School 2017: Episode 8
Love, love, love. School 2017 is delivering a perfect combination of heart, humor, and fun, so that I’m laughing one minute and crying the next (but all in a good way!). It’s impossible not to get invested in the happiness of our ragtag group of students the more we get to know them, and though I know pain and heartbreak are an inevitable part of growing up, all I want for them is to find joy and meaning in life, whether it’s through friends, family, or yes, even school.
EPISODE 8 RECAP
Tae-woon shocks the room with his announcement that he was the one who broke into the teachers’ office with Eun-ho. Just as Tae-woon’s explaining that they entered the office because they thought they saw X, Dae-hwi drops by the office to deliver something.
As Dae-hwi lingers, Tae-woon continues his story, claiming that they followed a hooded figure into the office, only to see him escape through the window. When Teacher Shim asks if Tae-woon saw X’s face, Tae-woon pauses to take a long look at Dae-hwi before saying he didn’t.
Eun-ho hesitates and then affirms Tae-woon’s account of the break-in, causing Teacher Gu to yell about not knowing who to believe. Tae-woon points out that there’s no evidence that he and Eun-ho were in the office to cause trouble, so Teacher Gu punishes them for the only thing he can: breaking into the office.
Teacher Shim confronts Officer Han for sharing his suspicions about the break-in with Teacher Gu. Officer Han protests that she’s doing her job, and tells Teacher Shim that it’s not right to automatically cover for the students—even if it hurts now, she says it’s better to point out what’s wrong and get them on the right path.
When Teacher Shim asks why they can’t just console and protect their students, Officer Han says, “Then what?” She asks if Teacher Shim’s planning on comforting his students when they’re out in the real world, too, then tells him, “To protect them now, even if you can’t take responsibility for them—I don’t know if there’s any meaning to it.”
In Tae-woon’s hideout, Eun-ho suggests that they fill Dae-hwi in on what’s happened. Tae-woon’s temper flares at the mention of Dae-hwi, and he tells her that she should feel wronged, not worried for him.
Eun-ho asks why Tae-woon bothered to return the competition questions then—wasn’t it to help Dae-hwi? Tae-woon tells Eun-ho to stop and snarls that he’s regretting having gotten involved, and storms out angrily.
Elsewhere, Dae-hwi reviews his spotless student record. He crumples up the document, looking like he’s going to burst into tears.
Tae-woon walks into class and doesn’t even look at Eun-ho, though Eun-ho tries to sneak glances at him behind her. But his anger doesn’t last long, as he finds a cute drawing of X from Eun-ho on his desk, complete with an apology note and a peace offering of lemonade. Aw.
He breaks into a grin, though he quickly tries to hide both his smile and the note when his buddy Byung-gu approaches. Eun-ho smiles to herself as Tae-woon bats away Byung-gu’s attempts to steal the drawing.
Outside, Eun-ho apologizes to Tae-woon for not thinking about his feelings—she says she knows it’s not easy to step up for someone, and that she took his willingness to help her for granted.
Still, Eun-ho can’t help but continue to worry about Dae-hwi, earning her another scolding from Tae-woon. He reminds her that Dae-hwi’s getting off scot-free while the two of them are being formally disciplined by the school, and the thought of receiving more demerits makes her panic.
Their classmates are soon gawking at Eun-ho and Tae-woon’s punishment notice, and Sa-rang in particular looks distressed at the news. When their classmate Jung-il wonders how Sa-rang could be in the dark about something related to Eun-ho, Sa-rang says sadly that maybe they aren’t best friends after all. Oh nooooo.
Dae-hwi stops by to look at the notice, but walks away when Tae-woon approaches and stares him down.
Eun-ho and Tae-woon end up back outside, where she moans about her terrible student record. Noting Eun-ho’s misery, Tae-woon gets up abruptly and says that they should tell the truth about Dae-hwi’s involvement in the break-in.
Of course, Eun-ho’s against it, but Tae-woon doesn’t understand why they should lie to protect Dae-hwi. Eun-ho seems to think Dae-hwi feels remorseful about the whole situation, while Tae-woon just gapes at her, then stalks off.
