A Moment at Eighteen: Episode 6
With mid-terms upon them, our high school students can’t afford any distractions but matters of the heart are never well timed. Our transfer student frets that he’s missed his chance with the girl that he likes but that doesn’t stop him from setting a trap for his nemesis. The class president can sense that his grip on the school is weakening but his top priority is keeping his #1 position in order to protect his strongest ally.
EPISODE 6: “The Timing of Action and Reaction”
Shocked by Soo-bin’s unexpected confession, Joon-woo rolls away on his bike, completely out of control. When Joon-woo falls, an alarmed Soo-bin asks if he’s okay but he’s more concerned about Bumbi. Soo-bin realizes that Joon-woo is talking about his bike and teasingly introduces herself while Ro-mi watches with interest.
Unable to ride Bumbi, Joon-woo walks with Soo-bin but he can’t seem to say a word while Soo-bin regrets saying anything. They speak at the same time and when Joon-woo urges Soo-bin to go first, she assumes that she’s just been rejected.
Hoping to lessen her embarrassment, Soo-bin claims that she was just kidding. When Soo-bin walks away, Joon-woo manages to ask, “Are you really going to leave home?” After admitting that he overheard Soo-bin and her mother, the poor girl is so humiliated that she scurries away while Joon-woo scolds himself for not sharing how he feels.
Joon-woo arrives at work just in time to catch Ji-min talking on the phone, “That’s right. Relationships are all about timing.” Joon-woo feels even worse about his inability to talk to Soo-bin and as he heads for the back room, Ji-min shouts a warning that the girl with the super hot boyfriend is wicked.
Soo-bin is studying with her friends and when she sighs, they assume that she’s upset because of her mother. Da-hwin urges Soo-bin to call her mom but she’s decided not to go home and asks which of her friends will let her stay the night. The girls avoid her question and Chan-yeol tries to change the subject by reminding the others that Ro-mi is taking the level test.
After Ro-mi completes her level test, she sees Soo-bin’s mother talking with Tutor Sohn. Ro-mi introduces herself and Soo-bin’s mom is furious when she returns to her car. Soo-bin’s mom recalls what Ro-mi had to say, “Thanks to Soo-bin quitting Mr. Sohn’s class, I was given an opportunity,” and she takes out her frustration on the steering wheel.
At work, Joon-woo sketches a picture of Soo-bin and thinks about her confession. Ro-mi walks by and at the sight of Joon-woo, decides that Soo-bin shouldn’t have it all. Ro-mi walks into the convenience store and flirts with Joon-woo but he doesn’t even remember her name. Heh.
After countless interruptions, Ro-mi loses her patience and walks out. She wonders, “How can he not know my name if he likes me,” and then tells herself that names aren’t important to boys. A car pulls up and the driver asks Ro-mi about the level test. When Joon-woo runs out to return Ro-mi’s things, the driver smiles and introduces himself as Ro-mi’s father.
As he drives away, Ro-mi’s dad calls Joon-woo a good kid for working part-time and going to school. When Ro-mi scolds him for speaking up, he asks, “Does he think I’m your driver too?”
That night, Joon-woo makes a delivery at the academy just as Sang-hoon heads for the roof. When Joon-woo joins him, Sang-hoon proudly shows off some new shoes that he worked hard to buy. Sang-hoon senses that Joon-woo has something to say but when he mentions Tutor Sohn’s watch, Sang-hoon protests, “I don’t want to get involved in that.” He doesn’t deny it when Joon-woo guesses that Sang-hoon saw Hwi-young take the watch.
Joon-woo asks what happened that day and Sang-hoon recalls how Tutor Sohn complimented his math skills. Sang-hoon explains that kind of thing drives Hwi-young crazy and adds, “He’s done that a few times before too. He completely loses his mind when he’s upset. Every time, his mom stepped in and covered up for him.”
As he locks up Bumbi at his place, Joon-woo pledges, “Hwi-young, I’ll have to reveal who you really are. I have to put things right.”
