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94

A Moment at Eighteen: Episode 8

His parents’ influence keeps the class president on top but his academic rival is the one who deserves that spot and he’s not willing to be second best anymore. While the class president is distracted, his crush gets closer to the transfer student. But the new couple’s budding relationship may never get off the ground thanks to a certain girl who wants everything that her friend has.

  
EPISODE 8: “The Moment of Your First Love”

Joon-woo’s attempt to speak with Soo-bin doesn’t go as planned when she informs him that Chan-yeol already turned in the research for their assignment. Her mother doesn’t understand why Joon-woo came to their house just for an assignment and he pretends that he was already in the area.

When Soo-bin and her mother leave, Joon-woo finds Ro-mi waiting for him. Soo-bin’s mother sees them together and decides that they must be dating. She can’t understand why Ro-mi would date Joon-woo when he’s not even good enough to be on Soo-bin’s assessment team.

Ro-mi wants to know if Joon-woo intended to ask Soo-bin on a date. She’s amused by the thought of Soo-bin’s mom’s reaction until Joon-woo tells her, “See you.” As Joon-woo walks away, Ro-mi gets the last word, “Why like someone if you can’t even tell her confidently? You don’t even have the courage.”

Soo-bin sighs during a visit to another tutoring academy, her mind on Joon-woo’s surprise visit while Joon-woo is at the convenience store mulling over her less than enthusiastic response. Joon-woo pulls out his phone but he isn’t sure what to do and wonders, “Why is it so complicated to like someone?”

Mr. Oh sits at his desk, still annoyed by Hwi-young’s mother’s demand for an open class and mutters, “You can’t trust me, can you?” When he gets an idea, Mr. Oh pays Joon-woo a visit at the convenience store.

The next day, Mr. Oh ducks into the empty gymnasium for a last minute pep talk before the parents arrive for the open class. He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath but when he opens his eyes, he sees Soo-bin’s mother glaring at him. When she’s replaced by Hwi-young’s scowling mother, Mr. Oh takes some medicine which delivers a jolt.

The parents of Class 3 arrive at school and even though Joon-woo’s mother makes an effort to introduce herself to the Mom Squad, they ignore her. When she finds the classroom, Oh-je’s father readily introduces himself.

Joon-woo expresses surprise that his mother found out about the open class and Oh-je cringes when Da-hwin waves to his father. Ro-mi explains to the girls that her mother is in Stockholm for a conference. Mr. Oh enters and the students are embarrassed when he’s more hyper than usual and Chan-yeol groans, “Gosh, Mr. Oh. Just teach us the way you usually do.”

Even though the bell just rang, Sang-hoon finishes solving the controversial question from the mid-term and shows it to the math teacher. When the teacher explains that Hwi-young’s answer is correct too, Sang-hoon suggests, “Sir. Just say that you’re sorry. Admit that you’re ashamed.”

For the open class, Ki-tae summarizes an article that suggests that society is led by the high achievers with top grades. Hwi-young shares his opinion in English, “It’s the top one percent of the population that leads society. And we need to make an effort to be part of that one percent.”

Mr. Oh urges Hwi-young to speak in Korean but Soo-bin’s mother announces in English, “Even we can understand what’s going on.” Hwi-young ignores Mr. Oh’s request and finishes his point in English, “If we don’t become a part of the ruling class, we will end up leading a sad little life.”

Soo-bin’s mother whispers that Mr. Oh isn’t as good as his students. Mr. Oh proves her wrong when he talks to Hwi-young in English, “…this class is not a stage for you to show off how great you are…Since we have parents as our guests here, it’s better that everyone participates equally in class.”

Mr. Oh invites other opinions and calls on Joon-woo, who he introduces as the new class vice-president. Joon-woo jumps to his feet and starts off, “I disagree with that opinion.” Joon-woo argues that education offers everyone an equal chance to discover their talents so that they can contribute to society in their own way. Joon-woo’s classmates murmur approvingly and Oh-je teases that Joon-woo sounded as if he followed a script.

In a flashback, we see that when Mr. Oh visited Joon-woo at the convenience store, he had a sheet of paper with an answer that he wanted memorized. Joon-woo read, “I disagree with Hwi-young’s opinion,” but he wasn’t comfortable with Mr. Oh’s scheme. Mr. Oh pointed out that the mothers would probably gossip about him and argued that his plan could help Joon-woo make a good impression.

After the open class, Ro-mi brushes past Pil-sang but his elegant-looking mother stops her, “So you’re Pil-sang’s girlfriend?” Pil-sang’s mother thinks that they’re well matched since Ro-mi’s father owns a clinic and their family owns a huge leasing business. When Pil-sang’s mother explains that she wants her son to marry as soon as he graduates from high school, Ro-mi chases Pil-sang down the hallway.

Mr. Oh interrupts Joon-woo as he and his mother visit with Oh-je and his dad. In the teachers’ office, Mr. Oh asks Joon-woo about his colleague at the convenience store and he assumes that he’s talking about the night clerk who posed as his dad.

Mr. Oh doesn’t correct him but after Joon-woo leaves, he recalls passing Ji-min outside of the convenience store. They remembered each other from the bar and Ji-min pointed at Mr. Oh and exclaimed, “The loser.” When he learned that Ji-min worked at the convenience store, Mr. Oh introduced himself as Joon-woo’s teacher. In the office, Mr. Oh wonders, “Why is she so cute,” while Ji-min is at the convenience store and scoffs, “So that loser is a teacher? Totally not my type.”

Joon-woo finds Soo-bin in the lunch line and asks to talk. Hwi-young slams down his spoon when Soo-bin follows Joon-woo out of the lunch room.

Outside, Joon-woo walks past Ro-mi but Soo-bin stops to explain that Joon-woo wants to talk. When Soo-bin joins Joon-woo near the athletic field, he apologizes for “that day” but she thinks that he’s talking about the day that he visited her place. Joon-woo explains, “I’m sorry I didn’t call you after telling you that I like you in the nurse’s office.” Joon-woo adds that since this is his first crush, he didn’t know what he was expected to do.

Joon-woo is surprised to find Soo-bin sitting on the ground behind the table. Soo-bin stutters, “Sit down. Right now. Turn around.” When she adds, “Look over there,” Joon-woo looks up in time to wave to his mother as the parents leave the school. Joon-woo’s mother bows to Oh-je’s father and runs to catch up to the other mothers.

Soo-bin is about to sneak away when Joon-woo asks, “Do you want to go to a movie?” Soo-bin turns around in surprise while Joon-woo continues, “This Saturday. Let me know if there’s a movie you want to watch. I’ll book the tickets.”

