School 2017: Episode 6
I love this show most when it shines a spotlight on the relationships that define our students’ lives—from new and budding friendships to the relationships with a more complicated past, our main trio is navigating all the intense highs and lows that come with being eighteen, and it’s a treat to watch. Though the “mystery” of Suspect X still looms over the campus, I don’t mind that it’s taking us some time to unravel the story, as I’m content to continue hanging out with our characters as they try to figure out what high school is all about.
EPISODE 6 RECAP
As Eun-ho follows the hooded figure inside the school building, we see that Teacher Shim’s somewhere in the building as well, locking up a room. He jumps about a mile when a bright light suddenly shines on his face, but it’s only Officer Han, wielding a flashlight. She comments on Teacher Shim’s good timing, then invites him to do a final patrol of school grounds with her.
Eun-ho creeps into the teachers’ office and sees Suspect X at the other end of the room. When X turns around, clutching a stuffed envelope, he pauses—then makes a run for it.
Eun-ho chases him outside, and the two run past Tae-woon, who’s wandering nearby. He makes a move to follow them, but he ends up hanging back and just watching.
In the middle of her pursuit, Eun-ho trips and falls, yelping in pain. Elsewhere on campus, Officer Han’s ears perk up at Eun-ho’s cry, and she and Teacher Shim head toward the noise.
Eun-ho continues running after X, but takes a shortcut that lands her squarely in the path of the culprit. They narrowly miss bumping into one other, and X drops his envelope in shock.
When the two face each other, Eun-ho’s mouth drops open as she registers that it’s Dae-hwi underneath the hoodie, and Dae-hwi looks equally out of sorts to see Eun-ho standing in front of him.
Without a word, Dae-hwi takes off. Eun-ho tries to run after him, but Tae-woon pops out of nowhere and holds her back, telling her to stop getting involved in others’ affairs. Seeing Eun-ho’s hesitation, Tae-woon asks who it was, but Eun-ho lies that she didn’t see his face.
Tae-woon picks up the envelope that Dae-hwi dropped, and both he and Eun-ho are stunned when they realize it contains answers to the upcoming math competition.
Cut to: Eun-ho nervously standing guard at the door to the teachers’ office while Tae-woon stealthily returns the test answers to their original spot. He’s not quite done when Eun-ho spots lights from Officer Han and Teacher Shim’s flashlights in the hall, and she rushes to tell Tae-woon that someone’s coming.
In a panic, Eun-ho hides herself behind a desk, but cringes when she realizes that she’s left the office door open—a detail that catches Teacher Shim’s eye.
Teacher Shim zeroes in on the door and enters the office quietly. When Tae-woon joins Eun-ho behind the desk, she hisses at him loudly that it’s their teacher, and asks what they should do. Tae-woon shushes her, but the damage is done—judging by the way Teacher Shim’s eyes widen, he’s definitely heard (and seen?) something.
Teacher Shim looks back and forth between the students and the door, where Officer Han is rapidly approaching. When she appears, he blocks her from entering by blurting out, “Do you want to eat ramyun?” Pfft.
Officer Han ignores him and attempts to look around the office, but Teacher Shim holds her back again, this time asking her to a movie. As Officer Han tries to process what’s happening, Tae-woon and Eun-ho slowly make their way out… until Eun-ho bumps into Tae-woon, causing him to tumble onto the floor. Smooth, guys.
Officer Han whips around at the sound, but Teacher Shim thinks quickly and grabs her, whirls her around, then declares, “I like you.” HA.
Tae-woon and Eun-ho use that moment to finally slip out, but not before shutting the door just loudly enough to catch Officer Han’s ear again.
Officer Han shines her flashlight all over the room, but much to Teacher Shim’s relief, no one is there. She turns to give Teacher Shim a look and needles him about his conveniently timed confession, wondering if she should report him or not. All Teacher Shim can do in response is give a loud, awkward laugh.
