Moorim School: Episode 5
Now that everyone is safe and sound, and most of the antagonism has been handled, it’s time to actually start studying. Growing feelings could complicate things when the boys are assigned mentors — there’s only one Soon-deok to go around, leaving someone feeling left out. Hopefully this won’t get in the way of the boys’ newfound friendship, because if there’s any ship in this show worth sailing, it’s theirs.
EPISODE 5 RECAP
Shi-woo decides to stay at Moorim School and focus on healing his ear, and he hitches a ride with Soon-deok, who’s openly thrilled that he’s staying. Shi-woo offers to drive her scooter because of her injured hand, and the close proximity makes them both smile when the other isn’t looking.
Chi-ang can’t sleep and loiters outside the school, watching and hoping for Shi-woo to return, which is where Sun-ah finds him. They both lie that they just couldn’t sleep, but Chi-ang breaks first and asks if Sun-ah has heard from Shi-woo.
She tells him that Shi-woo left school, and Chi-ang is hurt and angry. Why would he go to Moorim Peak if he was just going to leave? He grumbles that Shi-woo only cares about fame, and Sun-ah leaps to his defense, assuming he had a good reason to go.
But right then, she spots someone approaching, and asks Chi-ang to pinch her. He pinches her cheeks, and when Shi-woo asks what they’re doing, she runs off embarrassed. Cute.
Chi-ang goes all wide-eyed to see Shi-woo but denies that he was waiting for him, whining, “Ariel!” He goes in for a hug but gets shoved away instead. Shi-woo smiles at Chi-ang’s antics, and Chi-ang tells him to stop that, “because I might like you.” Both boys smile shyly at that.
Up in their room, Shi-woo notices that Chi-ang stole his bed, but he easily takes Chi-ang’s old bed when Chi-and offers to switch back. He warns that this will be the only time he’ll concede to Chi-ang, but Chi-ang just tells him to stop acting cool. Yeah, nobody’s buying the inscrutable loner act anymore.
Someone slides a note under their door, ordering them both to the bell tower armory tonight. In another room, Jeong’s roommate tells him that he has to go tonight, but he refuses, saying that he doesn’t care of those guys stay or go. The teachers all chill out in the lounge doing their own things, and Nadet’s drone checks to make sure the coast is clear.
The boys take the note to Sun-ah and Soon-deok, who tell them that soldiers used to fight in the bell tower armory, and it’s off-limits. They make a big deal about a secret room where bad things happen to curious students, but I suspect they’re just winding the boys up. Shi-woo and Chi-ang assume the students just want to make sure they know how unwelcome they are, so they head out, determined to prove they’re serious about staying.
Ha, the teachers know all about the kids’ plans, and it must not be dangerous because they decide to just let the kids have their fun. Professors Kim and Oh even take credit for starting the tradition, though they say it’s changed a lot over the years.
The bell tower armory is pretty old and mysterious, and as soon as Chi-ang and Shi-woo arrive, they’re locked into a room full of old weapons. Two boys swing down from an upper walkway where the rest of the students watch, and they grab a pair of swords, looking aggressive.
Soon-deok is nervous, and she and Sun-ah leave so they don’t have to watch. Shi-woo finds a sword and Chi-ang a staff, and they brace themselves for the beating they’re surely about to receive. Just as it looks like someone’s about to get seriously hurt, the kids all start to cheer and streamers go off. HA, awesome.
Shi-woo and Chi-ang are stunned for a minute, but it’s obvious that this is their welcome party as all the kids cheer and congratulate them. Poor Chi-ang, with his big-talking mouth, looks so embarrassed. But both boys are touched to be finally accepted.
The teachers all go out together, hoping the kids don’t drink too much. The teachers tell tall tales about how much they can drink (Teacher Samuel says he just chooses not to drink because his face gets all red, hee), and all four end up in a drinking contest.
During the party Chi-ang confronts Shi-woo for leaving without saying goodbye, but Shi-woo disarms him when he says he came back because of Chi-ang. Then he jokes that he knew Chi-ang would tell everyone he didn’t want to clean the bathrooms.
Curious, Jeong slinks up to the party after all, and goes right for the boys. He takes responsibility for the cooking class incident, shocking the entire room, and Chi-ang reluctantly accepts his apology. But Jeong refuses to shake hands, and says (again with the random English) that this doesn’t mean he’s acknowledging them. He still dislikes them.
Dean Hwang gets a call that every last one of his teachers is dead drunk at the restaurant, forcing him to go pay their bill. Fortunately, it’s not that much, because they all passed out after one round, pfft.
Soon-deok’s dad and Aunty go out to dinner, and Aunty slips that Soon-deok is coming home from school this weekend. Oops, Dad thinks she’s been studying for the civil service exam. Aunty pretends it was a simple slip of the tongue, but they just happen to be outside the restaurant where the teachers are, and they run right into Dean Hwang.