Soo-bin asks Joon-woo, “What about Ro-mi? Isn’t she your girlfriend?” Joon-woo crouches down and assures Soo-bin, “She’s not my girlfriend…There’s only one person that I like.” On her way back from the field, Soo-bin’s happiness is short-lived when Ro-mi finds her and asks to meet after school.

Over dessert, Joon-woo’s mother listens as the other moms visit. When Hwi-young’s mother asks when she graduated, Joon-woo’s mother confesses that she didn’t go to a university, “I ended up giving birth to Joon-woo a bit early.”

Ki-tae’s mother comments that she was reckless and Hwi-young’s mother announces that parents need a qualification test, “It’s not like we can be parents just by giving birth to a kid.” Joon-woo’s mother wants to know, “Are you saying I’m unqualified as a mom or something,” but the moms have gone back to ignoring her.

Hwi-young’s mother points out how accomplished both of Soo-bin’s parents are (her father is a professor) but her mother complains about Soo-bin’s disappointing grades. Hwi-young’s mother quotes an old saying, “After you become forty, your whole life depends on how your child turns out,” and Soo-bin’s mother silently seethes over the presumed insult.

Sang-hoon approaches the group and asks to speak with Hwi-young’s mother. They move to a corner where Sang-hoon accuses Hwi-young’s parents of pressuring the math teacher to accept Hwi-young’s wrong answer.

Sang-hoon wants to make a deal — change everything back and he won’t disclose that Hwi-young stole Tutor Sohn’s watch and then framed Joon-woo. Sang-hoon reminds Hwi-young’s mother that there have been other incidents and claims that he has evidence.

Back at school, Hwi-young meets Ki-tae to inform him that Sang-hoon met with his mother. Ki-tae guesses that it must had something to do with the math test.

Hwi-young’s mother slams the door when she gets home and heads for her closet to pull out a hidden bottle. She calls her husband and insists, “Hear me out, even if you’re busy. It’s about Hwi-young.”

After school, Ro-mi and Soo-bin meet at a cafe and Soo-bin is speechless when Ro-mi blurts out, “I like Joon-woo.” Ro-mi claims that her family has been having a difficult time but seeing Joon-woo somehow makes everything easier. Ro-mi knows that Joon-woo likes someone else and asks Soo-bin if she has any idea who it is. Uneasy, Soo-bin answers, “I’m not sure,” and as she focuses on the dessert menu, Chan-yeol appears in the window to recommend the brownies.

Ro-mi walks off in a huff while Soo-bin asks her friend how much she heard. Chan-yeol chuckles that she heard everything and soon, Soo-bin is surrounded by her friends in Chan-yeol’s room. They scold Soo-bin for not telling them sooner about Joon-woo but they’re still excited for her even though Soo-bin is consumed by guilt because of Ro-mi.

At the convenience store, Joon-woo sketches Soo-bin while Chan-yeol reads Soo-bin’s future. When Soo-bin gets a text, Chan-yeol predicts that it’s Joon-woo and the girls are impressed when she’s right.

Joon-woo notices a man sitting alone in the convenience store and he stays out of sight when Sang-hoon walks in. He overhears Sang-hoon ask his dad, “Pretend nothing happened? Did Hwi-young’s dad tell you that?”

Sang-hoon’s father explains that he may lose his job and begs his son, “Let it slide just this one time. Please?” Sang-hoon erupts, “I can’t do that,” and he sees Joon-woo as he storms out.

When Sang-hoon gets to the academy, he learns that he’s no longer in Tutor Sohn’s class. Sang-hoon tells his tutor, “Hwi-young’s mom is so fast. And your reaction is even faster.” Sang-hoon quits and warns that he’ll sue Tutor Sohn if he includes his name on his list of students who get accepted to Seoul National University.

At school the next day, Hwi-young learns that Sang-hoon entered an upcoming math competition. Mr. Oh overhears the math teacher tell Hwi-young, “Just compete fair and square, okay?”

Sang-hoon’s father visits Hwi-young’s parents at home to ask for forgiveness. Hwi-young walks in just as Sang-hoon’s father falls to his knees and begs, “Please have mercy, sir. Please help us out.”

Hwi-young speeds along a running path while Sang-hoon’s father waits for his son. When Sang-hoon sees his father, he’s urged to apologize to Hwi-young but he protests that he should have been named the top student.

Sang-hoon’s father insists that it wasn’t right to be rude to Hwi-young’s parents and Sang-hoon pleads, “Dad, do you have no pride?” Sang-hoon is practically in tears when his father apologizes for his incompetence. Unable to run any farther, Hwi-young stops and falls to the ground, exhausted.

Joon-woo meets with Mr. Oh before class to go over his responsibilities as vice-president. When Sang-hoon walks into the office, the coach congratulations him because his father was just promoted to branch manager — in Singapore. Mr. Oh and Joon-woo are surprised to learn that it’s Sang-hoon’s last day at school.

The students in Class 3 gossip about Sang-hoon’s move and when everyone leaves for lunch, Hwi-young stays behind.

Joon-woo finds Sang-hoon at his locker and admits, “I didn’t think you’d ever give up.” When Sang-hoon reminds Joon-woo that he was forced to transfer, Joon-woo confesses, “I considered running away back then too…I would’ve regretted it forever.” Sang-hoon insists that he’s fine with his decision but as he walks away, Joon-woo suggests, “Then how about a showdown before you leave? With the newbie that was forced to transfer here.”

On the athletic field, Joon-woo and Sang-hoon get ready to race. Joon-woo suggests starting when the plane overhead disappears and Sang-hoon shouts, “Hey, where are you going,” and then mutters, “Singapore…Darn it.” Sang-hoon starts without any warning but Joon-woo catches up and as they run, we’re reminded of the first time that they ran together. As they run, Sang-hoon asks Joon-woo, “Did it feel unfair back then?”

Hwi-young and Mr. Oh stop to watch Joon-woo and Sang-hoon. Mr. Oh notices that Hwi-young’s rash is bothering him and follows him to the nurse’s office. The nurse isn’t in so Mr. Oh treats Hwi-young’s rash and uses the opportunity to ask him, “Are you doing okay?”

Mr. Oh hasn’t forgotten Hwi-young’s words and explains, “Even though I didn’t graduate from a university in Seoul, I have some experience in counseling others.” Hwi-young brightly answers that nothing is bothering him but when he’s outside, Mr. Oh’s question haunts him. Sang-hoon walks by and when Hwi-young looks at him, he waves good-bye.

Joon-woo runs to help Soo-bin carry a stack of notebooks and he reminds her about the movie. When Ro-mi walks by, Soo-bin tells Joon-woo to hide and as they crouch behind the giant heart, he asks, “Why are we hiding?” Soo-bin confesses that she’s not sure and when Joon-woo carries the notebooks to the classroom, she looks conflicted.

