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125

A Moment at Eighteen: Episode 5

A tragedy strikes our transfer student, and there are those at his new school who should be held responsible for the part they played. But the class president is powerful, maybe even more so when backed into a corner, and his network of minions are as loyal as they are desperate. But Joon-woo gathers supporters of his own, and even if it’s not enough to tip the scales, it might be enough to yield some hope.

  
EPISODE 5: “After that Long and Sad Day”

The culprit’s confession still ringing in his ears, Joon-woo lunges for Hwi-young and hits him right in the jaw, as Mr. Oh and the other students try to pull them apart. Joon-woo doesn’t drop his fist until he finally hears Soo-bin, who cries for him to stop.

Mr. Oh sits Joon-woo down to talk outside, where he learns that the kids inside confessed to Joon-woo that Ki-tae paid them to beat up Jung-hoo. Mr. Oh doesn’t get the Hwi-young connection, and doesn’t believe it when Joon-woo tells him that Hwi-young is the one who gives Ki-tae his orders.

Meanwhile, Soo-bin, Oh-je, and Hwi-young sit together on a bench. Hwi-young assures him that he doesn’t need to go to a hospital, and he offers that Joon-woo was acting out of grief when he hit him, not for any specific reasons. But then Hwi-young discovers that the kids who showed up with police said something to Joon-woo right before he exploded, and Hwi-young makes an excuse to leave to take a call from his tutor.

He’s really frantically trying to get a hold of Ki-tae, because he knows exactly what those kids might have told Joon-woo. Ki-tae doesn’t notice Hwi-young’s calls though, as he watches So-ye’s dance practice. She sees his phone trying to alert him though, and he scurries off with the excuse that his tutor needs to see him.

Back at the memorial hall, Mr. Oh packs up the other kids to drive them home and tries to reassure Joon-woo as he leaves him there to grieve. Joon-woo looks at his friend’s portrait and wonders aloud what he’s supposed to do now.

Hwi-young and Ki-tae meet up at a lonely building, where Hwi-young berates his friend for paying off Joon-woo’s old classmates. Ki-tae tries to defend himself, saying that Hwi-young told him to get Joon-woo expelled no matter what, but Hwi-young tells Ki-tae that Jung-hoo died in a car accident and that the money will lead a trail back to them both.

Ki-tae reminds Hwi-young that he promised to take full responsibility if anything happened, but now Hwi-young says he’s not so sure about that, since he never told Ki-tae to go so far as to give anyone money. Ki-tae panics and begs Hwi-young to tell him what to do, but Hwi-young makes it clear that he doesn’t have any help to offer.

As Hwi-young turns to abandon Ki-tae however, they both find So-ye around the corner, having followed Ki-tae there. Hwi-young asks Ki-tae if he’s dating So-ye, and specifically if she knows what they’ve done. Hwi-young hurls his bag to the ground in frustration, as Ki-tae follows after his girlfriend. So-ye lets Ki-tae know how disappointed to see that he is indeed Hwi-young’s little minion, and Ki-tae curls his head into his hands in frustration as she leaves him alone in the stairwell.

All the other girls are together studying, and they wonder why So-ye isn’t answering any of their calls. The conversation shifts as Soo-bin arrives and her friends offer sympathetic looks. Da-hwin wants to know how Oh-je is doing, since he’s not answering her calls either.

Soo-bin’s mom calls then, who wants to confirm that Soo-bin is attending her tutor today. Mom tells her daughter to stick with Hwi-young, and Soo-bin just sighs in agreement.

Ro-mi wants to know if Soo-bin has followed up on her test scores yet, while everyone else yells at her for picking the worst time to bring it up with everything else going on. Soo-bin’s ready though, and she tells Ro-mi to pack up and come with her to the tutor.

It seems that Tutor Sohn refuses to tell Soo-bin her test scores, and so she tells him that she’s dropping the lessons to study alone. She calls for Ro-mi, and Ro-mi bows and asks for the opportunity to take the placement test.

Soo-bin leaves her friend there, though her thoughts are on all of the efforts that her mom made to get her into the tutoring group in the first place. Hwi-young startles her back to reality as he arrives for the lesson, and Soo-bin asks him not to tell her mother that she quit. She also has a question for Hwi-young, though she hesitates to ask: why did he just take Joon-woo’s hits without fighting back?

Hwi-young shakes off her question, saying no one would just sit and take a hit. Hwi-young has his own question, about the longing expression that Soo-bin shot back to Joon-woo from the car, but he doesn’t ask and instead tells her to rest from the shock of it all and come to the next tutoring class.

Soo-bin finds herself at the convenience store window, watching Joon-woo stock shelves, until Joo-woo’s coworker unni Ji-min appears at her side. Ji-min asks if Soo-bin has a crush on “Yeong-bae,” and then tells her that she already has dibs on him. Soo-bin is flustered, and strikes back at Ji-min by calling her “ajumma” as she leaves. Ji-min growls at that, but smiles after Soo-bin as she retreats.

Da-hwin tracks Oh-je down at his father’s restaurant where she introduces herself to his dad as Oh-je’s girlfriend. Oh-je shakes his head no, but Dad isn’t really registering and just wants to congratulate his son. Oh-je is released from the awkward moment by a phone call from Joon-woo.

While the kids are busy with their own lives, Mr. Oh pays a visit to the correctional facility where Joon-woo’s former classmates are being held. The kid, Geon-hyuk, tells Mr. Oh that he told Joon-woo about Ki-tae and the money just to prevent Joon-woo from suspecting their involvement in Jung-hoo’s death. Mr. Oh asks Geon-hyuk to testify to what he saw, and the kid agrees.

Mr. Oh calls Joon-woo with the news, and asks Joon-woo to join him at school to get the kid’s confession and sort things out. Joon-woo thanks his teacher for the help, and Mr. Oh reassures him that the world isn’t completely unfair.

As Joon-woo walks home, he runs into Ki-tae, desperate to contact So-ye and spiraling into his panic. Joon-woo tells him that he knows that it was all Hwi-young’s demands, while Ki-tae still tries to cover for Hwi-young and makes up a story about paying the kids off for trouble that his little brother got into.

Joon-woo obviously knows better, and says that Ki-tae must know that Hwi-young will get out of it and leave all the blame for Ki-tae. Joon-woo tells Ki-tae to just tell the truth tomorrow, and asks Ki-tae how he can remain so loyal to someone like Hwi-young.

Ki-tae breaks and drops to his knees in front of Joon-woo. He confesses that he’s the only one in his family who can make it into college and provide, and he begs Joon-woo to drop everything so that his life isn’t ruined. “Yours is ruined already, but not mine,” he says.

“No one’s life is ruined already,” Joon-woo answers. “We’re all only eighteen. You, me…and Jung-hoo.” Joon-woo leaves Ki-tae standing in the street.

Meanwhile, So-ye lurks near Hwi-young’s house to intercept him. Hwi-young thinks she’s there to ask him not to tell anyone that she’s dating Ki-tae, but she offers a deal of her own, that she won’t tell anyone about what she heard, as long as Hwi-young protects Ki-tae.

As soon as Hwi-young walks through his front door, his mother spots the bruises on his face and asks what happened. Mom wants to go to the hospital, while Hwi-young is mostly concerned about whether his dad is home yet. Dad’s not there yet, and so Hwi-young asks his mother to help him, and he gives Ki-tae a call.

Soo-bin sits in her room, trying to compose a text to Joon-woo. But she just can’t bring herself to ask if he’s okay, since she knows he couldn’t be. Joon-woo, meanwhile, finds his mom waiting for him when he arrives home. Mom does her best to take care of Joon-woo, but the attention becomes overwhelming, and Joon-woo ducks outside for a breath, where he breaks down in the street.

