Twenty Five Twenty One: Episodes 9-10 Open Thread
In the wake of all the lies spun last week, truths come tumbling out all over the place. Bridges are built, olive branches extended, and love starts to bloom in all its beauty and awkwardness.
EPISODES 9-10 WEECAP
Thankfully, Yi-jin immediately clarifies to Hee-do that he’s not her chat friend. He does, however, keep Yoo-rim’s secret, explaining the meeting away as coincidence.
Both Hee-do and Yoo-rim leave the encounter hugely embarrassed – Hee-do because of her “I have to have you” line, and Yoo-rim because it comes crashing over her just how sincerely Hee-do admired her and just how terribly she’s treated Hee-do in return.
Say what you will about Yoo-rim, but to her credit, she fully acknowledges she was in the wrong and bends over backwards to be nice to Hee-do. At one point, when she catches Hee-do in the act of swiping her copy of the final Full House installment right out of her locker (to borrow and read, not keep), she even seems disappointed that Hee-do quickly gives it back and runs away.
But the real breakthrough comes when two classmates badmouth Yoo-rim in the restroom and Hee-do jumps to her defense, unaware that Yoo-rim has overheard everything. Breaking down in tears, Yoo-rim reveals herself as the anonymous chat friend and apologizes for her behavior up to this point.
The girls hug it out, and almost instantly change from enemies to best friends. (This completely weirds Yi-jin out, because he’s volunteered to head up a documentary about them and has expressly told them not to pretend to be all buddy-buddy for the cameras.)
While their little shy smiles and shared lunches are adorable, even better are the quieter moments of understanding that prove the depth of friendship they’ve already forged, both online and (in spite of themselves) in person. Like when Hee-do accepts Yoo-rim’s apology on the condition that she quit risking injury on the high-dive board. Or when Yoo-rim requests they still be as open as possible in their chats, even though it’s no longer anonymous, and they both follow through.
As for Hee-do’s embarrassment, she spends a good amount of time avoiding all contact with Yi-jin so she doesn’t have to face him or her own confusion. Eventually, he corners her and gets her to admit that she feels weird and upset because she doesn’t have a proper label by which to define their relationship.
She suggests they make one up (her preference is “rainbow”), but that’s not enough for him. Instead, he’s ready to call it what it is: love.
Yi-jin doesn’t care if she reciprocates the same level of affection, because it isn’t dependent on her doing or feeling anything in return. It simply is what it is. He tells her this at a beautiful moment, too – while they’re gazing up at a literal rainbow – and the confession fills her with more joy than she seems to know what to do with.
But this week’s confessions don’t stop there. Hee-do’s mom awkwardly gives her the gold medal, finally admitting that she truly believes Hee-do won – and that while she doesn’t approve of Hee-do’s attitude at the press conference, that doesn’t change the fact she deserves her medal.
Meanwhile, another of Yoo-rim’s arcs has to do with learning to accept gifts from her parents instead of hurting their feelings by worrying about the money they’ve spent. And notably, it’s Hee-do’s influence that helps her arrive at a place of better understanding.
The first time Hee-do met Yoo-rim’s mother after the controversial match, Yoo-rim’s mom pulled her into a tender hug and sincerely congratulated her. Hee-do explains to Yoo-rim that that moment helped heal the remainder of her hurt, in turn causing Yoo-rim to realize that expressing one’s feelings (like her parents were through their gifts) can indeed fill gaps that money can’t.
I mentioned that Yi-jin is working on a documentary about the fencers, and that project drives a lot of the action this week, as it forces the trio to be in close proximity until they finally make all of the above confessions. But it also puts Yi-jin under extra stress. He repeatedly butts heads with a senior reporter who wants to sensationalize the story as much as possible.
Eventually, the guy pushes Yoo-rim and Hee-do to (dangerously) reenact their simultaneous touch, resulting in a bruised foot for Hee-do. Yi-jin explodes, only to have to apologize later for the sake of keeping peace – and to be derided for his family’s situation yet again.
As several conflicts start to resolve, Yi-jin decides to take the two girls to the beach for some extra footage. (And so they can do normal high school things for once.) He doesn’t bargain on them bringing Seung-wan and Ji-woong along, but that’s exactly what happens – after Seung-wan craftily convinces him by feeding him her mom’s cooking for a few days and then yanking it out from under him and threatening to tell her mom where all the food has been disappearing to.
That’s right: Seung-wan and Ji-woong finally get a taste of the main action! I’m honestly a little sad it took so long to delve deeper into their characters – especially Seung-wan, because she’s a delight.
In these episodes, we get to see her 1) save Ji-woong from being beaten by a teacher and then angrily rant about the injustice over her pirate radio broadcast, 2) chase after a fun, impulsive weekend with her friends (and even sneak along a bottle of liquor), and 3) admit she finds life mostly boring and likes hanging out with Ji-woong because he makes interesting things happen.
Theirs is a refreshing, comfortable dynamic, because where Seung-wan receives constant praise from adults, Ji-woong receives constant criticism – but instead of resenting each other, she finds freedom in his carefree attitude, and he finds acceptance in her candor.
While the teens are having fun, Yi-jin quickly realizes what it means to be the only chaperone. Namely, a lot of eyerolls and facepalms at their over-the-top outfits and cluelessness about preparing food. But the ocean has a way of making people sentimental, and it’s not long before the whole group are baring their hearts to each other in turn.
A moment of hyper-closeness with Yi-jin while listening to the waves makes Hee-do’s heart flutter more than ever before. And later, as they all watch the sunset together, they bask in the beauty of a moment that feels as though it could, and should, last forever.
But I’m afraid we really are in for heartbreak from here on out, because adult Hee-do doesn’t even remember that beach trip when Min-chae asks about it. With a sad smile, she adds that nothing really lasts forever – but that doesn’t always have to be a bad thing.
- 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