Who Are You—School 2015: Episode 15
As the show nears its end, our students and teachers gain perspective on their relationships facilitated through the constant of school. We see children face their parents, friends confronting friends, and rivals supporting each other — all with maturity and compassion. While 18 is an age of rebellion, ambiguity, and urgency, these youths have the capacity to find value, friendship, and wisdom even in a school occasionally inundated with meaningless hierarchy and incompetency.
EPISODE 15 RECAP
Looking on with disapproval, Yi-an watches Tae-gwang planting a quick peck on Eun-bi’s cheek. Mortified by his instinctual kiss, Tae-gwang cringes and asks Eun-bi to hit him or go home. He can’t look at her properly, so she takes it as her cue to head home.
After the awkwardest parting ever, Tae-gwang walks away with a spring in his step. Broody Yi-an watches the giddy boy walk away, taking another look at the medal Eun-bi gifted him.
At school the next morning, Yi-an brings Tae-gwang to the roof to admit his feelings for Eun-bi. He doesn’t hate her; in fact, he likes her. Tae-gwang responds that he’s liked Eun-bi from the beginning, but Yi-an doesn’t care who was first. He’s starting now. Last minute love triangle?
Even with Director Gong taking full responsibility for Soo-in’s death, Teacher Kim insists on his resignation. He doesn’t feel confident in teaching his students. The vice principal respects his decision, and Min-joon overhears this information as he drops by the office.
The new English teacher has arrived (cameo by Sam Hammington), and students are entertained by his thorough understanding of Korean and slang. His comic relief juxtaposes the tension between Tae-gwang and Yi-an, both sitting with their arms crossed.
Eun-byul interrupts Tae-gwang’s nap to confirm her suspicions about his interest in Eun-bi. Seeing that he went all the way to Tongyeong, she knows that he likes Eun-bi. But does she like him back?
Eun-bi works at Mom’s shop as she waits to transfer schools. She asks Mom to send her to tutoring to make up for missed time in class, and Mom gladly agrees. As Mom greets a customer, Eun-bi picks up a call from Tae-gwang.
Tae-gwang waits nervously for Eun-bi, his legs trembling. She sits down next to him with an awkward buffer space. He starts to apologize about yesterday, but she stops him. Her mind is racing, so she doesn’t know what to tell him. Tae-gwang smiles at her lack of response — or her lack of rejection — and quickly catches up to Eun-bi, teasing her for blushing. How cute.
During lunch, So-young sit next to Ki-tae and Hae-na. They throw out backhanded compliments about her confidence and shameless attitude. Ki-tae even goes to call her a criminal. So-young merely glares at the group and chokes down her food.
So-young throws up in the bathroom from indigestion, and she runs into Eun-byul. She threatens Eun-byul with more nonsense about revealing the truth about the twins, as if it were still relevant. Eun-byul responds by advising So-young to take a look at herself in the mirror and reflect. “Can you hide your guilt by acting aggressive? I know that feeling of wanting to erase the past and run away from everything.”
Eun-byul’s pointed comment seems to hit home, and So-young stares at herself, brimming with rage. She throws something at the mirror and looks angrily at her broken reflection.
So-young nervously sits with her father and starts to bring up Eun-byul. He stops her and quotes Shakespeare (really?) to make his point: “Weeds spread because the gentle wind. Improper care will result in dense weeds. If you don’t want to get stepped on, there’s only one alternative. Step on them first.”
She shakes her head and asks to transfer, but her father won’t risk his political nomination. He’s already had enough trouble because of her, so she can either step on others or live quietly. She won’t have her way this time.
Yi-an finds Eun-bi on her morning bike ride and asks for her phone. He reminds her that they agreed to be comfortable with each other, and to do that, he needs her number. As he returns her phone, he sees a message from Tae-gwang asking about her search for tutoring academies. Yi-an offers to help her, but she quickly declines, which tells Yi-an that she’s going with Tae-gwang.
Yi-an shrugs it off, saying that he briefly considered skipping practice to accompany her. He adds that Eun-bi needs to keep her promise until he wins his gold medal, which confuses her. What promise?
In class, Min-joon announces Teacher Kim’s leave. Ki-tae suspects that it’s because of Soo-in’s death, and this catches Tae-gwang’s attention. Min-joon suggests that they do something. They can’t just let Teacher Kim leave, right?
