School 2017: Episode 4 recap

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Watching this drama is such a roller coaster. One second I’m squealing and screaming over Tae-woon and Eunho moments and then the next I’m sighing in frustration and then I’m back to crying because Eunho and Tae-woon are too cute for me. And there’s only 4 episodes out so far. How am I gonna put up with the rest of the drama? *nervously laughs*

[Listen to this!]: New OST track

School 2017 Episode 4: Encounter

Episode four begins with Dae-hwi and Tae-woon fighting each other in the classroom alone by themselves. Eunho tries to stop the two from hurting each other any further, but she fails to do so. It isn’t until Teacher Koo witnesses them fighting that the two boys finally stop.

The three are brought into the teacher’s office room for an interrogation. While in the office, Teacher Koo gives them two options to choose from: they can either decide to settle this issue with the school violence commission or they can be unofficially punished through Teacher Koo. The three choose the latter.

Their first punishment is to run laps around the gym. Even while running the boys are competitive and still angry at each other, pushing and shoving each other. Eunho finishes her twenty laps but can only focus on Dae-hwi and Tae-woon. She notices how even though they’re still angry at each other, they’re also torturing themselves in the process and that even though they individually might be going through their own problems in life, Eunho is somehow still intertwined in both boys’ lives.

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Eunho receives a letter from Hanguk University notifying her that she’s made it into the finals for the competition and goes over it with Teacher Shim at school. As usual, as long as she places third in the competition and submits her portfolio and student records, she has a shot at getting accepted into the university. However, her student record is the problem so together Teacher Shim and Eunho plead for the principal to get rid of her demerit points. But it’s of no use as the principal will only eliminate Eunho’s demerit points if she catches X.

Eunho is suddenly reminded about her drawing sketchbook that had originally been taken away from Teacher Koo. She’s planning to use that as her portfolio, but had forgotten about it this whole time. However, when she asks Teacher Koo about her sketchbook he tells her that it got stolen by X (oh noooo). He then commands Eunho to bring Dae-hwi and Tae-woon to the gym.

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The triplets are in the gym again receiving their second punishment from Teacher Koo. He informs them that their next punishment is to clean every corner of the school for the next ten days and if one of them is missing the day won’t count as valid. Tae-woon would rather receive demerit points than physical punishments, but Eunho disagrees. She can’t afford to get any more demerit points than she already has right now. Teacher Koo leaves and the three are alone in the gym. Eunho makes a suggestions that raises both boys’ eyebrows: help her find X. She explains to them that she had her sketchbook stolen by X and would like their support in finding X or else her chances of making it into Hanguk University will be gone forever.

While Dae-hwi is opened to the idea, Tae-woon refuses. He becomes bewildered when Eunho calls X a psychopath and walks out the gym only to be stopped by Eunho. She once again asks for his help, but instead of answering her question he asks her something else instead, “Will you go out with me?” (UM EXCUSE ME??? I WAS NOT READY FOR THIS).

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“Then how about you kiss me?” (OMG I’M SUFFERING. THIS IS TOO MUCH FOR ME. TAE-WOON WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME YOU WERE GOING TO ASK EUNHO THOSE QUESTIONS FIRST??). Tae-woon is going crazy because of Eunho’s request to help her find X and when he’s about to leave the gym, she holds him back. They have to clean the gym together; it’s a joint responsibility between all of them. So they start cleaning, but not before Tae-woon goes chasing after Eunho with mops (omg they’re so cute! and he grabbed the largest mop there was and was chasing after her I’m crying).

Officer Soo-ji and Teacher Shim are still working together on the hunt for X. She notices a big red warehouse just sitting in a corner of the school dirty and unused. She requests for Teacher Shim to find the keys to the warehouse; they’re gonna look into it.