He quickly finds Dae-hwi with Hee-chan, and calls out to him, “Hey, you scum!” Dae-hwi tries to usher Hee-chan away, but is forced to stop when Tae-woon threatens to reveal just how low Dae-hwi really is. After sending Hee-chan on his way, Dae-hwi faces a seething Tae-woon, who asks how he could ignore them after causing so much suffering.
Dae-hwi tells Tae-woon to just report him then, instead of taking the blame for the break-in and acting high and mighty about it. Tae-woon challenges Dae-hwi to turn himself in, reminding him that Eun-ho’s messing up her own student record to protect him. “If you feel even a little bit apologetic to her, go tell them right now,” he says.
Dae-hwi blusters to Tae-woon that he’s not afraid of confessing, though he’s clearly shaken at the idea. Tae-woon hits him where it hurts and asks if his inferiority complex counts as pride, and says that he pities him. Dae-hwi balls his hand into a fist, but says nothing as he walks away.
Dae-hwi heads to the athletic field to regroup, and Nam-joo stops by to ask what’s wrong. Not bothering to look at his girlfriend, Dae-hwi replies that he hates himself, and says that he feels like everything about him is lies. Nam-joo gets a little fidgety when she tells Dae-hwi that everyone lies, and that they do it because there’s a reason for it. Dae-hwi finally looks up at Nam-joo and asks, “Really?”
At home, Dae-hwi notices something missing in his desk drawer, and he looks all around his room in a panic. He turns his gaze to his mom when she walks in, and she quickly confesses that she took some of his money, you know, because it was urgent. Ugh.
She promises to pay him back, but Dae-hwi just says that it’s a good thing she spent the money. “No matter how hard I work, I’m back to where I started,” he says bitterly. His mom tells him not to worry and to keep studying hard, but Dae-hwi says he won’t do it anymore because it’s no use. With tears in his eyes, he asks, “Do you know what I gave up, just to protect this stupid thing?”
The next day, Dae-hwi walks purposefully to the teachers’ office, but hesitates just outside the door. He seems to have made up his mind to go in (to confess?), but is interrupted by Teacher Shim.
Dae-hwi’s ushered inside, where Teacher Shim tells him that he’s being recommended for a scholarship at Seoyul University. Dae-hwi looks thrilled at the opportunity, and it seems like his original reason for visiting the office has disappeared.
As Teacher Shim notes that he hasn’t been looking well, Dae-hwi catches a glimpse of the punishment notice for Eun-ho and Tae-woon on the teacher’s screen. Looking resolute, he tells Teacher Shim that he wants to go to Seoyul University for sure, and that he’ll do whatever it takes to get in, and not look back.
When Tae-woon arrives home, his father greets him with a hard slap on the face. Dad is pissed that Tae-woon caused trouble at school again, and asks his son if he broke into the teachers’ office because of Eun-ho, whom he refers to as a delinquent. He tells Tae-woon that he can cause all the trouble he wants, but reminds his son that he’ll always find a way to get only Tae-woon out of it.
Tae-woon heads to his lookout spot and blows off steam by walking precariously along the edge. As he does a little skip move, he’s reminded of a time when Joong-ki had done the same—back then, Tae-woon had hung back nervously with Dae-hwi, telling Joong-ki to be careful, and Joong-ki had laughed at him for being scared.
Dae-hwi and Tae-woon had tussled with each other as they each tried to muster up the courage to join Joong-ki on the edge. When Joong-ki made fun of them, Dae-hwi and Tae-woon had ganged up on their friend, attacking him playfully.
In the present, Tae-woon smiles wistfully at the memory, then startles to see Dae-hwi standing there, looking straight at him. Tae-woon turns away, but when his foot slips a bit, Dae-hwi cries out in alarm, “It’s dangerous!”
Tae-woon calls out that what Dae-hwi is doing is more dangerous. In a softer tone, he says, “Stop it, you punk.”
When Dae-hwi charges back at Tae-woon and asks why he should stop, Tae-woon responds, “Aren’t you ashamed to face Joong-ki?” Dae-hwi says he isn’t—he did cheap and dirty things, but still barely got to where he is now. “How can I stop here?” he asks.
Tae-woon wonders if Dae-hwi won’t regret it, but Dae-hwi assures Tae-woon that he won’t, and tells him to stay out of his life. But as Dae-hwi turns to walk away, tears slip down his face.