Dae-hwi stops and catches his breath somewhere on campus, thinking back to his run-in with Eun-ho. Meanwhile, Tae-woon and Eun-ho scamper away from the school building, huddling close as they make sure the coast is clear. In the midst of this, the two have an adorable moment when they realize just how close they are—they stare at each other for a beat, then pop up awkwardly, clearing their throats.
Tae-woon asks Eun-ho again about the hooded figure’s identity, but Eun-ho insists she saw nothing. When she says he must be a copycat, Tae-woon muses that he could also be someone who really needs the answers to the math competition.
Teacher Shim checks the teachers’ office to make sure nothing is out of place. He opens up a student directory and looks over the photos of his class, sure that he heard the culprits saying that their teacher just walked in.
At home, Eun-ho tosses and turns, unable to stop wondering why Dae-hwi would do what he did. Dae-hwi’s up too, studying as usual, until something leads him to jump up to dig through the pockets of his hoodie, then his pants. (Ooh, did he lose his master key?) He looks through his desk drawers too, but doesn’t find what he’s looking for.
That’s because his keys are with Tae-woon, who’d found them on the ground just after Dae-hwi and Eun-ho ran past him during their chase—and it seems Tae-woon knows exactly who the keys belong to.
The next morning, Tae-woon finds Dae-hwi searching for his keys and drops them by Dae-hwi’s foot. Tae-woon tries to get under his skin as usual, smirking while Dae-hwi tries hard to keep his anger in check.
When Dae-hwi tells Tae-woon to go ahead and report him if he wants, Tae-woon retorts that he doesn’t care enough about Dae-hwi to even bother. (Except, I don’t believe you.) Dae-hwi just tells Tae-woon to stay out of his life, calling his presence disgusting, and Tae-woon’s smirk fades.
In class, Dae-hwi avoids Eun-ho’s concerned gaze, while Tae-woon watches the two of them, looking annoyed. Sometime later, Dae-hwi runs into Eun-ho and Sa-rang in the hall and asks Eun-ho if they can chat.
This raises Sa-rang’s suspicions, so Eun-ho makes up an excuse and says that Dae-hwi wants to enter a competition with her. And in the background, Tae-woon walks out of the classroom just in time to hear this, and he glances over at the trio before moving on.
When Nam-joo joins the conversation with a pointed question about the competition, Dae-hwi explains that he’s the one who’s entering, but Eun-ho’s helping him on the drawing portion. Eun-ho masks her discomfort at this whole story by laughing awkwardly, then makes her escape, telling Dae-hwi they’ll talk later.
Nam-joo asks Dae-hwi where he’s planning on meeting Eun-ho, clearly unhappy that the two are planning to hang out alone. As Dae-hwi watches Eun-ho walk away, his expression stone-cold, he tells Nam-joo that it’s nothing for her to be bothered about.
Eun-ho walks right by Tae-woon as she’s on the phone with Dae-hwi, making plans to meet up at a nearby café. Tae-woon interrupts to tell her not to meet with Dae-hwi, repeating that she should mind her own business. But Eun-ho brushes him off, telling him that prepping for a competition is her business.
At the café, Eun-ho and Dae-hwi both seem nervous as they settle into their seats. Eun-ho starts off by telling Dae-hwi that she was thankful for his support and trust when she was framed for Suspect X’s actions—she knows he’s the only one who wrote that petition for her.
Eun-ho then says that she believes Dae-hwi had his reasons for what happened yesterday. “At least, that’s the Song Dae-hwi that I know,” she says. Looking relieved, Dae-hwi thanks her, and says that he was worried about how he’d explain things to her.
Eun-ho tells Dae-hwi to explain when he’s ready—though the truth may not be easy, she says she can handle it. She adds in a quiet voice that she returned the envelope with the answers, which earns her a grateful look from Dae-hwi and another sincere round of thanks.
Just then, Eun-ho’s phone rings with a call from Tae-woon, and Dae-hwi takes note. She hastily flips her phone over without answering, while Tae-woon waits outside the café, looking disgruntled.