Tae-woon and Eunho walk to their bikes and motorcycle together respectively. Before leaving on his motorcycle, Tae-woon notices that Eunho got a scratch on her arm and hands her some bandage. He notes that he carries the bandage around because his friend got it for him to help him heal any possible injuries he got from riding his motorcycle. Upon mentioning his friend (Joong-gi who passed away), Tae-woon stops talking and just rides away on his motorcycle (awww, poor Tae-woon).

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We find out more about behind the broken relationship between Tae-woon and Dae-hwi through Sarang who spills the details to Eunho over some drinks. As we saw in episode 3, the two used to be best friends with Joong-gi until the motorcycle accident which then caused their friendship to shatter. Sarang explains to Eunho that the bus she was on was the same bus that Joong-gi saved people on and that Tae-woon’s dad had framed the accident to be as if it was Joong-gi’s fault it happened when really it was Tae-woon’s (oh nooo).

We return to the scene of the accident that happened a year ago. We find an injured and terrified Tae-woon sitting on the side of the street. He calls his dad to inform him about the accident and then leaves the scene. Dae-hwi arrives at the scene and calls out Tae-woon’s name upon seeing him, but there is no answer.

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We return to the present in Dae-hwi’s bedroom. He tries to focus, but finds it difficult as he can only think about Joong-gi and the accident. His mother comes to visit and brings up the touchy subject to Dae-hwi, saying Joong-gi’s family probably got a lot of money for what happened – especially since the media made it out to seem like the accident was Joong-gi’s fault when really it wasn’t. This angers Dae-hwi and he asks for his mother to leave or else he won’t be able to study and will become powerless just like how his deceased friend was.

Eunho also researches for more details about the accident, but finds no mentions of Tae-woon’s name anywhere in the articles and reports about it. Joong-gi was really blamed for what happened.

The next day at school, the triplets are cleaning a classroom together. Eunho shares with Dae-hwi that her wish is for X to punish the principal by doing the exact same thing to him that he’s been doing to the students – capture any bad habits he’s doing and give him demerit points (aka give him a taste of his own medicine!). Dae-hwi just nervously laughs at Eunho’s wish which raises her suspicion even more.

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Sarang reveals more details to Eunho about Dae-hwi and Tae-woon. When it was Joong-gi’s funeral procession, Dae-hwi didn’t attend because he was busy studying for exams. Upon finding out, Tae-woon grew furious and confronted this issue with Dae-hwi at school. We return to Sarang and Eunho and the two discussing any possibilities of Dae-hwi being X. It doesn’t seem like he can be X. Maybe he might be doing this to relieve himself of stress from studying, but he also didn’t attend his best friend’s funeral. Why would someone like him fight for justice as X?

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In the next scene, we find 4 students texting one another in a group chat. It’s the same 4 students that we saw in the earlier episodes. They mention talks of trusting Dae-hwi and letting him into the plan and then concluding that it’s time to hurry on with their plan. Hmm, what’s gonna happen and who are these 4 students?

The merit-demerit system continues to stress everyone out including Teacher Shim. He can’t seem to catch up with how many pictures students are sending him of other students caught doing bad habits just for merit points. It’s too much for him and he gives up.

Teacher Shim then hurries to his classroom to make an announcement about a new rule that will only apply to his students: for every report from his students, he will run a lap around the schoolyard. He hopes that by doing this, it will motivate the students to stop attacking one another and exposing their friends just for merit points. It’s unhealthy and he doesn’t want his students to act that way. Upon hearing this, Eunho chases Teacher Shim outside of the classroom and together they share a moment of encouragement and hope.

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Back inside the classroom Eunho finds the drawing sketchbook that Teacher Koo had taken away from her inside her locker! She shares this with Sarang later on that evening at her house and together they discuss whether it was Dae-hwi or Tae-woon behind the action since only the two of them know about Eunho’s missing sketchbook. While they discuss the reasons why either Dae-hwi or Tae-woon could be X, Eunho’s brother and father leaves the house in a rush leaving Eunho to be responsible with making deliveries. Unknowingly, she arrives at Dae-hwi’s place as that was where she was supposed to deliver. She arrives to find an angry Dae-hwi protecting his mother from the landlord who’s mad at Dae-hwi’s mother for not paying for rent on time.

