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School 2017: Episode 15

Love, love, love—in more ways than one! With the end in sight, Tae-woon and Eun-ho need and rely on each other more than ever as the school does its best to bulldoze their dreams. Thankfully, our lovebirds are full of both youthful determination and adult wisdom, and they won’t be going down until they exhaust every possible hope. Luckily when you’re eighteen and have a dream, there’s no such thing as an end to hope.

 
EPISODE 15 RECAP

Director Hyun confronts a horrified Tae-woon with all of his X equipment. In flashback, we see that Principal Yang had shown Director Hyun X’s drone, and had told him that he suspected Eun-ho to be the culprit. He also added that it seemed highly likely that Tae-woon was involved in her crimes.

Recalling Tae-woon and Eun-ho’s close relationship, Director Hyun had felt a dawning suspicion about his son, and had hired investigators to look into the matter. Sure enough, they concluded that Tae-woon was the culprit—one of them had seen Tae-woon hide his black hoodie in the bushes the night he led them on the wild goose chase, and they’d also found a box of X’s belongings in Tae-woon’s hideout. Director Hyun had asked the investigators to stay quiet about their findings, especially from the principal.

When Director Hyun informs Tae-woon that he plans to expel Eun-ho, Tae-woon becomes livid, insisting that Eun-ho is innocent. He warns his father that he won’t allow him to hurt another one of his friends, threatening to publicly confess his identity. But Director Hyun replies that he’ll expel Eun-ho anyway for some other reason. Damn.

Tae-woon gazes at his photos with Eun-ho that night in his room, looking distressed.

At school the next morning, Tae-woon greets Eun-ho as usual, teasing her about being dimwitted like he used to. She just smiles at his antics, but when Tae-woon sees Principal Yang walking by, he grabs her and squishes her cheeks to hide her from their view.

He insists that he just wants to see her face up close, pinching her cheeks and teasing her until the coast is clear. As soon as they’re gone, he immediately releases her and walks away. Lol. As Eun-ho chases him through the school grounds, Tae-woon says in voiceover, “There comes a time when we have to make a decision for someone we care about.” Eun-ho adds: “Even if that decision hurts that person.”

Later that morning, Tae-woon confesses to Dae-hwi that his father has discovered X’s identity. To Dae-hwi’s horror, Tae-woon sighs that his father probably plans to use Eun-ho as a scapegoat this time, and that he needs to resolve matters before they get any worse.

At the hideout that day, an oblivious Eun-ho laughs with Bo-ra and Sa-rang about Principal Yang’s reaction when they’d revealed the video. She feels like they’ve really done something important this time, and walks over to Tae-woon to give him a fist-bump. He returns the gesture with a pensive smile, which Dae-hwi notices.

Dae-hwi interrupts to suggest that they should consider laying low for the time being, and Sa-rang agrees—since they revealed the drone to Principal Yang, he’ll surely suspect that X is among them. To their surprise, however, Tae-woon suggests that they put an end to it altogether, calling it childish hero-play.

Hee-chan waits for Tae-woon outside the hideout and sarcastically commends Tae-woon’s escape from his last attempt to capture X, and Tae-woon coolly accepts the compliment before calling Hee-chan “Fifth Place.” Smile disappearing, Hee-chan informs him that he’s preparing some more evidence this time, and wonders if Tae-woon will be able to escape again.

Sa-rang asks Eun-ho why Tae-woon always has to be so cool, and expresses her total approval of Tae-woon as Eun-ho’s boyfriend. Sa-rang tells her to protect him, and Eun-ho grins, promising to protect both her boyfriend and her best friend. Aw.

Eun-ho meets Tae-woon on the roof, pacing back and forth in worry. When Tae-woon grabs her, worried that she’ll get dizzy, Eun-ho sighs that he should have stopped her from fighting with Sa-rang and allowing Principal Yang to get the drone. She tells him that Principal Yang seems more than determined this time, worried that Tae-woon will really be in trouble.

But Tae-woon just replies that if he gets in trouble, “I’m sure you’ll take responsibility for me for the rest of our lives. If I’m expelled for being X, you’ll pity me and play with me till I die. Ooooh… should I just confess my identity now?” Hee.

Eun-ho snaps at him to stop playing around, reminding him that he’s dead if his father finds out about him. But Tae-woon promises that he’ll manage even if he gets caught. Eun-ho’s fears are hardly assuaged, but Tae-woon just gazes at her worried expression with love.

That afternoon, Principal Yang mulls over all of his information before realizing that both the culprit and his accomplice must be among Eun-ho’s group of friends. He swears to teach them all a lesson.

Hee-chan’s mom gives him another study guide on the way home from school, but Hee-chan refuses to take it and complains that he can’t study these days because of the commotion over X at school. Wow, dude.

So Hee-chan’s mom hauls her Army of Moms to meet with Director Hyun and complain that their children can’t study because of X. He assures them that he’s already working as hard as he can, but the moms demand an immediate solution, noting that allowing X to stay and disrupt the students’ studies will impact their grades.

Pressured by the meeting, Director Hyun orders Principal Yang to hurry and clean up the mess. When Principal Yang tries to tell him that they don’t have solid proof against Eun-ho, however, Director Hyun snaps that they just need someone to take the fall for the incidents.

Tae-woon fixes Eun-ho’s bike chain after school, teasing her that she would be hopeless without him. Eun-ho smiles at that, before sighing that a time will surely come when she’ll have to live without him: “I’m only eighteen now. I might…”

At that, Tae-woon bolts upright, snapping that there’s no way that’ll happen: “We’ll be together happily until we’re 108!” Ha. He reminds her that he’s got good endurance, and that she’ll never find another guy like him: “I’m handsome, cool, healthy… and I know nothing but you.” Eun-ho seals the vow with a pinky-swear.