When Dae-hwi and Eun-ho eventually walk outside, Tae-woon heads directly to Dae-hwi to ask if he’d tried to keep Eun-ho quiet. “Did you want to hide your two-faced nature that badly?” he snarls.
Eun-ho tries to quell the tension between the boys, but Dae-hwi just looks pointedly at Eun-ho and says that he’s dying to know the reason why Tae-woon’s getting so involved in other people’s business. Tae-woon doesn’t bother to contradict Dae-hwi, telling him to stop irritating him if he’s caught on to the reason.
Dae-hwi tells Tae-woon again to stop intervening in his life, but Tae-woon says that he’s mistaken. “I don’t care what kind of pathetic life you live,” he says. “I don’t care about you since then.” With that, Tae-woon grabs Eun-ho to lead her away, telling her he has something to say.
When they’re alone, Eun-ho calls Tae-woon out for knowing (the second) X’s identity all along. Tae-woon just tells Eun-ho not to hang out with Dae-hwi anymore, and when Eun-ho defends Dae-hwi, Tae-woon angrily tells her to stop caring about other people’s business—no one does that anymore.
But Eun-ho interjects, “Your friend. Your friend saved me.” And Tae-woon can’t say anything to that.
Back at home, Dae-hwi reads through his student evaluation, which sings his praises for being an upright and honest student. As tears well up in his eyes, he crosses out the comments and writes instead that he’s “cowardly and sly,” and that he does whatever it takes to get what he wants.
Two fans run up to idol-turned-student Issue, leaving him with presents for other members of his idol group. Sa-rang corners him next (calling him “oppa,” ha) and gifts him an embroidered pillow. But Issue returns the pillow to her, telling her he feels burdened, and asks her not to call him oppa, either. Sa-rang looks crestfallen, and Teacher Jung only adds insult to injury by taking her pillow to help with his hemorrhoids, lol.
Nam-joo runs outside to greet her father, who’s pulled up near the school’s entrance. He sweetly drops off some pastries for her, but she looks anything but happy to see him. When she hears Dae-hwi calling her name, she immediately tosses the pastries back into the car and straightens up, looking nervous.
Ah, it looks like Nam-joo’s dad isn’t driving just any car—he’s driving a cab. When Dae-hwi assumes that Nam-joo’s about to get in to go somewhere, she doesn’t correct him, and he insists on riding with her.
Inside the cab, Dae-hwi notices the name of the cab company on the driver ID tag and points out that the cab must be her dad’s, scaring both Dad and Nam-joo half to death. When Dae-hwi clarifies that he meant the cab company is her dad’s, Nam-joo breathes a sigh of relief, and Dae-hwi sighs at how lucky she is to have a well-off dad. If you only knew!
That night, Eun-ho’s dad makes a chicken delivery to Nam-joo’s apartment, where Nam-joo opens the door surrounded by her three younger siblings. As he’s leaving, Eun-ho’s dad wonders if one chicken will be enough to feed all the kids.
The next day at school, Hee-chan mentions to Dae-hwi that he must be upset about the math competition. Dae-hwi surprises Hee-chan by saying he’s going to enter anyway, and Hee-chan tells him to go ahead and give it a try, in a not-too-sincere way.
Tae-woon watches the exchange from nearby, then says, “How pathetic,” loudly enough for Dae-hwi to hear. Looking straight at his old friend, Tae-woon guzzles his soda and bangs it back down on the table.
This is apparently a move that Tae-woon used to do frequently in the past with Dae-hwi and Joon-ki, as we see a flashback of the three boys gathered at Joon-ki’s family restaurant after hours to celebrate Dae-hwi’s birthday.
When Tae-woon nonchalantly handed Dae-hwi a new tablet for the occasion, Dae-hwi somberly remarked that he’s always the one receiving. But Joon-ki said that’s the way it should be: the guy with more gives, the guy with less receives, the good-looking one gets the girls, and the funny one sets the mood. When Dae-hwi cracked that he must be the one to get all the girls, the other two playfully piled onto the birthday boy.
