School 2017: Episode 7
Major victories are achieved this hour as X embraces his identity as a hero for justice instead of a simple prankster—but it’d be foolish to forget that good heroes always have more enemies to take down. Should I be thankful that our hero has friends to count on, or does it just mean the danger is more spread out?
EPISODE 7 RECAP
As the students watch the leaked footage of Principal Yang assuring Tae-woon that the math competition is rigged in his favor, Eun-ho narrates in voiceover: “We all tell lies—sometimes to protect something, and sometimes to hide something.” Tae-woon shouts at the students to look away, and Eun-ho continues: “That must be why he lied, too.”
After class, the students glare at Tae-woon as he strolls past in the halls, whispering about his shamelessness. Though Tae-woon appears to take their hate in stride, Eun-ho follows him out in concern.
Once they’re safely outside, Eun-ho demands to know why he would turn himself in like that. Tae-woon shrugs, saying that he didn’t want to enter the math competition: “What, did you think I did it for the sake and well-being of the people or something?” Lol.
Eun-ho asks how he did it, and in flashback, we see Tae-woon sneaking into Principal Yang’s office at night to hide a video camera, dressed as X. Tae-woon had then visited the principal the next morning to drop off a gift from his father before deliberately bringing up the math competition. Principal Yang had promised him first place if he just memorized the answers—all captured on hidden camera.
Eun-ho praises his handiwork, though she’s still worried about how he’ll handle their infuriated classmates. He just tells her to worry about herself and walks away, though Eun-ho still looks nervous.
In the teachers’ office, Principal Yang demands that the teachers come up with ways to calm the students down before the school board gets involved. Teacher Gu suggests that the best course of action is to admit their wrongdoing, and Teacher Shim agrees, suggesting that the principal apologize to the students.
Principal Yang, however, refuses to debase himself like that. Before anyone can argue with him, Vice Principal Park barges in to announce that Director Hyun and the school board are on their way.
Principal Yang, Vice Principal Park, and Director Hyun sit before the school board to answer for the many complaints filed against their school. Director Hyun asks for a second chance, swearing to achieve good results this time, but the school board tells him that a school isn’t about results. That shuts him up pretty quickly.
After the meeting, Director Hyun and the principals summon Tae-woon, knowing that they must penalize him in order to appease the students. Tae-woon readily accepts the punishment, but notes that the students are pretty enraged. He suggests that in order to really satisfy them, someone on the faculty should be penalized as well.
Vice Principal Park immediately agrees, pretending to think hard about who should take responsibility. He notes that Director Hyun obviously can’t be penalized, but he himself is too unimportant for anyone to care. “So… who should take responsibility?” he wonders, staring straight at Principal Yang. LOL.
The students gather around a notice announcing that Tae-woon will be punished with a week of cleaning. Shocked that the school finally dared to punish Tae-woon, the students start to gossip when he walks into the crowd while making sarcastic comments about the spectacle. He totally comes off as a shameless jerk, and Eun-ho watches silently as the students murmur that X should punish him, too.
Meanwhile, the richer students text each other in a classroom, worried: If even Tae-woon was punished for using his connections with the principal, they’re sure to be X’s next target. They start to wonder if Dae-hwi might say anything about them using their connections, but Hee-chan assuages their worries, saying that Dae-hwi needs them too much to dare to report them.
Dissatisfied with his first answer, Eun-ho visits Tae-woon’s hideout with some lemonade to ask again why he turned himself in. Tae-woon flashes back to arguing with his father after Joong-ki’s death. He had demanded to know how a person’s life could be less important than his reputation, but his father had just shut him down.
Back in the present, Tae-woon admits that he’d initially started acting as X to stick it to the people who annoyed him, but lately, he’s starting to think that his actions could help certain people who need it. When Eun-ho asks who he means, he says, “People like a certain dimwit, and a really annoying guy.” Aww.