Our five rebels meet in the hideout that day, worrying about the principal’s recent inactivity. They start to wonder if he’s given up, but Tae-woon notes that he isn’t the type to do that, which means he’s up to something.

Hee-chan runs into Principal Yang at school and shows him Eun-ho’s webtoon on his phone, which details all of X’s exploits. Principal Yang agrees that it’s suspicious, but notes that they’ll have no counterargument if she claims that she made it all up.

Hee-chan argues that Eun-ho isn’t smart enough to imagine it all by herself. He notes that one or two coincidences might be understandable, but the webtoon’s story shows too many accurate details, along with things only X could have known. Principal Yang agrees with Hee-chan, concluding that either Eun-ho is a talented genius… or she’s very close with X.

Officer Han stops by the police station to meet with a sunbae, who gives her a box of investigation records on Geumdo High. Warning her that corruption in schools is no joke, the sunbae wonders if she’ll be okay exposing the school she works for. But Officer Han replies that she has to protect her kids.

Officer Han pores over the files in her office when Teacher Shim comes to visit. When she jumps in surprise at his appearance, he asks if she’s keeping secrets from him. She protests that he kept plenty of secrets from her, but he argues that he told her X’s identity as soon as he found out. “Besides,” he adds, “I think that it’s vital to be honest with the person you… l-love.” Aw.

Officer Han pauses at his mention of love, and Teacher Shim asks if the day they kissed at the station was their first day as a couple. Officer Han says that technically, she kissed him first, so they should use that day as their anniversary date. Hee. Teacher Shim asks how she can be so confident (“and pretty… and smart…”) before promising to prepare something special for their anniversary. They smile shyly together.

At that moment, Teacher Jung walks in to deliver some coffee to Officer Han, only to feel a distinctly romantic atmosphere in the room. When Teacher Jung flatly points out that they seem like two people who just started dating, Teacher Shim doesn’t deny it before leaving with Officer Han’s coffee.

In private, Dae-hwi informs Tae-woon that his father will probably act sooner than they thought because of his recent meeting with the steering committee of angry moms. Tae-woon groans that he has to turn himself in, or else Eun-ho will throw herself into the fray.

That afternoon, Tae-woon finds Eun-ho walking home and runs up to take her hand. She starts to protest that the other students are watching, but he links his fingers with hers even more tightly. He stops and says to her: “If you ever get wrongfully accused of being X, you absolutely have to turn me in and escape on your own, okay?”

When Eun-ho sarcastically agrees, Tae-woon tells her that he’s serious, and she absolutely has to do it. Eun-ho stops smiling and asks if he suspects that his father will frame her, but Tae-woon insists that he’d never let that happen: “I’ll protect you no matter what.” Stroking his face, Eun-ho coos over her oh-so-dependable boyfriend before walking away. But her smile fades when he isn’t looking.



Dae-hwi waits for Nam-joo to come home again, watching her go inside before turning to leave. Before he can go, however, Nam-joo’s dad arrives in his taxi.

Nam-joo’s dad drives Dae-hwi home, telling him that Nam-joo didn’t lie to him with bad intentions, and that the lies were actually because of him. He explains that their family used to be wealthy, but after his business failed, Nam-joo was forced to abandon her dreams of playing the cello. Dae-hwi is surprised to hear of her musical ability, since Nam-joo never mentioned it.

Nam-joo’s dad asks him to take care of Nam-joo in his place, saying that he’s so sorry that he can’t even apologize properly. Dae-hwi holds back tears of his own, sighing that he’s sorry for a lot of things, too.

The next day at school, a cute underclassman gives Dae-hwi a drink with her phone number on it. She tells him that she heard he doesn’t have a girlfriend now, and asks him to consider her. As she scurries away, Dae-hwi stares at the drink and comes to a decision.

That evening, Dae-hwi goes to the coffee shop where Nam-joo works part-time. She freezes at the sight of him, but he just silently moves to a table and starts studying. But when Nam-joo’s boss comes by to tell her to pay for an electronic bell that was stolen by a customer on her shift, Dae-hwi gets up to confront the boss, protesting the unfair policy.

Nam-joo looks uncomfortable at his intervention and starts to agree to pay for the bell, but Dae-hwi continues to protest until the boss finally backs off, snapping at them in exasperation.

Once she’s gone, Dae-hwi tells her his order: “An iced americano and your number, please.” LOL, sooo smooth. At Nam-joo’s disbelief, he adds that he heard she doesn’t have a boyfriend right now. Ha. She laughs in exasperation, and the two finally smile at each other.

Dae-hwi waits outside the café until Nam-joo’s shift ends. She smiles at the sight of him and he follows her home, telling her that it’s not safe to go alone. He tells her to come back to school, but Nam-joo says that she doesn’t want to be accused of being a liar. Dae-hwi swears to protect her from anyone who judges her, but when Nam-joo refuses again, Dae-hwi yells after her: “I miss you!”

Nam-joo is shocked, and Dae-hwi steps closer. He tells her that every time he sees her empty desk, he misses her so much: “So please come back to school!” So sweet.

The next day, Principal Yang and Vice Principal Park barge into Tae-woon’s hideout. Our five rebels stare in shock as the adults dig through the cabinets, asking whose permission they have to keep using this space. Principal Yang then picks up the webtoon drawings that Eun-ho was working on, noting that her webtoon about X is exactly like it happened in real life.

The principals and Teacher Gu go through a box of Eun-ho’s drawings in the office, insisting that the story is too close to reality to be made up. Throwing her drawings across the room, the principal tells her that the proof is indisputable and is sufficient for her expulsion.



