First, let me tell you that I wanted to review this show episode per episode from day one but life has been really busy lately, so I choose not to. But it turns out School 2017 gets better and better each week and it has all the elements to call it “my kind of crack”. I’m no less busy but who cares when this show is giving me life?! Let’s move on to what matters, get ready because I have a lot to say:
What the fudge did Hee-chan do to Bo-ra last year? Why isn’t she talking? And what exactly did Dae-hwi cover up? It’s clear Hee-chan’s violent nature is a result of the pressure his family puts on him to excel at school and his feeling of entitlement come from the fact he never suffered the consequences of his actions, protected by his mother or -as we find out today- Dae-hwi himself. I’m not trying to excuse him for the things he has done, keeps doing and probably will do in the next episode, but I guess the show has made it possible to see where he’s coming from and why he’s like this. The fact he has no real support system in his friends (they’re totally the ones spreading the rumors in order for him to do badly in the finals) is also a factor of what I believe will be his debacle. I don’t know if in the next few episodes he will be able to redeem himself but I do hope he suffers a take down. His mother too. Mainly, I’m hoping Bo-ra speaks up because it would meant a lot of character growth for her. She has isolated herself thanks to an abusive ex boyfriend, Dae-hwi’s wrongdoings and a teacher who betrayed her trust. But today’s flashback gave me hope that perhaps she will be able to recover that spark that made call Hee-chan on his behavior and dump his ass.
I feel the rest of the episodes in the show will be more about Dae-hwi correcting all the the things he has done wrong in the past year since his friend died. I have to give credit to the show because at the beginning Dae-hwi seemed like the perfect put together, good student, handsome boy next door, and even when Tae-woon was constantly warning us about his “true nature”, I couldn’t quite grasp why. The first time I saw what Tae-woon was talking about was when Dae-hwi assessed -outside the coffeeshop- that his former friend has feelings for Eun-ho and throw it in his face like a threat, right after she told him she had protected him by not saying anything about the stolen exam. From then on the show has properly develop this character for what he truly is: a misguided and lonely boy, with no real support from his family, spinning out of control. And today’s episode showed us a little more on just how far Dae-hwi was actually capable to go in order to get ahead. I’m a little afraid to find out what he has been covering up for the rich kids, I don’t believe it’s only Hee-chan he has dirt on, but at the same time I feel expectant of what he could do with all that. While Tae-woon has been running around school “outing” the corrupt ways of the faculty and students, it’s really Dae-hwi the one who has the information to actually change something.
As for their broken bromance, nothing will change until Dae-hwi is willing to let go of his need of survival. Don’t get me wrong, in a way I’m proud of him for all his hard work but it’s the way he has achieved that perfect school record that taints his character, when I can see that at his core he’s a good kid. It’s the same reason why he feels like he can’t keep on dating Nam-joo. When he found out the truth about her, he wasn’t disappointed or hurt because she lied to him -he understands and knows her reasons- but he realized a big part of the attraction was because he believed her to be rich. Which of course hit right into all of Nam-joo’s insecurities and gave her even more misguided reasons to feel like she’s less or ashamed because her father is a taxi driver, when in reality she should be proud that he’s a decent and hardworking man, trying to make a living for his family and doting on her like the sun rises and sets with her. Nam-joo has been so far a small character but I want to see more of her storyline. This lie is bound to be exposed one way or another.
Personally, I think Dae-hwi and Nam-joo really like each other and now that there’s no longer a wall of lies between them, I hope they can find a way to patch things up. They never really got the chance to be themselves around each other or actually enjoy their romance.
As for the other characters like Sarang, guitar boy Kyung-woo, and precious soul Byung-goo, I hope they get more storyline in the next few episodes. I would love to see them team up with Tae-woon and Eun-ho.
Speaking of which… I have sold my soul to this couple. I love the relationships that are based on friendship and mutual understanding of each other, which is why Tae-woon and Eun-ho keep on giving me all the feels week after week. Yes, they are incredibly cute together and their chemistry is undeniable but one of my favorite things about them is that they are their own person, apart from how they are together. Can I say they are a couple? Unofficially, at least. Although I’m pretty sure it was made official today in a low-key way when Tae-woon declared he will do whatever he felt like it or when he made it clear to Hee-chan why he was meddling in her business; and Eun-ho gave him the thumps up with a knowing look and smile at the school’s corridor. These two.
Tae-woon isn’t perfect and I love him even more because of it. It’s been a pleasure to see him work through his grief over the loss of his friend with the help of Eun-ho, making it possible for him to actually start caring for others and meddle once again into Dae-hwi’s life. The thing about Tae-woon is that he seems to have no filter and a bad temper, this makes his reconciliation with his bestie a lot harder than it should be. I wish they could have a proper talk, one where they are not staring daggers into each other and actually speak about what happened a year ago. Why aren’t they friends anymore? Did they gradually come apart or did they really just throw punches at each other the minute Joon-ki was no longer in the picture? Did Tae-woon ever talk about the accident with Dae-hwi? Or about what his father had done?
Of course, that same no filter and bad temper does wonders when he goes Alpha Man in order to protect his lady’s honor or when he dotes and worries about Eun-ho. He was behaving like such an Oppa today, it got me all giddy. I love it when he becomes Tae-Swoon, which it’s something that comes natural for him when he is around Eun-ho. Yeah, floor meet Tae-Swoon.
