Posted in Commentary, Drama Series

Who Are You–School 2015: on episode 13~14

I’ve let out a lot of “finally!” in the past two weeks of the show, and the trend continues this week as well. Look forward to it, ‘k? 😋

Now that Eun-byul is fully back (finally~!), i couldn’t be happier that she reappears at the right time, not a moment too soon or too late. Eun-bi has agreed to transfer school and reclaim her name as well as been accepted as herself by her dearest friends (not Song-joo and Shi-jin, unfortunately) so that Eun-byul’s return doesn’t force her out or dethrone her in any sense. It, however, shakes Yi-an up that he reverts to the upset and confused version of him just when i thought we’re finally over the perpetuated angst *groan* BUT! We also get some of the cute back. So, it’s win/win?

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Episode 13 resumes right where 12 left off: Eun-byul walks into the house, well and all, as if she was just out for a day or two, because Mom won’t get the shock of her life that way. But Mom gets over the initial shock fast and greets her with tears; nothing relieves her than seeing her missing daughter alive. That’s also what’s great about family, regardless of what you are and do, it is always there to welcome you back, accept and support you unconditionally, no judgment.

They still need to address the elephant in the room though: where she’s been all this time (back in the orphanage she was in) and why she disappeared (she wanted to run away from Soo-in, also to give Eun-bi a better life). Turns out she spotted and then followed Eun-bi after her toilet incident (what caused her to shriek though?), saw her harassed by So-young and Co., and therefore was able to save her in time. Upon learning that Eun-bi was amnesiac, she figured it was the right time to switch. She says she’s having a hard time after Soo-in’s death but still had the heart to dismiss and break Young-eun like that? Didn’t she fear that history might repeat itself, even if Soo-in didn’t commit suicide?

How about Eun-bi’s death, then, did she fake it? The answer is no. It was actually the-bullied-girl-Eun-bi-stood-up-for-back-in-Tongyeong’s doing. Thinking that the body found by the river which was beyond recognizable was her, she placed Eun-bi’s dropped nametag next to it as a way to punish So-young. Well, this one is messed up, but okay, let’s go with it.

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As we see more of Eun-byul, the character differences between the twins become more apparent. Eun-bi is rather meek but considerate while Eun-byul is brash, pointed, and fierce though not without her vulnerabilities. Their stance, attitude, and way of speaking/staring are distinct enough that their friends could tell something’s off with her and marvel at the contrast. (For this i have to laud Kim So-hyun for portraying the twins in a way that it does feel like two separate people. In hindsight, even when Eun-bi posed as her and adopted her bravado is dissimilar to the vibe the real Eun-byul exudes.) Question: will Song-joo and Shi-jin ever know about the switch? Yet, she doesn’t outwardly tell the boys about it and walks around the subject instead. Tae-kwang’s reactions are amusingly priceless while Yi-an’s are straight up hurt and upset.

Yi-an’s is also more intriguing. He’s known Eun-byul for 10 years and pretty much knows her inside out and likes her despite her prickly nature and barbed words yet only now realizes and calls her out on her selfishness. So when she asks for his understanding, he can’t readily give it to her this time. It’s as if he sees her with new eyes now after spending some time with the nicer, more approachable Eun-bi. And the more he compares the two, the wider the gap is, and the more confused he becomes. Good thing is he doesn’t stay upset for that long this time — i can’t bear another round of broody Yi-an — but we still get a fair share of conflicted Yi-an thanks to So-young who nosily asks him whether it’s Eun-byul or Eun-bi that he likes, in front of Eun-byul.

Gosh, i bet So-young’s role in this entire drama is as a plot device which get under our leads’ skin and grate on our nerves ‘cuz boy is she hateful. While i don’t fancy Eun-byul’s signature smirk, sneer, and smug stance, it isn’t a fraction as rattling as So-young’s taunts. Her only pleasure in life is ruining other’s life and relationships, isn’t it? Get a life, vixen!

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Alas, she should’ve chosen her opponent wisely because Eun-byul isn’t someone she can easily mess around with. She won’t let her taunt cause a rift between her, Yi-an, and Eun-bi. Not gonna lie — Eun-byul getting back at her feels darn gratifying, although that isn’t enough to make her reflect on her misdeeds. Her question, however, hits the bull’s eye as Yi-an begins to seriously consider his feelings toward the girls. He isn’t Tae-kwang who dashes off to see Eun-bi the moment he registers the switch, but he inquires if she’s doing okay and is itching to tell her that he started rehab thanks to her, not Eun-byul. 

Looking at his interaction with Eun-byul now, it seems that he’s been friendzoned and harboring one-sided crush all this time? I don’t know but Eun-byul isn’t even affected by the possibility that Yi-an’s heart may have swayed — is she always this icy or just too good at hiding her feelings? (I also find it puzzling that he doesn’t know about Soo-in if she was her other childhood buddy.) At this rate, i can’t blame Yi-an for choosing Eun-bi, even if it’s really too drastic and quick a change of heart, because admittedly he may have been used to putting up with Eun-byul’s keeping him at arm’s length that he never considers a possibility of meeting someone who has his best interest in mind, pulls him up when he’s down, and wants the best for him. That is Eun-bi.

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But there’s Tae-kwang! (He dyed his hair! You’ll be missed, blondie Tae-kwang. Is he done rebelling now?) The guy whom she’s rejected goes all the way to Tongyeong just to check on her, deliberately misses the last bus so he can be with her for another day, and looks at her with those eyes… seriously, a friend like that is absolutely a keeper!