After class, Teacher Shim reminds the students that the math competition will be held after school. Once he leaves, the students start to complain about Tae-woon’s light punishment again. Eun-ho sighs that Tae-woon must have his reasons, though not loud enough for anyone to pay attention.
Eun-ho checks the view count on her webtoon, depressed to see that only one person read her post. (Lol, I wonder who it was?) Tae-woon tells her to be patient and wait a little longer, but Eun-ho can’t help but to feel discouraged.
He asks if she likes drawing that much, and Eun-ho immediately brightens, saying that she feels happiest when she draws. When Eun-ho asks if he has anything like that, Tae-woon flashes back to sitting with Joong-ki in a café, when he’d sketched a detailed design of a motorcycle as Joong-ki dictated all of the features he wanted.
Back in the present, Tae-woon smiles wistfully before telling Eun-ho that he did find a dream recently: “I… want to tease you so much.” Ha. Tae-woon asks if having dreams doesn’t make life exhausting, pointing out that she’s stressed about her webtoon view count and getting dark circles, while she nags him for being such a pessimist.
The students gather around another announcement, this time declaring Dae-hwi as the first place winner in the math competition. Yay! As the students congratulate him for his achievement, Tae-woon watches from behind before walking away without a word.
Tae-woon weeds the gardens as part of his week-long punishment. When he sees Dae-hwi walk by, Tae-woon calls out to him, asking for some thanks for his first-place win. He asks why Dae-hwi had to hit rock bottom for it though: “Is that the only method you could think of?”
It seems to strike a nerve in Dae-hwi, and he snaps that people like him have to do everything on his own instead of depending on their connections. He demands to know how Tae-woon got that master key, but Tae-woon points out that the more pressing question is whether he knows what Dae-hwi was doing with it.
Before Dae-hwi can retort, Eun-ho hurries in between them to break up the argument. She congratulates Dae-hwi for his competition win, and he says it’s thanks to her and promises to treat her to something delicious. Eun-ho happily agrees, and Tae-woon glares daggers at them, totally jealous.
Once Dae-hwi leaves, Tae-woon orders Eun-ho to help him weed the garden since she’s his sunbae in weeding. Hee. They bicker cutely, teasing each other.
As Tae-woon cools off at the sink, Eun-ho asks what the deal is between him and Dae-hwi. When he brushes off the question, she notes that it doesn’t really seem like they’re fighting: “It’s more like you’re asking for attention from each other because you’re both hurting.”
Tae-woon quiets, telling her that she doesn’t know anything, though he looks perturbed by her words.
Outside, Hee-chan runs into Dae-hwi and congratulates him on his win, noting that he can’t beat him when they fight fair and square. Hee-chan then offers to use his mother’s connections to score Dae-hwi some volunteer work at a hospital. Dae-hwi brightens up, ecstatic, until Hee-chan explains the catch: “Do you really have to come in first place in this year’s final exams?”
Realizing Hee-chan’s meaning, Dae-hwi suddenly recalls Tae-woon’s words about hitting rock bottom. Looking conflicted, Dae-hwi promises to think about it.
When they return to the classroom, a pair of classmates barge in with urgent news: X is in their class! Eun-ho freezes at their words, while Tae-woon puts his head on his desk for a nap.
Principal Yang argues with Teacher Shim in his office, noting that only the student evaluations in his class were exposed, which suggests that X is in his class. Teacher Shim insists that there’s no decisive evidence, and tells Principal Yang that his habit of making baseless accusations is hurting the students. He suggests that Principal Yang apologize to Eun-ho before storming out. The principal boils with anger at his disrespect before wondering… could Teacher Shim be X? LOL.
The class engages in a similar debate, accusing each other of being X. Eun-ho turns to look at Tae-woon, asleep at his desk—a gaze that doesn’t escape Sa-rang’s notice.
As they sit outside together, Sa-rang suggests to Eun-ho that X must be Dae-hwi after all, since Tae-woon was punished by X. When a nervous Eun-ho fails to agree, Sa-rang guesses that Eun-ho actually knows who X is.
