Dream High: Episode 15

I liked Hye-mi from the start, despite her surly behavior, but now I LOVE her, and totally because of her surly ‘tude. Is it me, or did she transform into someone awesome, right under our noses? In this episode she faces not one, but two dilemmas: classical or pop, and Hottie No.1 vs. Hottie No.2. Sigh. It’s tough being a girl.


Hye-mi realizes that she’s running towards Sam-dong…which means she LUUUUURVES him! To make matters worse, he’s heading straight for her with Jin-gook by his side, so she ducks behind a door to hide from them, because she’s adorably new to feelings.

She leans her head against the wall, groaning to herself that she’s crazy: “What are you going to do now? Crazy, crazy, crazy.” Aw. I love this side of Hye-mi.

The kids sign their contracts with White Entertainment, and the teachers supervise the proceedings. Oh-hyuk clocks Principal Shi glaring at him like the crook who stole his daughter, and he leans over to ask Jin-man why the principal’s got laser beams aimed at him.

Jin-man: “I don’t know. Don’t speak to me.” Hahaha. And aw, poor heartbroken Jin-man. The tidal wave of destruction one public display of affection can cause.

The students laugh at Doo-shik’s cheesy words about making their dreams come true together, until Jin-gook points out that it’s Oh-hyuk’s M.O., and he hides his face in embarrassment. I love how realistic that is—when I was a teenager, cheese was the plague.

Outside, Jin-gook and Sam-dong congratulate each other on their contracts, and Sam-dong declares that now he’s pretty sure that he’s up to snuff, to battle it out for Hye-mi’s heart. He asks Jin-gook if he’s up for the challenge, asks if he’s confident he’ll win. Jin-gook says he’s not, actually, and asks if Sam-dong is confident in winning.

Sam-dong: “No, I’m not. Now that I think about going up against you, you’re bigger than me. And possibly better looking. And you gave up your dream to protect someone else, so it’s possible you’re cool too. I should’ve picked someone easier to beat. Truthfully, I’m a little scared.”

Gah, I love their competitive bonding. Also, he’s not better looking. That’s just your insecurity talking, Sam-dong. What I love about his character is that he’s totally old-fashioned. He’s alerting his opponent that he’s going for it, like a gentleman.

Every battle’s got its code of ethics, and this one’s delightfully friendly, while still being tense. It’s the kind of code between two guys who might share some friendly underwear from time to time. Also, confirmation: Jin-gook still has the K pendant.

The girl in question is battling it out on her own, with little imaginary Angel Jin-gook on one shoulder, and Devil Sam-dong on the other. LOL.

Cracks me up that Jin-gook is the angel, because despite being the traditional bad boy, he’s always been the good one to her. And Sam-dong, despite being the good country boy, is the devil to Hye-mi, because he’s made her face tough challenges, and forced her to (gasp) feel feelings. Pwahaha. What a great reversal.

She mulls it over until Devil Sam-dong starts flying Cupid’s hearts at her (HA) and she shakes them both away.

Sam-dong sees from across the way and calls out to her, bringing her out of her reverie…and way too close to facing reality. So she bolts like a rabbit. And Sam-dong, bless his heart, just chases after her because he doesn’t know why she’s running away.

He finally catches up and cuts her off, and asks why she’s running away from him. Hye-mi: “I’m not running away. I’m…exercising.” Is it just me or is this girl getting funnier?

Sam-dong proudly shows her the contract and she says congratulations in her distraction, not even making eye contact. He’s like, this is the face of someone congratulating? And Hye-mi gets to repeat one of my favorite lines: “This IS my congratulations face.”

Sam-dong starts to ask her if she still worries about him or feels sorry for him, but before she can answer, she gets a call from her sister Hye-sung: Dad’s back!

Father of the Year was too busy being Crown Prince Whozit, or running away from debt collectors, what have you, and only now shows up at the house. He goes livid the moment he lays eyes on Oh-hyuk (the guy his wife left him for, as you’ll recall), and takes it out on his side-view mirror.

Once inside, he presents Oh-hyuk and his sister with an envelope of money, clenching his teeth while thanking them for taking care of his girls. When asked if that’s the face of someone who’s thankful, he answers, “This IS my thankful face.” It runs in the family!