An anxious Tae-woon storms toward the principal’s office while Dae-hwi tries to calm him down, urging him to be rational. Sa-rang and Bo-ra chime in, saying that the principal is determined this time, and they’ll have to think things through before they intervene.

At that moment, Eun-ho trudges out of the office. Tae-woon grabs her immediately, demanding to know what happened. He’s furious to hear that she didn’t turn him in, but Eun-ho snaps that she would have been miserable if she had: “You’re telling me to sell you out to save myself!”

She starts to leave in anger, and shakes him off when he tries to grab her again: “Why do you keep holding onto me when you’re telling me to let go so easily the minute things get hard?” She warns him that the moment he turns himself in and takes the blame for being X, she’ll quit school. She storms off, leaving a distressed Tae-woon to stare after her.

Back in the office, the principals tell a pleased Director Hyun that they have definitive proof this time. The next morning, the school posts a notice for a disciplinary hearing for Eun-ho. The students realize that they plan to expel her.

Bit-na talks with her rich friends, surprised to hear that Eun-ho was actually X. They ask what Hee-chan thinks her punishment will be, and he notes cryptically that the adults will deal with her while hiding “just enough” of the truth.

They ask what he means, and Hee-chan explains that there’s no way that Eun-ho did everything by herself. Bit-na asks if he means there’s another culprit, but Hee-chan says it doesn’t matter since Eun-ho will take the fall for everything anyway—from the adults’ perspective, that’s the cleanest solution.

Hee-chan runs into Tae-woon later that day, taunting him about letting someone else take the blame for his mess again. Tae-woon warns him to shut up, threatening to hit him, but Hee-chan continues to needle him: “You really didn’t expect this to happen when you got your friends involved?”

Hee-chan tells Tae-woon to stop acting tough and actually confess his identity, or else Eun-ho will take the fall. Tae-woon finally explodes at that and punches Hee-chan in the face. He warns him to stop running his mouth, telling him that he planned to reveal his identity as X anyway. As Tae-woon storms off, Hee-chan grins as he looks at his phone. Oh, you conniving snake.

Sure enough, Hee-chan shares his voice recording with Principal Yang. That afternoon, Principal Yang goes to meet Director Hyun with a huge grin on his face, and when Director Hyun tells Principal Yang that the only way to safeguard his job is by expelling Eun-ho, Principal Yang suddenly begins to act with irreverence, talking back to Director Hyun and refusing to obey him.

Director Hyun demands to know what his deal is, and Principal Yang reveals that he knows the truth about X’s identity. He plays Hee-chan’s voice recording of Tae-woon’s confession. As Director Hyun pales, Principal Yang chortles over his newfound leverage.

Without a choice, Director Hyun gives Principal Yang a raise and an extension on his term as principal. Now that he’s gotten what he wanted, Principal Yang agrees to dump it all on Eun-ho and take care of everything as planned.

Eun-ho storms through the halls that afternoon when she runs into Principal Yang. He accuses her of daring to act so angry when she’s been committing crimes left and right, but Eun-ho shoots back that she only did those things because the school is such a mess.

When Teacher Gu walks by, Principal Yang looks to him for support against Eun-ho’s disrespect. To their surprise, however, Teacher Gu just notes that it doesn’t seem like she’s said anything wrong. Ha! Eun-ho smiles as he leaves.

Sa-rang and Eun-ho laugh at the incident together when they spot Tae-woon joking around with Dae-hwi and Byung-gu from afar. Eun-ho smiles at the sight, noting that he finally looks like an average kid.

She notes that when Tae-woon first started school, he never had any friends or got in trouble for speaking in class. Now, Eun-ho says, she wishes for Tae-woon to have an average eighteen-year-old’s life to enjoy, and wants to protect that wish even more now: “But I’m scared he’ll lose it because of me.”

Eun-ho waits for Tae-woon at the bikes, and when Tae-woon jokes that he’s too busy for her, Eun-ho just hops onto his motorcycle behind him, and says, “Oppa, go!” Tae-woon can barely hide his excitement at her use of the word and makes her say it again before they finally take off.

Our lovebirds sit at a café all afternoon, and Tae-woon gazes at Eun-ho while she draws. Hours pass and it begins to pour outside before Eun-ho notices, and Tae-woon half-complains that she was so engrossed in drawing that she ignored her poor boyfriend the whole time.

He wonders if she feels that happy when she draws, and Eun-ho nods. As he watches her with a smile, Tae-woon silently swears to himself to protect her dream.

Director Hyun has other ideas, however, and that night he throws a study abroad application at Tae-woon. He warns that if Tae-woon continues to disobey him, he can have Tae-woon sent off right away, and Eun-ho expelled at any moment.

At that, Tae-woon demands to know why he lives like this when he knows the truth—that both Joon-ki and Eun-ho are innocent. Dad shoots back that this is just how he lives, and says that he’ll do anything to protect Tae-woon. When Dad warns him not to get involved with Eun-ho, Tae-woon pleads with him not to touch her: “She’s a girl with a lot of dreams,” he says. In exchange, he swears to do whatever his father asks.

Tae-woon sits in his room that night, staring at the hoodie on his desk. He folds it up and puts it into a box, and shuts it tight with an air of finality.

Eun-ho sits in her own room, listening to the rain. Mom walks in with her laundered uniform, and Eun-ho looks at it hanging in her closet with a wistful look. She picks it up and strokes her name tag with a smile.

That night, Eun-ho apologetically informs Mom and Dad about her expulsion. Mom and Dad are horrified, insisting that there’s no way she can quit school now, and Dad even offers to go to the school and beg for forgiveness.