After school, Chan-yeol is ready to call Ro-mi but Soo-bin stops her because Ro-mi’s family is struggling. Chan-yeol reminds Soo-bin that Ro-mi lies all the time and it seems that the girls only befriended her at Soo-bin’s request. Soo-bin begs her friends not to say anything to Ro-mi and they agree, as long as Soo-bin goes to the movies with Joon-woo.

After work, Joon-woo is on his way home when Oh-je brings him some food. They say good-bye but Oh-je runs back to ask, “Are you and Soo-bin going out?”

Oh-je reads what Da-hwin texted, “Soo-bin said this was a secret but…Joon-woo and Soo-bin are our class’s couple number two.” Oh-je wonders, “Are we really best friends,” and Joon-woo squirms when Oh-je teases him for keeping his budding relationship with Soo-bin a secret.

Hwi-young is studying at home when he thinks of Sang-hoon’s good-bye. He gets a text from Ki-tae, “Soo-bin and Joon-woo are watching a movie together tomorrow. They’re going out now.”

In her room, Soo-bin preps her skin with a face mask while she tries to decide what to wear for her date with Joon-woo. At his place, Joon-woo laments that all of his clothes look the same.

Eventually it’s bedtime but both Soo-bin and Joon-woo toss and turn all night long. In the morning, Soo-bin panics when her face is swollen from lack of sleep.

Soo-bin realizes that she’s way too early after leaving her house and she stops at some stores on her way to the movies. She’s still early when she arrives at the theater but Joon-woo already has the tickets, some popcorn and a drink with two straws. So cute! Soo-bin offers to hold the drink and wonders why it isn’t cold. Joon-woo confesses that it’s been a while since he bought it and Soo-bin smiles as she thinks, “You came early too.

Joon-woo and Soo-bin find their seats inside the theater and once they’re seated, Soo-bin tells herself that it’s just like in the dramas. Soo-bin imagines reaching for popcorn at the same time as Joon-woo and touching hands but realizes that the large bag of popcorn that he bought makes that unlikely.

Joon-woo silences his phone but when Soo-bin takes out her phone, she’s distracted. Joon-woo asks what’s wrong but Soo-bin shakes her head and says that it’s nothing.

When the movie begins, Joon-woo smiles happily but Soo-bin looks upset. Joon-woo’s smile disappears when he glances at Soo-bin and he whispers, “What’s wrong,” but this time she just stares at him.

  
COMMENTS

I have to admit, I have been so impressed by the performances of the young cast. Ong Sung-woo and Shin Seung-ho have delivered strong performances throughout but the rest of the cast gets their chance to shine as well, especially in this episode.

Poor Sang-hoon is let down by everyone who should have had his back — the math teacher, Tutor Sohn and especially, his father. As if that’s not bad enough, his father makes a deal with the devil, Hwi-young’s dad, and agrees to move to Singapore to guarantee that Sang-hoon won’t threaten Hwi-young’s claim as the #1 student ever again. Kim Do-wan stole my heart as the carefree Sang-hoon who suddenly cares very much about his ranking. His prickly relationship with Joon-woo turned into one of consolation as Sang-hoon struggled with the unfairness of his situation. In the end, Sang-hoon was man enough to wave good-bye to Hwi-young as he left the school for the last time. I’m going to miss you, Sang-hoon.

As Oh-je, Moon Bin gives Joon-woo’s new best friend a playful quality that complements Joon-woo’s seriousness. I just loved the way that he wouldn’t let Joon-woo off the hook after Da-hwin informed him that Joon-woo and Soo-bin are the newest class couple. And even though Oh-je was teasing, how could he suspect that Joon-woo’s answer in the open class was scripted? There’s still much we have to learn about Oh-je but I’m confident that Moon Bin will handle the challenge well.

Ro-mi is a lot like Hwi-young, her situation stirs up sympathy but she’s determined to get her way and she doesn’t care who gets hurt in the process. Han Sung-min somehow manages to make the lying, pretty Ro-mi seem vulnerable, even as she does her best to steal Joon-woo from under Soo-bin’s nose. There’s a lot about Ro-mi that we don’t know, mostly because she lies about everything. It’s only a matter of time before the truth comes out but I get the feeling that will just give Ro-mi an excuse to re-invent herself.

As much as I enjoyed the supporting characters in this episode, Joon-woo couldn’t have been cuter as he planned his first, and perhaps only, date with Soo-bin. Joon-woo’s perseverance is admirable and it gets Soo-bin into the movie theater in spite of Ro-mi’s sob story. But what caused the change in Soo-bin’s mood at the movies and who’s responsible? There’s a growing list of people to choose from but no matter who’s behind it, Joon-woo won’t give up on Soo-bin without a fight.

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This episode was a rollercoaster ride. I was screaming the whole time because of the things I liked and the things that frustrated me.

Things I loved:
1. 3rd Generation Chaebol Glasses Pil Sang. I just love this guy. He is a pure soul.
2. Oh-je and Joon-woo being the best friends we never knew we needed. SO CUTE.
3. Joon-woo and Soo-bin being adorable together! THEY ARE THE CUTEST PUPPIES BEING EXCITED GOING ON A DATE AND ALL
4. Teacher Oh. He is just a favorite of mine. Even Hwi-young got touched by his actions.

What made me pull my hair out:
1. Sang-hoon and Joon-woo's friendship finally developed BUT HE HAD TO LEAVE!? NO ONE HAD THIS CHILD'S BACK NOW THAT HE IS ON THE RIGHT SIDE. Those adults are f***** up. I WANTED HIM TO STAY AND ANNOY HWI-YOUNG.
2. Ro-mi and her reasons. SCREW YOU AND YOUR REASONS JUST BECAUSE YOUR LIFE ISN’T GOING WELL DOESN’T MEAN OTHER PEOPLE’S LIFE SHOULD TOO.
3. I know Hwi-young's family is not the best and that made him the way he is right now BUT IF THIS CHILD DOESN'T GET REDEEMED NOW I MIGHT HATE HIM FOREVER. GIVE THE REDEMPTION ARC NOW.

Overall, it was a really great episode. I just had to comment my thoughts again here after posting it on the fan wall.

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I want to know about this fan wall :-D

And YAS to everything you said.

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Click on the "beanies" tab up above for the fan wall. :) You can make a post through your profile. :)

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When you first find the fanwall it is like a whole new world opens up.

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Whoa...didn't know that one...

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You can posts photos/videos/texts there and you can fan girl and discuss dramas with other Beanies before the recaps arrive!