Dae-hwi and Eunho head out for some fresh air and refreshing drinks after the chaotic situation. Eunho cheers Dae-hwi up by reassuring that he’ll be fine and that he’ll have enough money because he’s smart, but Dae-hwi is still concerned. Will his intelligence and rank in school really help him and his mother become financially stable? While Dae-hwi and Eunho sit in silence, Dae-hwi’s girlfriend notices them from across the street after having gotten off the bus and scoffs in disbelief.

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Teacher Shim stays true to his words and run laps around the yard as he said he would if his students continued to make reports on one another. Some of the students watch him as he runs, concerned and worried for his health while some others just stay inside the classroom, in denial that something like this will stop the students from participating in the merit-demerit system.

While walking to her bike, Eunho overhears Tae-woon arguing with his dad outside. Tae-woon confesses to his dad that he wants to turn himself in because the guilt over Joong-gi’s death is too much for him, but Tae-woon’s dad refuses to let his son do that. Eunho saves Tae-woon by interrupting their conversation and asking Tae-woon to get food with her. Tae-woon’s dad walks away and the two friends go out to eat at Subway.

Tae-woon and Eunho bicker back and forth over who’s gonna pay for the sandwiches (hehe they’re like a couple already). He then decides to take her out for some ice cream after the sandwiches, but along the way they stop at a shop to fix Tae-woon’s broken watch. While waiting for the worker to help them with their request, Eunho takes a look at the watch and notices that it looks awfully similar to the watch she saw a year ago on the day of the accident.

We return back to the day of the accident the year before. Tae-woon and Joong-gi are enjoying their motorcycle rides when Joong-gi becomes distracted by his cell phone. He almost crashes into a car, but luckily swerves to avoid the vehicle falling on his motorcycle along the way but still safe. Tae-woon does the same after having witnessed what happened to Joong-gi and together they find themselves down on the street.

Tae-woon’s leg is stuck under the motorcycle so he’s unable to move, but he tells Joong-gi to save those in the bus first. Joong-gi manages to save almost everyone on the bus – including Eunho who was in the bus at that time – and heads back to save more when the bus explodes in fire. Tae-woon regretfully watches his friend die as he struggles to move the heavy motorcycle that’s on top of his leg. Police officers arrive at the scene, but it’s too late to save Joong-gi. The bus is already up in flames.

We return to the present with Eunho and Tae-woon sitting on the rooftop of a building (aka their secret spot). Here, Tae-woon discovers that Joong-gi had saved Eunho on the bus that night which was why the watch looked so familiar to her when she finally had a chance to glance at it – it was because she saw it when Joong-gi saved her on the bus on the day of the accident. They can only steal glances at each other and empathize with each other as they mourn over the accident.

It’s another day of school and Teacher Shim is still running laps for how many reports are made. More and more of the students show support and concern for him, but there are still students left in the classroom indifferent.

There’s only 2 more days left until the deadline of the competition. Eunho stresses over what she should do: should she protect Tae-woon and Dae-hwi who could either be X or should she protect herself and report who she thinks is X so she can get into Hanguk University?

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It’s the day that everyone is dreading. An assembly with everyone is held to catch X. The top 10 students with the most demerit points are to stand in front of the entire school and confront the question of whether they’re X or not. Of course, Eunho is first with the most amount of demerit points.

As the VP calls out the names of the 10 top students, another prank is pulled by X. As a film plays on the screen in front of them, the principal and VP releases the guards they had hired to find X and go after him. While they do that, everyone else focuses on the film that is playing. Consisting of pictures of the principal and the amount of demerit points he should get for his bad habits, all the students laugh at the film. But then the film also turns it the other way around. Yeah, the principal has done things that he should get demerit points for, but what about them? They’ve done the same exact thing. Taking pictures of friends and classmates just for merit points. They’re not any better. Everyone’s smiles fades and they stare around in guilt and nervousness.