Eun-ho tells them that she doesn’t want to beg, because she did nothing wrong. She promises to work even harder outside of school, insisting that she’ll be much happier once she quits, and gives them an apologetic smile.

That night, a dismayed Mom and Dad share a bottle of soju. Dad notes that Eun-ho claimed she’d be happier if she left school, but Mom still refuses to accept it.

That night, Tae-woon calls Eun-ho and jokes that she probably couldn’t sleep because she misses “oppa,” and tells her to stop thinking about him so much, ha. Eun-ho laughs that she suddenly feels extremely sleepy, but Tae-woon tells her that she’s not allowed to sleep or hang up until he’s fallen asleep first.

At that, Eun-ho complains that it’s the girl who’s supposed to say things like that. Adopting an aegyo tone, she tells him not to hang up until she’s fallen asleep, and asks him to sing for her until she does. She’s just joking, but suddenly Tae-woon starts singing Kim Dong-ryul’s “Like a Child” over the phone.

Eun-ho smiles as she listens to his honey-sweet voice, thinking back to their memories together. When he’s finished, she tells him that she misses him even more now. That was so sweet.

The next morning, Byung-gu barges into the classroom in a panic and says that Eun-ho’s family is back at the school. Shocked, Eun-ho runs to the principal’s office, and sure enough, Mom, Dad, and her brother sit in Principal Yang’s office, dressed in their nicest clothes and looking mighty determined.

Principal Yang tells them that there’s no point in coming here, and that they won’t make Eun-ho’s problem disappear no matter how much they beg. But Mom snaps back that they’d never beg—it’s not even enough to curse him until the end of days, she yells. Instead, she demands that he write up a withdrawal request immediately, saying that she doesn’t want to send Eun-ho to this crappy school any longer.

As Eun-ho and Teacher Shim barge into the room followed by Tae-woon, Principal Yang asks if they know about Eun-ho’s actions. To his surprise, Mom says that Eun-ho explained the whole situation, and that they’re on her side completely. She accuses Principal Yang of the school’s crimes, including favoring the rich students and feeding the kids expired garbage for lunch.

Principal Yang demands to know if they’ve all gone insane, but Mom says that it’s truly crazy for a school to teach its students to ignore justice, and demands a school withdrawal form immediately. Eun-ho tears up as she watches the scene, moved by her family’s support. Tae-woon watches from outside, a mix of emotions on his face.

After the meeting, Tae-woon stumbles upon Sa-rang sitting with Eun-ho outside and listens in on their conversation. When Sa-rang asks whether Eun-ho is okay, Eun-ho bursts into tears and shakes her head: “I’m not okay. I like school so much, and now I can’t come anymore.” She sobs that she won’t be able to talk with Sa-rang anymore, or get scolded by the teachers, or learn, or joke around with Tae-woon: “I love those things so much,” Eun-ho cries.

Sa-rang offers to go beg for forgiveness with her, insisting that the director would never do anything bad to his own son. But Eun-ho insists: “I don’t want Tae-woon to be hurt.” Tae-woon listens to Eun-ho’s cries, looking stricken.

At home, Tae-woon’s father tells him that he’s powerless on his own, so he’d better behave from now on. Tae-woon quietly agrees to live quietly and retreats to his room. Eun-ho calls Tae-woon that night, but he doesn’t answer.

The next morning, Eun-ho waits at the bikes for Tae-woon’s arrival, but he never shows up.

Principal Yang holds a school assembly that morning, declaring that the school’s ethics have hit rock bottom, and that today, the school will decide Eun-ho’s—that is, X’s—legal fate. At that moment, however, the projection screen starts to descend, sending the students whispering to each other that X has returned.

As everyone watches in scandalized disgust, the screen plays a video of Principal Yang being a jerk in his daily life—leaving his tray on the table for someone else to clean up, throwing his trash on the ground right in front of the cleaning lady, telling Tae-woon to memorize answers for a guaranteed victory of the math competition, and accepting bribes from parents.

The text says that the principal is up to no good again and that X is going to give them all a special gift. The students begin to look around, until finally, someone spots a hooded figure looking down at them from the auditorium balcony. Everyone murmurs in surprise as X comes down to confront the assembly face-to-face.

When X finally enters the auditorium, Eun-ho shakes her head in protest. X ignores her, however, and joins her in front of the student body. Everyone waits with bated breath as he reaches up and removes his hood to reveal…

…Tae-woon himself, of course! The students and the teachers all gasp and Tae-woon steps forward into the middle of the room, staring right at Eun-ho and the teachers.

 
COMMENTS

The truth is finally out! Considering how fast-paced this show has been—and how much character development we’ve managed to pack into the last fifteen episodes—it actually feels funny that we’ve managed to hold out on X’s reveal until now. At the same time, the beauty of the Suspect X plot is that it was never about X’s identity, but how the rest of our cast would change before they finally had to confront the truth.

I’ve been pretty damn satisfied with the character development we’ve gotten for almost all of our characters (save for perhaps a few antagonists with disappointingly flat motivations), but the character development for Eun-ho and Tae-woon has really knocked it out of the park. They’ve both changed a lot since the beginning of the show—Eun-ho in terms of grappling with her dream, and Tae-woon in terms of how he views his relationships with people and with his sense of justice. More impressive than that individual development, however, is how we’ve seen the relationship between them grow as a result of their personal changes, and vice versa.

