Class of Lies: Episodes 3-4 Open Thread
With the first two episodes of set up complete, the drama kicks into full gear as our undercover teacher begins to learn what Cheonmyeong High School (a.k.a. Hell School) is really like.
EPISODES 3-4 WEECAP
As if we weren’t already convinced how awful the school was, Episodes 3 and 4 give us an inside look at all the wheeling and dealing that goes on amongst the students, and their complex (and kind of brutal) student hierarchy. Cheonmyeong High School definitely operates like the animal kingdom on steroids — we have the bullies, blackmailers, loan sharks, dark horses, scapegoats, and underdogs.
We knew the students at the top of the food chain ruled the school from a social level, but they also rule its academics. This week we watch them gather secretly, with Yoo Beom-jin as the master of ceremonies, and decide who should win which awards, who needs which specs to inflate their school record, and so on. These self-called “predators” are smart, and that’s what makes them even more scary.
As I watch this drama, I find myself scrambling for someone in the student body to trust, but I find I don’t trust any of them at this point — least of all Beom-jin. He seems to save the day during the awful rooftop party/fight that opened Episode 3, and often acts as the peacekeeper amongst the top students, but can we really trust him?
Early on, Moo-hyuk does some sneaky question asking (not the first or last time for that!), to find out what Beom-jin will say about Kim Han-soo. He answers that Han-soo is “a wound for all of us.” He’s incredibly heartfelt in this scene, talking about the students’ psyche and how they’ve been emotionally damaged by the murder case. Then he walks away, and we see his facial expression switch entirely. Class of
lies liars, indeed!
We also get a closer look at some of the students’ individual stories this week, and it is none too pretty. We’ve got our textbook evil and manipulative parents destroying the lives of their children, but the drama goes a step beyond that. Whether these students were born awful or made awful by their upbringing, Class of Lies is shaping up to be a Lord of the Flies-level look at just how depraved people can be when the rules don’t apply to them.
That this school is corrupt is no question, but the depths to which it goes seem unfathomed at this point. And the heights too, for that matter, since we also get a nasty look at the chief of administration LEE TAE-SEOK (Jeon Seok-ho) and his shady dealings. Can we talk for a minute about how he can be both cheesy and terrifying at the same time? Those Joker-esque smiles of his are first-class creepy.
As if the school wasn’t already rotten to the core, we even witness how the teachers and the top students work together for their mutual benefit. They’ve got a pretty slick transaction going on — but lucky for us, we have Moo-hyuk and So-hyun who are getting wise to what’s going on.
I’ve been looking forward to Moo-hyuk and So-hyun joining forces, and it’s nice to see the start of that happening in Episode 4. They go over student records like case files, and we get some good backstory on Kim Han-soo and Jung Soo-ah that fleshes out a little more of who they are/were.
Their story is important, since the murder case acts as the hinge on which the entire drama turns. Even though it’s not being actively investigated, it’s the common denominator of each plot line, and each character’s story leads us towards unraveling the mystery around it. Of course, each breadcrumb leads to a bigger breadcrumb, and right now Moo-hyuk’s biggest problem is that he’s now being targeted by the students. They’re bringing their best against him, even if it means photoshopping him in bed with So-hyun to create a scandal (I had to LOL over the goofiness of that selfie).
The contrast to all of the manipulation, evil-doing, and depravity is, of course, the law — the very rules that the students (and administration) at Cheonmyeong High School seem to live outside of. Or live outside of for now.
Wielding the law as a weapon, for either defense or offense, is a theme that’s been developing in the drama. There’s even a telling classroom scene where Moo-hyuk snatches a student’s phone and makes the class argue with him about the legal ramifications around his action. It’s a great scene that not only pulls out the themes about using and interpreting the law, but reveals a lot about our characters, too.
Moo-hyuk might be disbarred and disgraced according to his colleagues, but he knows how to hold his own in hell school. Watching him act like a buffoon and/or ingratiate himself to the administrators is quite amusing, but he’s also got his wits about him — and a very useful beanie-wearing hacker friend. It doesn’t take them long to unearth quite a few secrets.
Episode 4 might have ended with Moo-hyuk confronting student/idol trainee NA YE-RI (Tiny-G’s Kim Myung-ji) for her involvement in the underground student portal and rumor mill around Jung Soo-ah, but this is definitely only the first thread in all the unraveling that’s to come.
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