Hye-mi comes home and Dad tries to greet her with a hug (do you even know your daughter?), and she responds by hitting him tearfully. He promises her that this time he’s gotten back on his feet, and they can all be together…in America.

Oh crap. Panic sets in over the two boys, who’ve been quietly happy for Hye-mi, until now. Dad says they’ll get everything ready for the move in a week, and they can stay at a hotel in the meantime. Hye-mi doesn’t want to just up and leave to a hotel so suddenly, and Oh-hyuk agrees that they can stay, since there’re so many rooms…

Dad goes over to Sam-dong and Jin-gook’s room, where they both hastily make their beds and in unison: “You can sleep here, sir.” Ha. Dad’s less concerned with where he’s going to sleep, than with what kind of relationship they have with his daughter.

They put him at ease by saying they’re just all friends from the same class, and Dad makes it clear that Hye-mi is Julliard-bound, as in destined for better things, so back off. He then chooses Sam-dong’s bed (!) and then complains about the mattress springs like a little princess.

The boys note that Hye-mi is a cookie-cutout of her dad, right down to the sneer and the prickly demeanor. Heh. I love that they can make fun of her truthfully, even though they’re competing for her affections.

Jin-gook runs into Hye-mi on the staircase, and asks if she’s really going to America. She says with a smile that she’s going, of course, because Dad’s here, and Julliard was always her dream anyway. But when she turns her back, her face betrays conflict.

Jin-gook offers her congratulations, though it’s half-hearted. And Hye-mi accepts his handshake a little too eagerly, as if convincing herself that it’s something to be congratulated for.

In her room, she ponders over her two dreams, now offering up a choice that she never had before. Sam-dong comes to her door, full of fear and anticipation.

Sam-dong: Can’t you…not go?

Ack! Ack! **thud**

He leans against her door, while she leans against it on the other side, and he asks what he’s supposed to do if she leaves now.

In the middle of the night, Dad wakes up in stealth mode, and takes the girls out of the house, suitcases in tow. They stay the night at a sauna, and the girls wonder what they’re doing there, if Dad’s really on the up and up.

Turns out Shady Daddy isn’t quite so on the level. He bolted from the house because he knew that Ma Doo-shik would find him there and demand repayment. Hye-mi rolls her eyes at her errant father, realizing that nothing’s actually changed. She asks why he really came back.

He tells her that it’s because he was worried she’d give up on her dream (of studying classical music) and was sincere about starting over in the States. He takes her phone away and tells them not to tell anyone where they are, so that they can slip away quietly in a week.

At school, Sam-dong and Jin-gook worry that Hye-mi will just leave the country like this, and Sam-dong decides he has to find her. Jin-gook asks if he has any way of stopping her. Sam-dong: “I don’t…but if I don’t find her, I won’t be able to breathe.” Kid, are you TRYING to kill me?

They split up to look for her, and Hye-mi wanders the streets to clear her head. She ends up in front of school, debating whether or not to go in. And it’s not either of the boys, but Baek-hee who finds her first. She takes her inside by the hand, having come full circle from their first steps into Kirin together.

Kyung-jin and Oh-hyuk run into each other in an explosion of awkward, and when she tries to bring up the hug from the other day, he makes the mistake of telling her that he won’t read anything into it, since it didn’t mean anything. Oh, boys. She just agrees, deflated.

When Doo-shik sneaks up behind her, she jumps into Oh-hyuk’s arms yet again, but they refuse to acknowledge the giant pink elephant in the room. Jin-man joins them as they discuss the new song that Doo-shik has acquired for the group.

It’s not really a song so much as a bass line, but then Oh-hyuk adds a melody on top of it. Jin-man’s jaw drops: “Are you a genius?” Heh. Oh-hyuk confesses that Sam-dong’s the genius, since it’s a song he wrote, re-titled “Dream High.” (The show’s title track.)

Everyone thinks that it’s a good song and a good name for the group, while Jin-man has other ideas. He’s prepared for the group-naming session, you see. Jin-man: “ALBATROS!” Ignore, ignore.

Jin-man: “Ok, ok, I have another: R2D2!” I don’t know what’s funnier—the fact that he thinks these are cool names, or the motions he’s got accompanying them. He finally throws a tantrum that nobody listens to him, harrumph, but then his ego shoots right back up when he’s offered the role of songwriter. Cue triumphant Star Wars music.