At the bus stop, Tae-woon’s words about being ashamed sink in, and Dae-hwi breaks down in sobs.
The next day, Dae-hwi marches into the teachers’ office with purpose and heads straight for Teacher Gu. Without preamble, Dae-hwi announces that he was the one who broke into the teachers’ office that night—not Tae-woon—and he did it to steal the answers to the math competition. He apologizes to both Teacher Gu and Teacher Shim, who both look flabbergasted at Dae-hwi’s confession.
Next stop for Dae-hwi: a disciplinary panel. Vice Principal Park tells Dae-hwi to speak up if there was a misunderstanding, but Dae-hwi tells the group of administrators and teachers that he has nothing to say.
Before Vice Principal Park moves to announce his punishment, Dae-hwi asks if the punishment for Eun-ho and Tae-woon can be canceled. He says they gave a false confession to protect him, and when Teacher Gu wonders why they’d go so far as to lie for him, Dae-hwi just says they acted stupidly.
Eun-ho waits outside the hall for Dae-hwi when Tae-woon joins her. He denies that he’s there because he’s worried about Dae-hwi, but judging by the way he anxiously looks over at the door, that’s exactly why he’s there. You’re not fooling anyone, Tae-woon!
When Dae-hwi finally appears, Tae-woon takes off without a word. Eun-ho greets Dae-hwi with a smile, then looks over at Tae-woon’s retreating figure, thinking to herself, “I wonder if Dae-hwi knew that we had lied to protect him.”
Dae-hwi’s punishment notice is posted, and it gets even more attention than Eun-ho and Tae-woon’s, given who the subject is. Both Tae-woon and Dae-hwi hang back from the crowd of students gaping at the news; Tae-woon glances sideways at his friend, while Dae-hwi looks straight ahead.
Officer Han asks Teacher Shim if he was protecting Dae-hwi the night of the break-in, and Teacher Shim responds that he didn’t know it was Dae-hwi, exactly. She comments that the confession he made about liking her must have also been a lie then—something to try to distract her and protect the kids.
Looking surprised, Teacher Shim awkwardly says it wasn’t a complete lie, and adds nervously that the lie may have become the truth—then walks away abruptly. Officer Han looks pleased as punch, and literally skips after him.
For once, Dae-hwi is honest with Nam-joo when she asks about the break-in incident, telling her that he tried to steal the questions to the competition because he couldn’t get to where he wanted to be on his own.
Nam-joo’s quick to take Dae-hwi’s side, telling him that he did what he had to do, since the competition was fixed. Dae-hwi opens up even more, telling her that he felt lonely and scared, and that he wanted to tell her the truth: why he did it, how he felt, and how much he regretted it. At that, Nam-joo looks up at Dae-hwi in surprise.
Eun-ho’s in a good mood at the way things turned out with Dae-hwi, and even more so as she reads over comments left by the first (and only) fan of her webtoon. When she wonders why the comments are so short, Tae-woon just sighs, “You want so much.” LOL.
Cut to: Tae-woon asking Byung-gu for help crafting a comment that’s long, but also touching, witty, and insightful. As Tae-woon stares at him expectantly, Byung-gu thinks for a moment, then offers a three-syllable word for “totally awesome.” He keeps suggesting variations of the same phrase, then scoots away before Tae-woon can respond with a beating.
Kyung-woo catches Sa-rang on their way out of school, and when she notes the absence of his guitar, he says they’re on a break. He comments on Eun-ho’s absence, to which Sa-rang says that they must be on a break too. She asks if it isn’t wrong for friends to keep secrets from each other, so he encourages her to be honest with Eun-ho, though Sa-rang just pretends that she wasn’t talking about Eun-ho at all.
Changing the subject, Kyung-woo asks Sa-rang if she’s ever had convenience store ramyun. The two end up at a nearby store for a snack, and Kyung-woo tells her that he wants to experience normal high school life in Korea since he grew up abroad. He takes it back though, when Sa-rang tells him the Korean high school experience is just about studying like crazy.