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I am so not ready to say goodbye to Sang-hoon. I'm curious as to what the actor is like in real life. He played the character with an almost manic energy, he practically vibrated. Well, until the end.

I still say Joon woo needs a roommate.

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I keep feeling they will not let go of such a strong character mid point. I was sobbing quite hard when they were running laps. Something about boys laughing and running gets to me - I think it has to do with School 2013.

But the actor played that character so well. He was always tick tick tick tick.

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It was a lovely scene. They just got to be boys and you can see Sang Hoon become calmer.

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I hope Sang-hoo stays !

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I hope Sang Hoo comes back. We're halfway through the drama. Hope is palpable

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I hope he comes back! Or he decides to stay until after the school trip. Or he is the one Hwi-young used to distract Soo-bin on their date because he decided to stay... Because I need some logical reason as to why she will become angry at Joon-woo and not some made up one.

And Joon-woo needs another friend...

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I would like to see more of this actor as well. He made Sang-hoon interesting to watch.

I'm hoping for a situation where down the line Joon-woo and Hwi-young reach an understanding and become close. Then Hwi-young could have Joon-woo's house to come to as a refuge from that house.

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That would be interesting. He does need a safe place, but he has to be a safe place for Joon woo before he can live with him.

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YES. 😭

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I suspect many will have the same contradictory positions as you on those Hair-pulling Point 2 and Point 3.

This writer is really going to test people before this drama is over.

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This writer is testing me. The writing is really good so far but I do want those two characters to be redeemed earlier so I will not hate them forever. And I thought I saw an interview of the leads saying that the parents will also change for the better and we need the kids to change first before that happens...

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I'm the most curious about Romi. I wonder what is it behind those lies.

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I'm thinking she had to lie in the first place about her parents and her status because the girls mentioned that they wouldn't be friends with her if Soo-bin didn't tell them to do so. Girly probably have no friends in the first place and had to lie to gain one... but our girls are really kind so I think they would forgive her tbh

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It looked like Romi had a different set of friends other than their troop. To be honest, their troop is the cute bubbly type. It's a bit odd that Romi wants to fit into their clique.

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Wait, the actor playing Oh-je is an idol? I looked him up after teriyaki named him, and he's from Astro! LOL why are idols so good at acting these days??

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I didnt know either until his wrestling bit in that idol competition was posted on the wall.

Talk about being the best Sports Oppa.

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I am looking forward to his story and his secret. His interaction with jw about his dating did not show any devastation, which is good. What is his secret writer?

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Oh Je is a treasure. I squeed at his understated bro confession. It came out so naturally that he considers Joon-Woo his best friend.

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Moonbin is quite a talent. As an idol, he's pretty much well-rounded. He can also host very well and act. Fantagio really lucked out with him and OSW.

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Ok, I know it would tie everything up too neatly (and I didn't even think of it before the bar scene) but now I'm disappointed that Teacher Oh didnt fall for Joon woo's mom instead.

Joon woo's happy face in the theater was one of the best things was so lovely. If she is having doubts I need it to be believable that she would check out. Being worried about her mom's reaction I understand, but if she turns into a noble idiot for Ro mi.....just no.
I'm so glad that our Teacher really looked at HY this episode. His behavior is not excusable but this is a young man that has been verbally, physically, and mentally abused his whole life. The actor is doing a great job of portraying all the different aspects of his character.

Even though I want our couple together I wouldn't mind if Joon woo spent more time with Oh je. Oh he really wants to build this friendship and I think it would be good for Joon woo if he opened himself up to it a bit more.

Oh, and you have assigned seats in movie theaters in Korea?

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First, I was thinking that the Show might pair Joon woo's mom with the fake dad (Joon woo's coworker), then maybe Teacher Oh instead, then Oh-ja's dad but he's married... She's such a sweet lady.

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She really is and she is such a good mom.

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@bcampbell1662 Where I am, our theatre seats are numbered. We choose which spots we want and the chosen seat numbers will be on the tickets. We sit according to what we chose. S Korea may be the same.

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That is what it seems like. Mine you just buy the ticket and then go in and choose where you want to sit. Or find whatever spot is open depending on how full the theater is, lol.

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Seems that way. We do the same in my country. Pick your seat when you buy tix, scan the tix and find your seat.

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I'm guessing she'll say no partly for Romi, partly for Hwi Yong, and partly for her mom. I have a feeling she knows more about Hwi Yong's struggles than most. I also have a feeling it's the same with Romi. Soo Bin has always been portrayed as the emphatic type. She approached JW first because of almost getting him hit with their car so I think it's more in character of her to decline than to immediately say yes. I just hope she'd say yes instead but I don't know what lucid reason she may have to still say yes. Also I think writer nims need JW on his toes against HY which can be fostered by added hate against HY through Soo Bin.

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Okay so, I have been vibrating myself to talk about this episode. I realized, I kinda mixed up two episodes while I was commenting on ep 7!!

I was really feeling Soobin when JW decided to appear and declare himself in front of her mother. I was glad he finally too the cue. I knew he was crushed he could not speak but I knew Soobin would feel very guilty not letting him speak but gosh, I related to that moment so much.

Also friends reading new boy friend messages and screaming ....aaaa.

It is quite interesting to see though how not every single student is as pressured about studies. Some students look more under pressure than others and I wonder where it starts. I mean, I am sure students are driven by parents but at which points parents decide that they have to pressure their children vs not pressure...

For example, it was interesting to see how Sanghoon's parent actually telling him 'I am okay with your score' and SH telling him that is not it. He wants to come first. It was interesting.

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I think those students whose parents don't have means for further expensive education, or they own small business and expect their kids to help with it. For rich ones it's a matter of prestige and chance of networking.
Sang Hoon I assume is a special case, I got feeling that it not a first time that his father was pressured by his superior over Sang Hoon score.

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This part hurted the most in this show. We have kids who hate this pressure and even forced don't take advantage of their privileges. Then we have a guy from middle class who actually wants this successful life but can't get it no matter how much he works or how talented he is. Sang Hoon even says that he wished he had mother like Hwi Young's. For a guy like him this type of privilege would be a blessing.

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I think another message of this drama is that we think everyone else has it easier, and how desperate everyone is to show a good image, whether it is true or false. The grass is always greener on the other side. Sang Hoon (and also Ki Tae and Soobin’s mom) envy Hwi-Young’s family, without knowing the ugly truth.

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In ep 1, I actually thought Sanghoon was the bully based on how he behaved in that math class.

Also, I was a bit annoyed with him when he did not come out and admit it was HW who did the watch thing.

But later episodes, I started liking him mostly because he could annoy HW.

It is not like JW and SH had a lot of screen moments but despite that, I felt so bonded with their relationship in the end. The storytelling around them was just so awesome and all the acting.