Tae-gwang meets with Teacher Kim on the roof and confronts him about his leave. Teacher Kim tells the story about when he decided to become a teacher. In his second year of high school, his homeroom teacher was the kind of person who didn’t keep the expected distance between himself and his students. He struggled overnight in the countryside searching for a student who ran away from home. That teacher was Tae-gwang’s father.
Teacher Kim visited Director Gong at the police station and tells Tae-gwang that his father worries about him. He admits that he doesn’t know if he’s a good teacher, let alone a good person. So he’s taking time off to reflect. Tae-gwang understands but still complains: what about him? Teacher Kim headlocks him and tells him to call whenever.
A rude man accuses Yi-an’s father of causing the dent in his car, and though Dad tries to talk it out, things start to get rough. Yi-an interferes, and as Dad tries to hold Yi-an back from fighting, he gets hit. Beyond all good judgment, Yi-an’s strong sense of loyalty prompts him to throw some punches.
Tae-gwang attempts to his father at the police station, but just as he reaches the cells, he stops. He can’t get himself to go further, and he walks back out.
Dad tries to calm Yi-an’s temper, which continues to be provoked by the rude man. They try to come to a mutual agreement, and Dad uses his extreme patience to get through.
Yi-an walks outside and sees Tae-gwang talking to Detective Park. Tae-gwang asks the detective to take care of his father, and as all the pieces come together, Yi-an realizes that Director Gong is Tae-gwang’s father.
As Yi-an walks out with his father, their paths cross with Tae-gwang. Dad recognizes the school uniform and confirms with Yi-an that Tae-gwang is a friend. Unaware of the rivalry, Dad suggests that Tae-gwang join them to eat and drags the two reluctant boys out for food.
So-young goes to the store to get her cracked phone replaced. The salesperson asks if she needs her data backed up, and she nods. She lists the photos and the videos… then she’s suddenly reminded of something on her phone and asks that every single thing be backed up.
Dad thanks Yi-an for stepping up for him, even though he’s done very little for his on. He reminds Yi-an to take care of his body before jumping in a fight, but Yi-an shakes his head. He’d do the same thing if this happened again. Tae-gwang watches their interaction with a deep longing in his eyes.
Turning to Tae-gwang, Dad asks why he was at the police station. Did he cause trouble? Tae-gwang says that’s usually the case, but this time… He doesn’t finish his sentence and continues to eat.
As they part ways, Yi-an talks with Tae-gwang separately. He asks Tae-gwang if he’s okay, to which Tae-gwang looks back in confusion. Yi-an reminds him that he’s just started, and he doesn’t want his competition to weaken so fast. He tells him to keep his spirits up and leaves with Dad.
At home, Tae-gwang changes his father’s contact name from “Legal Guardian” to “Father.” He says it out loud, with a change of heart.
Mom gives Eun-bi the information for her new school, which concludes her Sekang High School memories on a bittersweet note. Eun-bi talks to her sister in bed and requests that she have one more day at Sekang to apologize to everyone.
Eun-byul agrees to switch out for a day and then apologizes for taking out the bear in the room without her permission. Eun-bi says that it was from Yi-an, before he knew she was Eun-bi. Eun-byul nods, saying that if he knew it was Eun-byul, he would have never bought the furry bear.
So-young goes through her phone’s new data, looking specifically for a video. She seethes that Eun-bi and Eun-byul have yet to find peace. She’s just making this harder on herself.
A girl runs into class with the latest gossip: Director Gong’s son goes to their school. Tae-gwang and Yi-an overhear the conversation as Ki-tae speculates Director Gong’s son as Gong Tae-gwang. They laugh off that possibility, and another girl insults Director Gong’s two-faced nature.
Tae-gwang gets up, and Yi-an quickly follows to ask where he’s going. He nonchalantly answers that he’s going to the bathroom and heads out. Ki-tae and his posse breathe a sigh of relief when Tae-gwang walks out without any confrontation.
In the facility, Director Gong overhears a fellow inmate bragging about a letter from his son, who’s ranked at the top of his class. He thinks back to Tae-gwang’s dilemma about revealing the evidence, regretful of his assumptions about his son.
Eun-byul reads a book, and Yi-an sits by her. He reminds her of their younger days, when they would do the same thing. Eun-byul would read, and Yi-an would bother her while waiting. They reminisce over old times, and Yi-an echoes Eun-byul’s words: “We’ve outgrown their younger days, and a lot has changed.” He hesitates to tell Eun-byul something and decides against it. He ruffles her hair and says he’s headed to practice.