Eun-ho brushes her off, however, noting that she doesn’t really have a reason to keep looking for X since her name was cleared. At that moment, Eun-ho spots Tae-woon passing by and runs off after him. Sa-rang pouts, noting that they’re always together lately.
At Tae-woon’s hideout, Eun-ho frets about him getting caught. He notes her concern with some amusement and says that she’ll surely be labeled an accomplice if they’re caught now.
Dae-hwi watches Eun-ho and Tae-woon walk together, bickering and laughing as usual. Recalling Eun-ho’s idea about filming Principal Yang doing bad things, he wonders if Eun-ho could actually be X, but then notes that she wouldn’t act so friendly with Tae-woon if she’d just turned him in.
Tae-woon brings Eun-ho home on his motorcycle, joking that her superhuman leg strength keeps breaking her bike chain. Just as they start wrestling each other in head locks, Eun-ho’s brother comes out, all suspicious of Tae-woon. Tae-woon is just as bristly in return, until he learns that this is Eun-ho’s brother.
Oppa orders Tae-woon off the motorcycle, noting that he seems pretty wealthy and fit, and he acts very serious like he’s about to yell at him, then suddenly asks, “Can I ask you a question? Don’t you look at a girl’s appearance? Why don’t you look at a girl’s appearance? You’ll regret it later!” LOL.
Eun-ho drags her brother inside while pelting him, and Tae-woon just smiles to himself, noting that he is picky about a girl’s looks. So cute.
At home, Eun-ho’s brother teases her about having a boyfriend to Mom, when Dad comes home, tipsy from a few drinks. Cooing over Eun-ho, he tells her to ask him for whatever she needs. When she tentatively mentions an expensive summer program at her school, Dad drunkenly promises to send her anywhere she wants to study.
That night, Eun-ho’s brother goes into the living room to find Dad struggling to stick medicated patches on his sore muscles. Concerned, he wonders what Dad is doing all day, but doesn’t approach him to ask.
At school, Eun-ho sees Dae-hwi listening to music and joins him. When he asks tentatively whether X could really be in their class, Eun-ho changes the subject to avoid giving herself away, asking what Dae-hwi is listening to. He offers her an earbud, and they stand side-by-side, quietly enjoying each other’s company.
Nam-joo and Tae-woon pass by at that moment to see them together. Tae-woon grumbles at Dae-hwi’s sudden sweet side, and Nam-joo agrees that it’s the first time she’s seen him act this way. She glares at Dae-hwi before storming away.
Tae-woon, on the other hand, walks right up to insist on speaking to Eun-ho alone, and glares at Dae-hwi until he goes away. He acts like he has something really important to say… and then asks what kind of flowers Eun-ho likes. Hee.
At their warehouse, Eun-ho studies with her back turned to Tae-woon, who’s pacing behind her. Ha, he’s struggling to build up the courage to put an earbud into her ear, but every time he gets close, he chickens out. Finally fed up with himself, he throws the earbuds to the ground in frustration and blasts the speakers, declaring that this is how he listens to music: “Not through earbuds like a wimp!” LMAO.
In the principal’s office, Director Hyun informs Principal Yang that he’ll have to step down temporarily while the school board audits the school. He promises to return the principal to his post after things have calmed down. At the principal’s dismay, Vice Principal Park reminds him that he’s always urged others to make a small sacrifice for the greater good, hee.
It’s not long before the students hear about Principal Yang’s dismissal. Realizing that X even reported Principal Yang to the school board, the class stirs in excitement. Eun-ho, meanwhile, looks nervously at Tae-woon, who looks awfully pleased with himself.
Vice Principal Park “helps” Principal Yang pack up his desk, unceremoniously stuffing his nameplate into a box and replacing it with his own nameplate, already prepared with the title “Principal Park.” As Principal Yang takes his belongings to his new temporary office, Vice Principal Park swivels in his new principal’s chair before asking the cleaning lady to remove the principal’s picture from the hallway right away.