The dean is less than thrilled to be caught with these four drunken idiots, and practically ignores Aunty’s greeting. Aunty tells dad that that was the faculty of Moorim School from the mountain nearby, and Dad reacts oddly, as if he’s terrified.
He says never to let Soon-deok near that place — they evidently offered her a scholarship, but Dad was told that she turned it down. He repeats that she’s never to go there, that a woman doesn’t need to learn martial arts. He’s shaking badly, clearly worried out of his mind, and insists on walking a longer way home just to avoid running into the teachers again.
The kids party continues, and Chi-ang turns out to be quite the party animal (Shi-woo: He’s a good dancer, he could be an idol. Har.) Shi-woo seems a bit unsettled at how Soon-deok is watching Chi-ang, which is interesting. She goes off to take a call, and Shi-woo asks Sun-ah about the secret room they mentioned before.
The students confirm that it’s true, that there’s a treasure hidden in the school called the Chintamani. Only a person who possesses great power can hold the treasure, the legend says. But if someone who doesn’t have the power tries to control it, they’ll meet with terrible misfortune. There’s even a story about a student who went into the secret room to claim the treasure, and died. Even now, you can sometimes hear her crying.
Soon-deok’s call is from her boss at the chicken place, who calls her in to discuss a discrepency in the till. She thinks it’s strange that Soon-deok left work early today, and accuses her of stealing the money. Soon-deok can’t decide whether to cry or scream at the unfairness, and by the time she gets back to Moorim, she’s totally deflated.
The party is over, and only a few students are still hanging out. They stumble off to bed, and Soon-deok sits alone with a bottle of alcohol to think. As it turns out, her boss had even insisted she take her clothes off to prove she didn’t have the money, which offended Soon-deok so badly that she actually started doing just that, until the boss’ son came into the store.
He’d cheerfully told his mother that he took some money earlier, and the boss had ordered Soon-deok to clean up, pretending she didn’t just accuse Soon-deok of theft. Soon-deok refused, and quit on the spot, no longer willing to work for too little money and without even basic trust.
That night Shi-woo dreams of fire and a screaming child, while at the same time, the man in the coma relives memories of his wife and two small children. He talks with his wife about the Chintamani, saying that if someone who goes against nature ever possesses it, the whole world would be in danger. He starts to say, “If anything ever happens to me…” but she stops him, because he’s scaring her.
Chi-ang is having his own nightmare, and he wakes Shi-woo by talking in his sleep about being hot and clutching his throat. He wakes up and asks for water, telling Shi-woo that his throat is burning, so Shi-woo heads to the kitchen.
He changes direction when he thinks about the treasure supposedly hidden in the school, and heads back up to the armory. But instead, he finds Soon-deok crying and drinking. He seems ready to leave her alone, but when she begins to sob in earnest, he says that people will start to think she’s the ghost.
Soon-deok denies that she was crying, but Shi-woo just says that everyone cries now and then. After a moment, Soon-deok lets go with a loud wail. Shi-woo looks like he doesn’t know what to do at first, then pulls her head to his chest to comfort her. Aww.
Chi-ang starts to wonder if Shi-woo went to dig a well, ha, and goes looking for him. He finds Shi-woo holding Soon-deok as she cries, and he turns to leave.
Once Soon-deok cries it all out, she asks Shi-woo to pretend he didn’t see anything. He asks dryly if she gets a prize if nobody sees her crying — she should cry whenever she needs to. Speaking as someone who would know, he tells her that it’s hard to try to hide your feelings, especially since nobody even notices.
Soon-deok pulls herself together and asks if he enjoyed his party, then admits how happy she was when he said he wasn’t going back to Seoul. She asks why he changed his mind, and he says thoughtfully that he was too busy training to be an idol to go to school like most kids. He never thought of school as fun, but he feels like Moorim may be different.
Soon-deok agrees that he’ll like it here, and says that’s why she works so hard to be able to attend. Shi-woo walks her to her room, but stops her and tells her to get her hand treated. Somehow I don’t think that’s really why he stopped her.
Chi-ang is in bed with his back turned when Shi-woo gets back to their room, but he’s not asleep. He lies awake, upset at seeing Shi-woo holding Soon-deok so intimately.
The students all train the next morning, hung over or not (the running joke over how much Shannon eats is cute: “I only had two whole chickens!”), but Shi-woo and Chi-ang are late getting out of bed. Shi-woo notices Chi-ang hiding his face under the covers, since he did mention the morning sun was intense on that bed.
The four teachers cringe at breakfast when Dean Hwang shows up making broad statements about setting a good example for the kids. He feeds them a spicy breakfast as punishment, and they all turn a little green, hee.