Back in the present, Sa-rang’s mom overhears Teacher Shim counseling a student on college applications, and asks him about Sa-rang. Choking up, Mom says that even though Sa-rang seems set on a civil service career, she could still go to college and pursue her dreams. She pleads with Teacher Shim to help her.
Over snacks, Eun-ho asks Sa-rang about her dreams. Sa-rang says she doesn’t have one—she’s never really thought about anything other than helping out her mom. When Eun-ho says she feels guilty about pursuing her expensive dream to be an artist given her family’s finances, Sa-rang sighs at the fact that poor students have to apologize for simply having dreams.
Teacher Shim is shocked when one of his students returns his evaluation completely rewritten by a professional consultant, even though it’s supposed to be written by the teacher. The student asks Teacher Shim not to change a word, quipping that the teacher couldn’t possibly do better than the consultant.
The always unhelpful Teacher Jang tells Teacher Shim that it’s common for kids to use consultants these days, but Teacher Shim’s says it’s not right, looking distressed. On his way out, he stops by Teacher Gu’s desk and asks him for a favor.
They go drinking at a pojangmacha, where Teacher Shim unloads his frustrations to the older teacher. Teacher Shim talks about how inadequate he feels as a teacher, and how worrying it is to see his students’ lives already being decided by money.
Teacher Gu seems to be a bit drunk, as he thunders that it doesn’t matter, since they can’t change a thing. He mentions that when he was younger, he thought he could change students’ lives—but he couldn’t. When Teacher Shim says they should still try to teach their students what’s right and wrong, Teacher Gu says they aren’t teachers, since they don’t have anyone who follows them.
That night, Teacher Shim burns the midnight oil, diligently writing out evaluations for each of his students.
Eun-ho’s enjoying some of her dad’s home cooking when her brother interrupts with a copy of her student evaluation, gasping at how empty it is. Shooting nervous looks at her parents, Eun-ho downplays her situation, telling them she’ll fill up the evaluation somehow.
But clearly, Eun-ho’s mom is worried—worried enough to attend a parent meeting on student evaluations at school. She has a hard time finding a seat among all of the wealthy parents in attendance, and looks overwhelmed at the information being thrown at her.
At a coffee meeting with fellow moms afterward, Eun-ho’s mom listens as others suggest different ways to beef up their kids’ records. Eun-ho’s mom naively asks the group why a high school student would need to do all this, earning her condescending looks from the other moms.
Later, Eun-ho’s mom laments to her husband that it’s the parents who get their kids into college. She worries about Eun-ho’s future, saying that she didn’t understand anything from the meeting she attended, and wonders how they can help Eun-ho out.
The school steering committee calls in Teacher Shim with a new demand: They want to see their children’s evaluations, having heard that Teacher Shim is rewriting all the professionally written evaluations. Teacher Shim tells the group he took the “expert” content under consideration when writing the evaluations, but the parents won’t let up on their demands. But Teacher Shim defiantly says that he’ll be sticking to the rules, and the evaluations will remain inaccessible to parents.
Teacher Shim heads outside to cool off and joins Tae-woon for a round of hoops. When he asks Tae-woon how things are going, Tae-woon answers that he’s eighteen, so obviously life’s pretty terrible. Teacher Shim tells him that it’s better than life sucking at age twenty-eight, and says that Tae-woon’s doing well.
Looking startled, Tae-woon tells Teacher Shim that it’s the first time anyone has told him he’s doing well. Teacher Shim honestly says that Tae-woon’s doing better than him, ha.
The principal calls Teacher Shim back and tries to cajole him into giving the parents what they want. When that doesn’t work, Principal Yang threatens to fire him for not falling in line.
Just outside the principal’s office, Tae-woon lingers, listening in on the conversation.
Tae-woon stops Eun-ho in the hall and asks if she’s free that night. She gets a bit shy at the mention of getting together at night, and Tae-woon can’t resist teasing her, telling her that it’s for business, so she shouldn’t get too excited. Eun-ho initially tells him she has no time for him, but then can’t help herself from trailing after him, asking what he’s got in mind.
