School 2015: Who Are You? ~ Episode 11 Recap
Patience is a non-existent word in my drama dictionary, but it’s also a virtue for the same reason! Between virtue and non-existence there’s a thin red line upon which School 2015 walks every week and us, the audience, blindly follow! Every time Monday-Tuesday’s episodes reach an end we enter a patience mode as we’re eagerly waiting for the next week to arrive and dive anew is this elegantly vicious world of feels, laughter and cliffhangers that torment gently our very soul and essence. Then, Monday arrives and we’re waiting for the subtitles to come to the surface even though the episode has already aired, that’s when patience drowns in the vast waters of oblivion and we simply can’t wait for the divine moment when subtitles will enlighten our world! The same applies to Tuesday after we’ve already watched Monday’s episode, check your equipment and keep swimming!
Yi Ahn’s all alone in front of the swimming pool witnessing his dreams passing him by as he gradually drowns inside the murky waters of future’s uncertainty. The accident cost him a lot and he has to acclimate himself in this new reality. He can’t hold back his tears as the water doesn’t possess the same elegant grandeur it used to.
Teacher Kim is enraged and opposes Tae Gwang’s father’s decision when it comes to Eun Byul’s transfer, but the principal says that being absent without permission from the school trip, threatening a karaoke owner and getting involved in the locker theft incident are enough reasons to proceed. Shortly after, Tae Gwang’s father notices that his son is in good terms with Eun Byul.
Yi Ahn’s senior rival witnesses him out of the training center and disapproves of his decision to be there since he hasn’t even removed the cast from his hand. Even under these circumstances he doesn’t give it a rest, but the others restrain him and show their consideration. Yi Ahn can only be apologetic for not being representative of the whole team’s ambitions, but his senior keeps on reflecting his hateful words towards Yi Ahn in a fragile moment. He thinks that what happened to him served him right since he didn’t treat the tournament and the team with due respect. Apparently, it still hurts him that Yi Ahn as a junior has been more rewarding towards his team than him throughout the years and in fact, he doesn’t even acknowledge the helping hand Yi Ahn lend to everyone of them with his achievements when it comes to university entrance. So Young just found a boyfriend that would suit her well, he even finds Yi Ahn’s current weakness quite entertaining!
The chauffeur has informed Tae Gwang’s father on his son’s decision to be taking the bus from now on, but this is not the most important factor here, all that matters is that his personality has gotten brighter and more vibrant ever since! His father is aware of the reason why and wants to know about the girl who was with him. He keeps asking him questions but Tae Gwang doesn’t intend to keep listening to him and his father leaves telling him that if she’s not someone to be worrying about they can keep getting along together.
Mi Gyeong is inside the teachers’ office and wants to know the reasons why her daughter has to get transferred. If she did something wrong she should get punished, but she’s insightful enough to understand that everything was an excuse to force her daughter out of school. Teacher Kim can only be apologetic, but the vice principal tries to restrain him pointing out that he could get punished if he doesn’t abide to the school’s rules. Since it’s definitive Mi Gyeong points out that other students should receive their own amount of punishment for all these incidents. As for the school trip the school should start getting ready to take responsibility for its teachers’ inability to watch over the students. Now the vice principal is at loss for words, does it hurt when responsibilities come to back to haunt you?
Tae Gwang notices that the student disciplinary committee will take place and Eun Byul is in the center of it. Shi Jin and Song Joo keep wondering what might had happened and Tae Gwang tears apart the school’s announcement. The only one who’s satisfied is So Young who rushes to meet Eun Bi right away and boast about her being transferred! There are two types of transfers, the one you process by yourself in order to move on with your life and the one that happens by force even if you don’t want to. Had she left on her own nothing like this would have happened, So Young has no shame! Eun Bi wonders for how long she intends to keep hurting people and once again So Young shows no remorse, she refuses to acknowledge herself responsible for Yi Ahn’s accident and puts all the blame on Eun Bi since she’s the reason why Yi Ahn rushed back to school to back her up.
