Cheer Up: Episodes 3-4
These episodes packed a bit more pep than the premiere, getting our team ready to perform. As the Theia newbies take a risk to outdo their rivals, our heroine seems ready to risk her heart as well. But with a campus menace trying to kill her, she’s got bigger problems than a possibly unrequited college crush.
EPISODES 3-4 WEECAP
We drop back into the scene with Hae-yi and Jung-woo locked in the storage room where Hae-yi is having a panic attack. Jung-woo tries to help her breathe, while Sun-ho and vice cheer captain TAE CHO-HEE (Jang Gyuri) work to get the door open. Once inside, Cho-hee moves to help Jung-woo calm Hae-yi and Sun-ho stands back, still jealous that his crush was locked up with another guy. Afterward, they discover super glue on the doorknob and Cho-hee mentions, “It’s just like that other time” — cut to a creepy flashback of a girl locked in a room.
In day-to-day life, Hae-yi seems unfazed by what happened, even while receiving threatening texts like, “One of the members will die. It’s going to be you.” She just shrugs them off and goes about her business, not noticing a persistent person in a Yonhee varsity jacket following her around.
Alongside the mystery threads, the love lines are still going strong. Sun-ho has not given up interest in Hae-yi and wants to know where she stands. He asks her directly if she likes their cheer captain. She says no, but it sparks something in her and she spends her nights wondering why he asked her that — and her days looking at Jung-woo and asking, “Do I like him?” One day on duty at the library, she sees Jung-woo asleep at a desk near a window and holds up a book to block the sun from hitting his face. In that moment, it seems she (and we) have the answer.
Back at cheer practice, the new recruits are amping up for the joint pep rally with Hokyung University. Hokyung’s cheer squad, Ignis, is their rival but the two teams will perform on the same stage. In preparation, they must write lyrics for 50 “diss songs” — one to go with each of their competitor’s real songs, since they don’t know which songs Ignis will sing at the event. To get out of the extra work, the Theia newbies decide to break into Hokyung and steal their set list.
Sun-ho gets the group Hokyung jackets so they’ll fit in when they sneak into the other school’s campus, but they all look suspicious AF as they fast walk down the hallways looking for the cheer room. When Hae-yi and Sun-ja finally uncover the set list, it’s under the sleeping head of one of their rivals, but the bigger problem is that the Ignis cheer captain is on her way into the room. Sun-ja escapes while Hae-yi stays the course, prying the list out and hiding under a table. When the cheer captain enters, she wakes up the sleeping guy and the two start making out. Hae-yi — always hungry — has a horribly timed stomach rumble and gets caught red handed.
Luckily the cheer captain LEE HA-JIN (Jung Shin-hye) is super friendly. She tells Hae-yi the teams steal each other’s set lists all the time, and then the two bond over how uptight Jung-woo is. When Jung-woo shows up to “take the hostage” Ha-jin says she wants Theia’s set list in return. Jung-woo agrees easily and leaves with Hae-yi.
But when they get outside and she tries to apologize, Jung-woo is angry and yells at her, asking why she doesn’t just quit, since doing this could hurt the whole team. She cries and tells him he’s being too harsh, just like he is with cheer training. She agrees to quit, and as she’s leaving, her teammates appear making Jung-woo realize she didn’t act alone.
Later, Jung-woo apologizes, saying he felt bad to know that his teammates were suffering because of his harshness. In true college fashion, he and Hae-yi take shots together to make amends and end up five soju bottles deep in drunkenness. Totally wasted, Jung-woo holds her hand at the bus stop as his friend comes by to help her get Jung-woo home. The friend thinks Hae-yi and Jung-woo are dating and Hae-yi clearly likes the idea.
In the morning, she’s all psyched to see him again when Ha-jin drives up at their practice and acts very comfortable with Jung-woo. Hae-yi’s face falls and Sun-ja guesses they’re dating. It’s basically confirmed when another teammate is amazed that Sun-ja could make that guess with so little information (of course, this has to be a misunderstanding, right?).