Kyung-woo brings up Eun-ho again, telling Sa-rang that she should be honest with her. He smiles at Sa-rang’s feeble attempts to deny her problems with Eun-ho, then leans in close to tell her, “You’re a terrible liar.”
Bit-na’s mom arrives at school with an army of lawyers to make a scene in the teachers’ office, yelling at Teacher Shim for making Bit-na write a letter of apology for the fight with Bo-ra. While Bit-na nonchalantly plays with her phone, her mom insists on holding a formal disciplinary hearing, telling Teacher Shim that her lawyers will ensure Bit-na’s defense. Worst mother-daughter duo ever.
After commiserating with his fellow teachers about the situation, Teacher Shim makes a last-ditch effort to try to get Bo-ra to tell the truth, promising her that he’ll help in whatever way he can. That reminds Bo-ra of the time that Teacher Jang said those exact words to her once before, and Bo-ra insists to Teacher Shim that she has nothing to say.
Bo-ra’s day gets worse when she’s harassed by Young-gun and her crew outside. As they rummage through her bag, Young-gun warns Bo-ra not to say anything about them at the disciplinary hearing.
At the hearing, Bo-ra looks around nervously at the adults in the room, then tells them what most of them want to hear: She attacked Bit-na without provocation. Teacher Shim looks distraught, but Teacher Jang tells everyone that since Bo-ra admitted her crime, there’s nothing else they can do.
Upon hearing those words, Bo-ra looks up sharply at Teacher Jang, tears welling up in her eyes. Teacher Jang does her best to avoid Bo-ra’s gaze.
Later, Teacher Shim stares blankly at Bo-ra’s punishment notice, which indicates that she’s being suspended for a week. Looking numb, Bo-ra stumbles out of school, then is jostled hard by one of Young-gun’s cronies as they pass by. Bo-ra stops and stares at the sky, looking completely hopeless and defeated.
After Dae-hwi fixes the chain on Eun-ho’s bike, she mentions how cool he was for coming clean to the teachers, and says that things must have been hard for him. When he tells her she’s had it tough too, she suggests that he treat her to shaved ice, and he happily agrees.
Tae-woon happens on this exchange, and HA, he gives Dae-hwi some crazy eyes as he makes his way over to Eun-ho. Still glaring, Tae-woon orders Eun-ho not to eat shaved ice with Dae-hwi.
When she asks him why not, he sputters that he just doesn’t want her to. She doesn’t see why, but he barks that it’s the same as not wanting to get up in the morning and not liking beans in his rice—he just doesn’t like it. Eun-ho gets big a kick out of needling him and says she’s going to go anyway and laughs as he stomps away.
As soon as she’s out of sight, Tae-woon lets out a tiny smile, then slows down, his mind swirling with images of Eun-ho. He shakes himself back to reality, waving his arms around as if to swat away his feelings for her, and tells himself to snap out of it.
But that definitely doesn’t work, as Tae-woon can’t keep his eyes off of Eun-ho in class. He follows her as she’s getting ready to leave the empty room, grabbing her so that she’s facing him. Slowly he steps towards her, then as she’s about to step back, he holds onto her arms to pull her close, causing her to stutter, “What? What is it?”
Tae-woon cocks his head, then says, “It’s not, right?” She asks him again what he’s talking about, and he says she looks dumb, then calls her a dimwit for good measure. Boys.
As he walks out, he tells himself, “Yeah, there’s no way.” But then he stops short in the doorway, his heart beating rapidly, and looks completely thrown by his feelings.
Officer Han creeps up behind Teacher Shim as he’s practicing different ways to ask her to a movie. She asks if he’s planning to ask her out, but Teacher Shim just ends up mumbling some excuses.
As Teacher Shim beats around the bush, Teacher Jung swoops in from nowhere, squeezing in between his colleagues and asking Officer Han to the movies. Officer Han laughs at his brashness, but she accepts, looking pointedly at Teacher Shim as he watches in dismay.
Teacher Shim tries again after school, offering to treat his students to food as an excuse to invite Officer Han along. He’s none too pleased when Teacher Jung joins them, but he still ends up taking everyone out for—you guessed it—sandwiches.