At Soo-in’s grave, Eun-byul apologizes and asks if she can visit her occasionally, since they’re friends. Teacher Kim and Min-young watch from afar. She asks him what he’ll do after leaving his teaching position, and he responds that he’ll work on becoming a person worthy of being a respectable teacher before returning.
Teacher Kim addresses his class about his departure. He first apologizes and gives them a nugget of advice. “The times you are experiencing now are at times lonely, difficult, and uncertain. But it’s all okay because you all are still 18.” He ends the class there and receives one last parting bow from his students.
When Teacher Kim gets to his car, he stops in his tracks. He sees his windshield covered with notes from his students thanking him for instilling wisdom and encouraging them. His students yell out of the window, wishing him the best and begging him to come back. He can’t help but spill some tears of gratitude as he waves back at his students one last time.
Yi-an finally gives Eun-byul his gold medal as promised in their youth, and Eun-byul commends him for remembering after all these years. He tells her that he’s here to break off his 10-year-long one-sided love for Eun-byul. She confesses that she’s been confused about their friendship as well, and Yi-an nods that he knew. It’s one of the reasons why he’s waited so long.
He then adds that no matter how much you think about it, your heart already knows. Eun-byul admits that she may look back and regret this in retrospect. She may belatedly realize that she liked Yi-an, especially without him by her side after 10 years with each other. But she’ll deal with the consequences of her decision. This is his decision, his feelings.
Yi-an reminds her that they’re not breaking up forever, he’s just breaking off his one-sided love. Of course they’ll still see each other. Eun-byul agrees and jokingly asks why she would cut ties with a friend who’s willing to work hard for her. They poke and tease, both relieved that their friendship remains intact.
Tae-gwang dresses up to visit his father and adds the one missing element to his outfit: the tie gifted by his mother. Father and son exchange smiles when they see each other, and Tae-gwang tries to lift the mood by reporting his good behavior at school. Dad nods and apologizes for excessively intervening when Tae-gwang would have done fine if left alone.
Dad compliments Tae-gwang’s tie, and Tae-gwang tells him that it’s from Mom. Tae-gwang admits that the house without Dad feels empty and that he doesn’t feel embarrassed by him. Dad elaborates on his apology, “I used to think that I had a lot to protect. But in the end, I only needed to protect one thing. That was you, Tae-gwang.”
The visiting time runs out, and Tae-gwang wonders where all the time went. He promises Dad that he’ll visit again and calls him “Father.” On the car ride home, Tae-gwang cries thinking back to Dad’s words.
Yi-an sees Eun-bi on the bus and jumps on to accompany her. Their friendly rapport is back, and Yi-an seems adamant about spending more time with Eun-bi. On their walk home, Eun-bi tells Yi-an that she’ll be going to school one last time as Eun-byul tomorrow to say goodbye. She says that under her sister’s name she’s gained Mom, a teacher, and loving friends so effortlessly. She even gained Yi-an’s admiration as Eun-byul.
Looking around, Yi-an asks if Eun-bi remembers where they are. She nods, since they’ve visited this park quite often. But Yi-an clarifies that it’s the first time he’s here with Lee Eun-bi. He says that there will be many firsts with Eun-bi to come and asks that she stay. Or he could go to her. Yi-an walks towards her and hugs her.
Eun-bi arrives on her last day at Sekang, and Tae-gwang does a double take. To make sure that it’s Eun-bi, he pokes her forehead and quickly shields himself. When he doesn’t get a smack, he happily greets Eun-bi. Ha, is that how you distinguish the two?
So-young watches their interaction from afar, and having confirmed Eun-bi’s identity, she calls Eun-byul. She tempts Eun-byul with a “fun” video from Tongyeong and claims to have an event planned to reveal it today. Eun-byul immediately rushes out to grab a cab to school.
Eun-bi steps up to the podium and asks for the class’s attention. She nervously begins, and So-young watches intently, waiting for Eun-byul’s appearance. “The truth is…”
Eun-byul bursts into the classroom, and all eyes shift from one twin to the other. They’ve been played. So-young steps up to the front and announces to the class that she was right. Lee Eun-bi from Tongyeong is alive.