Hee-chan and his mother clearly have plans for Eun-ho but they are very wrong if they think she has no support. This is what I worry about on this subject: whatever Tae-woon does in order to protect Eun-ho, his father won’t let him take the fault for anything. So, what if his father tries to do something similar as to what he did with Joon-ki and his family but with Eun-ho’s? Maybe this will be a breaking point for Dad and Tae-woon. In the last two episodes, Dad seemed to have been trying with his son and I grasped that maybe he’s just rough around the edges; that he had to raise Tae-woon by himself and had no-one who could help him see another way of doing things. I hope these two can work things out too because they are adorable and funny.
As for Eun-ho, aka Wonder Smile, I love her to pieces. She is caring, sweet and a truly happy kid who loves her friends and family, who genuinely tries to get along with everyone and is willing to work really hard to achieve her dream. She’s everything the rich kids aren’t, even when they had a hundred more opportunities and chances than her to achieve what they want. She’s also everything that Dae-hwi isn’t thanks to the lack of parent guidance. Eun-ho’s family is key to understand the way she is. Dad, Mom and even Oppa adore her and support her, even when they might not have a dime for her to assist extra classes, but the fact that she has grown to be such a good person shows that money isn’t everything. That it doesn’t make you a better person or student.
Tomorrow, Eun-ho will be going against Hee-chan and I know she will thrive, but I hope that people (apart from her family and Tae-woon) will come through for her like she has done for everyone else.
“Relationships have levels. Mine with Yoonjae was one of the easiest. A relationship that was easy to explain and easy to maintain. A casual relationship between childhood friends. But that day, contrary to everything I knew, I realized, ours could become one of the hardest. The hardest relationship… That between a man and a woman." –Sung Shiwon
The bromance lives! Not only that but Tae-woon and Dae-hwi’s heart to heart about Joon-ki and their friendship, followed by them sighting due to their respective love lives has to be the best part of today’s episode. Mainly because I feel I have been emotionally invested in this relationship as much as the one between Tae-woon and Eun-ho, but this one got deeper connotations in a way since it was a moment long overdue where they can finally let go of the grief and move on, with a new understanding of each other.
MVP goes to Dae-hwi, and nobody can deny it. He lighted up Tae-woon’s fire by throwing the jabs that he knew was what his friend needed to understand what was happening with Eun-ho and help him figure out what to do to make up with her. Not only that but Dae-hwi also was one of the masterminds behind the Hee-chan takedown. And he took the first step to fix his own relationship with Nam-joo, although he gave up a little too easy for my taste on the front. Be more assertive, I know you can do it! Yes, Dae-hwi’s journey has been a pleasure to watch and I’m glad he is finally on more solid ground.
As for Hee-chan, the imbecile can burn in a hell of thousand suns. I know the show has given him enough background story to know where he’s coming from, and I don’t really want to give up on his redemption, but he has show no remorse nor any kind of improvement in the past episodes. In fact, he’s getting worse and now that he no longer cares at all about what his mother has to say (and she has seen the monster she helped create), I’m afraid he will go into the deep end and do worse than he has done until so far.
I appreciate the show solves problems rather quickly and doesn’t lest misunderstanding or conflict fester long enough to give us an angst fest. Even though yesterday we were all left in despair, today was pure bliss.
Tae-woon is an assertive kind of character which is no surprise he did everything is his power to make up with Eun-ho, even if meant pouring out his heart and his feelings for her (all over again) and breaking his head in order to understand where she was coming from.
I love how pure Eun-ho can be at times, all smiles and cheer, but I love even more she is mature enough to self-reflect on her actions. When she voiced how she had used her family as an excuse over the frustration and insecurities of her work, I could relate to her. It’s not easy to put yourself out there on any level, personal or professional, and I can understand she was afraid to do both.
Her relationship with her family remains one of my favorite things and I love her even more for spending all her hard-earned money on buying new shoes for her brother, so he could walk more proudly. She’s taking care of everyone, always, which is why I’m glad she has Tae-woon to take care of her.
By the end of the episode the show had two options: keep pulling our chain or give us what we have all been waiting for. Thank God they went with the latter, as it should be in School 2017 style, and now Eun-ho and Tae-woon are officially dating. The whole scene was so sweet and so like them, excuse me while I cry tears of joy. These two, really. *insert heart emoticon*
This episode finally gave some time to the secondary characters, starting with how strong Bo-ra has become with the help of her friends and actively helping them in any way she can.
What about Sarang and her Mom? It was nice that they finally had a real talk about Sarang’s future. If Eun-ho started to compromise her dreams yesterday in order to help her family, Sarang has being doing it all along and with no-one to truly make her understand that she can find another way to have her cake and eat it too. Or at least try it, instead of giving up by default. I’m glad she found a middle ground, allowing herself to be a little more selfish. Plus, her low-key romance with Kyung-woo is precious. Did you guys see yesterday when they got all handsy in gym class? Or today when he encourage her to work things out with Mom? OMG. They are so darn cute. GIVE ME MORE.
Coach Jung’s talk with Issue was also another highlight of the episode. It shows that just because one option is no longer there, it doesn’t mean the dream has to die. You can always find another or new way to get back in track. I’m looking forward to Kyung-woo asking Issue to form a band. Sarang can fangirl her heart out.