As Principal Yang walks across the school in a huff, Eun-ho comes up behind him, gleefully reciting a poem she learned in class that makes it sound like she’s teasing Principal Yang in banmal. Teacher Shim joins in, offering to help carry the principal’s belongings and lamenting the fact that there just happened to be enough proof to implicate him.
The principal can only growl at him to catch X, or else. Teacher Shim and Eun-ho grin as he makes his way to his “temporary office,” which is more like a storage closet.
Nam-joo sits at a café with Dae-hwi while he studies, paying no attention to her. Finally fed up with waiting, she asks him excitedly when they’re having dinner, only to hear that he has to study tonight. Annoyed but hardly surprised, Nam-joo snaps that she has plans anyway and leaves.
Instead, Nam-joo goes shopping with Bit-na at an expensive department store. Bit-na suggests that they go see a shoe exhibit limited to VVIP customers only, but Nam-joo nervously lies that she forgot to bring her membership card and makes up an excuse to leave.
Nam-joo goes home to find her father pulling a huge bookcase out of his taxi. He tells her excitedly that someone threw out a perfectly good bookcase. But she’s mortified by his actions, and yells that they’re not beggars. She demands to know why Dad lives like this instead of working hard like other parents, and then tells him not to come to her school again because it’s humiliating. Oof.
As Nam-joo hurries inside, Eun-ho’s dad comes out of the building after making a chicken delivery. He tries to comfort Nam-joo’s father, but he hardly looks appeased.
The next morning, Director Hyun escorts the school board through the school for the audit. Meanwhile, an anxious Bit-na storms into the music classroom, upset that her expensive pen is missing. Seeing Bo-ra, she grabs her pencil case and throws its contents to the floor, digging through it with her foot. Wow.
Bo-ra demands that she pick up her belongings, but Bit-na refuses. Soon, Bo-ra and Bit-na start pulling each other’s hair, screaming and fighting. Teacher Jang yells at them to stop, though she doesn’t try very hard.
The school board auditors walk in to see the girls at each other’s throats, of course, and they order the teachers to follow school violence protocol immediately.
The next thing we know, Bo-ra and Bit-na sit with a weary Teacher Shim in the office. Teacher Shim urges Bo-ra to give her side of the story instead of letting Bit-na dictate it, and Bo-ra finally says that Bit-na grabbed her first.
Teacher Shim turns to ask Teacher Jang if she witnessed anything, and she says she only got the tail end before noting that Bo-ra isn’t innocent—she was grabbing Bit-na, too. Teacher Shim sighs, telling the girls to return to the classroom for now. As Bit-na storms away, Bo-ra looks up at Teacher Jang, looking betrayed. Teacher Jang just looks away.
Teacher Shim confronts Teacher Jang next, noting that she was Bo-ra’s homeroom teacher in her first year and must know that Bo-ra isn’t the type to hit anyone first. But Teacher Jang snaps that there’s no way to know how they act when no one is around. She wonders angrily why they just had to fight in front of her. Geez, lady.
Later that day, Teacher Jang runs into Bo-ra outside. Just as Teacher Jang starts to avoid her, Bo-ra assures her that she won’t ask for her help again: “I learned my lesson the first time.” Before Teacher Jang can yell at her, Bo-ra storms away.
Teacher Shim sadly tells Bo-ra that since her story conflicts with Bit-na’s, the school has no choice but to hold a hearing to determine the perpetrator. At that, Bo-ra says that she’ll accept the blame, since Bit-na’s family will hire an expensive lawyer and win anyway. She excuses herself before Teacher Shim can convince her otherwise.
Teacher Shim sits outside, deep in thought, when Officer Han comes by to join him. He sighs that it’s his fault that there’s so much trouble in his class, accidentally letting slip that it was two of his students who broke into the teachers’ office the other night.