Shi-woo assumes Chi-ang’s grouchy mood is from drinking too much at the party, but Chi-ang only says that Shi-woo shouldn’t have acted like that. Then he snaps himself out of it and smiles that he’s going to see his Ariel.
He finds Soon-deok in the kitchen, but she turns down his offer of help. He pulls her into a sudden hug, and tells her to cry in his arms if she ever needs to. Soon-deok assumes it’s the hangover talking, and shoos him away. Chi-ang goes back to find Shi-woo, and tells him the score is now tied one to one. Okay then, gauntlet thrown.
Aunty gets that job working as housekeeper for Chi-ang’s mother, and marvels at her giant closet filled with designer clothes and accessories. Chi-ang’s mother shows her how to brew tea for her husband, and Aunty fake-apologizes for assuming that she was “that foxy girl” she went to school with.
Chi-ang’s mom swears it’s not her, but Aunty isn’t buying it. She says that girl pretended to be so innocent, but would fight with girls from another school, and borrowed money from Aunty without paying it back. Chi-ang’s mom overreacts and says she probably had good reason to run off.
Aunty mentions a cafe she used to go to with that girl, and Chi-ang’s mom blurts out that it’s still there… oops. She’s totally busted, but Aunty lets her pretend for now.
And somehow, it’s already time for midterms. Jeong is the only Moorim student looking forward to them, if only to see Shi-woo and Chi-ang’s true skills. Too bad they haven’t actually learned anything yet, but Teacher Samuel assures them that help is on the way.
Cut to: Dean Hwang asking Soon-deok and Sun-ah to mentor the boys. When they hesitate, he even makes a dumb Dad joke that the guys are a lot of fun, just like him, hurr hurr.
Soon-deok explains to Shi-woo that kids are graded differently here, and that the final comprehensive exam is the worst — it literally assesses your comprehensive skills. Dean Hwang administers this test randomly, at any time and place, which stresses everyone out.
Meanwhile Sun-ah starts Chi-ang with some martial arts work, and Chi-ang crows with happiness to get such a great mentor… until he hears that Shi-woo was paired with Soon-deok. That has him running to find them.
Soon-deok is teaching Shi-woo to pull energy from the earth (metaphorically, of course), and he has an adorable mini-freakout when she moves in close behind him to guide his hands. We see that Chi-ang is watching from a short distance, silently seething.
That night Soon-deok looks online for a new part-time job, but nothing out there is as good as the chicken delivery job she already had. Chi-ang sits on his bed and thinks about seeing Soon-deok and Shi-woo together, and pretends to be meditating when Shi-woo comes in.
But he’s too petty to keep his upset to himself, and tells Shi-woo that he plans to beat him in the mid-terms. Shi-woo just counters that he doesn’t like losing either, reminding Chi-ang that the bed is the only thing he plans to concede.
Chi-ang applies himself seriously to Sun-ah’s lessons, and to her surprise, he’s a pretty quick study. He’s extra motivated and stays late to practice alone, which impressed her. The other students also study diligently, some with better results than others.
Soon-deok goes into town to job-hunt, but Chi-ang calls her, and his scared voice is alarming. Apparently he followed her and is now in some sort of trouble. But when she gets to him, he’s just waiting at a restaurant to treat her to dinner. Argh, did it not occur to you to just ask her out?
Soon-deok is understandably confused, since he tricked her to get her here, and she gets angry when he says he rented out the whole place. Yeah, to a girl who’s frantic to find a cruddy part-time job so she can stay in school, that would seem pretty frivolous. She tells him that this one meal cost more than a month’s pay for her, and he just grins like it’s no big deal.
Soon-deok says, without anger, that it’s good that he has a rich father and can just take life easily. But he cuts her off and says it’s just dinner, and rather than pick a fight, she agrees to stay and eat. And she does enjoy the meal — to a point.
Shi-woo thinks about wha the guys told him about the meditation mid-term, where they’re supposed to reveal their worst trauma. He thinks of the buried memory he’s been dreaming about, and looks nervous.
All the way in China, a doctor and a nurse sneak into the coma man’s room to make out (his name is Chae-yoon, we discover), figuring he’ll never notice. The spy that’s been reporting his condition to Chi-ang’s father asks his assistant what he’s looking for, but the assistant doesn’t know, either. Only that it’s somehow linked to the Chintamani.
He says that if Chae-yoon wakes up in the hospital, then things will start happening, and they’ll finally learn what the chairman is looking for. Huh, looks like these two have their own agenda, and the assistant warns her to keep her mouth shut, since nobody else in the chairman’s family knows about any of this.