From Chan-yeol’s bedroom, Soo-bin texts back and forth with her mother. Soo-bin types, “I’ll live my own life. I’m 18 now…You should live your own life too. Bye,” but she panics when she thinks the text went through.
So-ye and Da-hwin join the party and even though Chan-yeol grumbles that they should be studying, she throws pajamas at the girls. The girls’ pajama party is underway when Ki-tae texts So-ye that he’s outside her place.
Bothered by the argument that Soo-bin had with her mother, Joon-woo texts, “You didn’t run away from home, did you?” Instead of a response from Soo-bin, Joon-woo gets a text from Oh-je who offers to bring him some tteokbokki after he delivers food for Soo-bin’s gang at Chan-yeol’s house.
Joon-woo texts Oh-je that he’ll try the tteokbokki another time but now he’s really worried about Soo-bin. Certain that she’ll go home eventually, Joon-woo doesn’t like the idea of her walking home alone late at night. Joon-woo tosses a coin to decide if he should walk her home and then ignores the result. After texting Oh-je for Chan-yeol’s address, Joon-woo gives himself a pep talk, “Joon-woo, you’ve got this. I’ll respond properly this time.”
So-ye texts Ki-tae that she’s spending the night with the girls at Chan-yeol’s place and Ki-tae immediately texts Hwi-young with the information.
So-ye is still awake when Ki-tae texts that he’s in front of Chan-yeol’s place. Soo-bin is awake too, her head filled with thoughts of her mother. So-ye grabs her backpack and explains that her mother came to pick her up. So-ye join Ki-tae outside and when they smile at each other, all is forgiven.
Soo-bin grabs her uniform and tiptoes out of Chan-yeol’s bedroom. On his way to Chan-yeol’s place, Joon-woo worries that he may be overreacting but some drunks on the street convince him that he’s doing the right thing.
Soo-bin walks out of Chan-yeol’s place and is startled when Hwi-young taps her on the shoulder. Hwi-young explains that he’s there to walk her home and when Joon-woo sees them together, he sighs, “I’m so sluggish.”
On the walk to her place, Soo-bin asks Hwi-young about the meeting with Joon-woo and the counselor. Hwi-young claims that the counselor just wanted to discuss Joon-woo’s reasons for hitting him. When Hwi-young falls silent, Soo-bin teases that he’s acting as if he’s upset but he’s thinking, “You probably have no idea how much of a jerk I am.”
Soo-bin gets a smile out of Hwi-young when she calls him “Little Boy Hwi-young”. Hwi-young wistfully recalls, “I liked it when I used to be your Little Boy Hwi-young. When I could vent to you about everything.” Talking about when they were kids inspires Soo-bin to suggest a race to her place and Hwi-young laughs when she gives herself a generous head start.
Soo-bin gets home and finds her mother waiting. She asks her mother for another chance and promises to get into the top tier for math. Mom argues that there’s no time for mistakes but Soo-bin cozies up to her and jokes that her arm swelled up until it looked like Ma Dong-seok’s. Soo-bin’s humor successfully improves her mother’s mood.
When Hwi-young gets home, his father is waiting to criticize him for going out. As Hwi-young heads upstairs, his father mentions, “Your home room teacher can’t return to school because he’s hospitalized, right?” Hwi-young explains that the assistant teacher is now the official home room teacher but his father walks away without a word. Hwi-young’s mother is waiting in his room and warns that he may never get to see Soo-bin if he steps out like that again. Hwi-young’s mom settles down on the couch with a book to supervise Hwi-young’s studies.
In her room, Soo-bin reads Joon-woo’s text and buries her face in her hands, “Soo-bin. Why did you have to say that…This whole day has been humiliating.”
Joon-woo returns to his rooftop and recalls seeing Soo-bin with Hwi-young. When he remembers Soo-bin’s denial about being Hwi-young’s girlfriend, he mutters, “Soo-bin, you’re a liar.” As he lays back on the low table, Joon-woo can hear Soo-bin’s explanation that she was kidding and asks himself, “It was a lie, right?”