In the midst of all this who likes who, our team still has to prepare for their big performance. Hae-yi is so excited she tries doing a routine while in bed and smacks her mom awake by accident, lol. She puts on her uniform for the first time and loves it — and is very into it when Jung-woo laces it up in the back for her. She catches herself, though, snatching the laces away and telling him his girlfriend will probably be mad.
When the big day finally comes, there are a few mishaps. Jung-woo gets punched in the face by some former Theia sunbaes who may or may not have misappropriated funds last year. The books don’t match up and Jung-woo has asked for an investigation. He’s undeterred by the punch, believing he’s doing the right thing.
Afterward, Ha-jin is very concerned about Jung-woo and it’s revealed they were dating up until three months ago (I did not see that coming!). We learn that their relationship ended because she cheated on him and she tells him she’s dating someone new now (the make out guy from the other day). She tells Jung-woo she was lonely when she was with him and he didn’t even seem hurt when she cheated. (I’m really interested in the backstory here and would be totally into a story with secretly dating cheer captains from rival schools.)
Anyway, the second mishap (almost) occurs when Hae-yi leaves her uniform unattended and another member of Theia purposefully tries to spill coffee on it. Sun-ho stops her but doesn’t tell Hae-yi. Instead, he tells Jung-woo, who sits the girl down and asks her why. It turns out she likes Sun-ho and she doesn’t understand why he likes Hae-yi.
Jung-woo tells her there’s no excuse, and there will be repercussions, but says he won’t tell the rest of the team, which seems really out of character for him. Not only is he a stickler for rules, but he made Hae-yi apologize to the team when she skipped practice and even told her to quit when she stole the set list. This seems more severe, but I guess the drama needs to keep some loose cannons around with varying motives as we head down the mystery line.
Which brings me to the third mishap. The pep rally begins and Ignis rocks the crowd with Ha-jin at the helm. When it’s Theia’s turn, all the boys up their eyeliner game and Hae-yi beats her initial stage fright. By the end of the first routine, Hae-yi’s love for performance is written all over her face and it doesn’t seem she’ll be quitting when her month is up.
After dark, Theia and Ignis perform a dance together — that’s way higher energy and more fun than anything we’ve seen before — but the drama forgets there were supposed to be diss songs and moves on to other problems. The person that’s been following Hae-yi enters a control room and loosens the stage light over Hae-yi’s head, saying “repeat” before letting it go. Ha-jin sees it wobble and screams out a warning. Hae-yi looks up, the light falls, and Sun-ho snatches her out of the way as it crashes down. After a moment of shock, Jung-woo runs toward the control room to see who is behind it and we’re left to wait another week to find out.
There’s a side thread running to all this about these kids’ moms that I hope will be as fascinating as it seems. Hae-yi’s working-class mom, Chun-yang, runs into Sun-ho’s rich mother, HWANG JIN-HEE (played by Baek Ji-won who is just everywhere right now), and the two already know each other. Jin-hee pretends she doesn’t remember Chun-yang, but when they see each other again while Jin-hee is trying to hide the alcohol she’s carrying with her, Jin-hee puts the bottle in Chun-yang’s purse. The drama does a parallel between the mothers, where Jin-hee drinks and Chun-yang smokes, and both are trying to hide it from their kids who disapprove.
We also briefly meet Jung-woo’s mom, who’s “playing cards again,” and see three mothers with three addictions, with their children trying to intervene. We already know that both Hae-yi and Jung-woo have single mothers, and I’m wondering what road the drama will take us down with this theme. There is a moment when Sun-ho asks Hae-yi why she doesn’t want to go out with him and she answers that he has everything. He responds by saying he doesn’t have everything — leaving me to wonder if his father is absent too. While the love lines and campus mystery are interesting, I’d be happy if the drama can pull off something deeper by exploring these young adults who’ve always had to act older than their age.