The next day, the classroom is buzzing with rumors about Joon-woo, including one of Joon-woo calling Oh-je asking for Ki-tae’s address. Pil-sang announces that Joon-woo is in the vice-principal’s office, where he overheard the vice-principal scolding Joon-woo for hitting Hwi-young. That’s when everyone notices that Hwi-young didn’t come to class either, and then Ki-tae is called to the counseling room as Hwi-young finally arrives (poor nervous So-ye watching it all!). Hwi-young laughs off the idea that Joon-woo is a gangster and tells everyone to quiet down.

Joon-woo walks the halls towards the counseling office, and Hwi-young meets him at the intersection and then enters the counseling office too. The vice-principal welcomes Hwi-young in, mentioning that his mother called him this morning.

Mr. Oh is there as well, but the vice-principal blocks him at the door. He reminds Mr. Oh that he’s been relieved of his duties as homeroom teacher, though Mr. Oh protests that he’s the one who brought this incident forward in the first place. The vice-principal doesn’t budge on it though and Mr. Oh watches the room from the window.

The vice-principal and teachers call Geon-hyuk at the correctional facility and ask him to confirm Joon-woo’s report. But now Geon-hyuk denies receiving money from Ki-tae and attempting to lure Joon-woo into a fight. Hwi-young smile smugly, having gotten away with everything.

He and Ki-tae walk together after they’re dismissed, and we flashback to the night before when Hwi-young called Ki-tae over. Hwi-young tells Ki-tae that his mother is taking care of everything, and says that he never planned to abandon Ki-tae. Ki-tae thanks Hwi-young, though there’s something in his eyes that suggests that looks like lingering mistrust.

Meanwhile, Mr. Oh has his own flashback to when he reassured Joon-woo that everything would work out, and he winces as Joon-woo gives him a look that says, “I told you so.” Joon-woo now meets with a school counselor, who reassures him that he acted out in his grief, and that they can all work through it together.

Hwi-young and his mother celebrate their victory over the phone, and Mom is especially relieved that they were able to handle things before Hwi-young’s father found out. Mom makes Hwi-young promise to never let anything like this happen again.

Mr. Oh spots Hwi-young, and apologizes to the kid for misunderstanding the situation. Hwi-young just smiles and says he gets how someone might want to support the weaker side. Mr. Oh grumbles to himself about the arrogant remark as Hwi-young joins his friends, and hopes that he didn’t apologize for no reason.

But in the teacher’s offices moments later, Mr. Oh suddenly withdraws a resignation letter from his drawer and delivers it to the vice-principal, who is on the phone but frantically chases after Mr. Oh.

The girls are huddled together in a practice room with their lunches, discussing all of the gossip from the day’s events. When Chan-yeol reports that Joon-woo looked like he’d given up, Soo-bin leaves to find him in the recycling shed.

Joon-woo curtly tells her not to ask if he’s alright, and Soo-bin says that she’s there to ask what happened between Joon-woo and Hwi-young. Joon-woo asks if she’s upset that he beat Hwi-young up, since she’s his girlfriend, and Soo-bin recoils at his harsh tone. She says that she just wants to help, and Joon-woo tells her that he doesn’t want her pity. In his thoughts, though, he wonders why he’s taking his anger out on Soo-bin, after he’s held it together for so long. The damage is done though, and Soo-bin retreats with a cold apology.

Back in the classroom, Joon-woo is already looking at Soo-bin with regret, but he can’t catch her eye. The news of Mr. Oh’s resignation hits the classroom, and Hwi-young eagerly moves to the front of the class to take over for their homeroom teacher. But his reign is interrupted by Mr. Oh, who he assumes is there to say goodbye to everyone.

The class erupts with protests, and Joon-woo begins to pack up his bag to leave. Mr. Oh asks him to at least hear him out, and announces to the classroom that he isn’t resigning after all. Not only that, but Mr. Oh is no longer their substitute assistant teacher–he’s now their official homeroom teacher.

And now we flashback to when Mr. Oh received a call from the missing homeroom teacher. It seems that the missing teacher had been readmitted to the hospital. Armed with that information, Mr. Oh turned in his resignation, knowing that the vice-principal would be desperate to find someone to cover the class. Mr. Oh refused the vice-principal’s pleas to return, unless he was instated as a full homeroom teacher for the class. Good work, Mr. Oh.

Outside class, Mr. Oh spots Hwi-young and Ki-tae and issues a warning to them, that he plans to keep an eye on both of them. Hwi-young returns his typical smarmy confidence, while Ki-tae looks more nervous.

Meanwhile, Joon-woo is busy looking up directions to the correctional facility where his Geon-hyuk is held. Hwi-young and his entourage pass in the hall, and Joon-woo can’t help but call out to Ki-tae, asking him if he feels better now that his life isn’t ruined. The guys blow him off, but when Joon-woo turns he finds Mr. Oh waiting for him.

At the correctional facility, Geon-hyuk is surprised to see Joon-woo there to see him. Joon-woo tells Geon-hyuk that they held a good funeral for Jung-hoo, who was grateful just to get to sit with his bullies and eat lunch. Geon-hyuk stands to leave, and Joon-woo tells him to take care of himself.

Mr. Oh waits for Joon-woo outside, and Mr. Oh teases Joon-woo while Joon-woo tells his teacher that his naivete is charming. Mr. Oh announces that he’s found a new dream, to become a teacher Joon-woo trusts. Mr. Oh musses Joon-woo, who protests that he’s messing up his style, and they lope down the hill together.

Joon-woo’s lifting spirits take a short plunge though at work, when he finds the handkerchief pressed between his notebook pages and recalls his spat with Soo-bin. At home, Joon-woo tries to send an apology text, but he can’t quite hit send.

The next morning though, Joon-woo sweeps in to carry a heavy pile of notebooks for Soo-bin. She doesn’t give him even a smile in return though and proceeds to hand out the coursework to everyone. Hwi-young takes his preferred spot at the front of class and announces seat reassignments for the looming test. Groans rise from the class as it becomes clear that Hwi-young sat everyone with lower grades in the back of the room, while those in his study group are packed together at front.

Soo-bin questions whether this is necessary, and Hwi-young replies that the class approved on this process earlier in the year. Joon-woo asks Oh-je if everyone really voted for this, and Oh-je says that there were some hold outs, like him, Soo-bin and Chan-yeol, but that Hwi-young got the majority vote in the end.

When Mr. Oh returns to the class, he’s startled to see everyone in new seats, and asks Hwi-young why he wasn’t consulted before the change was made. Hwi-young stands his ground and says that they’ve always done it this way in the past. Mr. Oh moves on, and announces a supplementary English class after school. But oh, Hwi-young and his study group can’t attend since it conflicts with their meeting time. Mr. Oh can’t stop them from skipping his class, since it’s not part of the regular curriculum, though he does get a few students to agree to stay (though not Joon-woo, even though he shoots him a look, haha).

In the teacher’s office though, Mr. Oh continues to argue with Hwi-young about the new seating arrangement. When Hwi-young tells him he can’t yield to him this time, Mr. Oh asks if he comes to school just to yield things to his own teacher. Mr. Oh plays it pitiful for a moment, but then he laughs and says that his pride hasn’t hit rock bottom yet, and firmly demands that the seats return to their previous arrangement. Once Hwi-young walks away though, Mr. Oh issues a prayer to every god he knows, including his grandmother, for the strength to stand firm, ha.

After class is over, Joon-woo turns up at Hwi-young’s study group. Hwi-young tries to suggest that Joon-woo isn’t qualified to join the group, but Joon-woo gets his own jab in as he shrugs and says that he can’t stay after all. He then turns to Hwi-young and asks why he goes through all this effort for everyone else, and then sighs that it must be hard.

On his way out of school, Joon-woo spots Soo-bin’s mom as she marches in. She pulls Soo-bin from class and drags her away to a secluded hallway, where she explodes. Mom has found out about Soo-bin dropping her math tutor, and now Mom yells and strikes Soo-bin. Soo-bin tells Mom that she’s embarrassed at the way they got her into the group, and now Mom yells that she’s embarrassed by her daughter, who she can’t brag about to any of her friends.