Catching this, Officer Han presses him, and he finally admits that he heard a girl and a boy whispering in the office that night. Officer Han notes that if it was a girl, it’s most likely Eun-ho. She reminds him that the day the teachers were chasing after X behind the school, Eun-ho had told them where to go and they’d ended up missing him, probably because she was hiding X.
Teacher Shim insists that it can’t be Eun-ho—she was so desperate when she was framed. But Officer Han tells him that Eun-ho probably had no choice.
Eun-ho checks the view count on her webtoon again, and squeals excitedly to see that someone with the handle “niceguy” posted a comment. She coos over the commenter, calling him her first fan, and ties up her hair to comment back.
Tae-woon leans in close to say something, but when he turns to look at Eun-ho, he gets distracted by how pretty she looks with her hair up. Flustered, he yanks out the hair tie and musses her hair all over her face, telling her she looks prettiest that way. The denial, so cute.
Officer Han reports to her police station for duty, where her superior notes that the situation at her school is more problematic than a few childish pranks. Noting that he’s close friends with the school director, he tells her to solve the case quickly. When she notes that she doesn’t want to hurt any of the children, the superior asks if it’s because it reminds her of her own past, though she denies it. Hm.
Officer Han confronts Teacher Gu with her dilemma, telling him that she has substantial evidence to question a student, but is afraid that she’ll hurt her. Teacher Gu replies that the solution is simple: “Follow the rules.” The more complex the problem, he declares, the better it is to follow the rules and clarify the situation. She sighs, looking disappointed.
At home, Director Hyun coaches Tae-woon to tell the auditors that the principal made the offer of the math competition answers first, and to accept his punishment with grace. Tae-woon agrees, distracted, and when his father asks what’s wrong, Tae-woon just absently says with a sigh: “It’d be nice if she’d tied her hair up.” Lol.
The next morning, Eun-ho bickers with Tae-woon as usual when Officer Han stops them, telling Eun-ho that they need to talk.
In private, Officer Han and Teacher Gu ask Eun-ho to explain why and with whom she went into the teachers’ office that night. Despite her terror and nervousness, Eun-ho insists that she can’t tell them.
Tae-woon is waiting for her when Eun-ho exits the room and he immediately asks what happened. She tells him that they know that she broke into the teachers’ room, but don’t know that the other student was Tae-woon or Dae-hwi.
Tae-woon asks what she told them, and she tells him that she kept silent. Furious, he tells her that she should have turned him in, reminding her that she’ll be expelled if she’s caught. But Eun-ho insists that she couldn’t turn Dae-hwi or Tae-woon in to save herself.
Upset, Tae-woon tells her that he’ll handle this. She wonders what he means, but he just storms off. At home that night, Dae-hwi looks at his math competition award, and Eun-ho paces around her room, nervous. Tae-woon sits in his hideout, pondering his next move.
The next morning, Eun-ho waits at the bikes for Tae-woon to ask what he plans to do. Tae-woon just tells her that he’ll handle it, refusing to answer any of her questions.
Eun-ho follows Tae-woon into the teachers’ office as he storms up to Teacher Gu. Just as Dae-hwi comes in to deliver something, Tae-woon declares that he was the student who broke into the teachers’ office with Eun-ho. Everyone turns, staring at him in shock.
Aw, these noble idiots. I can’t get enough. While I’m not excited to see any more students get punished, it’s truly heartwarming to see Eun-ho and Tae-woon never hesitate to take responsibility for each other, and maybe we’ll start to see the seeds of morality in some of the other students (hey, I said some). While many of the students and teachers in this episode were aggravatingly cruel to each other, I love that this show never lets the hope of justice die down. The school board isn’t corrupt like Director Hyun and Principal Yang, for example, and Teacher Shim keeps finding allies in PE Teacher Jung, and maybe Teacher Gu. It’s simply that there’s a lot of work to do to achieve that justice, but hey, no one said it was easy.
