Twenty Five Twenty One: Episodes 3-4 Open Thread
Disillusionment hurts, and our aspiring fencer has had to take a heavy dose of it, even as her dreams seem on the brink of taking off. But, as she’s starting to teach her new (very disillusioned) friend, sometimes even the most hopeless of circumstances can be improved upon with just a shift in perspective.
EPISODES 3-4 WEECAP
In the present-day timeline, Min-chae has become so invested in what she’s read of her mother’s diary that when Hee-do comes to collect her (and nag about her quitting dance), she has to catch herself from revealing how much of the story she knows.
Hee-do wants her to continue dancing because she’s good at it, and when Min-chae asks why Hee-do kept fencing when she wasn’t all that good, Hee-do says with a wistful smile that she liked it.
That introduces the fencing plot line of these episodes, in which Hee-do is given a lucky chance: though she fell two ranks short of qualifying to try out for the national team, two athletes drop out due to IMF hardships, and she’s bumped up into the last available slot.
It’s a profound moment for Hee-do as she realizes the very same circumstances that toppled her dreams have now opened up this opportunity. Coach Yang is quick to add that Hee-do got that opportunity because she didn’t give up when others did.
Hee-do asks Coach Yang for extra training so she’ll have a better shot at making the team. Coach Yang detests the idea of getting up earlier than she’s used to, but compromises by giving Hee-do assignments like running to school with weights strapped to her body.
Yoo-rim, meanwhile, is irked that Hee-do’s getting one-on-one coaching, but Coach Yang points out that Hee-do is the only student who’s ever asked for additional guidance.
The growing animosity between the two girls is further exacerbated when the next installment of Full House comes out and they race to the bookstore where Yi-jin works to snag the last copy. Hee-do arrives first, but Yoo-rim called ahead to reserve it (though that’s technically not allowed), and Yi-jin knows he’s in trouble. After a tense standoff, he sides with Hee-do, since she’s a regular customer.
But the war really comes to a head when Yoo-rim sees Hee-do staying late at the gym to practice and decides to do the same. This would be perfectly normal, except one of the senior girls on a power trip has forbidden anyone to practice at night.
Naturally, she catches Hee-do and Yoo-rim, and screams at them for breaking her rule. Yoo-rim immediately apologizes, but Hee-do won’t be cowed into pretending she did something wrong. That stokes the girl’s anger even more, and she orders them to clean the entire gym floor.
Once she leaves, Hee-do and Yoo-rim turn on each other – Hee-do outraged that Yoo-rim just takes the mistreatment, and Yoo-rim angry that Hee-do didn’t help smooth things over. Yoo-rim all but says that since she suffered to get to where she is, no one else should have the right to complain about their struggles, and that’s the final straw that kills Hee-do’s admiration for her former idol.
However, unbeknownst to them, they’ve been online chatroom friends all this time, Yoo-rim offering encouragement and support every time Hee-do has a bad day.
Last week we briefly met a couple of Hee-do’s new classmates, and this week we get to know them better. First, there’s charming, popular MOON JI-WOONG (Choi Hyun-wook), also known as the class pretty boy. He’s head-over-heels for Yoo-rim, and once the two actually meet, it’s clear she’s smitten, too. It’s not long before their shy flirting turns into little assurances that neither is interested in dating anyone else.
Then there’s Ji-woong’s best friend since birth, JI SEUNG-WAN (Lee Joo-myung). She’s top student, class president, and a producer in the broadcasting club, but though she’s straight-laced and direct, she’s not at all stuck up or mean. She also happens to be the daughter of Yi-jin’s landlady.
Speaking of Yi-jin, his job hunt continues to no avail, but he and Hee-do have fallen into a habit of consoling and looking out for one another. One night, after he trudges home drunk following a failed interview, Hee-do sits with him on the stoop and explains how she prefers to turn tragedies in her life into comedies – if she can laugh at herself, she can let her repeated losses roll right off.
On a different occasion, Hee-do overhears a man looking for Yi-jin, so she runs to the bookstore and has him hide in the back, certain this is another creditor come to give him grief. But it’s actually Yi-jin’s father, and they don’t realize the mistake until Yi-jin finds the note his father left tucked into the gate.
He races to the bus terminal, and just makes it in time. They only get a few minutes while the bus driver waits, but it’s enough for now. Yi-jin promises to do everything he can to reunite the family.
Meanwhile, Hee-do runs up and down the streets for two hours, crying and thinking she’s made Yi-jin miss meeting his father. Fortunately, Yi-jin spots her on his way back, and he first scolds her for running around aimlessly in slippers and then gently reassures her that he met his father after all.
Despite a few minor spats (such as when Hee-do wanted Yi-jin to badmouth Yoo-rim after their fight without giving him any context), Hee-do and Yi-jin are consistently there for each other when it matters, and people around them are starting to take notice.
But their friendship isn’t the only one growing. Hee-do is also becoming good friends with her new classmates – especially Ji-woong and Seung-wan, who even allow her into their secret hideout on the top floor of the school.
By coincidence, Yi-jin, Hee-do, Yoo-rim, and Ji-woong all end up at Seung-wan’s doorstep one afternoon. After a round of “Wait, how do you know Yi-jin?” they get roped into helping Seung-wan’s mom catch live loaches that have spilled all over her floor. Yoo-rim and Hee-do work together to get the last ones out from under the fridge, and even cheer each other on before they realize what they’re doing.
Seung-wan’s mom snaps a photo of the group, which Min-chae finds in the present. At her request, Grandma happily points out which person is Yi-jin. We learn that Grandma met him recently, but Hee-do doesn’t seem to have spoken with him in a long time.
But what did Hee-do learn from her training with Coach Yang? First (and most painfully), that she’s too impulsive. This she starts to rectify by coming up with a plan to convince the controlling senior to let her practice at night, which works beautifully. Second, she learns that she has no sense of rhythm, which is what keeps her fencing from being as elegant as Yoo-rim’s.
Coach Yang’s final test is for Hee-do to spar with her, and though Hee-do loses, Coach Yang is confident she’s learned enough to do well in the national team trials.
Yi-jin shows up at the gym after this last training session, and eagerly plies Hee-do with fencing questions. She just as eagerly shows him around her world, and challenges him to a match. They bet a wish on it, and he wins (by trickery).
They both get sentimental as the evening goes on, and Yi-jin softly observes that all of Hee-do’s failures and setbacks to this point have built her the perfect staircase to success. She wonders why he always roots for her, even when no one else does, and he responds that she gives him hope – which makes him want to see her succeed even more. In the dim light, they look at each other like the other is their only lifeline.
- Premiere Watch: Forecasting Love and Weather, Twenty Five Twenty One
- Watching dramas with Kim Tae-ri in new promos for Twenty Five Twenty One
- Kim Tae-ri and Nam Joo-hyuk reminisce about summer in Twenty Five Twenty One
- Looking back on 1998 with Kim Tae-ri and Nam Joo-hyuk in Twenty-Five Twenty-One
- Casting lineup complete for youth drama Twenty-Five, Twenty-One