The next day, Bumbi is back in action and Joon-woo waits by the bike rack until Soo-bin arrives at school to ask why she never answered his text. Soo-bin is saved from having to make an excuse when Chan-yeol, So-ye and Ro-mi join them. Relieved, Soo-bin blurts out, ” Bumbi’s all better,” and explains it’s the name of Joon-woo’s bike as he protests, “That’s a secret.” Chan-yeol is immediately suspicious but Soo-bin and Joon-woo are quick to deny that there’s anything between them.
As the girls walk away, Ro-mi points out, “See? He turns all red whenever he sees me.” When So-ye asks Ro-mi how she did on her level test, it reminds her that Soo-bin’s mother was at the academy and that she looked angry.
As Mr. Oh heads for his classroom, he remembers telling Hwi-young to return the desks to their normal arrangement. When Mr. Oh sees that the seating hasn’t been corrected, Hwi-young explains, “We’ll stay in these seats. That’s what everyone wants.” Mr. Oh asks if anyone’s unhappy with the new arrangement and when Joon-woo raises his hand, Oh-je and Soo-bin follow suit.
The vice-principal isn’t happy with the noise coming from Mr. Oh’s classroom as the desks are returned to their usual places. Mr. Oh invites everyone who agrees with Hwi-young to remain in front and allows everyone else to choose a seat. Before Joon-woo can sit next to Soo-bin, Ro-mi gives up her spot to sit with him. Mr. Oh is delighted when Pil-sang is forced to join the students in the front but Hwi-young is beside himself.
During a break, Ki-tae and Hwi-young discuss Mr. Oh’s annoying attitude until they see Sang-hoon showing off his new shoes. Sang-hoon notices Hwi-young and asks, “Are you studying hard for your midterms,” and when he’s ignored, Sang-hoon calls out, “I’ll rob you of first place.”
In the middle of math class, Da-hwin notices Ro-mi helping Joon-woo and texts the others, “Look at them. All lovey-dovey.” Convinced that Joon-woo really does like Ro-mi, Soo-bin drops her head on her desk with a thud and then sheepishly assures everyone that she’s all right.
After school, Oh-je tells Joon-woo that Ki-tae has them cleaning more areas and Joon-woo guesses that it’s because of him. Oh-je pauses when he sees the math teacher with Sang-hoon and explains, “The math teacher must be really scared of Hwi-young…They have to meet behind Hwi-young’s back because he’s so jealous.
Joon-woo sees Shim-bok offering to do Hwi-young’s chores so that Hwi-young can study. Another boy approaches Shim-bok with a message for Hwi-young, “The math teacher wants you to come to the math office.”
Hwi-young walks in just as the math teacher calls Sang-hoon his favorite student. He’s convinced that if Sang-hoon switched to the natural sciences track, he’d easily become the top student. Sang-hoon tells the teacher, “I’ll make sure Hwi-young doesn’t get the highest grades here…You have no idea how fun it is to trample on Hwi-young.”
Hwi-young makes his presence known and the confused math teacher has to explain that he didn’t send for him. Hwi-young excuses himself but out in the hallway, it’s clear that he’s enraged.
Joon-woo watches Hwi-young make a beeline for Sang-hoon’s locker and he stays close when Hwi-young throws away Sang-hoon’s new shoes. Joon-woo is waiting when Hwi-young returns without the shoes, “So this is the issue you have. If someone gets on your nerves, you have to get rid of the thing that person treasures the most to feel relieved.”
Hwi-young calls it a prank but Joon-woo asks if taking the tutor’s watch, framing him for it and getting him expelled was a prank too. Hwi-young laughs and asks what he intends to do and Joon-woo confesses, “I will make you feel sorry. For those who you’ve looked down on.”
Ki-tae shows up in time to keep Hwi-young from advancing on Joon-woo. Joon-woo explains that he sent for Ki-tae so that they can plant Sang-hoon’s shoes just like they did with the watch. When Joon-woo walks away, Ki-tae has to stop Hwi-young from going after him.