Mi Gyeong notices Eun Bi and heads towards her direction. So Young is quite happy she’s the one staying at that school, but Eun Bi points out that nothing is going to work out her way because she intends to see it to the very end fueled by her love for her friends which is always more powerful and deeper than So Young’s fuel; pure hate. She approaches Eun Bi in a threatening tone and keeps spitting her poison all over the place. So Young can’t act otherwise but utterly enjoy the fact that Eun Bi’s plan is steadily falling apart and she’s already started plotting her revenge! At that point Eun Bi’s mother appears and So Young leaves in fear before she recognizes her. Eun Bi acknowledges that her mother must had been worried when it comes to the school’s disciplinary committee, but she tells her not to worry, they’ll discuss everything when she returns back home.
Yi Ahn’s coach is enraged with him, but always with love and caring since he doesn’t abide to all the necessary recovery rules. Visiting the hospital is essential, but he doesn’t move towards that direction. He has to stretch every day, if he doesn’t strengthen his shoulder things are not going to work out as expected, but Yi Ahn needs some time to gather his thoughts. Defeat is painted upon the canvas of his face and looks as if he has surrendered. His coach is not pleased seeing him that way and urges him to follow his treatment plan if he doesn’t want to get kicked out of the swimming team. Eun Bi was nearby bearing witness of their conversation, but Yi Ahn passes her by.
Teacher Kim’s having a conversation with Min Joon who officially confesses the truth behind the laptop formatting and teacher Kim acknowledges his courage. Min Joon can’t live like a coward and he doesn’t want to walk upon the wrong pathway in life and teacher Kim holds his hand to strengthen him for the storm that lies ahead. Inside the classroom teacher Kim informs everyone that the student who reformatted the computers was from their classroom, it doesn’t matter who he is and everyone who lost 5 points will get their grades back as if nothing happened. Everyone’s eager to find out the name of the culprit, but teacher Kim points out that everyone can make a mistake, all that matters is that the student acknowledged it and confessed his wrongdoing even at the cost of getting zeroed. Min Joon can’t hold back and confesses the truth in front of everyone and he can only be apologetic for acting cowardly and not revealing the truth in the first place. He’s embarrassed for what he did and deeply regrets his decision at that point. Forgiveness isn’t always easy, but even though Min Joon lost his grades he didn’t want to lose his classmates; his friends. Teacher Kim hopes everyone will remember that and he’s thankful towards Min Joon for his brave decision.
Min Joon’s punishment is to gather all the books left here and there inside the library and clean it all up. The books fall off Min Joon’s hands and Eun Bi rushes to help him and he finds it pretty awkward with her helping him. Both of them were in the same class the previous year and back then they weren’t close either. Soo In was one of their classmates. He recalls an incident when Eun Byul came out of the classroom screaming in fear and ran away. It was the day before they heard the news on Soo In’s death. Of course teacher Jung was nearby eavesdropping their conversation!
Tae Gwang wants to talk to his father about Eun Byul getting disciplined through forceful transfer and according to his father it’s a righteous decision abiding to the school’s protocol if she did something wrong. Tae Gwang finds himself fortunate enough to be causing trouble and always finding a way out due to his father’s position and connections, but at this point it feels quite unfair to his eyes. His father wonders whether Tae Gwangs asks him to cancel the disciplinary committee or not pointing out that Tae Gwang himself said that Eun Byul is a girl he doesn’t need to be concerned with. However, Tae Gwang wonders how could he know at that moment that Eun Byul was the girl who was set to get transferred since Tae Gwang never revealed her identity. Ironically, he considers his father considerate of pretty much every student since he knows everyone’s situation in detail! Will he eventually be helpful or throw more dust upon their father-son relationship?