Soo-bin fires back that if her mom gave birth to her just to brag about her, she should just get rid of her and adopt a smart kid instead. Mom tells Soo-bin to get out of her house, and Soo-bin thanks her mother for releasing her from her expectations and stalks off. Around the corner, Joon-woo lingers on the stairs, having witnessed it all.

Soo-bin splashes water on her face before returning to class, but she promptly excuses herself for the day and leaves. Over the hill, Joon-woo waits with his bike, and though she tries to ignore him, he follows along. He confesses that he saw what happened with her mom, and Soo-bin retorts that now he sees that he isn’t the only one with problems.

Soo-bin says she wants to be alone, but when Joon-woo moves ahead to leave, she calls after him that she’s not Hwi-young’s girlfriend, and that she hasn’t been checking in on Joon-woo out of pity because… She trails off briefly, and then admits, “because I like you.”

Joon-woo’s expression widens in shock, and his legs wobble on the pedals of his bike as he begins to sail down the hill on his bike.

  
COMMENTS

Haha, poor Joon-woo might actually get into a real bicycle accident now. His reaction is perfectly darling though, and I hope Soo-bin helps him limp to his part-time job and rile up Ji-min’s faux jealousy a little more. Now that a little hope has returned to Joon-woo after all of this heartbreak, it looks like he’ll be trying to extend some of that to Soo-bin right when she needs a boost. Joon-woo’s been a loner, but he’s clearly shown that he’s no misanthrope. He cares deeply for his friends, and is more than willing to take a beating (or the fall) for them if necessary.

I’m hoping that Soo-bin walking away from her mother has the best outcome possible. I can’t tell you how angry I was when I saw Soo-bin’s mom manipulate her previously, lying in bed injured because her daughter dared stand up to her and then celebrating in bed when her guilt trip worked. The games that Soo-bin’s mother is willing to play to get her daughter in a good school are too much for a child to deal with, and thank goodness that Soo-bin recognizes her mother’s bad behavior and is willing to walk away, though it’s clearly not easy for her.

It’s not perfectly clear yet what is driving Soo-bin’s mom to act this way, though we’ve got some clues. Her angry reaction in this episode provides a mask of the stereotypical mom who wants their child to be the best so that she can brag to her friends, but I think this is just cover for Mom’s own insecurities. I’m guessing that Mom experienced her own struggles, and thinks she’s protecting her daughter. Rookie parenting mistake number one: assuming that what would have been good for you will be good for them.

Where will Soo-bin land as she hides from her Mom? Hwi-young’s place seems unlikely considering his father. None of Soo-bin’s girlfriends have really stepped up as the kind of best friend who would let her live indefinitely in their room, so I’m not sure where that leaves her.

I am so loving the growing relationship with Mr. Oh, and his character development in general. He can be flighty, but he recognizes that in himself, and he makes sure that he does show up when it counts. And, like all the best school dramas, he and Joon-woo will likely help each other grow and change for the better. I do wonder if Mr. Oh would even bother pushing back against Hwi-young if he didn’t feel compelled to protect Joon-woo, but I’m glad that they’re all there now.

Hwi-young clearly prefers to be in the spot where everybody owes him something, and it’s clear to see why. He definitely likes being in the position of power where if he needs something, he’ll get it, and otherwise everyone will get out of his way. That’s why Joon-woo, and now Mr. Oh, have been so irksome to him. And it’s only going to get worse. This test of his net of minions didn’t fail, but it definitely weakened the links.

I do think that we’ll be headed for redemption for Hwi-young. His family life is complicated, and I can’t stop thinking about when Soo-bin asked why he just let Joon-woo hit him. I imagine some of it is a feeling inside that he deserves it for what happened to Joon-woo’s friend, but I also wonder if Hwi-young is used to getting hit, and knows that the best way to get out of it is to just wait for it to end.

We haven’t learned too much about some of the side characters, but the hints so far seem to strongly suggest that Oh-je will be revealed as secretly gay. I’m hoping that the show doesn’t go down the well-tread path of a broken-hearted second lead, because I’m tired of watching the sweet boys not get the guy in the end. I would love for Oh-je to find love if this is where we’re headed, or even to just leave him happily single until the right guy comes along. I’m hoping that the biggest trauma he has to face is breaking Da-hwin’s heart a little, and that his father will be supportive when everything is revealed. Do I think we’ll get this? The show hasn’t given us any indication that it won’t go with what’s expected, but I’m willing to hope.

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"..the hints so far seem to strongly suggest that Oh-je will be revealed as secretly gay"
Thank you for catching this @abirdword, I think so too and was wondering if I was reading too much into what was being shown on screen. I do feel very strongly that Oh Je has a small crush on Joon-woo, but can't really do anything but watch from the sides.

Again, I nearly dropped the show after the very heavy episode 4 - I was quite heartbroken and hardly slept the night I watched the episode, it was very disturbing - but the show is really good. I'm surprised at the young actors here. They're showing such amazing depth, even Ong Seung-woo - unexpected and surprising. A round of applause for everyone!

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I didn't catch the possible gay character, but it makes sense. I thought he was a kind person being run over by a girl with a huge crush. I felt terrible for him when she asked him to date her in front of the whole class and then again when she showed up at the restaurant and announced to his father that she was his girlfriend.

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Dain crush is cute but poor Ohje getting cornered to accept her proposal.
If Ohje is gay, I hope he didn't get outed...

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Yeah, her confession was playing a little dirty to be honest. Oh-je is clearly a sweet guy, and wouldn't want to embarrass her. She didn't mean to corner him I'm sure, but she ended up doing so.

I'm not sure what it is about the gentle Oh-je that gives away his crush on Joon-woo, but its there. The actor is doing a phenomenal job.

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I thought I was the only one having these ideas! I had it when he sat with Joon Woo at the cafeteria, it was the way the talked and how he showed interest in him, it was subtle but there. But to be honest I thought it was my dirty mind playing tricks and that they would never get the courage. Yes, the actor is doing great.

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I hate, hate, hate public confessions. They put the person on the spot. Poor Oh Je

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Poor Oh-Je indeed! :-(

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It didn’t even cross my mind. I just thought he was a simple character and he accepted her proposal because he did not want to say NO in front of everyone!!

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His character profile did say that he can't say NO and that's why he ends up dating even if he doesn't like the girl. But it also said that he has a secret he's hiding so ohje is not as simple as he looks.

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i also agree with not wanting Oh Je to have a crush on Junwoo and then get broken hearted. Reply 1997 did it and I think that's enough for now. I want to see a character actually coming into his sexuality and exploring it in a way that hasn't been shown in Kdramas. Again, the charm of this drama is to turn tropes on its head and never quite give you what you are expecting so I have hope.

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What do you mean, that if he's gay he should find a boyfriend? They don't have the courage yet. There are not enough gay characters in kdramas, better to have a realistic situation when one gets simple interest in a friend than have no gay character anywhere or those detestable comic characters that only exist for jokes in the story.

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The whole 'gay supporting character has a crush on the heterosexual male lead and gets his heart crushed' has been done too many times in kdramas for it to be fresh or different.

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I was only remembering one of those in Reply 1997. Can you tell me about the others? Besides every kdrama has a million cliches, if it's a gay character being done in a realistic and positive way I think they need more of them and it's not so common yet.

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@lixie - "The Best Moment to Quit Your Job" I only watched half of it, but am pretty sure the gay chef got her heart broken. There was nothing to indicate the other girl liked her back. Other than this, I also haven't seen any Kdramas with a well done gay character. Caricatures? Too many to count. Representation matters, it would indeed be better if the show could go all out and show him in a relationship, but something is better than nothing?

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Basically I mean that I would like for the hints to be pointing in the right direction re Oh Je's orientation. The show has been very sensitive towards teen issues so far, and so I'd like to see its take on his situation. *fingers crossed*

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as @lixie said, I doubt they'll actually give Oh-Je a boyfriend (if he is indeed gay), but I'm keeping my fingers crossed for something a little more progressive than simply getting his heart broken by an inevitable rejection.