They’re interrupted when Dad comes rushing in to grab Oh-hyuk by the collar and demand his daughter’s whereabouts. He totally outs Oh-hyuk for seducing away his wife—AWK-ward—and blames him thinking he’s stashed Hye-mi somewhere.

Hye-mi comes running up to break up the fight, which is when Doo-shik realizes who it is, with a gleeful smile. They all calm down to discuss the matter, and Dad finds out that Hye-mi signed with Doo-shik in order to repay his debts. Yeah, catch up, Deadbeat Dad.

He tries to tell her not to worry about the debt, but she says it’ll be fine if she just debuts. That’s when Oh-hyuk steps in, like a real father figure, and reassures her that the debt doesn’t matter. His house has already been leveraged as collateral, and she needn’t worry, and he tells her to think carefully about what she really wants, and not to debut to pay a debt.

She looks up at Oh-hyuk, finally put at ease, and says she’ll think about it. Yay. In your face, Daddy Dearest. Takes more to be a dad than DNA.

Meanwhile, Kyung-jin reels at the news that her crush could be the kind of man to seduce a married woman. Jin-man takes the opportunity to tell her that eight years ago (the time of the supposed affair) is right around the time they were supposed to debut together, but Oh-hyuk ditched him. He decides that Oh-hyuk might have been the bad guy back then. Jin-man: “It’s possible he’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing!” Yeah, a real wolf.

I love that Jin-man thinks he’s competing for Kyung-jin’s affections, when it’s really Oh-hyuk that he loves.

Hye-mi weighs her decision as she wanders the streets, playing eeny-meeny-miny-moe at each crosswalk, and frustrated that Fate isn’t helping her decide. Jin-gook finds her lost in thought, and she asks him what she’s supposed to do, since neither of them is one hundred percent.

Jin-gook tells her that if one choice were a hundred, it wouldn’t be a choice, but an answer. It’s because they’re fifty-fifty that it’s a choice, and she should weigh it carefully. He adds that once she chooses, not to look back, and turn that fifty into a hundred, to prove to herself that she made the right choice.

She wonders if he’s not going to tell her not to go, but he says she’s not the type to listen to other people anyway. She smiles, but her thoughts drift to Sam-dong and she walks away lost in thought again.

Jason does a promotional soundbite for an idol talk show, and he sweetly suggests the other members of Dream High for interviews. The PD doesn’t bite at the mention of Jin-gook or Baek-hee, thinking that it’s still too soon, and even makes the dig that people say Baek-hee seduced the president.

Oh, so the TEENAGER seduced the SLIMY BASTARD? Gah, sometimes I hate people. But I love Show for being real about it. Jason snaps at him that it’s not like that, but sees that they’ve got an uphill battle ahead. He suggests Pil-sook, and scores her a spot.

On the day of her interview, Jason watches from behind the camera, adorably cheering her on. He takes a look at the interview questions, and sees that changes have been made. His face falls, as he realizes he’s walked her straight into the lion’s den.

The interviewer starts out naming all her talents, and then adds her biggest talent of all: transformation, as he takes out a giant picture of her from a year ago. Pil-sook panics for a second, her voice wavering…but then she pulls it together and makes light of it, with jokes. Jason breathes a sigh of relief.

She closes the segment with a song that she clearly wrote about her favorite Chipmunk.

IU – “Dreaming” [ Download ]

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Eyes that only look at me
A nose like a sculpture
Lovable lips
Skin like milk and
A face that’s curious about something
Chic words

My friends think
I’m delusional
But I knew
Your heart
Even when you’re coy
I know
You can fool a ghost
But you can’t fool me

Step by step
Nervous footsteps
With excitement

Today with a heart
As big as this
Your dream

After the interview, Jason tells her that the PD found old pictures of her from her homepage, and suggests she take them down. She sighs that she probably should, but confesses that it makes her sad to do so.

She knows that the world will ridicule the Pil-sook of a year ago, and she’s scared that she’ll come to hate her too. Pil-sook: “I was happy with myself back then.” Aw, I love her. Jason tells her that she’s not the only one who was happy with who she was a year ago, and…wait for it…he takes out his phone.

YES! She’s shocked to find pictures of herself. “It’s…pictures of me?” Jason: “Who did you think was in here?” Pil-sook reminds him of his beloved I-miss-you-I-love-you-Julie, and of course, he waits till NOW to tell her: she’s his sister. Knew it.