This episode especially was filled with really fantastic moments between the two that culminated from the progress we’ve seen so far. The title of this episode—”How to Protect You”—resonated deeply with respect to how Eun-ho and Tae-woon’s relationship has grown. It’s (sadly) not often that I really believe that a drama couple actually loves one another, but School 2017 has accomplished that believability in spades by showing how well and how deeply Eun-ho and Tae-woon understand each other. As a result, they each strive to provide the other with what they need—even if it might not necessarily be what they want. It’s been a really beautiful relationship to watch unfold these past fifteen episodes, but this episode in particular felt like a show of truly authentic love, and for that I couldn’t be more grateful. Tae-woon and Eun-ho, past all the teasing and the fighting and the family complications, are just two kids who want the best for each other. I mean, what more can you ask for?

To illustrate, I just loved Eun-ho’s powerful speech in this episode about wanting to protect Tae-woon’s eighteen-year-old life, because it shows just how much she knows him. Tae-woon might enjoy his expensive motorcycle and his fancy toys and clothes, but he’s clearly become much happier after gaining loyal friends, fighting with a sense of justice, and just living daily life as it comes. Eun-ho understands that, and more importantly, loves him so deeply that she’s unwilling to sacrifice her own happiness for it—the irony being that the very thing she’s sacrificing is that same average life she loves so much. Tae-woon, meanwhile, wants more than anything for Eun-ho to have her dream, and is willing to give up anything—ironically, again, his own perfect, average school life—for her opportunity to achieve it. Neither Eun-ho nor Tae-woon want the other to give anything up for them, of course, but that’s how they protect and love each other.

In that sense, the show knows how to strike the perfect balance between maturity and immaturity—after all, eighteen is on the cusp of both, when we have both our youthful idealism and our adult wisdom. Right along with the very adult hardships that she’s faced at school (corruption, discrimination, bullying, violence) Eun-ho’s reasons for loving school were so endearingly childlike. Getting scolded by teachers, talking with friends, and learning were her favorite things, as she said to Sa-rang in this episode, and she would miss it despite all the hardships she went through. But the idea of sacrifice is hardly a childish one, and their reasons for it—their idealism, sense of justice, and love for each other—coincide perfectly with their motivations and feels natural when it comes to Eun-ho and Tae-woon.

School 2017 is far from a perfect drama, much of which I believe can be attributed to its many subplots. But I do think that it’s been a truly stellar drama about youth. I know that many high school dramas—like the others in the School series and the Answer Me series—tend to focus on the age of eighteen to represent that crossroads between adulthood and childhood, but I think that School 2017 has done a particularly thoughtful job of representing the freedom, uncertainty, and poignancy that comes with age eighteen.

They are entitled to an average happy life, no matter what anyone says—even if society tells Eun-ho that she deserves less than average happiness because she gets bad grades and isn’t wealthy, and even if it tells Tae-woon that he’s destined for nepotistic success and obedience because he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. They are entitled to friends and loyalty, and to a family who loves and supports them—and if they don’t have those things, it’s a crying shame, and those people blocking them deserve to be punished.

My favorite part of this episode has to be Tae-woon’s expression upon seeing Eun-ho’s family stick up for her against Principal Yang. There’s no way to know exactly what he was thinking in that moment, but it certainly felt to me like there was a sense of envy for parents who would so vehemently protect her, as well as a sense of shame in his own father for failing to be that kind of parent. With those kinds of revelations, these kids reject the futures that the world outlines for them, and only by meeting each other and being exposed to each other’s lives at school were they able to recognize that. Tae-woon and Eun-ho have each other to remind them that they deserve happiness just like everyone else—and school is the place that put them on equal grounds so that they could see that.

 
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Needless to say that Tae-woon and Eun-ho trying to outdo each other in noble idiocy department was driving me crazy. I can understand that a bit better if their teacher still behaving like in the early eps. But they now have dependable teachers who surely can do something about their predicament. I'm sure they wouldn't go unpunished because they still broke school rules, but at least they (and we) wouldn't need to face all this expulsion debacle.

On to another topic, I'm so happy to finally see a new development in Nam-joo and Dae-hwi's relationship. And that sweet conversation between Dae-hwi and her dad just made my day. I wish we got there sooner and delved into this couple's problem a bit deeper. I think that tidbit about how Nam-joo's family used to be well off before her dad's business went bankrupt could become an interesting comparison to Dae-hwi's humble background and how those two feel about it. It also cleared up so many things about her lie and why her dad never called her out on it. She need to come to term with her new humble background herself before finally able to "forgive" her dad and admit it to her friends.

I want the show to go there, because while Dae-hwi's sweet gesture was swoony and all that, their problem is still hanging there, waiting to be adressed properly. It would be too easy for them to be back together just with one smooth line from him.

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I really wish that we the viewers were queued in about Nam-joo's family bankruptcy a few episodes earlier. I have been so turned off by Nam-joo's attitude toward her father that Iam firmly against Dae-hwi getting back together with her feeling like he deserves a better partner.

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I agree. I was so happy when I found out that Dae-hwi still liked Nam Joo but it was just for the pure reason that there was no messy love triangle with Tae-woon and Eun-ho. I have a really big problem with Nam-joo's attitude towards her dad

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going to miss this drama a lot :((

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me too very much !
i'll forever miss it ♥

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+1
I can't believe it has ended.

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This episode was ❤️

1 more episode and this is over ?Can we have college 2017 from like next week . We beanies can all be the writers and we can send d script through drama beans . ??‍♀️

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Omg yaaaassss College 2017 I really need that in my life. I wanna see them all grow up and go to college! T_T

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College 2017 sounds like a great idea i would definitely watch that...but with the same cast please.

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Yes, with kisses please.