After the meal, Eun-ho, Tae-woon, Dae-hwi, and Nam-joo end up walking in the same direction, where they run across a supervisor yelling at a worker replacing bricks on the sidewalk. When the worker gets up to defend himself, Eun-ho’s eyes widen in shock as she recognizes her dad.
Eun-ho runs to her father and speaks up in his defense, but the supervisor turns on her next, upsetting Eun-ho’s dad. It’s only when Tae-woon steps in to “talk” to the supervisor threateningly that he backs down.
As Eun-ho fusses over her dad, Dae-hwi watches the scene intently, while Nam-joo lowers her gaze, looking almost guilty.
On their way home, Eun-ho asks her dad if he’s coming home late because he’s working late every night. He says he doesn’t mind, since with the extra money, he can buy things like prep classes for Eun-ho. She’s upset by the idea that Dad is suffering because of her, but he says that isn’t the only reason he’s taken on extra work.
He tells her that the street he’s repaving is on her way to school, and that he wanted to at least make her path to school nice and pretty, since he couldn’t pave her path in life like other dads. He says he wants her to walk on flowery paths all her life, but apologizes that he can only give her this short path.
Blinking back tears, Eun-ho says that she’ll be walking on flowery paths thanks to him, and the two share a sweet hug. I’m not crying, nope.
As Dae-hwi walks Nam-joo home, he tells her that he used to lie about his mom’s profession because he was so embarrassed by her, and marvels at how amazing Eun-ho is for not caring about what others think. He doesn’t notice Nam-joo’s visible irritation until she calls him out for talking about Eun-ho nonstop.
Nam-joo tells Dae-hwi to head back, saying she’s fine to get home herself, then reminds him about their upcoming 200-day anniversary. After watching Dae-hwi disappear down the street, Nam-joo heads the opposite way to her real neighborhood.
At school, Teacher Shim stalks Officer Han with two drinks in hand, but he bumps into Tae-woon, missing his chance to continue his operation to woo her. Tae-woon politely greets Teacher Shim, all the while eyeing the teacher’s extra drink like he’s dying of thirst, ha.
Tae-woon scores the soda and gulps it down, which leads Teacher Shim to wonder if there’s something frustrating him. Tae-woon says something is bothering him: “They’re not particularly special feelings, but I want to do things like drink soda together…”
Teacher Shim pipes in knowingly, “And eat together.” HA. It’s even funnier when Teacher Gu joins their repartee, as he chimes in, “You want to be with them just a little bit longer. You want to do even the smallest thing together.” As Tae-woon and Teacher Gu stare up wondrously at Teacher Gu’s wisdom, he concludes, “That’s what it’s like to like someone.” At that, Tae-woon drops his can in shock and says out loud, “Me?”
Eun-ho’s on delivery duty again that night, and as luck would have it, it takes her straight to Tae-woon’s house, where he waits for her, cash in hand. He makes sure to collect a coupon from her before she heads out, which can only mean one thing: It’s going to be a long night of deliveries for Eun-ho.
Sure enough, Eun-ho is forced to go back to Tae-woon’s with another delivery as soon as she gets home. Once there, she threatens to kill Tae-woon if he puts in another order, but that doesn’t stop him for asking for another coupon. He then proceeds to order more chicken, noting gleefully that collecting ten coupons will get him an extra bird.
By this time, Eun-ho’s tearing her hair out in frustration and asks Tae-woon if he hates her. He childishly tells her that teasing her is really fun before running away, and their bickering over chicken continues into the next day at school. These two.
Nam-joo waits for Dae-hwi at a coffee shop, having made plans for their anniversary. But as the minutes tick by, Dae-hwi doesn’t come, and he doesn’t answer her calls, either.
She trudges home in disappointment, only to find Dae-hwi waiting outside her real apartment holding flowers and a present, looking upset. Eek, he knows! Nam-joo immediately launches into excuses, telling him that this isn’t where she really lives. Dae-hwi simply says that he liked her a lot, then pauses as tears spring to his eyes. He then asks, “But why do you keep lying to me?”
Their relationship ends there, and at school, the two pass by each other as if they’re strangers. Meanwhile, we hear in voiceover a phone call that Dae-hwi had made to Nam-joo’s dad’s company, inquiring about the CEO’s daughter—where he’d learned that said CEO didn’t have a daughter.