Yi Ahn returns back home overburdened by his own thoughts and Eun Bi’s waiting for him. Once again he intends to pass her by, but she’s pretty much aware of the conversation with his coach and wants to talk to Yi Ahn. She’s worried that he doesn’t want to go to the hospital, but Yi Ahn points out they’re not related in any way, so she shouldn’t bother with his own problems. Yi Ahn seems to be surrendering to his own demons, but he was out there staring at her leaving.
Mi Gyeong remembered So Young’s face from the hospital incident and notices that something’s not right! She’s having a conversation with Eun Bi on this matter and she’s scared to know that both of them are at the same school. At this point she wants to rush Eun Bi’s transfer before she gets hurt, but Eun Bi wants to stay a bit more until she resolves things on her own. Mi Gyeong’s concerned about her daughter and she doesn’t want Eun Bi to recall the past every time she stares at So Young, but Eun Bi proves herself strong enough and her mother will be by her side. At this point one can say that a more palpable and caring bond between them is being forged.
The next morning Min Joon’s mother takes him to school and she intends to take the situation in her own hands. She thinks teacher Kim was the one to have forced the truth out of Min Joon! She neither really cares about what her son did or about the fact that she’s the one who forced him to do something like that, all that matters is the effect his zero grade will have upon him. Teacher Kim points out that grades aren’t the deadliest thing for Min Joon at this very moment, “when you’re trying to give a child wings, you can often break his legs. The most important factor is how Min Joon feels on the inside and urges her to see beneath the surface; will she? Inside the classroom everyone’s working hard, except for the Fail Team probably, and teacher Kim pays more attention to Min Joon who’s the only one who feels lost. He understands his burden and silently encourages him to move forward.
A teacher meeting’s taking place and the subject derives from the excessive private tutoring’s pressure. The school should do something about it to provide all the necessary knowledge to its students and a possible solution is after-school classes. Teacher Kim wants to talk about Eun Byul’s matter, but the vice principal won’t let him proceed. Tae Gwang and teacher Kim are both concerned about it and find each other at the school’s balcony. Butt-slap is the new method of greeting your student i guess! They share their own outdoors confession box! Teacher Kim points out that there’s a lot of dirt on his hands and wonders how would he ever dare helping a person who caused no harm with hands like his. Tae Gwang points out he could hold out a helping hand anytime and if his hands are dirty both of them will wash them up afterwards. As for Tae Gwang, he wants to know whether the one trying to kick Eun Byul out of school is his father of not, teacher Kim’s silent answer remains there and he doesn’t proceed to the reasons why.
Teacher Kim goes back to Tae Gwang’s father’s office and lets him know that Eun Byul’s mother should get involved as well because her child is unfairly getting kicked out of school. The principal points out that if she wants to make an objection she can come to the disciplinary committee. Teacher Kim objects right away since it would be pointless because the disciplinary committee is filled with people who only agree to the school’s decisions and wants to know if the real reason is Soo In’s incident and he points out that even if Eun Byul remembered she would not talk about that case again, just like teacher Kim did. Tae Gwang’s father is enraged and disagrees while teacher Kim urges him to reconsider and take back his arch decision. All this time Tae Gwang was eavesdropping their conversation.
Min Joon’s mother never learns, she intends to recruit another tutor, but the other mothers object since they can’t act as if nothing happened and they can’t entrust her their children’s education. They are also aware of the rumor that her own son turned her in, her safe heaven has already started collapsing and only Shi Jin’s mother tried to tell her in a more friendly tone that she will think it over again before her final decision, but Min Joon’s mother had already found another student client!
Yi Ahn keeps avoiding Eun Bi who’s lost in her own thoughts every time he’s around, but she’s not the only one as Tae Gwang’s worried about her as well. Once again, she’s waiting for Yi Ahn underneath his house and his father appears and invites her at their humble house. His father is preparing some food, but both of them remain silent as Eun Bi examines Yi Ahn’s house for the first time. It’s an awkward moment, but his father breaks the ice between them, making Yi Ahn finally smile, but once he notices Eun Bi was staring at him he manages to hide it behind the veil of silence.