Just then, the guards are seen chasing after X. X – once again in his black hoodie – runs away to escape from the guards and teachers chasing after him. Eunho also joins them, but heads another route different from the one that X is taking. She then bumps into X, but instead of holding him back to expose him, she helps him instead! She finds a hiding spot for him which he uses to hide and then leads the teachers and guards on a false trail to get rid of any suspicion. Eunho let X go even though she had the perfect opportunity to turn him in to clear her name.

The next day at school, Eunho sits in the classroom while observing her classmates interacting, talking, and having fun with each other. She reveals that even though she could have revealed the identity of X to everyone, she ultimately chose not to because she’s made friends through this school and although these friends might not be heroes like Joong-gi, they’re all at an age where they can be friends because of their ability to relate to one another.

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At school that day, Teacher Shim does the unthinkable. He tears down the chart indicating how many demerit points each students has to demonstrate the end of the merit-demerit system. All the students rejoice at this news, but the principal is furious and he yells at Teacher Shim for even thinking about doing such a thing.

Eunho and Sarang are at the library studying when shouts of X running around is heard in the hallways. Eunho hurries out to join the chase and finds herself chasing after Dae-hwi who’s in his school uniform. She’s confident that he’s X because he was the only one who knew about she wanted to give the principal demerit points to prove his corruption too (which had happened at the school assembly).

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Dae-hwi is unaware that Eunho’s been chasing after him though and stops to glance back at him just in case he finds anyone suspicious. Eunho is about to get caught when the actual X pulls her to the side and hides with her. Dae-hwi finds no one and joins others in the chase.

Meanwhile, Eunho releases herself from X and faces him. X then reveals his identity by taking off his hoodie.

X is none other than Tae-woon. Eunho can only gasp as she discovers who X truly is while Tae-woon remains unfazed.

My Thoughts:

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Wowow. There is a lot of running in this drama huh? And just how fast and smart is X that he’s able to outrun everyone every single time. And also, can’t he be a little bit more discrete? Jokes aside, I’m surprised but satisfied that we found out who X was pretty quickly. I was actually expecting the drama to drag out this sub-plot a little longer, but I’m glad that it didn’t because it was starting to get old and boring. In a way I’m not surprised that Tae-woon is X and I do believe that he has his own reasons for committing the pranks/incidents. Maybe this is a sign of rebellion against his abusive and crappy father or he really dislikes the way the school is operating and wants to play around a little bit to mess things up. Whatever reason it is, Tae-woon is the total opposite of what Eunho had been assuming along – Tae-woon is a fighter for justice.

I’m wondering if Tae-woon is actually X though or if this is just a fake set-up. The group of 4 students make me suspicious because it seems like they could be the one behind the pranks/incidents and have mentioned talks of trusting Dae-hwi so I’m not really sure who to believe or how to react to the discovery of Tae-woon as X. Maybe this could be a false lead or Tae-woon is merely just one of many X’s throughout the school and this is a collaboration between several students on campus. But then again, now that I think about this episode, it also makes sense that Tae-woon is X because 1) he got mad that Eunho called X a psychopath so of course this would make sense if he’s X 2) he overheard Eunho’s wish of teasing the principal with demerit points even though she thought she had only said that to Dae-hwi because he was actually in the same room as them when she said that. Regardless, I’m definitely interested to see if this discovery holds any truth at all or if the drama is just leading us on only to reveal who the actual identity of X will be later on in the drama (I’m really hoping X will be someone we totally didn’t expect, but if it’s Tae-woon that’s fine with me too).

It was great to see Teacher Shim stand up for himself and advocate for not only himself but the students. Once again, his determination and passion for justice showed tremendously in this episode and he risked his own life in the process to end the corrupt system that was heavily affecting the lives of his students. I know he had been building himself up for this moment the past 3 episodes so it was so great to see him step up and do what he had only merely imagined of doing. Of course, he was reprimanded for not obeying the rules at the school but he did what he thought was right (and what was right) and now that he did what he thought he could never do, maybe this will be the push that will encourage and motivate him to have the rest of his students join him in rebelling against the school altogether.