She turns to keep walking, but he pulls her close. Omo! She immediately reads the sitch and shuts her eyes in a panic, making me die. Jason laughs to himself, and then goes in for a kiss…on the doll who’s hitching a piggyback ride on Pil-sook’s back.

She actually huffs in frustration, as he says he couldn’t help it…the doll was so cute. “But why did you close your eyes? What were you expecting?” Cheeky bastard. She turns to walk away in embarrassment, but he grabs her back for another go. Aaaah! Stop yo-yo-ing her…my heart can’t take it!

He leans in close, and kisses her sweetly on the nose. But she’s had enough of this coyness, and grabs him for a real kiss. YAY! I didn’t think it was possible to love her even more. Gah, they are so cute I can’t stand it!

It’s now one day before Hye-mi is scheduled to leave, and she confronts Oh-hyuk at school. She asks him to tell her the truth about her mom. She admits to hating him in the beginning, but now she doesn’t (tantamount to a declaration of love, from Hye-mi) and adds that he’s helped her become who she is now. Aw.

He finally breaks and tells her the truth—that her mom only ever loved one person her whole life, and married him. But one day Oh-hyuk crossed paths with her…at the hospital. When her surgery was unsuccessful, she had asked Oh-hyuk to make her into the bad wife in her family’s eyes, so that they wouldn’t live with her death as a burden. So he did, because he had loved her once.

Um, okay. That’s a little makjang for my taste (How is adulterer and abandoner better than sick and dying?? One’s a burden and the other’s not?? Hello!), but at least it sufficiently clears up the backstory. I never assumed that Oh-hyuk actually seduced Hye-mi’s mom, but this is more than a little nuts. I guess Hye-mi gets her flair for the dramatic from her mom’s side? Yeesh.

Kyung-jin overhears their conversation, crying in empathy and relief, realizing now what Oh-hyuk meant about his heart belonging to another. Principal Shi comes up to warn her of the rumor that Oh-hyuk is a married-womanizer, but Kyung-jin just says that she knows…and it made her fall even harder. Heh.

At home, Sam-dong and Jin-gook both sit on the edge of their beds, waiting for Hye-mi’s decision. Sam-dong finally asks Jin-gook to stop her:

Sam-dong: I can’t, but you might be able to. Can’t you…stop Hye-mi from going? I don’t care if she listens to you and doesn’t listen to me. If you’re in her heart and not me…it doesn’t matter. If you can stop her…then try.

Heartbreaking. That’s not the kind of thing Sam-dong would be willing to say in any other circumstance, but he’s that desperate for her to stay. Oh, puppy. Jin-gook tells him that it’s not something he can hold her back from, and he couldn’t do it even if he wanted.

Hye-mi watches her finished audition clip for EMG, where she narrates the journey she’s been on thus far, from studying classical music and thinking that popular music was third-rate trash.

Hye-mi: But in the past year, through popular music, I was able to cheer somebody on [“Genie”], I was able to make somebody happy [Jin-gook’s birthday song], and I came to find out that I could encourage someone too [“Goose’s Dream” to Baek-hee]. When I look back to when I ridiculed popular music, I realize that I was the prejudiced, third-rate one. I think in the last year, I’ve barely made it out of being third-rate. And that I have the capacity to become first-rate.

She takes out the K pendant, now in her possession (Tricksy, that pendant. They’re exchanging it offscreen now!) and weighs her decision. The next morning, they pack and wait outside for the airport shuttle, when Hye-mi takes out the pendant again, and makes her decision.

Meanwhile, Sam-dong sits outside the house, clutching Hye-mi’s cell phone charm, unable to face her leaving. He finally takes off running, but he’s too late to stop her. He runs after the bus, screaming, “Don’t go! Don’t go!”

He can’t catch up, and he crumples to the ground on his knees, crying for her not to go. He just cries, thinking he’s lost her forever…when she appears behind him.

She catches her breath, saying she didn’t get on the bus, and called out to him to stop running, but he didn’t hear her. He still can’t hear her now, reeling from the shock. She takes his face in her hands and says it again: “I’m NOOOOT GOOOOING.”

He cries again, this time overwhelmed with joy, and grabs her in a hug. Eeee! This time she’s caught off guard, and you know what happens when she’s confronted with feelings…Robot Hye-mi freezes in his arms.

