. A little love pepper (ahem.. Se-Chan and In-jae) would have spiced up the story. But overall this is one fine drama. It wouldn’t have reached my all time faves though, esp that I feel like there’s a gaping hole in the end. What of Jung Ho? What of the mean girls? and why the hell didn’t Nam-Soon have a clear direction/dream in life? When I watch this coming of age dramas, I at least expect that at the end of the day there will be something that will change with the hero. Coz u know he started dreamless and regretful/sorry but u know he ended dreamless but at least forgiven.
    I felt like Nam-Soon was like Hwon (Moon-Sun) chasing over his first love and when his Wol(Heung Soo) came back to him all the problems afterwards are inconsequential. I get that we’re trying to emulate reality here, but at the end of the day didn’t we want a little fiction to comfort us?

    Right now, I feel like it is a nice set up for a season 2, hopefully there will be one.. I will be starting my prayers to the dramagods right away.

     (0)


    • 49.1 haru

      I think if you read the translation of School 2013 novel you’ll kind of get your answer about NamSoon’s dreams… there one point where he’s still without HeungSoo in the beggining of the drama, where he have to answer what are his dreams, and NamSoon realize he didnt have one. Because, before, his dream was to spend his life with HeungSoo, maybe open a ramyun shop together. And then when he lost HeungSoo his dreams disappeared with him… I guess now that he have HeungSoo again, his dream is fullfilled… because HeungSoo was his dream :)
      But any way I still want season II !!

       (0)


  50. 50 Fangy

    After finished watching the final episode, it didn’t dawn onto me that that’s the end of School 2013 until it showed preview of School 2013 special where the cast cried and hugged each other. That’s the end huh. Yes, I’m still grapping with the fact that I dunno what’s going to happen to these kids. Yes, I am aware that they are fictional.

    Thinking back, I tried to come out with my favourite scene or story but I can’t… cos I like them all.

    I like that the friendship theme played the central role in this drama. The strength of their friendships (Namsoon-Heungsoo, the trio ex-bully, Hakyung-Kangjoo, Nari-Hyesun) are tested throughout the drama. Forgiveness and standing by your friends. I’m happy to be assured that these kids will be alright with their friends by their side. Maybe this is because that is what I remembered most and treasured most in my adoloscent years. My friends and the things we did together. :)

    I like how each issue/conflict is resolved. Not forceful and with a hint of realism. The solution may not be the best, but it offers hope.

    Class of 2-2….. Hwaiting!

     (0)


    • 50.1 Fangy

      And a big thank you to Javabean and GirlFriday! And fellow DBeans!

      You and your comments have made watching this drama more complete!

      (Time to catch up with my friends in real life!)

       (0)


      • 50.1.1 Ivy

        I feel the same way :D Hehe, yeah, I’ve been living and breathing this show for ages… but can real life live up to this?? This show made me cry more and be more touched than I have for ages…

         (0)


Add a Comment

Name (required)

Mail (will not be published)

Website

 characters available. Comments will be truncated at the word limit.