It’s time for Eun Bi to leave and his father sees her out. He hopes she will be able to help Yi Ahn come back to his senses since both of them are pretty much aware he’s internally struggling. Yi Ahn eventually appears, but his father insists he should accompany her back home, he doesn’t want to but he has no other option! Once again the distance factor is apparent between them, but since things turned out this way he intends to get her back home anyway.
Min Joon gets informed that his mother found him a new tutor and you could sense the discomfort and the heartache carved all over his face, she never learns anything! His mother keeps calling him, but he doesn’t reply back and instead of his own floor he chooses the last one that leads towards the rooftop. His mother tries to reach him, but he never answers, his father receives a phone call and rushes towards the last floor in fear finding Min Joon sitting on the stairs. He couldn’t press the button which was leading to their floor and the only way out he could see was the rooftop, but the door over there was locked and he couldn’t proceed. He hates his mother and because he wanted to stop hating her he wanted to end his own life. His father is deeply sorry for not knowing what he was going through on the inside and for the fact that he didn’t even bother finding out. Both father and son shed their own tears and a moment of sincere familial love takes place under burdensome circumstances, Min Joon could finally take it out of him and cry his heart out.
His mother wants to find out the reasons why and asks him if he ever took her into consideration! Once again, he questions and thoughts are self-centered with her son being the shield of what she wants to achieve. She was living her life looking at him, but without seeing him and Min Joon questions her if it’s better to lose her greed than her own son; is it that tough to choose? It was a very deep scene full of meaning and feels as Min Joon’s devastated tranquility was making his mother kneel in front of him and cry as his father was shedding his own tears. I hope it was a moment of silent clarity for everyone inside this family, especially for Min Joon’s mother.
Teacher Jung enters the classroom and sits on Soo In’s seat, getting closer to her sister leans towards the direction that her plan is gradually progressing. We witness her fragile side, the one beyond the blind veil of revenge. Song Joo arrives and brought presents for Shi Jin and Eun Byul, it’s a part of modelling’s more than welcome surprises! All of them are so excited, but not teacher Jung.
Yi Ahn’s once again in front of the swimming pool, but this time he’s not alone, Eun Bi’s there for him. She wonders why he keeps coming there when no one’s around and eventually leaves like someone who doesn’t deserve to be there. He doesn’t want to listen to her, but she strikes back with his own words; sometimes people’s expectations are too heavy so you want to throw it away. One after the other, Eun Bi bombards him with crucial questions, is it comfortable like this? Does he feel happy? Is it because he hates her so much and/or because he’s afraid of the water? After recalling her memories she was so scared of water and she can’t forget how much she wanted to get out of it when she tried to end her own life and how much she wanted to live. She was grateful every time she saw him and she was grateful to be alive, that’s why she can’t watch him ruining himself. Once again he passes her by and leaves.
Shortly after Eun Bi received a message from Soo In urging her to come to her aid at the classroom! Eun Bi calls her back, but there’s no reply. Tae Gwang’s at home and he’s searching his father’s documents in search of answers and he finds the folder concerning Soo In’s case. Inside the folder lies Eun Byul’s photo and he recalls the conversation teacher Kim had with his father. Curiosity killed the cat, but Eun Bi moves towards the classroom. With all these seats turned upside down on the desks the scenery’s too creepy and quite industrial as darkness falls all over the place with that slight clinical light! Before leaving Yi Ahn noticed a note on his bag with Eun Bi encouraging him to lift his spirit!
The hooded frightening figure is there and greets Eun Bi in a not so friendly tone! All she wants is some answers and asks Eun Bi if she remembers Soo In as she used to refer to her as her friend! She talks to her about the letter she received and wants to know what she was doing the day Soo In passed away, why did she turn her into an outcast and if she ever wondered how did Soo In feel the day she left this world behind all alone. Had Eun Byul asked her just once how she was feeling this wouldn’t have happened. Eun Bi tries to escape, but the hooded figure pushes her away! She wants her to experience on her own the feeling of being abandoned inside a dark, cold classroom and teacher Jung locks her inside!