And, after 14 long episodes, finally there’s someone who asks if he’s alright and be there for him when he needs a company the most. Even if it feels pretty much shoehorned in. Questions: 1) How did Eun-bi know that Director Gong is his dad? I only remember him mentioning about his actress mom, and 2) Why doesn’t his mom stay put until he’s awake if she truly cares for him? I was ready to redeem her and thought maybe what he needs is his mother’s love and presence after all… and she leaves after watching him sleep for like one minute. Way to go, Mom!

Thankfully, Eun-bi does it in her stead, which obviously speeds up his recuperation process. She finally learns how lonely he is, accompanied only by housekeeper. Does it hit her now why he really wants to be alone at times? When she offers to share him the trick to make time go by faster, he already knows how: by “being with you” (Aww, he sure knows how to flutter hearts, doesn’t he?) before proceeding to plant a kiss on her cheek… to his, her, and Yi-an’s surprise.

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Okay, i’m at odds with it. I thought we’re done with this triangle last week, so why are we still here? Not gonna lie — my only hope is for this boy to get his happy ending that my heart sees it as his chance to get through to the girl he likes, but my head can only see it as a cheap trick to feed our desire and stretch the loveline. I fear that the writers troll and make us expectant only to dash our hope afterwards.

First off, it feels backward. All of these moments should’ve happened and written in to the story before the confession. If anything, Eun-bi should’ve given him a chance or some time before turning him down once and for all. She didn’t, and is sorry she can’t be that person to him. He said he gets it and knows his confession won’t make a difference but can’t help liking her anyway. Therefore he’s grateful that she stays by his side without him asking for it, even if she won’t reciprocate his crush. The kiss is clearly done on impulse and should not be misinterpreted as his way to push his feelings onto her because it’s never his character. He keeps showing his loyal and unconditional support as a good, caring friend and expects nothing but for her to be that kind of pillar for him too.

Eun-bi, however, only has eyes for Yi-an and spends episodes moping at his cold shoulder yet tailing him anyway. She’s excited that he starts rehab and that she no longer needs to work around him. At this point i begin to see why they like each other and then that last scene transpires. The major reason why i hated it went there is simply because i cannot see Tae-kwang rejected twice. Please spare him, show.

Interestingly, this week not only highlights the contrasting personalities of the twins but also of the boys. Tae-kwang wears his heart on his sleeve, speaks his mind AND acts on it, if rash, whereas Yi-an says things implicitly, beats around the bush AND calculates his moves too much that when he does decide to make a move, he always ends up one step behind Tae-kwang: in discovering Eun-bi’s true identity, in calling her real name, in confessing his feeling. It’s probably why Yi-an frustrates me so much lately, because in the world where actions speak louder than words, Tae-kwang delivers on both ends while Yi-an none of it.

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Discussing the boys has no end so let’s move on to the next plot point: Soo-in’s case.

I thought it will the last arc in the final week since her case has been dragged on for so long, but it is dealt with fairly quickly in episode 14. Her family is after justice, and for the longest time i couldn’t foresee what awaits beyond a proper closure. Eun-byul and Teacher Kim are stricken with guilt but they weren’t the cause of her death. That she died in class and no one knew until later in the evening when she was supposed to be under the school’s care was tragic, and it was awful to have her time of death altered to save the school’s reputation, yet it’s still not right to terror and harass the two when it’s collective responsibility.

Min-young particularly holds it against Eun-byul since she’s Soo-in’s one and only friend. The revelation and realization hit Eun-byul hard; had she known that Soo-in has no one but her to save her, she might not have deserted her. And all of these complications simply end with Director Hong’s admission? He who doesn’t budge even when Teacher Kim spends episodes trying to appeal to his conscience to reveal the truth and atone for the cover-up suddenly experiences a change of heart after a cursory faceoff with the son he always thinks is out to get him… is too quick and easy.

So is other revelation and development covered this week. Maybe the writers just realized they only have 4 more episodes with so much ground to cover still that they crammed as many events as they could, resulting in many rushed and jumpy scenes. Ideally, this week should be last week’s episodes so we have more time to flesh out the details.

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If this is the end of Soo-in’s case, i bet the finale will be on Eun-bi/So-young and potential pairings, then? Her baggage as Eun-bi is the orphanage kids and ultimately So-young. Since the former gives her an easy out thanks to precocious Ra-jin (love her), the final spurt shall be on Eun-bi/So-young putting an end to their series-long enmity. They aren’t at each other’s throats this week so i’ll look forward to the denouement.

That said, i wish the show didn’t mislead the kids into thinking that Eun-bi’s return has anything to do with the letters they wrote and hung on the wish tree. They’re still kids, but you shouldn’t fool them because no matter what, you can’t bring the dead back to life. This is a fictional drama all right, but reality is reality.

And now that we’ve come this far and only a few days away from the finale, as in other shows i’ve come to like and enjoy, i only wish for a satisfying ending that makes sense. I don’t know how it’ll turn out, but i trust that the writers know their stuff and won’t let us down.

Pinky promise? I’ll be waiting.

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_
p.s. i’m also waiting for the song (ostensibly) sung by Sung-jae. Yunno, that “gaseumi dugeun dugeun georyeoyo” one. I kept replaying episode 14’s last scene for the snippet alone ❤

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

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