I’m also glad that Teacher Shim hopefully put an end to the merit-demerit system. Not just so the drama can move on with something else, but because it was really stressing the students out and wasn’t doing anyone any good. It even backfired on the principal in the end so I’m hoping this system will die and the students can be a little bit more at peace.

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While there are things that the drama doesn’t do as well such as repeating the same kind of situations that makes the drama unappealing or inserting random scenes that doesn’t flow with the rest of the episode, I discovered through this episode that the one thing that School 2017 does do well is all the sadness and angst. You could feel and understand the pain and hurt that Tae-woon and Eunho felt as they mourned over Joong-gi’s death with each other. Tae-woon even discovered that Eunho was also affected by the accident which I think allowed and will continue to allow him to open up to her in the future because they have something so important in common. I would even argue that they were able to bond and become even closer to each other after becoming aware of this fact. Tae-woon and Eunho both cherish Joong-gi for their own respective reasons and I think this will become a motivating factor that will allow the two to be each other’s rock and hope, not only when confronted with memories of this accident but also in the future when they’re faced with their own issues and obstacles.

Through this discovery, another layer is yet added to Tae-woon and Eunho’s budding relationship. In addition to losing someone that they both appreciated and cherished, they also saved each other multiple times in this drama which I loved. Now it’s no longer just Tae-woon saving Eunho, but Eunho saving him as well so I think these incidents will give hopefully bring them closer to each other to the point where they become used to it and fall in love with each other.

All in all, I’m really enjoying the tone and mood of melancholy, nostalgia, and sadness in this drama. It does a fairly good job of setting that tone and maintaining it when necessary and I hope the drama keeps this up for many episodes to come.

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I don’t blame Eunho for not catching X and revealing his identity to everyone. Although she obviously wants the best for herself and is doing the best she can to get into Hanguk University because that’s one of the only options left in store for her, she is also so selfless at the same time. And I would argue that she cares more about others than she cares about herself. She basically gave up her shot of Hanguk University to protect X which I’m pretty sure none of the other students would have done if they were in the same situation that she was in. Eunho is really one of the only students left in the school who remains selfless and continually shows care and support for others – whether that’d be indirectly as seen with the whole X thing or directly. It’s unfortunate that the other students don’t see this though and don’t realize the effort that she’s putting in to save them. I wonder what it’s gonna take for her to improve her image and prove to others that she’s not who they think she is. But then at the same time she doesn’t need to prove herself to anyone because they probably won’t believe her and because Eunho is great as she is.

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I know that some are confused as to whether Tae-woon or Dae-hwi is the male lead and although both of them are our main male characters, after watching the first 4 episodes I’d like to think that Tae-woon is the male lead. He’s had a lot more interactions with Eunho than Dae-hwi has and has received maybe a few more spotlights than Dae-hwi (also it just seems like the drama is setting him up to be Eunho’s love interest). But that’s not to say that Dae-hwi hasn’t had his time to shine as well because through the last two episodes we’ve gotten time to know his story a little bit more. I actually find his story intriguing because even though he’s viewed as the perfect model student, he’s going through his own problems and is living proof that being the smartest and most successful doesn’t necessarily guarantee a carefree and easy life. There are plenty of worries that Dae-hwi is facing and it’d be interesting to see how he continues to endure with all the pressure and difficulties he faces both at home and at school. Maybe this is why he isn’t exactly in love with his girlfriend even though they’re “together.” He has other priorities that he rather worry about instead and I can understand – at least in this drama – why he’s not as concerned about the relationship as his girlfriend is.

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Now that X has been revealed (or has he?), it’ll be interesting to see what happens from here on out. I can foresee more conflicts and dilemmas for Eunho who’s already had to deal with many situations deciding whether to be selfish or selfless. Is there any way that she can be both so that other students and Eunho herself gets a happy ending?

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