Posted in Commentary, Drama Series

Who Are You–School 2015: on episode 11~12

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The relationship between teacher and students and parents and children takes center stage this week, which is a good and very much welcomed change as the teen angst has really worn me out at this point. For the show which i appreciate most for being fast paced, i feel that they milk this plot device a bit too much. While we’re still at it, any moment away from watching these teens stare wistfully at one another’s back is a breather. I thus have no complaints when the show focuses on Min-joon and finally — FINALLY! — on Soo-in.

As for the puppy love, this week also sees the end of the uncomplicated love triangle. Worry not, since i foresee the birth of a new one soon. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t brace yourself for the looming heartbreak for the boy you’ve been rooting for. I’m still picking up the pieces but i know my heart won’t be the same because (more on this below)…

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First thing first: Min-joon’s admission. What’s more commendable than his owning up to Teacher Kim is his open apology to the entire class, not just to the affected parties. This move may be fueled by guilt and Teacher Kim’s words that he’ll do whatever he can to find a solution for the wrongdoer, and i’m more than happy to see that doesn’t mean a cover-up but him standing next to Min-joon during his most vulnerable moment and adding on necessary details to help others see and understand where he’s coming from. It’s a relatively small mistake, but he did lie about it, and by acknowledging the truth, he’s ready to face the repercussions: receive either judging eyes from his classmates or re-acceptance. It is something that neither So-young nor Eun-bi has the guts to do yet the very thing i wish the latter would do.

But of course his mom isn’t having it. Neither does she try to understand that school life isn’t all about top grades and being the smartest as she keeps pushing him to study more. Yikes. Returning to a hell called home has become too much for him to bear that he presses the rooftop instead of his house floor. Gawd, i was so afraid we’d see his body flying down through the window where his parents are but thankfully he doesn’t get to act foolishly (forever grateful for the building management that keeps the rooftop door locked). It is however heart-stopping enough that it finally dawns on her that it’s easier to let go of her greed than her only son. Took her long enough but luckily not before it’s too late.

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It also dawns on me how similar Min-joon and Tae-kwang are — complete opposite in character but tragic in their own ways. Min-joon’s mom constantly breathes down his neck, pressing him to stay on top of the game, partly for her own gain. At the other end of the spectrum is Tae-kwang whose parents are too busy to care whether or not he does well in school, gets into a fight with his peers, or finally has a friend who brightens up his day. One is overly protected, the other is utterly unloved, and both are damaged all the same. It’s sad to see them resort to extreme measures before their parents can belatedly notice that they’re hurting inside. Min-joon is luckier though; i’m not sure how long more Tae-kwang’s pent-up emotions gonna hold up, or what he’s gonna do when he eventually loses it.

If Director Gong sees his son more than a nuisance and doesn’t assume the worst of his every (mis)deed, he wouldn’t have the heart to separate Tae-kwang from his only friend and make up excuses to kick her out of school. Alas, covering his ass and preserving the school’s good name are more important than his son’s feelings. To rub salt in the wound, his mom’s remarriage is drawing nearer and he only learns about it from the news. So much for the not-forgotten but unfulfilled promise to stay right by his side until he’s 100 or even 200 years old, Mom… My heart goes out to Tae-kwang who shows up on her wedding and manages to give her a faint smile while balling his fist up.

Worse (can it get any worse?), he has no one to talk to or someone to pat his back, i want Teacher Kim to reach out to him too but i doubt he can be of any help in this case, he has to force Eun-bi into his arm because he needs a hug that badly. Yes, it is against her will, especially after she just flats-out reject his confession, yet girl, what’s so hard about hugging him back? He said he knows where your heart is, thoroughly gets it, and merely asks for a moment! If you still can’t, i’ll do it in your stead! *crazydelusionalnoonahere*

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Totally didn’t see that coming though. Still — ack! Poor Tae-kwangie… there goes my ship…

Back to Director Gong, he’s so determined to expel ‘Eun-byul’ because 1) So-young’s powerful parents ask him to, and 2) she is the only student witnessing Soo-in’s death. What, will the problem be solved by sending her away? Thing is, Mom and Eun-bi have agreed to start anew but i’m happy that Mom doesn’t easily accept this one-sided decision and take this opportunity to expedite the transfer, even if at the end she deems her daughter too good for the school and willingly transfer her out anyway.

Now that they’re in the thick of Soo-in’s case and her sister Teacher Jung is as adamant to uncover the truth as the school to keep it buried, it’s about time that the flashback as to what happened that fateful day comes to light. It’s way simpler than anticipated but not less tragic. It actually mirrors Eun-bi situation back in Tongyeong but highlights the different reaction of the twins upon seeing their classmate being blatantly bullied. Eun-bi stepped in and ended up being the new target while Eun-byul chose to turn a blind eye and ended up distancing herself from her once best friend.

Soo-in died due to encephalomeningitis which was unattended to in time because nobody bothered to wake her up even after class was dismissed (she seemed asleep, although a close-up shot reveals her sweating bullets). It is unbelievable that students openly sleep during class and the teacher lets them be — this is where Teacher Kim was partly responsible for: negligence. He’s still one of the best teachers in dramaland in my book, though.

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What happened to Yi-an, you ask? Well, he’s still recovering but stubbornly refuses to undergo physiotherapy. Equally stubborn is Eun-bi who relentlessly hovers around him and tries to cheer him up even if she should’ve given him space and time. He is no longer angry at her but not speaking to her either. I guess that one thing she needs to do before leaving is not to drive So-young out and protect Eun-byul’s friends but to help Yi-an retrieve his dream and old self. She has fully expresses her intentions, it’s all up to him to pull himself together now.

The last bit is Eun-byul’s reappearance. I thought she’d be back this week but the show only teases us with her comeback for three full episodes without delivering on that front. I almost forgot about her until she pops up on-screen for a few seconds per episode. She better be fully present next episode onward because we’re running out of time! There are only 4 episodes left till the finale and there’s so much stuff to reveal and deal with regarding her disappearance and the (intentional?) swapped identity. Not to mention the body found and later identified as Eun-bi, how she subsists, where she’s at, and what she’s up to all this time. Then the hanging case with Soo-in and ultimately… Yi-an.

The pace and story development have slowed down tremendously in recent weeks i hope Eun-byul’s comeback will serve as a spurt in the final leg. It better be a game changer rather than an easy out for Eun-bi. ‘Cuz it’s more interesting that way.

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I blog sometimes, gush ofttimes, snark all the time.

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