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Jun-woo and Soo-bin almost had matching outfits if JW chose the checkered shirt or SB with the light blue/green? dress but I guess this date is not meant to be haha.
Oh-je imitating Da-hwin's speaking while reading her text lol
I think Sang-hoon fought to be the top student not only bc he hates Hwi-young or b/c of his pride but also for his father. He doesnt like that his father has to bow down to HY's father everytime.
I hope in the ending the drama will show what these kids had become in the future like Jun-woo becoming a famous artist or a teacher like Prof. Oh.
P.S. I thought that I read somewhere that SB's dad is an artist and the mom is kinda disappointed at him. So he's a professor. I thought JW and SB's dad will get along well coz they both like art. It seems that JW and SB's mom will become friends too.

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Edit: I mean Teacher Oh not Prof. Oh

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I felt so sorry for Sang Hoon, he tried but adults failed him and in the end he decided to sacrifice for his father, this scene between them was heartbreaking, with father tearfully apologizing for not being able to protect him. I hate HY parents so much, trampling over other people livelihood and pride for bragging rights, ugh.
But teacher Oh remain the best, he keeps reaching to HY even if he annoy him and put him down, he is showing himself as a true teacher at this moment.
That scene with mothers in coffee shop reminded me of SKY Castle.

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@shach
Sang-Hoon's fate is the warning for Soo-Bin (RE: parallel narratives). Failing in this "1%" doesn't mean you just sit at the next level - they crush those who challenge and fail.

This may be what SB's mother fails to realise and I think SB has been made aware of over her time with HY.

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But I thin Sang Hoon father is regular worker, whereas SooBin parents have better background due to their academic achievements? That scene in hospital, the doctor calls her sunbae? I assume she and HY parents move in different social circles they are connected through their children school, and she grovel to HY mother because she has means to employ best tutors, something like SKY Castle mothers as I mentioned earlier.

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@shach
That could be. However, this drama has already shown the HY clan's tentacles are everywhere.

If they themselves don't have influence, their contacts/network will. Hence the father's comments about what it cost him to solve problems. Just think brutal Sageuk politics - he was not angry about the cost, per se - he is incensed about being beholden. That weakens his power.

I suspect their deference to HY's mother is not only about tutors, its also fear. You can see how SB's mother is scared of her relative position (regardless of her skill) - hence her warnings to SB.

In this world you don't need to have direct control, you only need to have leverage of those who control your prey...but it will cost you.

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that might be right, I admit to ff some scene because I have hard times watching people being humiliated, so I probably missed a lot of context, thank you for explanation.

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@shach
With most KDramas, I would have agreed with your reading as more likely - it's just more typical of what we usually get. However, this writer doesn't shy away from realities we would rather ignore and she doesn't appear to be here either. (I am not saying my reading is correct, just a different possibility)

Her dramas origami uncomfortable honesty into teenage drama so we don't notice it. She also doesn't tell us what to think but makes us read the tea leaves...its wonderful to have a writer trust us and spend the time to show us not just tell us.

It's that "Elephants all the way down" thing again.

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Teacher Oh reaching out to Hwi-Young was a great moment. In contrast to the Math Teacher, Teacher Oh does not declare favourites (even if we know he likes Joon-woo). Instead of cowering from Hwi-young’s mom, he turned the open class from a threat into an opportunity. Hats off. Parents can be really intimidating. That scene in the gym was funny but oh so true!

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Thanks @teriyaki

I found it cute that Soo Bin got Joon Woo to hide with her behind a big heart installation. If not for their being innocent, naive, first-timers and all, it would have been the perfect location for a little 'stolen' romantic moves.

I was a little conflicted over Teacher Oh giving Joon Woo a script and getting him into the spotlight. It feels kind of sneaky to intentionally promote an underdog and to shape opinions over him. At the same time Mr Oh hopes to get a student on his side to counteract Hwi Young. I'm not sure that I'd like to have been in JW's shoes over this, but as it had to be played out after all ... I'm glad that it worked out well.

I LoLed over Teacher Oh's attempts to hug JW which were so awkward.

In the script of answers, Teacher Oh said that Hwi Young would answer in 1 of several ways, and he had prepared more than 1 possible rebuttal. I'm impressed that JW memorised them all and chose the right one to use in his reply.

In a safe and non-threatening way, this was the underdog speaking out against the abusive imbalance of power of the 'top' 1 percent.

I was so turned off by the squad of mums' treatment of JW's mother, that I actually FFD that portion. I really want those mums to be forced to eat humble pie before the end of the series.

I am sad Sang Hoon seems to be leaving. I was hoping that there would be a group of friends around JW with Sang Hoon making up their number. The good thing that comes of all this, it is that his father is at least promoted and not likely to be disturbed by HY's dad, and Sang Hoon can start anew and do well wherever he is.

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that was pretty sneaky of Teacher Oh, and I was too a bit conflicted, but I think Teacher Oh has now a pretty good reading of his class, and knows that although there are number of students who don't agree with HY they wouldn't speak against him, and they are used to let him have his way, I assume it was years of conditioning so it would be hard to break that mould, JW start to coming out of his shell by being pulled and pushed by other people (Soo Bin, Oh Je, Teacher Oh), and now he enjoys himself quite a bit, so for Teacher Oh he was best bet at this moment and another opportunity for JW.

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JW needs to come out of his shell. I want to see him performing well. I didn't mind the open class script so much but I didn't exactly like it when two other opinions had to be stated on behalf of mr. Oh. I think JW is the artistic, loner type so he wouldn't be happy in a forced leadership position but I do like to see him gaining the respect he knows he deserves. I just hope he does it on his own and no more scripts. Maybe he can take Sang Hoon's place in the relay and maybe he can win an art contest or smth. Stuff that no amount of studying can compete with. Talent is gold that way.

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I know what you mean about feeling conflicted, like how JW said it would be hard for his conscience to do that. But I also kind of agree with Teach, sometimes, you have to do these things to fight back. Lawd knows that 1% is doing all sorts of wrong things. This wasn't for a grade, just an opportunity to shake up some prejudice onlookers minds and take HY down a notch, and we all know he could do with being taken down like 10 notches. *shrug*

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I'm really sad that the writer sends Jo Sang-Hoon's character abroad. I won't see him in the next weeks... aaagh... He interested me most in the drama. The main character (Jun-Woo) seems currently having no serious problem but a crush on a girl. And it's really hard for me to sympathize with Hwi Young after all he did, especially to Jun-woo's best friend.

Meanwhile, Sang-Hoon has more interesting things to be discovered from himself alone. In addition, it's very rare in K-drama, there is a character who is a nosy, swell, snob and very genius at the same time. Too many to be discovered and explored from the character alone, like "Good Will Hunting" in Korean drama. Can we make another drama only about Sang-Hoon?? Aarrgghhh... I don't know what to do.