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Yes this time a real one on the lips :D

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Or a remake of Secret garden with them both as leads...now that would be one i wouldn't miss for the whole world

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Thanks for the recap ?
My favorite moments and some random thoughts ?
◾ ? This is Tae Voice, yeah yeah, oh oh oh…, This is Tae, This is Tae Voice ? ? *The Voice opening parody ?*
Tae Voice, Tae Singer ??? at least we’ve got some swoony moments ? even if it was near the end of the ep ?, Tae Magic is getting weaker and it just enhances the fact that Tae Love made me overlook this drama weaknesses ?
◾ Title of the ep : How to protect you…… aka Noble idiocy ?
◾ Glad that Tae Woon can share his problems with Dae Hwi now ?
◾ Guess who’s back and hasn’t changed at all…Hee Chan ?
◾ SaRang approving Tae Woon as Eun Ho’s boyfriend ??
◾ “We’ll be together until we turn 108” & pinky promise ? : they’re craving for hands skinship ?
◾ PE teacher found out Police officer Han is dating Teacher Shim, poor PE Teacher *there there* ?
◾ Dae Hwi , he’s friend with Tae Nickname ㅋㅋㅋ so :
Dae Boyfriend during 200 days found out she played the cello ???
A girl approached Dae Hot : Love triangle for Dae Hwi or wake-up call ? answer : wake-up call ?
Dae Knight “what’s the policy on theft on the contract ?” ?
Dae Teasing “One iced americano and your number please” ? & Dae Sincere “I miss you” ??
Dae Knight protects his girl & his Tae Friend ? , Thank you Dae Knight for being there for Tae Woon (yes his name is Tae Woon ?)
◾ It’s pretty obvious what he’s doing, argh Hee Chan recording X confession ?, but I had fun seeing Director being cornered for once ? + Vice principal “Daaaaaaebak” ?
◾ Teacher Gu approving Eun Ho saying the school is a mess to the Principal ?
◾ Tae Oppa : being called Oppa is his new kryptonite ?
◾ Eun Ho’s family in suits & determined VS the principal : one of a kind ????
◾ He said it at the beginning of the ep, now he walks the talk ? :
Going public and confess he’s X …after hearing it from Dae Hwi, SaRang & Hee Chan in the previous eps ?

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I love how each know that the other is willing to be a nobel idiot to the other and forewarns the other. It just translates well - as Hanshimi said that the OTP are very real in their love for each other.

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*noble*

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As indicated, some of the writing has been problematic, but I can't remember the last time I watched such an emotionally satisfying show.

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Arghhh, my puppies. T_T I don't understand how they could be so darned adorable with each other, and I wish there were a way for them to not have to sacrifice themselves for each other. Noble idiocy hurts! (Also when Tae-woon said he had crazy stamina, my mind sort of went straight to the gutter LOL.)

I really want to hit that sneaky rat Hee-chan, but I believe that even if he hadn't given solid proof of Tae-woon being X, the director would still have used Eun-ho as the scapegoat. HC's little antics just gave the principal an edge to blackmail the director. Honestly these kids are 18, but all they think about is getting their parents to solve problems for them. Whatever happened to owning up and being responsible for your own actions?

On Eun-ho: Omg, her family. They're the most amazing bunch, and I swear I teared up watching the scene where they marched into the principal's office all dressed up and demanded to withdraw her. I like to think that TH teared up too because he saw what a real family should be like - something he didn't get to experience with his own dad. I honestly love how they didn't beat her up over the matter, they believed in and rooted for her, and it was precious.

On Tae-woon: This boy, and the sweetest things that come out of his mouth. Being happy til they are 108? He doesn't love anybody but her? Eeee! I love how the 2 of them are always cupping each other's' faces. And his voice! But the thing I love best about TW is that he sincerely wants the very best for EH. He wants to protect her dream at any expense, and it's amazing that he didn't turn out like the other rich kids in the class.

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I feel like cupping each other's faces all the time is more intimate than a kiss. It expresses their feelings for each other more.

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Tea-Woon not only has honey dripping from eyes but from tongue as well!!

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I cringe a bit when Tae Woon sang for Eun Ho on the phone. It's sweet of him to do that, but I couldn't take it because my ex-boyfriend from high school used to sing for me on the phone. Aha.

Anyway, I love Eun Ho and Sarang moment together. When Eun Ho cried and Sarang's there to console her, it's kinda heartbreaking but warm at the same time.

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My cringe was not induced by Tae-woon's singing (he has a great voice) but rather that all the sudden there is reverb added to the sound which takes me out of show. I had the same reaction to shows like Liar and His Lover when either Lee Hyun-woo or Joy is singing a cappella and without amplification there is significant reverb that is unnecessary especially all of their voices are beautiful to stand on their own.

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^this LOL. why'd they have to go and add that weird reverberation when his voice is perfectly fine on its own?!?!

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Thanks for the recap. Taeho's just perfect for each other like where do you see 18 year olds wanting to protect each other, that noble idiocy is touching af. Anyway, Eunho impresses me more. She's just so mature, her pure heart touches me. I'm really gonna miss this drama.

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Never thought Kim Jung Hyun is that good in singing what a lovely surprise.

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He is good at everything.

It felt like a musical.

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I've been watching (and loving) this drama mostly through the lens of understanding the characters whose experiences are quite different from mine, rather than nostalgia, that is being reminded of my own school days or youth.

But what Eunho said as she broke down really gave my heart a twist, because it made me remember what I miss about school. Not counting university, it has been 7 years since I graduated from junior college (the equivalent of high school). And the things I miss are really normal: sitting at the class bench with my friends, walking to the canteen that's farther away just to eat my favourite noodles or mixed vegetable rice, how I always make my friend accompany me to the toilet, when I was a scores librarian for my orchestra and walked to the photocopy shop outside of school to bind scores.