Eun Bi tries to contact her mother, but as expected she ran out of battery at the most crucial moment of the episode! But she wasn’t the only one to call her mother, Eun Byul called home to listen to her mother’s voice. Maybe she was hoping for Eun Bi to pick it up? What are you up to Eun Byul? Make your appearance! Tae Gwang is inside his room and he doesn’t feel at ease. He tries to call Eun Bi but he can’t reach her. Eun Bi’s all alone and terrified, but someone unlocked the door for her, who could that be?!
Thoughts: The 11th one was an episode progressing the storyline while emphasizing on its characters’ psyche and everything that derives from their words and/or actions. Leading or secondary figures have their own space to breathe and unveil their thoughts in a more profound or cryptic tone and many times some figures worked as a mirror that was giving voice to others’ thoughts that were drowning in silence. There were times the reflection was too bright and blinding, but it was always insightful no matter the tension. However, there were times the reflection was too weak to point towards the right direction with darkness covering one’s feelings and transforming them into a devouring void.
Eun Bi has found herself in the eye of the storm as two pasts haunt her at the same time. It’s not only her own past haunting her every day with So Young’s presence, it’s Eun Byul’s past as well that torments her very existence, especially now that teacher Jung decided to make a more powerful move by establishing a state of fear inside Eun Bi’s world. It was already there, but now it became more palpable and the more palpable it gets the more threatening it emerges.
As time passes by Soo In’s ghost lurks even more in pretty much everyone’s lives and the more teacher Jung witnesses people she considers responsible for her sister’s death being happy at the present the more the flames of revenge grow stronger. Her omnipresence observes and waits for the right moment to strike back, one step at a time, but this time the step turned into a kicking fast forward approach and the message was delivered. Whenever she’s not blinded by revenge we actually witness her humane side. The moment she sat at her sister’s seat she was overran by emotions and she could actually feel her sister closer to her, which in fact was the fuel that empowered the fire.
Teacher Kim is representative as a teacher and a human being at the same time. He’s not only into impersonal teaching, he’s there for his students even in a more personal level whenever they need him. He interacted with Min Joon in a deeper way and he welcomed his confession. Making him aware of the difficulties that may be lying ahead was essential, but being proud of him was the most important aspect of this conversation and strengthening him was the right thing to do. His interactions with Tae Gwang are always in another level, they look like old buddies meeting each other from time to time and unveiling their thoughts concerning everything that worries them and when they’re not hilarious their moments are definitely insightful. He doesn’t only interact with his students, but he also goes against the principal about Eun Byul’s unjust disciplinary committee urging him to change his opinion and search for answers while at the same time he can only be apologetic in front of Mi Gyeong’s rights as a mother and support her decisions in his own way.
Mi Gyeong appears as a strong mother willing to protect her daughter against all odds and at all costs. At first it was the unjust and forced transfer, but once she witnessed So Young in Eun Bi’s life anew she’s willing to fasten the procedures to transfer Eun Bi. However, she has faith in her own daughter and if she wants to stay for a bit more and fulfill her own plan she supports her decision and intends to stay by her side. A deeper bond is gradually blooming between them while they used to be two strangers in need of each other’s presence for different yet related reasons. Another exemplary parent has to be Yi Ahn’s father, he’s aware that his son is suffering in silence and he’s pushing him towards Eun Byul’s direction to enlighten his world. Of course, he’s unaware that she’s Eun Bi and doesn’t know the ongoing background story, but he deeply loves his son and would like to see him happy once again.