I’m completely done with So-young. She’s our one source of pure evil and lacks complexity to convince me that she has a chance at redemption. No one cares for her antics anymore, and she’s come to the point of sad irrelevance. Anything you do will mean nothing. Do you hear me? No one cares! The only reason I want her to continue on with her mad behavior is so that Eun-bi can get a chance to crush her. It was satisfying to see Eun-byul look into So-young’s soul and call her out, but again, I wish Eun-bi would do something. I know Eun-byul has the personality and experience to deal with So-young, and maybe she is the best person for the job. But if this series ends without proper closure with Eun-bi and her notorious bully, I will be sorely disappointed.
As for our other source of evil, Director Gong, I’ll just let him pass. I do agree that the turnaround was way too fast to be convincing and that Director Gong’s redemption came too late to be believable. I’ll take Teacher Kim’s word for it, but I actually don’t believe that Director Gong could have been that dedicated teacher he described in the past. Maybe a few flashbacks or more cracks in his character may have convinced me, but alas, all we got was a stoic Director Gong who prioritized his school’s prestige over all. I’m just letting that slide for the sake of Tae-gwang’s solace. After a lifetime’s worth of misunderstanding and resentment, Tae-gwang deserves some parental love and support. Although I’d like to say that Eun-bi’s support and possible growing affection may make up for it, there’s nothing like sincere apology and acknowledging your wrongs to make amends.
I was such a fan of Yi-an’s character in the beginning, and I was so hopeful for his performance. But the character just fell flat. It seemed like Tae-gwang’s character grew and developed at the expense of Yi-an’s arc. He finally decides to speak in today’s episode, and while he makes his position pretty clear, I still feel like I’m in the dark about his reversal. Like Director Gong’s reversal, I think it came too late in the game for it to be really believable.
I did think that Yi-an’s candid conversation with Eun-byul was poignant and mature. Eun-byul is a winning character, and I was blown away by how she handled Yi-an’s confession about his expired feelings for her. She’s self-aware and knows she’s responsible for her own decision to retreat from a romantic relationship with Yi-an. Every decision will have its consequences, and she’s aware (not necessarily prepared, but aware) of her responsibilities. Now, why can’t ever damsel in distress have this awareness? I would totally watch a drama with Eun-byul as the main character, or better yet, I would watch Eun-byul and Yi-an be friends forever and then suddenly realize one day that they’re actually the ones for each other. Or maybe if they remain BFFs for 17 more years they’ll be stars of another drama.
I’m left longing for more Teacher Kim. His run was too short and condensed in the latter third of this drama, and I can only imagine how much better the series would have been with more of his wisdom and struggles. I like how he brings it full circle by reminding the students that they’re only 18. Their struggles are real, but with some perspective, they need not wallow in their current misery. The lessons Teacher Kim taught Eun-byul and Min-joon were particularly impactful, and you can see these lessons manifested in the student’s decisions. It’s not embarrassing to make mistakes, but it’s wrong not to acknowledge your mistakes. It’s better to take the right way than the easier way. It’s rewarding to see the students really understand the meaning behind his advice and thank him for his guidance. It’s a shining moment in this series. I only wish there were more opportunities for Teacher Kim to shine because when he does, he shines bright like a diamond.
Heading into the finale, I find this School installment lackluster in comparison to its previous ones. If we’re going to compare this to its immediate predecessor, there was significantly less teacher involvement, teen angst, and bromance. It’s difficult to live up to previous installments, especially with the expectations that come as baggage — it’s just the nature of this series. The show did have flaws in its swift acknowledgement of details (like Tae-gwang’s mother gifting the tie: too late and too fast to have it register) and belated plot developments; however, as an individual drama, the twin set-up was compelling, and the budding relationships were heartwarming to watch. Kim So-hyun delivered convincing performances as both Eun-bi and Eun-byul, having a clear understanding of both characters. For a show that’s always one step behind where it should be, I hope that the finale will catch us up and leave us with uplifted spirits amidst the darkness of high school.
- Who Are You–School 2015: Episode 14
- Who Are You–School 2015: Episode 13
- Who Are You–School 2015: Episode 12
- Who Are You–School 2015: Episode 11
- Who Are You–School 2015: Episode 10
- Who Are You–School 2015: Episode 9
- Who Are You–School 2015: Episode 8
- Who Are You–School 2015: Episode 7
- Who Are You–School 2015: Episode 6
- Who Are You–School 2015: Episode 5
- Who Are You–School 2015: Episode 4
- Who Are You–School 2015: Episode 3
- Who Are You–School 2015: Episode 2
- Who Are You–School 2015: Episode 1