You really don't know what you'll miss about ordinary school days until you're about to leave it all, and it was so poignant how small yet precious the things that Eunho mentioned were.

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Are you from Singapore by any chance? Jc, class bench, mixed veg rice all sound like my jc too...

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Yes I am! (:

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:D Hello! ?

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this was a pretty disappointing episode for me to be honest - all the noble idiocy and self-sacrifice got on my nerves, although i can't say it wasn't entirely unexpected, since the central conflict has always felt too transparent and manufactured to feel relatable. but damn do i wish the plot had been more grounded, because i really miss the breezy, slice-of-life vibe from the first half of the show. :(

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I feel the same way. Thanks to the Beanies' fan posts I was mentally prepared for the noble idiocy which lessen my frustration a bit.

Even though I completely understand that it is necessary for the final conflict, there was just too much screen time spent on the principal, parents, and Tae-woon's father for the final 2 episodes. I wish it was replaced by scenes with Sa-rang and Kyung-woo, Bo-ra and Young-gun, Teacher Shim and Officer Han, Eun-ho's oppa and abuji, or just my favorite spirit animal Strawberry Milk Boy Byung-goo. Even more redemption scene for Hee-chang or Bit-na would be more welcomed.

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I wish the plot had forgone the noble idiocy to develop other storylines, too, but I found the noble idiocy to be executed in a believable way.

We already know that Eunho and Taewoon care deeply for each other, but with a less deft hand, it could've been quite difficult to believe in the idea of sacrifice for such young love. So I really liked that the show brought out this sacrifice in more concrete terms: for both of them, the other dropping out of school means losing normalcy and the ties that have become so important to them.

So they are still motivated by their feelings for each other, but more than just trying to drill the "they are sacrificing themselves just because they LOVE each other!" we see what they stand to lose if they don't make this decision. And how this decision is a difficult one that they would very much rather not make, as much as they care for each other.

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It wasn't so much Noble idiocy but naive sacrifice to me. The choices felt so in line with their characters, the influences of the past circumstances and their families, and their youth.
To me Noble idiocy requires that you don't warn the other party, whereas here both parties were frankly discussing it. TaeWoon also had family reasons prompting his actions that moves it beyond just something he did for EunHo.

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Ah yes, that's a fair distinction. It's also in line with how they don't shy away from communicating, so that's another consistency in writing that saved what could've been a cliche.

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I Looooooovveeeee School 2017!!!!
Love how Eun ho is protecting Tae woon, love how Tae woon is protecting Eun ho, Love everytime she smiles at him, Love the wayyy he looks at her.
Just please give me extension episodes...
Pleaseeeee....

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I love the way taewoon kept playing with eunho's face and when she linked her arm with him at school so damn natural !

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Tae swoon as X was cool at the end of the episode. The hood was just sassy.?

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When he saw her crying, i knew Tae namja would expose himself as x at the end of the episode. Totally cool of him..his character is jjang!

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This wasn't really my favourite episode when I watched it but reading the recap and @hanshimi's commentary makes me view it in a different perspective. I was pretty mad at Taewoon for taking so long to reveal himself but when I was reminded that they're only 18, I made worse and much stupider decisions then. This is one of the best commentary I've read so thank you @hanshimi. There was a lot that I wanted to quote because it just made go 'ooh' and 'aaah, that's right!'. I'll save that for later when I switch to my laptop. But thanks for the insight. Would love to read your thoughts on the final episode

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Episode 15 - How to Protect You fave moments

- Tae Woon playing with Eun Ho's face... saw the bts and dying of sweetness... kyaaa....
- Eun Ho linking her arm with Tae Woon so naturally
- Worried Eun Ho and Tae Woon telling her that they will be together till they 108 years old *so Sweet*
- The not to subtle warning to Eun Ho
- Oppa moment then the date
- Eun Ho talking back to the principal
- the awesome Ra family
- Tae SWoon singing to Eun Ho (if that was me, i will rush to his house and hug him)... kekeke
- and i broke down when Eun Ho is telling Sarang that she is not okay... cried a bucket in that scene
- Of course Tae Woon revealing himself as X

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I really like that Tae Woon and Eun Ho was looking out and want the best for the other. It was a good look on how their future will be.

I really love EunHo's family and how they went and confronted Principal Yang. It was unexpected on how they approached it but still very endearing. TaeWoon needed to see the sacrifice that EunHo did and show him what he needs in his life. A family that looks out for him and wants his best interest.

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I totally forgive the show for giving us this noble idiocy thing. This is warranted to show the maturity of Tae-woon and Eun-Ho's relationship even at their young age in contrast to the childish ways they tease and be lovey-dovey to each other. We have seen in the prior episodes how it was always Tae-woon who does all the effort protecting her and doing something for her. This time, it was her turn to try to protect him. She knows she has a strong support from her family no matter what, unlike Tae-woon's relationship with his father which is rather dysfunctional. She knows the hurt he had when his friend died and how he became withdrawn from the rest of the world because of that. She had seen him change from being a lonely grumpy rich kid to a now much happier 18-year-old highschooler and she wants to protect that. She's hurt, I am sure, but she has to choose what she thought could help Tae-woon, immature it may seem. We saw her in the verge of a dilemma while she tells Sarang how she loves being at school, but then she does not want Tae-woon to be hurt. I believe that even at the auditorium, standing there, waiting for her verdict, she still hopes that there will be other ways to save both of them; but of course, that would be too much to ask.

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Love your analysis of all this! I hate noble idiocy so much but this episode surprising didn't make me pull my hair out. It's so within their nature to sacrifice for each other and the show has made me believe that they're mature enough to go through with it. I could understand Eun-ho's noble idiocy because as you said, she didn't want to hurt Tae-woon

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I so agree. What differentiates this noble idiocy and makes it work is that firstly its the point of view of 18 year olds. I recall 18 as being a passionate time of living and reacting. More importantly it is birthed of innate understanding of the OTP of each other - through their fights and conversations and sharing and experiences there's a certain maturity in their relationship.