Tae Gwang’s father doesn’t move towards the right direction and pays attention to everyone else except for his own son. However, during the episode throughout his ongoing interactions with Tae Gwang and teacher Kim we witnessed a more flexible side which derived from teacher Kim’s pressure at first and from Tae Gwang’s sincere and insightful thoughts in advance. He’s gradually getting to know a side of his son he wasn’t used to, not that he’d pay attention to him anyway, but this time it’s more apparent. Eun Bi has changed Tae Gwang’s life and if his son cares about someone that much then it must mean something. Tae Gwang planted the seeds underneath his father’s surface, all that remains is to find out whether they’ll blossom or not and along with them how their father-son relationship will progress for better or for worse, especially now that Tae Gwang has become aware of Soo In’s case.
Min Joon had quite a journey throughout the episode. Not only did he confess his wrongdoing in front of teacher Kim, but in front of the whole class as well as he had prepared himself for any possible consequences abiding to the school’s laws and the students’ unwritten code of ethics. His mother didn’t learn anything neither from Min Joon nor from teacher Kim and the fact that she almost got in prison didn’t open up her eyes. She intended to see it to the very end, but that very end she was heading towards wasn’t her own, but her son’s. Min Joo’s intention to end his own life appeared like the only way out since his mother was neither listening to him nor paying attention to the omnipresent signs. He was lucky enough to find out the door leading to the rooftop was locked and the whole scene didn’t turn into a tragedy. Step by step, Min Joon made his father see the truth and eventually care for his own son, but he also cracked his mother’s blinders with a violent yet heartfelt confession filled with logical dilemmas, forcing her to choose her own son over her own ambitions for the first time in her life. Min Joon’s words concealed all darkness around his mother, bringing forth her bitterest yet most humane tears. I can say that a family was born that day.
So Young doesn’t give up, on the contrary, the disciplinary committee boosted her self-esteem and ego and helped her bury the very soul and essence of remorse even deeper in the murky waters that seem to be her quintessence. She doesn’t pay attention to Eun Bi’s insightful words that try to awaken her and she ignores the signs that float all over the place. The disciplinary committee was her last vanguard and she thinks she can always reign supreme behind her parents’ shoulders. If she thinks that revenge has a sweet taste, she should also be aware that revenge is also a dish best served cold.
Yi Ahn’s steadily giving up, step by step, and succumbs to solitude which was never a wise adviser to the desperate ones and Yi Ahn is desperate and devastated at this very moment. If Yi Ahn gives up on himself, Eun Bi doesn’t intend to give up on him and she has become his caring shadow always waiting for him at the corner to shed some light, even though he tries to push her away. Eun Bi wants to strengthen Yi Ahn in his darkest hour, could there be love or is it unconditional atonement amidst blooming friendship on Eun Bi’s behalf? There are hints that point towards the first direction, but we can’t always be certain since there are still many answers to come to the surface.
Water has become the element that relates them to themselves, but it also brings them together in its very own way. It used to reflect Yi Ahn’s greatest dreams, now it reflects back his worst fears overshadowing the essence of his dreams under the sudden turn of events. It was the element that could take away Eun Bi’s life, but inside it she valued life anew and found the desire to keep on breathing with meaning; is life related to Yi Ahn at this point? It’s all about the water between them and the water within themselves, the water of dreams and nightmares that doesn’t lurk in the corridors of sleep, but in their daily lives.
The mystery moves on and i’m curious to find out what teacher Kim, Tae Gwang’s father and Eun Byul know about Soo In’s incident and eventually find out what actually happened to her. Eun Byul’s presence will play a key part in the whole story and i’m longing for more Eun Byul airing time during the next episodes. I would also like to find out what she’d been up to all this time. Who opened up the door of the classroom? I was searching throughout the episode to find out who was wearing a light-colored pair of jeans or something, but couldn’t find anyone! Yi Ahn’s jeans was dark-colored, could it be Tae Gwang or the mysterious stalking figure? Or someone unexpected? School 2015, please amaze me even more during the 12th episode!