I love At Eighteen because of its characters, and out of all characters, I love Sang Hoon's most. Every time I see Sang Hoon on my screen, I replayed the scene multiple times because he always had short screentime. And unfortunately, I would no longer see him in the future. Thank you, script writer.

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We lost my favourite character! Sang Hoon was fun to watch. He's not rich kid but he works a lot to reach the first place but still in cool way and not by doing only that. It's unfair that he had to leave his school, at least, he's smart and hard-working and will be able to achieve his goal in the future :)

I don't understand the English lesson. When the test is about talking about their dreams, the parents don't want it. When the exercise is about an article, the parents want them to talk in english and the teacher doesn't want anymore... I didn't like that Mr Oh gave arguments to Joon Woo. It's not like that he should help Joon Woo and it's unfair for the other students.

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Only 1/2 way and this drama's metaphorical body count is 4.

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Sorry, but I didn't understand.

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Not sure, but I count four people who have dropped out of the story so far: Sang Hoon, Jung-hoon (best friend who died), Tae Ho (student who left), Mr. Kim (absent homeroom teacher).

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@wishfultoki
That is it exactly. Yet to be revealed - but potentially all met their fate due to brushing up against HY.

Sure, corruption can be a singular event, but systemic corruption (what I suspect the writer is tackling) is about how the patterns are built-in to normality and fed.

Sang Hoon's fate touched many viewers, he was partly like the little engine that could, but in reality his downfall is only one in a pattern.

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@wishfultoki and @SadKDramaLama
Ah! Thank you!

I just want Sang Hoon to come back :p

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@kurama
Actually, you have made me realise something very important about how the writer is using Sang-Hoon.

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@kurama About the English lesson, what I gathered was that the parents didn't want the Free Conversation sort of lesson for their children before the exams, because everyone had to have a partner and prepare and it would take them a lot of time to come up with their scripts and practise. It was not the topic that was the issue but the preparation that they objected to, I feel.

This time there was no objection because the boss mum demanded an Open Class and the children were given a topic but not everyone had to prepare. In fact, Teacher Oh seems to have known roughly what the kids would say and could prepare the rebuttals that he gave to JW.

I too felt it a bit unfair that JW shone because of all that help from Teacher Oh. However, Teacher Oh must have known that if he didn't pave the way to success for himself and JW from the beginning and in front of those parents, he and JW would have a much tougher time. They'd be dissed and ignored like JW's poor mum.

I think it was a strategy to enable him to start breaking the control of that 1% of people trying to bully him into doing what they wanted.

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It sounded more like they didn't want to do it and they used the excuse of time.

For the article, I don't think that Teacher Oh should use Jin Woo to be respected. He could choose something else to make the other students shine. Honestly, if I find him cute and I like the fact he's trying, I always want to pull my hair when I watch him teaching. But it's more an issue I have with this drama, and youth drama in general. It's always the same story : the poor teachers against the powerful kids and their parents.

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From my understanding parents were opposed to free conversations task, because it could lower the grade and it's not something that would be included in CSAT, so for them it's a waste of time and risk of ruining the grades.
This is last year CSAT English test: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/nation/2018/11/177_258803.html

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We always come back to the same problem : parents. And after this lesson, I don't see how they think their chidren will pass any test, only one student could articulate sentences in english.

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Because it's about test solving skills, not knowing the language unfortunately.

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@shach
Is it just me...don't most of the example questions in that link actually have flaws in their logical frameworks? Sure, on first glance, they sound very precise, but actually are very sloppy with their use of terms.

Asking for a person better at English and logic than myself.

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I'm not a native English speaker too, but from what I read people mostly talk how hard this test is, but to me it seems mostly impractical, because who talk or write like that?

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@shach
OMG. I would never have guessed you aren't a native speaker. I am - but not as good as I would like/need to be. Usually just enough to get me into and out of trouble. :D.

P.S. Are you a Korean speaker? I am curious if the written Korean questions actually use the term "logical" or if that is just the article using a poor translation.

Just for the record - For me, Q21. What does "refining ignorance" mean?
None of the answers are precise enough to be a definition; either per the given article or as I understand the term. None of the answers deal with the "refining" part of the term - either in the action of moving the boundary of the known or the equally important expanding the unknown.
This is what I meant by - they sound very technical but actually aren't.

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I'm just plain old European, and thank you very much for the compliment, altough I'm not as good as I strive to be.

I googled and this part is from the book Ignorance: How It Drives Science by Stuart Firestein. I feel like the answers are not really pointing toward author intention.

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I thought the parents were against the first English open discussion because the kids would be paired with someone not as good as theirs. This could result a lower grade to their child, which would not be acceptable (to the parents point of view).

I understood Teacher Oh was against the second free discussion, because the parents would be attending. Knowing how HY and SB's mothers are, Teacher Oh felt as if they were doubting his English competence, and they might also criticize/interfere his teaching etc.

I thought he asked JW to speak up to not allow HY to be the only shining star (which I'm sure HY's mom would want) , and to help JW gain some respect from others/stop misconception about him.

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I was also confused and uncomfortable about the Open Class:

1) It was an English lesson (right?) but the teacher told the kids to not speak in English. Of course, this could reflect the EFL teaching system in Korea: From what we’ve seen students are in no way ready for debates at proficient level, and they are not encouraged to use English to communicate in class. Even Mr. Oh always spoke to them in Korean, so much so that they were surprised to hear him reply to Hwi-Young in English.

2) It’s common for teachers to steer the direction of a student discussion and prompt the weaker students to contribute, but saying “you just want to show off” would be considered demeaning in my country (even if it’s true). Hwi-Young actually read the article and prepared his answer so it’s not fair to shut him down like this.

3) Teacher Oh could have officially nominated students to argue for and against the article. Not do it sneakily by visiting Joon-Woo after school. Granted, we did not hear him give out instructions to the class, so maybe I missed something.

Conclusion: If it’s an English lesson I think it’s a failure. If it’s a Debate lesson it’s ok, sort of. I don’t know how much time Mr Oh had to prepare for it. Overall I enjoyed Teacher Oh and Joon-woo’s little victory. I might be too harsh because I’m looking at it from my teacher’s perspective and another cultural context.

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I did not like teacher saying 'not about your showing-off' but I feel it is also script writing in English problem. The teach is being shown as a good teacher who actually wants to help the students. I kinda let it pass through me, despite making me slightly uncomfortable.