So while I facepalm at noble idiocy where there has been no conversation and understanding nor maturity in relationship but just pure assumptions on the part of one party - I do understand it here.

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TaeWoon also needed take the blame for his own sake. His guilt if he'd have let her do it would have crushed him. Plus he is desperate to regain a relationship with a father that won't happen without this honesty. So not really Noble idiocy to me, just aggravating circumstances.

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agree with hanshimi comment about tae woon expression about eunho family,,,even i envy with her for having such a family ?
daehwi with namjoo scene is also my favourite in this episode ??
but of course taeho scene is always sweet,,,i love jung hyun and se jong voices,it kinda addicting ? and i wish for their next project,,especially se jong

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I was actually biting my nails fearing that this week's episodes to disappoint. Preview did nothing assuage my fears of noble idiocies and cliche endings.

I can't agree more with your recap, hanshimi! I won't add anymore to what you've written except that if ever there's one time I agree, understand and even enjoy noble idiocy, it is this.

It's not that I have wool over my eyes due to my love for Tae-Ho but rather the drama managed to make their sacrifices more noble than idiotic.

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Well said!!!

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Nam Joo played the cello? I suddenly have a tiny bit of sympathy for her, as it's probably one of the most expensive instruments you can choose to play (needless to say, difficult to carry around). Still, it does not erase the fact that she has been really horrible to her dad, who in spite of his business failure seems like loving father. And I wish Dae Hwi had addressed the real issue as well: that you don't need to be rich to have friends (and a super handsome boyfriend). I guess it will be another of those conversations I will have to imagine because the finale was too taken up with noble idiocy.

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I am still numb from crying..my drama has ended
I miss it dearly

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Yeppp, same.

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All fangirling aside, this show is really well written! I usually pay attention a lot to character development and plot (though I may not talk about it a lot) but !! I really love everything about this show. I miss it already :'(

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Who else was clapping and cheering when TaeWoon hit HeeChan?

Tae-musical?...come on... Is there anything TaeWoon is not good at?

{Just thinking outside of ep 15...Maybe we can teach TaeWoon some proper etiquette when it comes to ordering chicken...치킨 먹자~... Kind of like if you order your chicken you should eat it too.}

Wasn't Issue's confabulating with KyungWoo in the hall — as to who X could be just as X was about to reveal himself — just the cutest? I really cannot decide between the two of them. Can't Sarang have both? I need a GIF of that scene, and maybe the two boys could start a boy band, just whoever becomes a member needs to don the X-gear. —[Why am I suddenly picturing DaeHwi on drums and TaeWoon as lead vocals???]

Seeing the look on HeeChans face as TaeWoon flanks past him in TW's X-garb — priceless. And also are they just going to ignore Bitna and HeeChan's – all of their – 'BitChan', hehehe, in the past???

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Gosh, is it already the second-to-last episode already?! But, it just started!!!! I am so, so, so, so happy with this show. It puts me through so many emotions in a single hour. I feel so bad for Tae Woon because of his father; we saw what his father was like in previous episodes, but all that seemed like nothing compared to this. Though I am in that "young adult department", I feel increasingly bad for younger generations that have parents that always protect their children from responsibility. We saw a glimpse of the negative effects that kind of parenting has with Hee Chan and how monstrous he was at only eighteen. Though Tae Woon is in a similar situation, I admire his fighting spirit to not be like Hee Chan and his father. I love that the show is putting this kind of pressure on parents and family heads to make sure they take a genuine interest in their children and encourage them to go for their dreams. Yes, kids can make their own decisions at eighteen, but eighteen is still in the "teens" section. They aren't adults yet and they need their parents to a certain degree to help them out.

The cute in previous episodes flowed into this one and I was squealing when Tae Woon had Eun Ho's cheeks in his hands (though it was a tense situation). The amount of pure affection they have for each other makes me scream, "Just kiss already!" They really have grown up a lot since the first episode and I am really sad to see their beautiful relationship end in this show (let's hope they get paired up in another show soon *fingers crossed*).

I am anxious for the last episode as to how Tae Woon and Eun Ho deal with the backlash that is sure to come with his taking off the mask of X and how things turn out for the rest of the students and teachers in this show. Now I must mentally prepare for the emotional break-down to come *breathes in and chokes on air from excitement*.

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I kept waiting for Teacher Shim to make an appearance defending/helping his kids. But apparently he was too busy being happy with Officer Han ?

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The comments for this ep are so quiet.. Guess everyone's waiting for the final ep to go crazy? :P
Think this ep really showed me how much I appreciated the way the writing avoided/used typical kdrama tropes. Multiple instances of noble idiocy, troubled-chaebol makes less-affluent friends, cash suddenly missing etc - felt sensitively handled and utilised towards the bigger picture.
I'm no fan of most tropes, and not entirely convinced this was intentional given other gaping holes (LIKE THE POST-IT AND KYUNGWOO BEING ALL YODA AT THE START)... But it was nice to have some patience rewarded? Like ok writer-nim, saw what you did there, good enough for me to stay on the Mori/Taeswoon-train :D

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I have been waiting for the recaps, 1stly I am really happy the way this drama unfolded. I had no expectations when I began but was really suprised about how the plot was executed. School series always leaves a message for its veiwers and this season just proved it again.
I am glad the romantic plot was so good it made me regret that I did'nt have a crush or 1st love in my school days.... DAMN IT.....????

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