That evening, another hooded figure walks the campus, heading somewhere purposefully. Is this a third X?
Officer Han scares Teacher Shim at his desk again, this time by dangling a key in his face—she’s finally found a key to the warehouse, which she’s convinced is X’s hideout.
Teacher Shim tries his best to deter Officer Han from heading over to the warehouse, even going as far as faking a cramp as they approach the building. Officer Han just ignores him and heads up the stairs.
Meanwhile, in his hideout, Tae-woon looks up suspiciously, as if he hears something. Yikes!
With a finger over her lips, Officer Han unlocks the door and pushes it open. And at that moment, Tae-woon turns to look behind him.
But when Officer Han walks in, the warehouse is back to being a warehouse, with no trace of Tae-woon or his things. As Officer Han surveys the interior in disappointment, Tae-woon settles back into his hideout—which is now located in a different space.
Officer Han tells Teacher Shim that X must have caught wind of their search. Looking directly at the teacher, she asks, “I wonder how X knew to run away?”
Flashback to sometime earlier, when Teacher Shim warned his class to be careful and not go into strange places, since the school was searching for X’s hideout on campus. Aw, he’s the best.
In the present, Officer Han leans down to pick up a stray propeller on the ground—one that looks like it would belong on a black drone. Officer Han remarks that X is sparking her competitive spirit, while Teacher Shim gives her his best “I know nothing” face.
Tae-woon perks up when he hears the squeak of the door close to the warehouse, indicating the adults’ departure. He slowly opens his door, revealing his new hideout to be just underneath his old one.
Rewind back to a day ago, where we see Eun-ho hard at work, helping Tae-woon pack up his old hideout. Tae-woon made Eun-ho do all the heavy lifting (watching her with a smile, of course), in exchange for promising to mess up the upcoming competition. As they pack, Eun-ho muses that they would have really been dead if not for Teacher Shim.
The next day, Principal Yang is in the middle of appeasing his steering committee members when the vice principal races in with the news that someone’s posted the student evaluations publicly.
The adults rush over to find students gawking over the evaluations, which are posted outside of Teacher Shim’s classroom. One of the students marvels that Teacher Shim must be a stalker, given the details he’s been able to include in their documents—and from the comments we see, it’s clear that he knows each student very, very well.
In fact, Teacher Shim’s found a way to turn each students’ quirks and weaknesses into strengths: He writes that bully Young-gun has a “strong sense of individuality, responsibility, and leadership,” while combative Bit-na is lauded for her “excellent debating skills.”
Dae-hwi is an excellent student whose “dedication and hard work are unrivaled,” while Tae-woon’s described as “constantly practicing self-reflection” and full of potential. Teacher Shim writes that Eun-ho has a “pure and positive energy” that she uses to fight discrimination, and that her hard work will likely help her achieve her dreams.
As the students bask in the warm words of Teacher Shim, Principal Yang freaks out about the breach in policy. Vice Principal Park and Teacher Gu quietly give him more bad news: The student evaluations were accessed by only one ID the night before—Principal Yang’s. Principal Yang demands that they catch the culprit who used his ID, but Vice Principal Park is unsure if that means he should apprehend the principal himself, heh.
Amidst the chaos, Tae-woon and Eun-ho glance at one another from across the hall, exchanging tiny smiles and thumbs up. Ha, are they partners in crime now?
Later, Tae-woon sits in his hideout, a list of the school competitions on his screen and the answers to the math competition in front of him. As he remembers both Eun-ho and Dae-hwi being slighted by these fixed competitions, he focuses on the answer sheet.
The class is unusually quiet when Teacher Shim appears before them, but then they burst into applause, which Teacher Shim accepts with a grin. Just then, everyone in the class gets a text message with a hidden video recording of Tae-woon in Principal Yang’s office, being assured by the administrator that he’ll take first place in the math competition.