But I understand him helping jw along though. It is fairly clear jw has learnt life his own way. He needs mentors and having a life mentor is good. Plus, script has clearly shown us jw has a strong moral compass. I wonder if he is going to be influenced by a teacher giving him a script. The feeling from that open class was good. That whole segment showcased several things about parents and students...

The fact that hw's mom kept a very happy face throughout the english segment - including teach talking english - very clearly indicated she had no idea who was saying what. She was happy that her son spoke in English. Soobin's mother actually knew what teach was saying and was actually secretly enjoying it. Other parents had no idea and were probably happy jw articulated what 99% were feeling etc. etc.

It was a really good script. I have not seen something like this in another drama.

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Oh yes, overall it was a positive scene. I can’t help being picky when it comes to teaching because I do this for a living 😂

Lol. I did not catch that Hwi-Young’s mom probably had no idea what her son was saying. So we can assume that her education was not at SNU-level? Her story must be sad... she chose to marry someone with brains and money, but not an ounce of humanity.

Btw Soo Bin’s mom was passive-aggressively showing off HER knowledge in front of Hwi-Young’s mom and other parents.

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Right? She was like showing off her English skills.

Everyone hates hw's mom but imagine her life...She is so abused and scared. This drama is giving us all sides. The only truly bad guy is hw's dad. I wonder if the drama will rationalize him as well. I hope not.

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@dramafan100

But SB's mum can't know that HW's mum has a pitiful life because she doesn't show it. And honestly, she did a lot things that are not forgivable.

SB's mum had to make a lot of things and put aside her pride when she is more capable.

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Soo Bin's mom said that she was from no name uni, and only her husband position gives her clout among other mothers.

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I think it was okay that Teach said that. The partner discussion was an exam. This was a lesson. It seemed that the point of the lesson was reading an article (which may have been in English)- or there was some English involved, and then discussing it. Obviously speaking only in English wasn't commonplace in class. Ssaem was right in saying that the point of the lesson isn't for him to strut his stuff, but it's best to speak Korean so that all the visitors could follow. Honestly I am a teacher too, and though I would never say that to a student because I'm too warm and fuzzy and I teach kinder, I have had and know teachers who would say something like that, some in a jovial way and others in a condescending way. HY could only benefit from being taken down a notch. And okay, what he did setting the situation up and helping JW was not fair. But obviously much of what goes on in that school is not fair, coming from the parents and the system. It was just a lesson, and Sseam was like, sometimes you need to do these things. They used it as a chance to break up some of the prejudice against both Teach Oh and JoonWoo. I was happy they did it!

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I understand that Teacher Oh wants to help Joon Woo. But I don't think he used a good solution. I felt unconfortable.

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JW and SB is so cute preparing for their movie date. But they should just tell RM to scram though. JW tell her plainly that he like SB, so RM…why choose to be that bitchy side character~ I lmao when OJ starts imitating Dain and getting cutely angry about not knowing JW/SB being a couple. Him walking JW home…. I kinda ship it~ lol Well, at least we know that JW is not starving since the part timer girl and OJ are feeding him.
SH arc is has sad ending… I hope that is not the last time we’ll see him. Like JW said, I like that he bold enough to tease and rile up HW but I guess he is too bold? But I understand his anger though. When everyone is bending for HW and that put him in a disadvantage, I’ll be mad too. But seeing JW and SH sort of bond over running and their unfair situation because of HW, I hope SH appears again in the future. Honestly, I’m glad the whole SH situation bringing HW mood down. At least he feels guilty about it.
Mr. Oh shaping up to be a good teacher. He may not exactly the best teacher like the mothers (HY mom) wants but I really like when he ask if HW is ok. He quite good picking up all the odd vibes these kids are sending. SH, HW, JW, Kitae.. He is good. The fact that he notices HW demeanor and ask for his well-being… good job. HW probably never had anyone ask him that seeing his hesitation. I hope he is there to hold HW the way he hold JW in the future.
Oh Je’s secret still stays as secret……

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I forgot to comment about HW's parents/dad.
Based on the cover mag, I think HW's dad is rag to riches type of person. Cool but I just dont understand where his power come from, to easily influence the school/teachers and cleaning up after HW. I thought chaebol/old money who usually have that kind of influence. I understand that he can send SH's dad abroad since SH's dad works with him but to influence the school? And that tutor? And I'm sure mom is behind the bully guy changing his words in ep5. I did think maybe his mom who has the connection but dad easily threathen mom so it seems unlikely.
(Clearly I watch to many daily dramas 😅😅)

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@hanie

In reality you answered your own question...

You are correct, it is too pervasive to just a product of the father alone. No self made person automatically has such power.

Hence, we have to look at the events we see and extrapolate out...the best parallel is how an archeologist knows what a dinosaur looked like if they only have a tooth.

:D Just close your eyes if it gets too dark.

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I need this show to be about the individual growth of the students so I don't mind so much for the romance to take a bit of a back seat. The dynamics between Soo Bin and Jun Woo is cute but I want to see them both grow more as they do. Soo Bin is a mature girl but sadly her mother is partially right at least in the real world. Jun Woo also needs a push. He's too good an egg. I think they all have endless potential and I hope to see them in a future scene ala reply 1997 but in reverse. Honestly, this entire drama feels like I'm watching a flashback-- like an entire backstory of their futures to come. I wouldn't mind a future based sequel with adult actors.

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We’re already half way through this thing you guys! 😮

I’ve really been liking Teacher Oh, but I was not okay with him giving Joon-woo that script. Joon-woo felt uncomfortable with it as well though he ended up caving in. I would have probably been okay with Teacher Oh coming to Joon-woo and saying, “Hey, we’re doing this open class, and this is the topic of disscussion. Be thinking about what you could contribute to it.” But him giving a script to memorize was too far. I hope the show will address this in the future.

I couldn’t stay upset with Teacher Oh for long, though. Him reaching out to Hwi-young and asking if he was okay was possibly my favorite moment of this episode. I didn’t realize how much I needed to see that until it happened. I like the idea of trying to reach out to Hwi-young instead of just trying to outmaneuver him. He has done a lot of nasty things that he needs to make amends for, but he is also a broken kid caught in the grip of his scary parents. He needs some true friends in his life - not ones that only care about his performance or what he can do for them.

Joon-woo and Soo-bin. These two 😊. At the beginning of the show, Soo-bin was the one who reached out to the shy, closed off Joon-woo. Now the tables have turned with Joon-woo being bold and going after her, leaving Soo-bin all shy and not knowing what to do with herself. So cute! This boy has really come into his own.
Joon-woo is sweetness personified. I loved that he didn’t get defensive when Soo-bin questioned him about Ro-mi. I think it would have been easy to be like, “What?! How could you think that?”. Instead, he gently made himself clear without belittling her doubts and uncertainty.
The ending scene has me concerned though. Misunderstandings and circumstances have kept these two apart long enough. If it goes on much longer, I’ll start to get frustrated.