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I'm behind you @greenfields on the possible crush Oh-Je has on Joon Woo. Very reminiscent of Joon-Hee in Reply 1997.

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I haven't watched Reply 1997 but that particular aspect of the storyline has always intrigued me. I should check it out. *makes note*

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It was well done.

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I was thinking the same thing when he didn’t admit to dahwin being his girlfriend in front of his father. But I was sure when he offered to get junwoo ‘tteokbokki’. I mean tteokbokki is literally the bubbling-feelings dish in kdramas!

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Thank you for the quick recap! Bumbi rolling down the slope and Junwoo’s expression was so cute lol.

As for Soobin’s mom, her behavior is actually very common for Korean (and Asian) parents. She also did mention how difficult it was for women to make their mark in their society and how they have to work 100 times harder than men in order to get a good job and salary. It’s also pretty much confirmed that her mom is the breadwinner of the family and the fancy house and so forth are all her’s. Soobin’s mom also said she feels annoyed at having to suck up to Hwiyoung’s mom and that she would be nowhere without her husband and sons. She said that in a very disgusted tone so she obviously does not want Soobin to go down that path.

In Korea, SKY university degrees pretty much guarantee a good job and a good pay so I also think Soobin’s mom wants her to have all the luxuries she has now when she grows up, but on her own terms and with her own money, not wanting her to depend on her husband.

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@kimpia12
This drama is like making fish aware of the water it swims in. Every culture tells itself lies about unspoken realities built in to them - and this writer brings them to the front and centre. Writer Yoon Kyung-Ah uses how teens at that point of transition either challenges or succumbs to those realities.

Teacher Oh is such a beautiful character as he is still that idealistic (inexperienced) adult who has believed the lies and the bandaid is being ripped off all of a sudden.

Every positive in a culture has its corresponding dystopia and I love that this drama never diminishes the positives, but at the same time it won't let you forget either side of that coin.

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I wonder what it says about me, but I understand Soo Bin's mom at some level.
She obviously grew in a poor to the average household, worked a lot to get where she is and knowing what she went through she doesn't want her daughter to experience it.
Realistically speaking, what does Soo Bin want? Does she even know what it means to be looked down or living from pay to pay? She grew up in a rich family and her classmates adore her. Saying shortly, she lives in a bubble. Her mother also said it correctly-you just have to work that one year. Only one year and you would have all the best options. I am not saying that everyone should be ambitious but at some point, her bubble is going to burst and if she isn't happy with the results what is she going to do?

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@nerdy
This writer has that ability to craft very human adult characters. They appear to have all the tropes of a teen drama parent, but they are put into context and you understand their position.

If you have seen GG79, Kim Sun-Young (Soo Bin's mom) was such an epic character arc. While never loosing empathy with the young protagonist, you felt the realities and pathos of the decisions she had to navigate.

I am still expecting Soo-Bin and the relationship with her mother to be the dark horse of the drama and every episode this becomes more evident. There is a reason 2 such strong female actors are in these mother/daughter roles.

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I agree partially, her mother is afraid that Soo Bin won't be able to maintain the lifestyle she is accustomed to and want the best for her daughter (plus a little bragging wrights in front of her friends) but she don't listen to Soo Bin concerns and try to help her find solutions, if Soo Bin is a good and studious and still don't have the best results, looking for the core of the problem would better than yelling and demanding more work.

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I think that’s the problem. She doesn’t listen to her and understand from her point of view. So far we don’t know why soo-Bin doesn’t want to achieve more.
1) Is it because she’s is aware of her limitations (not everyone can score high just because they work hard at it). May be she knows that even if she gets into Seoul university she can’t survive there because she is not that smart. She just can’t sustain it for the rest of her life.
2) she is just rebelling because she wants to disprove mom. This is dangerous because it’s her loss eventually.
3) her father has something to do with this. Her father is probably an underachiever and she wants to stand by him.

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Her dad still not making appearence. We didnt even get a phone call between them. But the way SB asking about him sounds like they have a good relationship but mom kinda gives their family pic A Look.. or did I overthink that part? 🤔🤔🤔

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No, you are not overthinking at all.
Definitely, there is something. Mom doesn't approve of dad's ways is what I got from that.
And somehow SooBin doesn't like that his dad is judged because he does what he loves and not what is expected of him.
am just making up stories in my head.
LOL.

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@hanie and @mayhemf I think you're unto something... can't wait to see if it unfolds that way!

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Even in the relationship chart released before the show, Soobin's dad was shown as an pictureless id tag in connection to Soobin. Even Hwiyoung's brother (whom we haven't seen yet either) had a photo there, but not Soobin's dad. Wonder what's going on with him.

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I actually thought it was the first one, but then she rejected the appointment with her teachers. I mean sure, you have your limitations but to actually push them or at least come close to them don't you need all the support you can get?
I think it is the second option, her only dream was to get rid of her mom's nagging. It wasn't to do XXX and get mom's approval. It was being free from her.
It would have been better if the writer actually gave Soo Bin some plan. Any. Maybe make her want to be an artist or something. That would justify her actions and still let her mom stay reasonable (the pressure and risks of being an artist).

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yes! you said it so well, @nerdy . Soo-Bin lives in a bubble of normalcy and happiness that her family created and obviously, her mum has a harsher experience and wants to prepare her daughter for real life outside of this sheltered sphere.

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@kethysk
The mother has forgotten that when you try to raise a strong thoughtful child, you can't be surprised when they are...and your on the receiving end.

Their problem is a universal one. The mother has not changed her communication format to deal with Soo-Bin's changing self-awareness. I do no question the love or care in her harsh words - only she is still talking to Soo-Bin like she is a 10year old and her adult word is unquestionable.

She should be proud her daughter is able to stand up. The next step is just so much harder - to be able to help them moderate how and when to make a stand. That is the mark of real maturity and sadly that quest never ends.

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I wonder what the acceptance rate is for the University? How is mom so sure that Soo Bin would get in on her grades and her grades alone?
I like that Soo bin is realistic about her abilities as a student. She does the work but is not naturally an academic and she knows that getting in is just the first step. If she was accepted she'd be expected to excel in what I'm assuming is very challenging classes.

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I felt the same way. She is good but not super smart. She knows it and hence doesn’t want to put herself in a place where she won’t fit and have to struggle her entire life to meet the expectations of people around her.
If only someone can talk to this girl and see what her strengths are and give her proper counsel. She is such a level headed person for most parts.

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I think she is smart but doesn’t give herself enough credit. She’s the study leader, and assessment “queen” or something. She’s has above average grades. She just doesn’t want to study as hard as she can. Maybe it’s been instilled into her that it’s Seoul University or bust. That’s the way her mom speaks anyway. But the fact is there are other top-ranking universities in Korea. Mr. Oh needs to have a sit-down with the mother and talk about Soo-bin’s options. Why force her down one track? She’s rebelling because she is given no option and no say in the matter of her future.

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I think she is very intelligent and a very hard worker. And maybe she could get in but is in direct opposition to her mom.
I dont know the expectations of this University but just being above average grades doesn't mean one could get into somewhere like Stanford. Then to meet the requirements and carry the course load once in would be a big commitment.
And I agree about forcing her down one track. I am sure there is more than one great school in all of S. Korea. Also, if Soo Bin knows what she wants to focus on find the school with the best program for that degree.

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She does mention she wants to go to a university as long as it's the major she wants. So it does look like she has an idea of what major she wants to do. I don't think her mom is listening to what she wants to do. She just wants to send her to the university for 'pride' and because she thinks its best for her.

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@wishfultoki
Soo-Bin may be one of those children who excel at one type of assessment but not others. She may know that she is at her limits and that people's perceptions of her are falsely elevated because where she excels is so publicly visible.

The mark of how insightful she is - is that she is wise enough to realise it and know that she may never be able to meet her mother's expectations.

If that is the case, Soo-Bin needs her mother to start thinking of how a woman can succeed in South Korea if you don't go to the very best school/University. I.e the tools her mother actually used to get where she herself is.