As Soo-bin and her friends leave school, Ro-mi runs up and accuses Soo-bin of making sure that she failed the level test. When Soo-bin denies it, Ro-mi suggests that it must have been her mother.
Oh-je and Joon-woo run over when the argument escalates but Soo-bin is shaken when Ro-mi collapses on Joon-woo, so she walks away. Joon-woo hands Ro-mi off to Oh-je, who’s forced to sit her down on the grass when Da-hwin barks, “Put her down.” Chan-yeol catches up to Soo-bin by the bike rack to remind her that’s just how Ro-mi is. Soo-bin thinks about Joon-woo and Ro-mi and covers her face as she laments, “I regret it.”
That night, Mr. Oh reviews Hwi-young’s student record and sees his long list of awards and recognitions. When he remembers Joon-woo’s claim that Hwi-young is controlling Ki-tae, Mr. Oh tries to reach the former home room teacher but he’s still not taking calls. After hanging up, Mr. Oh looks thoughtful when he sees that the awards and recognitions section of Joon-woo’s file is empty.
On the eve of the mid-terms, all of the students arrive at school to study for their exams. Soo-bin avoids looking at Joon-woo while So-ye gets up to meet Ki-tae in the dance room. Ki-tae hands So-ye a notebook that lists everything that she needs to memorize for the exams, an exact duplicate of his study notebook. Ki-tae encourages So-ye, “Let’s do well on this exam.”
With no interest in studying, Pil-sang teases Oh-je and Da-hwin until Ro-mi announces that she can’t concentrate. Joon-woo sketches Soo-bin’s back but he hides the drawing when Ro-mi glances at him.
When Joon-woo arrives at work, his mother is there to take his shift so that he can go home and study. Joon-woo’s mother is about to take Joon-woo to a cram academy until Ji-min reminds her that her shift is about to start. A reluctant Joon-woo goes home while his mother gets some much needed training.
At home, Joon-woo finishes his sketch of Soo-bin with a message, “Yoo Soo-bin, good luck.” He’s not the only one hoping for Soo-bin to excel because her mother is overjoyed when she offers her daughter some red ginseng but Soo-bin is too focused to notice. Soo-bin empties the pouch when she’s alone and reminds herself, “Math. Top tier.”
Hwi-young studies as his mother dozes on the couch. In class, Hwi-young checks the answer sheets of other students and changes his answers until his father takes his answer sheet. Hwi-young wakes up with a start after the father in his dream threatens, “I said I’d kill you if you didn’t get the highest marks on the exams.”
Hwi-young’s father leans on his son’s desk and wants to know, “How will you manage to get top marks if you’re going to sleep this much?” Hwi-young’s mother jumps up to explain that Hwi-young was just taking a break but his father calls them pathetic good-for-nothings and warns, “If you lose your first place spot, I’ll kick both of you out of the house naked.”
Hwi-young’s father hits his son in the back of the head with his wife’s book and she flinches when he returns it. When he leaves, Hwi-young scratches at his rash while his mother does her best to calm him down.
The next day, the math exam is well underway when Soo-bin experiences some serious pain. Soo-bin asks to see the nurse but when she can’t stand up, Joon-woo offers to carry her and cuts his hand when he grabs Soo-bin’s desk for support.
Joon-woo runs out with Soo-bin but with twenty minutes left in the exam, he asks the teacher if Soo-bin can finish it in the nurse’s office. Joon-woo assures Soo-bin that she’ll be able to complete her exam as he runs but she’s distracted by his warm back.
While the nurse examines Soo-bin, the teacher walks in with Soo-bin’s and Joon-woo’s tests. Joon-woo completes his test in the waiting area while Soo-bin works on her exam at a table pulled up to her bed.
After the teacher leaves with their answer sheets, Joon-woo checks on Soo-bin, who apologizes for costing him precious exam time. She smiles when Joon-woo confesses that he couldn’t solve anything on the last page anyway.