Another favorite moment of this episode was Oh-je being all upset and dramatic when he found out about Joon-woo and Soo-bin 😂. I need more of this friendship!

Is Sang-hoon really leaving? 😢 I hope not!

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Yes to every word!
And I should not have watched Ep. 9 preview. I love the show but I am already a bit frustrated. Hopefully they won’t turn Ro-mi and Hwi-Young into meddling second leads who cause misunderstandings. More importantly, I don’t want romance to become the main focus of the drama. It’s cute, but the story has so many other threads to follow!

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1st rule of KDrama:
All ways be wary of spoilers.

:D

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I didn’t even watch the preview, and I’m feeling the angst 😆. My vote would be to leave Joon-woo and Soo-bin alone for at least a little bit. That way we could still have the cute moments every now and then while the show continues to develop each character’s individual story.

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Vigilante justice is as ubiquitous as air to KDrama.

It is one of the things that saddens me most...its as if everyone acknowledges that justice is so broken that even at the micro level it can not be relied on.

It is also the thing that shows that fighting back is a mirage.

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One more thing: Pil-Sang in glasses was too precious. I wonder if he wanted to impress Ro-mi’s parents. 😂

Or... does he lead a double life as nerd at home and slacker at school (MY SECRET LIFE AS A NERD). 😉

Actually. At the rate we’re going with student lies, I wouldn’t be surprised if Pil-sang is indeed a geeeeenius who doesn’t care about grades because he’s got a comfy chaebol job waiting for him when he graduates.

Thanks for the recap @teriyaki!

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Kang Ki Young - my favorite teacher!!

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When Joon Woo and Sang Hoon ran together in the field, it just displayed that that’s the best they could do for such situation. They could not manage to fight back the evil dad and mum, but they can still run together because they both know what it feels like. Sang Hoon totally won me in this episode, too bad he won’t be in the school anymore.

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I think what this show and definitely this episode does so well is illustrate how a toxic culture hurts everyone involved. I really felt it at the scene when Hui Young was running and Sang Hoon was arguing with his father. Just horrible feelings of frustration, helplessness, anger, and destruction. Soo Bin's mom presents herself to her daughter as if her actions are a means of surviving in the biases of their world, but she is obviously an immense propagator, contributor, and creator of the ongoing problem, and imo a pretty vile person as well. Her priorities are way off.

I was super surprised and upset about Sang Hoon's transfer. I thought that things were boiling to a point and that SH would play a big role in bringing Hui Young and his nasty family down, at least a little. My mind has been wondering if there will be a turning point in this story. Will it be the kind of story where things come to a head, where truth is revealed? There have been many times where we thought it could, but it did not because of the power HY's family has to cover everything up. I wonder if this conclusion of the show will be that JW and SB learn how to live their lives within this world, at least sharing their own happiness, or if the atrocities of this classist and corrupted school community culture will be shaken at least a little by the conclusion.

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Kang Ki Young is on his way to being my fav k-drama actor! I've been enjoying a bunch of his bajillion roles since King of High School Savvy, but he was incredible and hilarious in Terrius Behind Me and he is really showing his talents for both comedy and drama in A Moment at 18. I hope this paves the way for him to have a leading role soon.

I adore Oh Han Kyuel! I think he is such a fantastic character. He's not perfect, but he's a truly caring and hardworking teacher and he's just so darn lovable! In the beginning, when he met Joon Woo and was so preoccupied with his shoe shopping and so dismissive, I thought he wasn't going to be a great teacher and I thought I wasn't going to be a big fan. His own growth has been something to follow. We see him struggling for various reasons but his heart is in the right place. He wants to be there for all of his students. He wants to do right for his students and for himself. He's working up courage to fight battles and he sees himself in Joon Woo. His silent face-making conversations toward JW in front of the whole class kill me every time XD ! I've already commented on this responding to other posts, but I was surprised that people were so super-duper turned off by the whole behind the scenes prepping thing. I agree it wasn't "right," but I did not take it as a huge moral offense. It was one lesson, not a graded test. I take it on par with whispering someone's lines to them, or when the aids in my class whisper the answer to students so they can raise their hand and participate. Yeah, I don't love it. I don't think it's fair, but it's not THAT big of a deal. And sometimes I've told myself that what they did was alright because it enabled that student to have a proud moment. I think that the prejudices and corruption in this school culture and system are so great that Teach took it upon himself to fight a little fire with fire. End result: it shook up some unfair impressions that are put on him as a teacher and Joon Woo as the forced transfer student who parents don't want their teenage children paired with (give me a BREAK!). Anyway I forgive him. I loved him all the more when he tried to be there for Hui Young (Hui Young I will never forgive you, you could not redeem yourself after the hideous things you said to Joon Woo, demeaning his existence that night in the beginning of the drama..and you've done much worse things since then! No matter what you have gone through or are going through, being mistreated doesn't give you the permission to step on others! Also the way you speak to some of your peers, your teachers, and adults makes me want you to get what's coming to you!
Sorry for this side rant!) And I hope Ssaem meets a happy romantic match with the convenience store Noona. <3 :D

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@pickledplumtree
I suspect this murkiness isn't just about the usual simplistic sugar hit of helping the weak kid we so often get in KDrama.

It looks like this write is tackling systemic corruption - honestly - including our complicity in feeding it. We are going to get some uncomfortable truths.

Systemic corruption is like a hydra-headed monster...you can't defeat it by chopping off one head - actually attacking systemic corruption in that way actually makes it worse. This is why Sang-Hoon is so interesting. We liked him the same way we like "the little engine that could". The writer appears to be exploring all the tropes about good defeating evil. Sang-Hoon is our naivety that being simple and good is enough to beat it. We cheered for his ability to win through as if through skill and determination he would succeed. That is revealed to be as simplistic and childish as the story book.

No one should discount Teacher Oh as a side character. He is the one with the sword able to really inflict damage to the system. Remember, Hercules had to plan how to tackle the Hydra beast and needed his nephew. In this drama I suspect Teacher Oh may actually be Hercules and JW may be Lolaus - who was famed Olympic chariot racer who helped defeat Hydra...(yes that running speed has meaning)

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Wow! I love this! What a fantastic comparison to greek mythology.

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Point, lol, I'm going to start seeing this everywhere. It is very ancient Greek tragedy, hopefully with a better ending.

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@pickledplumtree
P.S. I'm so with you on Kang Ki-Young.

This was my comment from back at ep01.
"This is the best I have seen Kang Ki-Young. When he gets to play it straight, his humour makes him so human."

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