We can't know for certain and you may be correct - just thought I would open up another reading as Soo-Bin doesn't appear to be lazy and is constantly shown to be seriously studying.

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I like how this drama is constantly surprising me. I expect a situation to follow a tried and tested path and it fails to deliver. I know that sounds like a criticism but it’s not. Especially in this genre of high school romance type dramas. This drama has all the elements of high school but honestly NONE of the histrionics. Which is actually novel. Case in point.

When JW confronts KT in the street and KT begs him to just take the blame, I mean he had a point, JW was already a “loser” in life, KT was “clean”, he tried to drive home his point with a guilt trip, “I am my parents’ only hope. I am supposed to make it to University and make something of myself for their sake.” I was expecting JW to cave and go down the path of being downtrodden and deadbeat...with the usual KDrama reversal in the end of course... but no... he has the strength of character and the very adult mindset to think, “No... that’s not how it works. You made a choice and you live with the consequences of your choice. I should not be forced to clean up the mess you got yourself into.” Hence his very very astute reply that they are but 18, there is time enough for them to get over wrongs/mis steps. It’s not that he didn’t understand KT’s plight. He did. But it wasn’t the right way to go. You make mistakes, but you own up to it and grow from it. No-one is a loser for life unless they choose to be. Remember his words to his deceased Friend? Just because you’re born into a life less fortunate does not set you up for failure. What you do with it determines your future. You are the Captain of your own destiny. He refuses to let life (and in this case HwiYoung) dictate whether he is a failure or not. His focus is on character, being decent, being truthful, living up to a moral code. I love this boy. Such an old soul.

And on the flip side, SooBin is the same. She refuses to bow to conventions. She knows herself. She knows her limits. She knows that once you get on that treadmill of bending the rules and doing anything it takes to get on top of the heap, you lose what little sense of self that you have. She would rather keep her dignity. Just like JW, she realises that your dignity and self respect is really what matters in the end. It defines you. If you allow others and outside entities define who you are (like HwiYoung), you end up being shackled to the very thing you think will liberate you. Because once you build it, there’s constant maintenance required to keep up with the facade. Kudos to the writer for these little nuggets of wisdom weaved into a “Coming of Age” drama.

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Hwiyoung and Kitae always referring to Junwoo as a loser and/or ‘disadvantaged’ (which angered Teacher Oh) is just (unfortunately) how 90% of the Korean population would see someone like him. Single mothers and kids who grew up with them have a bad reputation.

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Because to them their worth has been determined by theirs parents’ all life long.
They know nothing about self worth

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Completely agree. Well said @Pilgrim!

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I screamed so loud when Soo-bin confessed to Joon-woo. It was so cute!

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I can't express how I loved Teacher Oh in this episode, he was not perfect but he show maturity in all the best moments, I especially liked that he feel the need to apologize to Hwi Young for taking sides without hearing out both sides, and he did it not because he thought HY was innocent but because it was right thing to do as a teacher and when he apologize to Joon Woo for giving him false hope, I loved it, and that part when he naturally feel the need to protect weaker side but still want to be there for all students, he is my favourite drama adult right now.
It's obvious now that Joon Woo showing up shakes class balance and it seems like it'll end with Hwi Young spiralling out of control before crashing and burning.

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Mr. Oh is wonderful. I love that they showed us how he has to confront his own anxiety before he tries to wrestle control of the class from Hwi Young. He and Joon Woo are adorable together.

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I love that he isn't some infallible righteous teacher, but human who still figuring things out.
And I noticed that whenever Hwi Young did something awful we will get a glimpse of his horrible home life as reminder that his behaviour is not out of blue.

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I’ve never seen a case like this where the class president challenges the teacher for absolute control of the room. It must be really difficult. So actually, Mr Oh’s easygoing personality (naivety sometimes) is useful because it makes things unpredictable for Hwi Young.

The other good tactic was talking privately to Hwi Young. I’ve had bullies in my class and I used to think I’d have to “fight” them to remain in control, but I tried to joke around and show them that I treated all students equally, and they improved a bit (Not easy, I assure you, a lot of puffing and gathering of wits like Mr Oh occurred).

In short, telling Hwi Young that he’s willing to listen to him as his home room teacher is a smart move. Hwi-Young might not think much of it now, but I hope he finds out that he can trust Mr Oh too.

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His frustration as a teacher of Hwi Young's control of the class - of the school vice principal and staff!! - is palpable and relatable. Given how deep parents' hands go into how the school administration functions, I can tell he's trying to tread carefully but oh that must piss him off so much!!

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But poor Ohje. Get cornered at school and accepting Dain proposal, get cornered at his family restaurant too... hehehe BUT
Ohje keep making me wonder when we gonna get his arc.
I.need.to.know.his.secret
And I do notice that Ohje is basically a nobody at school but curiously, nobody disturbs him. HW left him alone, Pilsung too...

Mr. Oh is shaping up to be a good teacher and part of JW support system. The fact that he tries to get the bottom of it and accompanying JW to meet the guy at (correctional centre?), he is a good teacher. He is not bad at playing with the school politics too despite he is kinda outsider from the rest of the teacher. He also seems to not really buying HW's good student facade. Stand firm teacher Oh. I cant wait to see how his character development in coming episodes

I also wonder if mom knows about JH passing. I assume she knows because she comes over and fussing over JW. I wish JW just lean on mom but I guess he just overwhelmed and too used to taking care of himself? But I rejoiced when JW snub HW regarding the study group tbh. That would definitely rile HW up.

I was actually thinking like SB, that HW purposely let JW punch him but your comment about how he used to getting hit makes me wonder about it now. HW seems really scared of his dad and tries to avoid him. I wanted to comment more about him but I'm afraid I end up spoiling ep 6, so I'll just comment about HW in ep6 thread later.

With SB, I partially understand her mom concern. Judging how hard she works, I guess it was all effort and not her background. Having said that, mom really needs to listen to SB. She is a good student, just not the best student. Their scenes at the school are painful to watch tho. And her confession after that, yep... I was having the same look as JW too~

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I feel bad for Oh Je and cringe every time Da In shows up. The guy couldn't look more disinterested, he doesn't even do anything to mislead her. Why is she so clingy? Where is her self respect? Would we ever find out her reason? Do we have to watch that for another five episodes?

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Is she really clingy though?

She's just acting as a girlfriend... but he doesn't regard her as one. And that's on him. I mean, even if he agreed in public, he could've told her in private that he doesn't feel that way with her and let her down.

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If the theory of him being gay is true, he's probably extremely confused himself rn.

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Yup. I dont think she is that clingy (just yet). She thought they are dating. Ohje need to tell Dain exactly how he feels, the sooner the better. They only been dating for few days rn so hopefully it didnt break Dain heart too much.

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she did a whole foolish diet over "he likes skinny girls". Her heart will break HARD AND LOUDLY.

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@kethysk ohh.. I already forgot about that.. it will be messy then
urmm... good luck Ohje~?
lol

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she IS clingy. and yes, he should just be honest with her, but she also sounds like the type who would turn into a town crier and let the world know he rejected her AND make him look bad for it.

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It appears the must-see K dramas these days are the high school dramas. One after another they just never fail to impress me!

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"Everything and Nothing" is right up there.

For me, it's one of the best of the year. Park Si-Eun and Yoon Chan-Young stellar (both from Still 17) work so well together and both mothers nail it.

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I'm curious why Mr. Oh decided to become teacher when he's scared by his students. Honestly, if I like his arc, I find it pretty frustrating. I really need teacher acting as teacher in a drama, not scared, quiet, naive, incompetent, indifferent,...

I had to miss the hints about Oh Je. He seems friendly but I didn't more than that. After the fact, he said yes to Da Hwin, it would be weird.

If I can understand the frustration of Ro-mi being smart and not be able to have access to the academy, I don't find her nice with Soo Bin. She can see that Soo Bin feels not good with all this situation but she doesn't care.