It’s a theme that’s been revisited in small doses until now, especially among the adult characters, who seem to have lost a lot of the hope to fight injustice that they might have had before. I liked Teacher Gu’s statement last week that he used to try to fight the system, but stopped when he realized the futility of the endeavor. We can already see many of these kids start to lose their faith and trust in both themselves and the system. As eighteen-year-olds, these kids are facing the last chance to understand the world before they enter it, and it’s heartbreaking to see them teeter on the cusp of adulthood, some trying desperately to hold onto childish hope, and others already surrendering to the seemingly crushing weight of the system’s immobility.
It seems that only by learning to remember their youth—to remember that they’re eighteen and entitled to being kids—can they start to combat the hopelessness the world tries to throw at them. But many of these kids have lost their ability to value each other’s friendship at face value due to the almost fatalistic competitiveness of school life—to them, everything must exist for a purpose, even (and especially) relationships. The privileged and entitled Bit-na learns from her rich parents’ behavior, both at school and when shopping outside; the insecure Nam-joo becomes envious of what other people have and lies to fit in; the cynical and constantly bullied Bo-ra already chooses to give in to the system instead of trying to fight it; and the desperate Dae-hwi debases himself in exchange for material favors limited to the rich. These are all examples of youths starting to learn to become a part of the horrible adult world they’re supposed to resist, all because of a school life that forces social pressure and incessant competition by ruling their lives with an iron fist, even putting an actual police officer on the school grounds.
That’s what makes Eun-ho and Tae-woon’s relationship so great. They’re two people who absolutely refuse to ingratiate themselves into a world that defies their happiness, who continue to fight for their hopes, dreams, and values, and choose to be together simply because they enjoy each other’s company. (I mean, their interactions are sometimes so realistic and adorable that I forget that I’m not watching a behind-the-scenes interaction—and I think they do too, lol.) When they’re together, Eun-ho and Tae-woon can be their childish selves—constantly teasing and laughing with each other, drawing, playing pranks—instead of growing up too fast like everyone else. Eun-ho, in this episode, vows to find a career where she can draw all the time and be happy; and while she may be naïve, failing to truly understand her family’s money problems, we remember that she’s young and that allows her to dream without limitations.
Tae-woon, meanwhile, is clearly starting to embrace his role as a “hero,” and I love seeing that it’s not just because of his crush on Eun-ho, but because of his own hopeful values. I totally cheered when he admitted, out loud, that he was acting as X to help those who needed it, including “that really annoying guy.” It’s a major step in his character development to see him work for the sake of his values, despite his raw emotions toward Dae-hwi. Besides, after watching Tae-woon, Dae-hwi, and Joong-ki be a trio, it’s so sweet to watch the potential of their friendship with Eun-ho. It’s far from the same dynamic, but it shares the sentiments of friends looking out for each other, worrying about each other, and caring for each other—just kids without ulterior motives.
In that vein, I do really hope that the richer and crueler students can be redeemed. I was disappointed that Bit-na took a turn for the worse in this episode, because I’d been rooting for her to get over her competitive streak and start to see the value in things apart from grades. I think it’s a great and inherent strength of the School franchise to show that kids are not bad; at eighteen, they’re on their way to finding their path through both mistakes and successes, and are at a crucial place in their lives where they need both guidance and independence, to learn for themselves and to learn from strong role models, and I hope that this show won’t limit its positive character development to only our main characters, no matter how unrealistic or hopeful that sounds.
- Premiere Watch: School 2017, The King Loves, Man Who Dies to Live, Reunited Worlds
- Underdog student dreams of breaking into the elite ranks in School 2017
- A mystery, a suspect, and a hero for School 2017
- Riding bikes and motorcycles in School 2017’s first teaser
- Fresh faces for School 2017’s classroom
- School 2017 secures its leading bad boy, good boy
- School 2017 adds more students and a teacher to its lineup
- Kim Yoo-jung out, Gugudan idol Kim Se-jung in for School 2017
- Jealousy, Rebel’s Kim Jung-hyun up for School 2017