I’m TOTALLY not squeeing right now. That’s not me, I swear.

Back at the bus stop, Dad is still in disbelief over Hye-mi’s declaration, insisting that Oh-hyuk did something to make her say she’s staying. They try to convince him that this is really her dream now, and that it’s a real possibility. Hye-mi tells him that she’ll show him onstage: if she can stand up on stage in one month’s time, it’ll prove to him AND to herself that this is a viable dream.

To that end, the group starts practicing for their debut, and make their first album. Kyung-jin has an adorable moment when she finds out that she’s thanked on the album, for the first time ever. Aw.

Doo-shik makes the rounds to the studios to try and get them onstage, but he’s faced with the harsh truth: Get rid of Jin-gook and Baek-hee, or Dream High will never see the light of day. Dun, dun!


This show is frickin’ genius. Every episode, it focuses on each character, and the closer we get to the finale, it only makes us sure of one thing: any and all of them could be K. I agree that Baek-hee had a phenomenal storyline in the last episode and it made her a prime candidate to rise from the ashes and become K. I certainly would cheer her on with all my heart if it were her.

I don’t think it’s a done deal though, since what the last episode did was just set her up to be one of the contenders, just as much as Sam-dong and Jin-gook have been set up from the beginning. Now Hye-mi joins the ranks with her own battle faced.

Not that I’m putting my money on Hye-mi. My heart’s still with Sam-dong for K, though at this point it wouldn’t kill me if he wasn’t, because he GOT THE GIRL(!) I think it matters less now that Dream High has formed as a group, and we’re more concerned with their immediate struggle and success, rather than the far-off super-stardom that awaits in the distant future.

Oh, who am I kidding. It’s KILLING me.


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Truthfully, I think Sam Dong's love for Hye Mi is kinda over-the-top, and if I were her, I would appreciate the love, but never return it because it feels suffocating to be in that kind of love.....whereas Jin Gook lets Hye Mi be herself, and he becomes himself when around her. They are a more 'realistic' couple. But, this is a Korean drama...if you're love doesn't hurt you to the core, it's not love.

Don't get me wrong, I love KSH and Sam Dong, and I know he's K. But for him to get the girl AND be K? Seems to much and too good to be true.


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I feel ridiculous being so emotionally invested in this drama. My husband doesn't get why I have to write and then get blasted. I just wanted to "LIKE" your comments. LIKE LIKE LIKE!!!!


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From the beginning, we're set up from Hye-Mi point of views and events.

But somehow the story take a turn and change the gear to Sam Dong instead.

Maybe the moral of the story is to belive the impossible.
Sam Dong really did that; he beats his demon, and fight for his girl, no matter what. And, just like the solo dancing, he got the reward.


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That is very nicely stated in more ways than one. I believe you are right. After all it is called "Dream High." This is what Sam-dong does.

I get it now!!! It would not have been such a big obstacle getting Hye-mi if Jin-gook was not so wonderful, kind, all-knowing, good-looking, talented, and loving. After all, Hye-mi agrees that the guy she goes to when she is happy and sad was not the one she is thinking about. My interpretation of this is she is "thinking" about Sam-dong. So, Sam-dong really scores by accomplishing this attraction from her. :-)


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I'm so excited to hear about what you say for Episode 16, the Finale!!! I've been checking your website ALL day!

I live in China, but I'm American, and I'm completely hooked on Kdramas. I love your (Girl Friday and Javabeans') recaps as I have to read subtitles in Chinese and I'm still not that fluent to get the entire concepts in the dialogue. So every week I eagerly wait for your recaps! And while I'm waiting, I read all of your other ones for other shows...
I'm so glad you do this so devotedly, candidly, and cheerfully! Thanks and I hope you get lots of rewards for spending so much time on these! all the best,


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I just watched this episode again, and I am struck by how GOOD an actor the kid who plays Sam Dong is. I mean, he's so good he makes the rest of them look bad sometimes, and other times his amazing acting sells scenes that otherwise could fall flat. I'm really floored.


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just needed to comment.

i am NOT ready for this show to end tonight! :(


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this is so nt fair!!! jin gook gt to kiss her ... even sam dong shd get!!!!! go kiss her sam!!!!!


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Suda mi


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whats the song that plays after go hye mi says shes not going after all and dong starts crying


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5 stars for this episode


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