Professor Beop is also worried about Shi-woo’s behavior in class that time, when he’d claimed to have seen nothing, but clearly been upset by something. When it’s time for Shi-woo’s mid-term, Beop tells him that he’s still keeping his trauma locked up inside. As long as he does that, he won’t be successful in class, or on the exams.
During the test, Shi-woo seems outwardly calm, but his forehead starts to bead up with sweat, just like last time. At the same time in China, Chae-yoon’s pulse quickens, and his facial muscles start to twitch. Shi-woo begins to struggle, enough that the rest of the class takes notice, and Dean Hwang watches from outside the room.
Shi-woo again sees fire, and a dead woman on the floor, but this time there’s more. There’s a little girl with the boy, but the boy is taken away, and two men fight in the middle of the blaze. Shi-woo opens his eyes and tells the class what he saw, which seems to particularly upset Sun-ah.
And in China, Chae-yoon opens his eyes.
The show is definitely relaxing this third week, finding its footing and direction, and I’m finding it a lot easier to just enjoy the ride. I’m ready for a few answers, which I hope we get in the second episode of the week. Not that I mind the way the mystery is being laid down, layer by layer, so that it’s never too much information at once — I just want at least one answer please! Though let’s be honest, the real reason I’m here is the relationships between the characters, which are really very well-written, and if not entirely innovative, at least they’re not so predictable as to be boring.
The bromance between Chi-ang and Shi-woo is the most interesting, because it’s laced with a healthy dose of competitiveness, giving their friendship an exciting edge. I like it a lot — it’s more interesting than just flipping a one-eighty and becoming friends after being enemies, not to mention it’s a lot more true-to-life. Yes, they learned to trust each other and even like each other on that mountain, but that doesn’t mean everything is hunky-dory. They’re still both highly competitive young men, at school and with the girl they’re both coming to like. Seeing them respect each other, while still butting heads over everything, just feels real. I think that watching them toss blunt barbs at each other, and goad each other into being better than they would be on their own, will be a lot more fun than just seeing them become instant buddies.
I really like Shi-woo and Soon-deok’s budding relationship as well, because it feels based on real friendship. I never really bought Chi-ang’s crush on Soon-deok as anything serious, because he just likes her because she’s pretty. And she knows it too, which is undoubtedly why she snarls at him every time he calls her “Ariel.” But Shi-woo sees Soon-deok as a person, and they seem to temper each other well — he grounds her energetic spirit in an interesting way, and she brings him out of his shell. I like their characters individually, but I like them even more when they’re together. I especially love how Shi-woo can find Soon-deok in a vulnerable moment and just be, without having to talk or analyze, and that lets Soon-deok calm down and stops her brain running a mile a minute. and best of all, they genuinely like each other, which is just about the best foundation for a new relationship you can have.
Also and plus, as cute and charming as he is, I don’t really like how Chi-ang treats Soon-deok. Aside from not bothering to learn anything personal about her at all, he’s treating her like a prize to be won. The score is tied?? You don’t win a girlfriend like you win a stuffed animal at the fair, mister! And I didn’t find his little “date” to be cute at all, because he basically lied to get her there. Then when she tried to tell him her perspective, he just cut her off — he really has no interest in understanding her at all. He comes from a good place, and has only good intentions, but he’s got a long way to go. At least his little competition with Shi-woo (is it a competition when only one person even knows about it?) doesn’t seem to be in danger of severing their newfound friendship — which, to me, is the most important relationship in the show. But Chi-ang has a lot to learn about girls, and people in general, before he’s ready to date anyone. For that reason I hope he ends up with Sun-ah, because she’s not about to let him get away with anything, and she’ll whip him into a more human-shaped person right quick before she even begins to consider him as dating material.
Sadly, though it really feels like the show knows where it’s going and how it plans to get there, the recently announced episode cut will make it difficult for the plot to play out as planned. From what I understand, twelve episodes have already been filmed. So they’re going to have to do a lot of rewriting to make the last planned eight episodes fit into the four hours they have left. I just hope it doesn’t end up feeling like a hot rushed mess towards the end.
It’s probably an understatement to say that Moorim School hasn’t quite lived up to the expectations it initially set as a global youth phenomenon. Though it’s always unfortunate when a series gets cut, I truly do enjoy the show for what it is and want it to do well. Unfortunately, we’ve decided that this will be the last recap for Moorim School on Dramabeans. I will keep watching, but the overlords have decided that there are too many other shows needing our attention. Thanks for reading along with me this far!
- Moorim School cuts down episode count to 16
- Moorim School: Episode 4
- Moorim School: Episode 3
- Moorim School: Episode 2
- Moorim School: Episode 1
- Light vs. dark in new set of posters for Moorim School
- Lee Hyun-woo goes from idol factory to Moorim School
- Moorim School’s foursome invites you to its mysterious school