Before he leaves, Joon-woo picks up Soo-bin’s pen from the floor. Soo-bin notices the cut on Joon-woo’s hand and after urging him to get it treated, Joon-woo sits down to wait for the nurse’s return.
Soo-bin uses the opportunity to suggest that Joon-woo should forget about what she said but he interrupts to say, “Me too.” When Joon-woo explains, “I was going to say this then too,” Soo-bin thinks that she knows what he’s trying to say.
Soo-bin gets up to get some water and encourages Joon-woo not to feel bad but he tells her, “I like you.” Joon-woo walks over to a stunned Soo-bin, and confesses, “I like you too.” While Soo-bin stares at Joon-woo, he repeats, “I like you.”
Poor Soo-bin. She’s so humiliated by her mother’s school visit and Joon-woo’s imagined rejection that she can hardly keep her mind on her studies. Add to that Ro-mi’s determination to have everything that Soo-bin has and it’s a miracle that she didn’t collapse from a severe stomach-ache before mid-terms began. But being in distress in the middle of the all important math exam gave Joon-woo the chance to shine as a hero when he not only ran Soo-bin to the nurse’s office, he arranged it so that she could finish her test. Plus, he finally got the opportunity to clarify Soo-bin’s misconception that he’s not interested in her, quite the contrary.
In spite of the crossed wires that had Soo-bin and Joon-woo so preoccupied, Joon-woo made serious progress in his campaign to reveal Hwi-young’s true nature. He gained some valuable insight from Sang-hoon and set up a trap that proved his theory, Hwi-young strikes out at people who anger him by stealing something that they treasure. It was too easy for Joon-woo to pull Hwi-young’s strings and I imagine it’s only a matter of time before Hwi-young unravels publicly.
Even though his behavior can’t be excused, Hwi-young is under unimaginable pressure to maintain his top ranking or he and his mother are in real danger. That terrifying dream with his father, only to wake up and find the monster only inches away in his room. And even though the threats are very real and incredibly frightening, keeping his top ranking may be out of Hwi-young’s reach this time around because for the first time, Sang-hoon is anxious to prove himself.
Joon-woo is like a rock that’s been tossed into a still pond, leaving nothing undisturbed and Sang-hoon’s determination to prove to Hwi-young what he’s capable of is only one of the ripples. Mr. Oh is trying to reach the previous home room teacher to ask about the students but he’s never successful. Hmmm. In the meantime, Mr. Oh is challenging Hwi-young for control of Class 3 while reaching out to the marginalized students, especially Joon-woo. Soo-bin hasn’t been the same since the day that her mother almost hit Joon-woo with her car and her feelings only intensify her unease around her mother and Hwi-young, who both think that they know what’s best for her. And Hwi-young’s influence is ever so slowly weakening thanks to a certain “punk” who has very little to lose.
I think one of the underlying themes in A Moment at Eighteen is greed and the attempts of those who aren’t greedy to protect themselves from being overtaken. Soo-bin, Joon-woo and Mr. Oh aren’t greedy but they’re not willing to be sacrificed in the race for more, more, more where accomplishments and accolades are never enough. There’s alway someone who’s smarter (Sang-hoon), more accomplished, wealthier or more desperate. When does anyone get the chance to enjoy their accomplishments in the never ending race to the top? The delicate balance at this high school has been disturbed and we’ll soon learn just how much things have changed.
- Premiere Watch: A Moment at Eighteen
- Shin Seung-ho plays the piano for A Moment at Eighteen
- Throwing away the old and bringing in the new in A Moment at Eighteen
- A warm encounter begins a first love story in A Moment at Eighteen
- New posters from youth drama A Moment at Eighteen
- Kim Hyang-gi, Ong Sung-woo, and more attend A Moment at Eighteen script read
- Kang Ki-young, Moon Bin join Kim Hyang-gi, Ong Sung-woo in JTBC youth drama