Eun-ho looks back at Tae-woon in shock, and he flashes her a little peace sign, letting her know he was behind it. But as their classmates watch the video, they start to look accusingly at Tae-woon, understanding now that the competition was fixed in his favor.
With all eyes on him, Tae-woon slams his desk in anger, then stands up to face his classmates. Looking around the room, he yells out, “What are you staring at, you punks?”
Most students drop their gazes, with the exception of Eun-ho, who looks at Tae-woon worriedly, and Dae-hwi, who glares angrily at his former friend.
I know Tae-woon planned the whole hidden camera video reveal, but that angry/hurt look on his face at the end—ahh, it breaks my heart, how sensitive he is about his identity as Director Hyun’s son, and how others perceive him. I’m not sure where this next “prank” is going, but at least he’s not alone in this anymore—Eun-ho’s now fully in the know, even if she may not be actively involved in the execution of these activities. Though I wasn’t quite expecting that she’d encourage him to continue as X, I do find it interesting that Eun-ho’s influence has led to Tae-woon putting his pranking skills to work in support of justice (rather than, say, because he’s bored). I’m really enjoying watching these two grow closer and start to lean on one another—the actors have such great chemistry, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t on this ship by now.
Dae-hwi continues to be a fascinating character, even though I still find him tough to read. I can almost feel the stress that he’s under coming through the screen, and I hate that he has almost no real support system in his life (because Nam-joo definitely doesn’t count). But I’m also starting to see Dae-hwi’s “two faces” that’s been mentioned before—there’s the polished, kind version of Dae-hwi who buys Eun-ho the water bottle just because he saw her playing with it, and there’s the colder, dispassionate version who can then just turn around and use her to bait Tae-woon. This makes me wonder about Dae-hwi’s attempt at being X—was it a copycat attempt born out of desperation, or has he done this before? Maybe running around campus as X was something Dae-hwi and Tae-woon (and Joon-ki?) did together, back when they were best friends? So many possibilities.
Aside from the usual antics of our main trio, I’m glad that the we got to spend some time this week with the adult figures in our students’ lives, especially their parents. If the last episode showed us how parents can hurt their kids in the name of “protecting” them, this one focused on the heartbreaking struggles that parents go through themselves to try to carve out a better life for their children. Eun-ho’s mom and Sa-rang’s mom both moved me with their efforts to navigate a world that they know nothing about. And it was hard to see Nam-joo’s dad, so cheery and loving toward his daughter, basically being treated as if he were a stranger by Nam-joo just because he doesn’t fit into this narrative that she’s created for her life. What the three girls lack in financial resources, it seems that they make up for it with love from their families, and to me, that’s a much better place to be.
Unlike last week, the other adult storyline that really landed with me this episode was Teacher Shim’s. I appreciate that Teacher Shim’s first instinct is always to protect his students, even when he doesn’t know who they are, as is the case with Suspect X. And I loved everything about the sequence where we got to read the evaluations he wrote for each student, and watch the students’ reactions as they read it for themselves. What made Teacher Shim’s comments so powerful wasn’t that they were just positive—but rather, it was the specificity of his words that had the greatest impact. With every comment, it was as if Teacher Shim was letting his students know that he sees them—he sees them for who they are now, and for who they can be in the future. It was a beautiful moment, and one that made me glad that if nothing else, at least these kids have Teacher Shim on their side.
- Premiere Watch: School 2017, The King Loves, Man Who Dies to Live, Reunited Worlds
- Underdog student dreams of breaking into the elite ranks in School 2017
- A mystery, a suspect, and a hero for School 2017
- Riding bikes and motorcycles in School 2017’s first teaser
- Fresh faces for School 2017’s classroom
- School 2017 secures its leading bad boy, good boy
- School 2017 adds more students and a teacher to its lineup
- Kim Yoo-jung out, Gugudan idol Kim Se-jung in for School 2017
- Jealousy, Rebel’s Kim Jung-hyun up for School 2017