Eun-ho narrates that everyone tells lies “to protect something, or to hide something. And, we have to take responsibility for the consequences of our lies. Sometimes, there’s even greater truth within our lies that we couldn’t realize.”
Eun-ho struggles with the storyline for her webtoon, and asks Tae-woon why X would lie to her after saving her. Tae-woon tells her that he probably couldn’t believe it, because he wasn’t aware of his feelings. When Eun-ho asks him what kind of feelings, Tae-woon looks at her, wide-eyed. Luckily for him, a sudden rain shower puts an end to their conversation.
They run through the rain together and take cover under some trees. When a trickle of water hits Eun-ho, Tae-woon instinctively lifts his bag over her head and she steps under it in perfect time, bringing them suddenly very close.
As he looks down at her, obviously affected their proximity, she slowly breaks out in a wide smile. Gruffly, Tae-woon tells her, “Don’t smile like that. It makes my heart flutter.”
Eun-ho’s smile fades, and as the two gaze at one another, Tae-woon slowly puts his bag down and leans in to kiss her.
Was anyone else holding their breath during those last few minutes? I can’t believe we have to wait for the next episode to find out what happens! Do they kiss? Is Tae-woon going to pull another one of those ridiculous fake-outs? Is Byung-gu going to pop out of nowhere? How many more of these near-kiss moments are we going to have?
Now that those questions are out of my system, let me just say how happy I am with the show right now—it’s certainly doing justice to the bigger stories we were promised from the beginning, from the pitch-perfect buildup of both the friendship and the romance between Tae-woon and Eun-ho, to the slower, but compelling reveal of Dae-hwi’s background and his now-fraught relationship with Tae-woon. But I also appreciate how powerful and heartfelt some of its smaller storylines are as well, like Teacher Shim’s give-and-take with his students and colleagues, and Eun-ho and Sa-rang’s friendship (and the strain it’s now under with Tae-woon in the picture—so real!).
Eun-ho continues to be the heart of the show, as someone who consistently stands up for her ideals and back up her friends and family without reservation or hesitation. I just adore her relationship with her dad, who’s like Eun-ho in so many ways, and though they don’t get a ton of screen time together, moments like the one we saw this episode provides an uplifting counter narrative to the hopelessness we see in the stories of some of our other kids, like Bo-ra. That simple moment between father and daughter on their way home really helps us understand the type of dad Eun-ho has, what she might have learned from him, and how important her family is in shaping her outlook on life.
It’s easy for me to see why Tae-woon’s so head over heels for Eun-ho, even if he himself may not have realized it until Teacher Gu said the words out loud. My favorite thing about Tae-woon’s slowly developing feelings—besides his goofy smiles and swoony moves, of course—is the way he automatically just does whatever he thinks will keep Eun-ho safe and happy, even if it requires some sacrifice on his part. That could be something as minor as letting Eun-ho just claim his hideout as her own, or more substantive, like going against his own advice and stepping up for other people.
It’s also thanks to Eun-ho that we’re just starting to see a tiny glimmer of hope for Tae-woon and Dae-hwi’s friendship. After this episode, I think what I’m looking forward to most in the series—even more than watching Eun-ho and Tae-woon bumble through their relationship—is watching how Tae-woon and Dae-hwi will (hopefully?) reconcile. While Tae-woon doesn’t have the most tactful or compassionate way with words, I found it poignant that he was the one who forced Dae-hwi to examine his recent choices, helping him decide to make amends by telling the truth.
It’s clear that Tae-woon’s already on his way to letting go of his grudge with Dae-hwi, whether he knows it or not, but Dae-hwi’s going to be a tougher nut to crack. I just love how complex but relatable his character is—I struggled along with him as he went back and forth about confessing about the break-in, and my heart broke when I realized that he’d actually known about Nam-joo’s lies all along. Dae-hwi can be calculating, and he’s not afraid to lie and test people, but it’s all a defense mechanism—his best way of protecting himself from disappointment and pain. One of my favorite parts about the flashbacks we get of him, Tae-woon, and Joong-ki is getting a glimpse of how much happier Dae-hwi used to be back then—and it’s my hope that he gets some of that joy back as he slowly makes his way back to Tae-woon.
- 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