It's funny that the actor playing the tutor is the same acting in 17 Years Old Condition.

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Well, even if it's a school drama, it's pretty close to a slice of life drama imo. In reality, teachers are people, and lots of them are scared, naive, incompetent or indifferent. I'm loving the way Mr. Oh is portrayed, because truth is, there's no perfect teacher, there's no perfect person, but he's trying his best to overcome his anxiety, and to be a "good teacher" as much as he can.

People who have anxiety also needs a job.

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Yeah, but my issue it's they are like that in all the dramas. A big part of my family are teachers or in the education and it's really frustrating to see only this kind of teachers.

There are other job to do. When you have so much responsability, I don't think it's the good job.

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I honestly can't judge anyone for being scared of Hwi Young. When he does that weird head tilt or talks with that monotone voice and a nice smile I am getting creeped out. I am pretty sure a real-life version of Hwi Young would be a serial murder in making.

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Thinking back to it, he does check every ASPD person requirement (manipulation, lack of empathy, reckless, preferring short term solutions), plus he is bad at controlling his violent outbursts.

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He has to endure his father's abuse too.

He's not so scary. He can't show any bad behavior, so as teacher, Mr Oh has still power.

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He is controlling the class, nearly got rid of his homeroom teacher because he didn't approve the given homework, framed the new guy and indirectly got other kid killed.
That's all Mr Oh knows. His fear and discomfort is reasonable.

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@nerdy He's an adult and a teacher. He plays his role or he takes an other job. He can't show his fear and weakness like he does. The character is cute and I like him too, but like I said, I want once a good teacher in a Kdrama.

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Those teacher are thing of the past, and Teacher Oh is a new hire, who knows that the school won't have his back, his efforts were already shoot down when he tried something more creative, so imho he is doing his best for a young teacher.

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Yeah, it also takes time and experience to become a good, competent teacher. And even then teachers have little things to improve, like everyone else in life. Mr. Oh is pretty true to life imo.

As a student I expected my teachers to be perfect and all-knowing, but now that I’m a teacher I don’t feel like that at all. I am the kind of teacher who will say “I don’t know the answer to your question, but we can do some research on that together.”
(I’d probably not be Hwi-Young’s favourite teacher lol).

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I worked with a teacher when I taught in Japan who was similar to Mr. Oh. She was new and young, soft-spoken, sweet and nervous. She had a really hard time keeping control of the energetic class. I was the assistant teacher, but as I was more assertive, typically I would be the one keeping things under control. We were two 23 year-olds with no experience, co-teaching a class of 40 16-year-olds. Good times. I definitely find Mr. Oh realistic.

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When you're a teacher at a posh school like that and have powerful students, going against them is a nightmare because of their parental backing. My mom was a teacher at a private academy of filthy rich students and saying anything against them was tough because they made it clear their parents would take care of them (think Draco Malfoy). She went through a lot of trial and error to come up with a solution but she was already an experienced teacher then (and a mom ofc). Teacher Oh is still young and hasn't even figured himself out yet. He probably became a teacher with the idealistic view of helping his students out and didn't expect this kind of overbearing student. Doesn't help that all his bosses are on the student's side precisely due to aforementioned parental power.

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Like I said, it was talking in general in kdrama. Not only for this drama.

It always is the same situation, it's kinda tiring at the end.

For this drama, I think his boss was cooler than in other dramas. We didn't see so much parents in the school for now.

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I was shedding tears throughout the start of the ep whenever I saw Junwoo but man... after that Geonhyuk guy denied recieving money and Junwoo looked at Teacher Oh, I lost it. It was such a heavy look and the acceptance and maturity Junwoo had really affected me.
And the part where Junwoo took out on Subin, it was heartbreaking but it somehow felt like since she was sb he felt closer to, he couldn’t hold himself. But he realized it himself right away, that’s what I like about Junwoo.

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Poor poor Oh Je, he just wants to live his life in peace. Poor Da In, her crush is sweet but overbearing. This drama gives all the feels. As for Hwi Young, his household life makes me feel bad, but the way is acts out is a big NO for me. So it's a toss up with him. As for our leads, they are sooo adorable. I just want to give them hugs.

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Awwww. That last scene was priceless.
I liked how awkward and cute their interactions are. I just hope their little crush and friendship can help them discover themselves and become stronger/mature.

That friend if Soo Bin (Ro mi?) really annoys me. She is so obsessed with herself that she doesn’t even see what her friends are going through.

I wonder why Hwi-Young and Soo-Bin grew apart. Did she distance herself only because of his Mom and her moms relation? Or did she start seeing Hwi-Young’s side which she doesn’t approve?

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I don't think soobin noticed anything weird about hwiyoung until recently.

There could be many reasons:
1) It could be because of his mom like you said
2) She wants to be independent so hwiyoung's persistence in helping her bothers her.
3) The "she is hwiyoung's gf" teasing from his friends and him not bothering to clarify the misunderstanding. Maybe soobin is subconsciously aware that he likes her and that's why she's uncomfortable around him.
4) Its not uncommon for childhood friends to grow apart as they get older. Hwiyoung and soobin's personalities, interests, goals and mindset etc don't match.

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I think it was a pressure from a parents, HY mother wasn't too happy at prospect of him spending time with her, because it would affect his study. And maybe Soo Bin noticed some uncomfortable changes in his behaviour and stopped being comfortable around him.

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ah yes. His mom did ask HY if SooBin being in his academy class is affecting him.

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Ro-mi can buzz off. Ugh. She always looks sour and jealous of Soo-Bin. She doesn’t really act as a friend.

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I don't understand why the rest of the girls keep her in their gang. She doesn't seem to fit.
Soo-Bin has a bit of growing up to do. She can't let people like RoMi affect her. RoMi hasnt done anything to earn HY's friendship of favors. There is no reason for her to take it out on Soo-Bin nor does Soo-Bin owe her anything.

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Ro-Mi doesn't fit and you can tell. She's clearly not actually part of their 4-some friendship
*spoiler for the next episode, I guess*

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I've wondered that about Hwi-young and Soo-bin too. I think it's a mix of not liking his mom and being uncomfortable with his interest in her. She tries to act at ease with Hwi-young, but she looks uncomfortable whenever he pays her too much attention. I think she's known he likes her for a while, and that's part of why she distanced herself. I do think she's noticed Hwi-young is hiding something, but I don't know that she has seen anything specifically that she disapproves of. She seems perceptive though, so I'm guessing it's a more general unease with his secrecy.

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“weaken the links.”
I can’t wait for the links to snap off and a new one based on mutual support and respect to be built between the whole class and Mr. Oh. It’ll take a while (probably not until the last couple episodes) but it’ll definitely be what everyone, including Hwi-Young and his minions, Joon-woo, and Mr.Oh, needs.
I’m just really hoping that Hwi-Young’s arc will be satisfying to watch but also include his parents changing for the better. That isn’t too much to ask, is it?
Thanks for the recap, @abirdword !

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So. Are we going to talk about Jung-hoo and Car of Doom???

It’s a sad thing to be happy about, but I am relieved that Jung-hoo did not commit suicide. This means he did intend to start a new life somewhere else, and that he had hope. He did not kill himself out of despair. I believe the drama trolled us a bit by making it seem like Jung-hoo died immediately after boarding the bus, rather than a few days(?) later. Joon-woo’s reaction at the end of ep. 4 had more impact since we weren’t sure how much Hwi-Young was responsible for Jung-hoo’s death. I feared it was worse.

The whole issue was swept under the rug too neatly for me. Did the detective not hear the guy telling Joon-Woo he received money from Ki-Tae? And just what did Mom do to make the guy take all the blame himself? “Your life is ruined, so don’t ruin my precious son?”

I was disgusted when Hwi-Young begged his mom for help. He acts all mighty without thinking of the consequences, and she protects him in the wrong way. Yes, his father might kill him if he finds out, but it pains me that Hwi-Young will never learn right from wrong from his parents.

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I think the mom worked a deal between the Hwon student (the one who confided that they were paid) to get him out of the correctional facility, give him money or a future job. So he kept quiet. That's all was needed to end this.
I too was relieved that he did not die due to second round of bullying. Am glad that these guys had atleast some sense of guilt/remorse even though it didn't last long.
Its only a question of time before GiTae turns his back on HY.

You are so right about HY's parents. Its so messed up. A totally tyrant-like father and an overprotective mother.

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SoYe is a character I actually am very disappointed with. Despite knowing that her boyfriend's actions have caused a person to die, she doesn't seem to distance herself from him enough and her wanting him not to get caught is what directly led to the hwon student falsely testifying. If SoYe hadn't blackmailed Hwiyoung, he would've been all too happy to led KiTae shoulder the blame and at least one side of Junwoo's problems would've gotten justice.

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Yes. She seemed upset that he was a minion, then helped them pull off the deception.

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I'm disappointed in her too. She became an accomplice but she sees it as being a loyal girlfriend (which actually, is quite in line with immature teenage behavior). She was visibly nervous after blackmailing Hwi-young though, so she's not one to stand up to those in power.

However, she's one more person who knows the truth about Hwi-young. She stayed in the supplementary English class, which is a sign she isn't going to support Hwi-young if she can help it.

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Nothing is simple in this show and it doesn't tell us what to think - it lets us read the tea leaves. Who would have "thunk it" - a school drama that treats viewers like adults.

We have no idea if this is the first time SoYe is an accomplice, or if this is a pattern that has been ongoing.

The only difference is that this time she appears to have something on Hwi-Young. Hence her nervousness may not be anything to do with guilt about the victim only fear of taking on Hwi- Young (and his parents)

What we do know that Hwi-young wields a scary level power over his peers - and even some staff. The show has also left unanswered questions around previous student "Tae-ho" and the injured home room teacher.

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It looked like the first time So-Ye is an accomplice. She suspected Ki-tae was a minion, but she didn't have evidence until now. I do agree that her nervousness was because of fear of taking on Hwi-young. And I'm waiting to find out what happened to the injured absent teacher.

I was worried that the show wouldn't have enough material for 16 episodes, but there is plenty after all, since it's character-, not plot-driven. Slowly the onion layers are peeled away and we find more about each character. :)

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@WishfulToki

Once we got to the end of Ep01 I was confident the show had legs...too many interesting stories hinted at but not addressed. Their was always a risk it would be like so many other dramas and give it all up. I am so happy it looks to be going for it and still has lots to say.

I don't discount your reading of SoYe and I am not saying the alternate reading is correct - only that it is a possibility given what we know.

I love that this show always has multiple angles. Sure, SoYe looks nervous - is that newness or fear? I was trying to put her actions within the context of other elements/history we know about this class.

Hwi-young's power is clearly systemic, brutal, over a long period, and members of the class are clearly involved. The drama has already indicated he has a history of framing victims or engineering brutal reprisals for slights. I.e. It is not a rarity as he already has longstanding minions and systems in place - and Sang-Hoon has already told us how often he has lashed out even at his tutor.

I guess all I am saying is that we have yet to see how SoYe fits in that history.

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for once, we're glad that it was @sincerelytod 's fault and not teenage suicide!

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Exactly! ToD didn't get a cameo though. It happened off-screen (thank goodness, I'm a bit traumatised by ToD and his sidekick CoD).

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I'm grateful it was off-screen too. I wonder if it was BoD plus CoD.

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I am lost in the abbreviations.
ha ha ha ha

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ToD: Truck of Doom.
CoD: Car of Doom.
BoD: ??

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@wishfultoki Bus of doom since I doubt he was in a car.

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I was honestly surprised that it was wrapped as a car accident, and it's already done deal, I really thought that was suicide and if it was "just" an accident, why the bullies showed up at the funeral? That part seems weird now.
HY asking mom to clean his mess is such a typical spoiled brat thing but here it has darker undertones, his mother was visibly scared too, and not because of what happened but because she was scared for herself too, ugh this family.

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Yes, it's weird for the bullies to show up if it was just an accident right? It's not just me. I thought they confessed that they had something to do with Jung-hoo's death and were therefore detained. But that doesn't make sense if it was a car accident. Oh well. Maybe I'm overthinking this.

Forgot to say, thank you very much for the recap @abirdword!

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Maybe writers just need the bullies there to reveal HY involvement to JW ;)
I thought for a moment that maybe he had accident running from bullies, but since no one talking about it anymore, it's done as a plot point already.

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I think one of them told Mr. Oh he was in detention for a bunch of other stuff and didn't need Jung Hoo's situation added to it (can't remember his exact words, plus I'm not sure of the translation where I watched it).

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Yes, I remember that scene but it make them showing at the funeral even weirder.

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@wishfultoki @shach
The impression I got of the bullies was that they were 'acquaintanes' of Jung Hoo. They had spent time together, even having meals together. However they had accepted money to bully Jung Hoo. Since they were trouble makers, they were already in detention, but were allowed to go for the wake. One of them revealed that they had been paid by Ki Tae to get JW expelled. However this was not related to Jung Hoo having run out and getting hit by a car.

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The bullies were there to pay their respects probably.
Since they indirectly caused his death (and were his hated lunch buddies too).

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I actually thought the guys found him and beat him to death tbh
Since the cop bring them to JH funeral
JH didnt gives the vibe to commit suicide based on his parting scenes with JW. Seems like he decided to start over somewhere
Which actually makes it sadder (plus JW's dream) tbh

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Thanks @abirdword
Aah, the episode where the very sedate, calm on the outside Joon Woo finally loses control. I liked that he didn't hold back with Hwi Young, although I wished he'd used words instead of his fists.

The second time JW loses control it's over Bumbi LOL. I'm so glad that Soo Bin's emotions got the better of her. If not for that, she'd never have blurted out her confession to Joon Woo. And it would have taken an age for him to figure it out. Loved how shocked he was and how the bike sort of got away from him.

It's good to see the changes happening, especially in Mr Oh. This feels like a real coming of age for the adult where he figures out how to manage both himself and his class, or Hwi Young in particular. It's interesting that from the beginning, Mr Oh chose to believe and care for Joon Woo. Perhaps it was because he too felt like an outsider, and didn't want Joon Woo to think he was alone.

I was wondering what Joon Woo's intentions were when he went to Hwi Young's study group. He's probably trying to find the chink in HY's armour that will enable him to expose HY. The strange thing about Joon Woo is that we've never seen him study. He always seems calm and collected in class, as if he's got it all together. However after school he's at work, so that leaves him little time to study. What a great thing it would be if he did very well in his subjects without all the after school cramming that the other kids seem to be putting in.

I feel that it's wonderful and refreshing that his mum never puts the kind of pressure on him that we see the other parents do with their children. She has so much trust in him, I just want JW to do well to prove that it does not require a pushy parent to get good grades! And to reward his mum for her trust and care.

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I’m also wondering about Joon-woo’s intentions in waltzing in and out of Hwi-young’s study group. It seemed like he was provoking Hwi-Young, which made me nervous. What he said was interesting though: why does Hwi-Young care so much about others’ grades? Isn’t it enough work studying to be the number 1 student? (He also cheekily got out of the supplementary English class and the study group hehe).

I don’t think Joon-Woo studies much, if at all, so his grades are probably low. He was probably never motivated to study before. Since he was forced to transfer his student record isn’t great either, which means he’s less likely to get into a top university.

That said, the drama has already shown us he has a talent for drawing. It’s up to a teacher like Mr Oh to spot that talent and help him do something with it, maybe go to art school.

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I think Joon-Woo wants to understand HY's reasons/motivations as to why he behaves the way he does. In one of the earlier episodes he does mention that he must have a reason (not sure exact situation).
HY said he finds him annoying and he wants to rid of him. He went to the extent of getting his friend bullied so he would fight and get expelled (in addition to hiding the watch). He wants to understand his motivation. What is it about him that irks HY?
So he is entering his territory and seeing his behavior. If he ignores him, then nothing will change.
By attending the study group, he understands that he is controlling the students by giving them his notes/helping them study. So this is how he gets them to return the favor. That explained Gi-Tae's actions to some extent.

Joon-Woo seems like a smart cookie, street smart. For e.g when Gi-Tae opened his locker and found the watch - Joo Woo was quick to respond - ' I told no one other than Soo Bin that am leaving the day after. How did you know?'. He may not be academic because he hasn't put in any effort. If he tries may be he will do average, but I don't think there is a genius hiding in him ; )

Yes, he looks like he is interested in Arts, so may be that field would work for him.

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I know we're not supposed to speak about the other episodes, but I think it'll be clear why Hwiyoung cares about other students' grades so much in the next episode.

It's also common culture in Korea to size up your competition. Some of the most prolific ghost and horror stories in Korea come from the second ranked student in school killing the first ranked so she could be first in school and the dead student's ghost haunting schools so that should say something.

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Jun Woo is good observing people, he is trying to figure out HY, he already could tell some of his motives in earlier episodes, now he is proactive and try to unnerve him and see what he will do.

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a dangerous game, but our Jun Woo seems to be a very patient cat

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@wishfultoki
I'm getting the impression that putting himself in a position to help the other students is what gives HY an ego boost, power, and a following, with faithful minions. By showing off his generosity and sharing his notes, he's earning popularity and regard. I'm thinking it's mostly a power trip for the boy who's been put down by is father and compared to his brother. It also does earn him enviable power in the class that now challenges teachers as well. So he gets the majority vote and can control stuff like who sits where.

It's no wonder HY hates Mr Oh and Joon Woo who won't toe his line. They challenge his power and erode it. Matters will likely escalate when he gets provoked again.

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Good theory, I like it. I noticed that he is visibly stressed whenever his father knew what's going in the school, school is "his" space.

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totally agree with your impression of HY!

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I think he's deliberately baiting and provoking him. He's saying, "I see all the things you do to have control over others and I'm going to point it out to them until they see it too."

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I don't think JW is dark horse, when it comes to school achievements, he probably doesn't study at all because he don't see himself going anywhere in the future, that is until now. Education isn't free in Korea I think, so he probably don't want to burden his mother with providing for him any longer that is necessary.

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Yes,... I am just wishful thinking. I'd really like it if he was a dark horse!! :-D I want him to wow all the naysayers with his beautiful sketches and have him enter some great art school, if he cannot take the 'normal' route to university.

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But I think it would went against the message writers try convey, at least now, through Soo bin, that being great student and getting at prestigious university is not all that?

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Aside from the fist fight at the friend’s funeral, JW is a thoughtful child. He observes (hence his quiet presence in class, he may not be listening to the lesson but he is taking in all the social, behavioral cues). He seeks to understand. He is astute in dissecting situations and working out motivations. Whilst you would’ve expected him to respond with anger at injustices leveled against him, he instead seeks to stand in the other person’s shoes to work out “why”. It would be infuriating for HW because he doesn’t want JW to “see” him for who he is. I think he actually loathes himself. He’s desperately looking for the affirmation of others because he gets none of it at home. Hence his creation of this “perfect student”, “perfect friend” image at school where everybody “loves” him. He’s everybody’s “friend”. He shares his notes, he goes out of his way to do rosters, befriend newbies. Unfortunately for him, JW sees right through his facade. He hates that about JW. JW has this innate ability to size people up. He does that for Teacher Oh as well, asking him point blank, “what’s your dream?” because by mere observation of how he seems to put so much emphasis on those phone deals at the expense of everything else around him. JW knows Teacher Oh is just as lost as the 18YOs he is teaching.

As for JW getting good grades despite not studying. I don’t think that’s realistic. He’s not that “smart”. The other boy SangHo (?) is. And I think that (him getting good grades) would detract from what this drama is trying to convey. That success in life isn’t measured by external accolades or visible achievements, it’s measured by intangibles such as strength of character, fortitude and moral fiber.

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#1: Oh-je is definitely gay. And like you, dear @abirdword , I am praying hard that the Writers do the LGBTQ+ community justice by giving him a satisfactory happy ending, hopefully with someone else he love (because we know Joon-Woo’s deeefinitely taken!). Can I also add that I was mad at Da-Heen for cornering him in class AND at his dad’s restaurant like that. I know teenage love is a whole ‘nother beast but giiirl! Can’t you tell he’s reluctant?!?! Do you not care that he’s clearly not liking you back? I wasn’t the perfect teenager but one thing I have always been is self-aware and observant of my surroundings. Clearly, she’s not… ☹

#2: What I like most about the show is Joon-woo’s silent resilience in times of deep frustration, injustice and strife. He reminds me a little of IU’s character in My Ahjussi in how jaded he is -- he’s just as far in his despair as she was (thank goodness!!!) He refuses to be a doormat and tell Hwi-Young so; he’s in this for the long haul and willing to patiently wait for justice to prevail, no matter how desperately far it may seem. And I love him for it, his heartbreaking maturity, because I probably would’ve gotten expelled for beating the crap out of Hwi-Young at every opportunity. The smirk on that brat’s face when he stepped out of the Vice-Principal’s office… AAARGH! Makes me want to slap it right off. And I’m not even a violent person IRL !

#3: You’re right, there might be a redemption arc for Hwi-Young but a part of me just doesn’t think he deserves one. Yes, he’s a kid and yes, his family situation is terrible, but he seems to intentional about his abuse of power & status, I just don’t see why we should be rooting for him to get anything but punishment of sorts. Out of all the vilains out there in KDrama, for some reason Hwi-Young has been rubbing me wrong and unforgiving from day 1.

#4: I’m glad that Teacher Oh is aware of how naïve he is and that he used a chance to make a strong stance against the Vice Principal to get exactly what he wanted: to be the homeroom teacher in the class he wants to protect. The resignation letter was ready and useful! His budding friendship with Joon Woo is delightful.

#5: As for Soo-Bin’s mum… as some have said, she may be going about it in a rather forceful way but… a part of me gets her. A big part of me, actually. We’re made to sympathize with Soo-Bin’s youthful dreams, of course, but her mum is not the villain here. She just wants what’s best for her daughter, and yes, she’s definitely projecting her ownfears and insecurities on her daughter, but it’s not from a place of malice. Hitting Soo Bin was clearly out of deep frustration. I think of how much she had to grovel at Hwi-Young’s mum’s feet and to hear that your daughter just casually gave her hard-earned seat over to some other student… I’d be seeing red too...

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Honestly, my parents were much cooler than other Asian parents about grades, but my biggest regret at 23 is not listening to them and studying more at school. Like Soobin, I did well in school but I was nothing great and I wish I had studied to become something great at school. Stepping into professional life and seeing first hand how much you have to suffer really puts what your parents said in your teens into perspective. Maybe that's why parents are so hard on us, they probably regretted not listening to their parents in school either.

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That's so sad and like Soo Bin you probably thought -hey, but I don't need these fancy things, no need to go crazy for a few good marks but then you grow up and might start wanting them or realizing that even for no fancy stuff you should have studied better.

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I agree!!

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JW is sometimes so scary. That scene where he got into the study group only to dismiss it was so subtle yet so cutting it was almost shocking. HY had no countermove. JW is a good person and doesn't do things out of pettiness or ego, and we are all lucky because he could seriously be an arch-villain if he wanted.

It makes perfect sense why HY moved so quickly to undermine him, why he is so secretly afraid of JW, because he could sense that underneath the shy and quiet kid was a clever, independent mind.

HY and JW are so similar, both hiding their real selves, both kind of broiling just beneath the surface. HY can only see himself, though, while JW sees almost everyone but himself. JW has perspective and patience HY lacks--HY is so used to having someone to clean up for him and acts more rashly because of it. And so JW is always going to have the upper hand.

Their interactions and relationship have already evolved so much in 5-6 episodes, really looking forward to how it continues to change.

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