Oof, this episode is a hard one to swallow. Just when you thought everything was over and things might start looking better for our characters, it doesn’t. Things are just barely starting for our characters instead and it doesn’t seem like it’s gonna get any easier from here on out. Identities are revealed, stories are shared, and secrets no longer remain secrets. For how much longer is it going to be like this?
[Note: I apologize for the late recap. I was quite busy today so I didn’t have that much time to finish the recap any earlier. Also, I’ll be starting work soon so I won’t have as much free time to recap as quickly as I used to before. However, I will still be continuing recaps of this show unless anything comes up and I have to stop. I hope this is okay with y’all!]
School 2017 episode 5: Something the Student Evaluation doesn’t record
In episode five, we begin with Eunho chasing after Dae-hwi, confident that she’s caught the person as X. However, just right when Dae-hwi turns back and is about to find Eunho chasing after him, someone grabs Eunho just in time to save and hide her. Dae-hwi looks back to find no one after him and joins the other in the chase after X.
But of course X is actually with Eunho. They face each other and X reveals himself. It’s Tae-woon! Once Eunho processes who she’s standing with, she refuses to believe that Tae-woon is X. However, all her doubts goes away when Tae-woon shows her his secret hideaway: the empty and abandoned warehouse on campus that Officer Soo-ji and Teacher Shim had wanted to look into. Packed with tools that were used to prepare the pranks as well as a picture frame of Tae-woon, Dae-hwi, and their best friend Joong-gi, Eunho comes to accepting that maybe Tae-woon really is X.
Although she’s not too happy upon finding out. She’s frustrated. She’s mad. While Tae-woon had been acting as X just for fun and out of anger, she suffered so much because of him. And there’s a small chance that Tae-woon will be punished because this is his dad’s school after all. Eunho fights back tears as she breaks down to Tae-woon.
But the moment is interrupted by Officer Soo-ji and Teacher Shim who try to break into the warehouse from the outside. Tae-woon panics inside while Eunho stands there carelessly, waiting for them to enter the warehouse. However, Officer Soo-ji and Teacher Shim are unable to do so and leave. Eunho leaves the warehouse a little bit after, but still angry at Tae-woon. Before bidding farewell, they threaten each other and end off on a bad note (oh nooo, my otp ).
Tae-woon returns home to find the principal and his dad talking about the school. They agree that all they should focus on right now is finding X and making sure that whoever X is will be punished for his illegal actions. Tae-woon overhears their conversation and stays cautious before making his way into his bedroom. Exhausted, he reflects on the painful words that Eunho shouted at him earlier that night and grows mad that she’s assuming things about him being X when in reality she doesn’t know anything. Meanwhile, Eunho does the same while she’s in her bedroom. She’s reminded of Tae-woon’s statements from earlier and also grows mad. Although they’re angry at each other, they also deeply consider the words that the other said to them and ponder over what to do next.
The next morning on the bus ride to school, Dae-hwi encounters his girlfriend. While sitting next to each other on the bus, Dae-hwi brings up the topic of her dad’s company in which she grows nervous and concerned. She finds it hard to remain calm and says nothing when Dae-hwi asks her about her dad’s company. Hmm, why is she so nervous?
Teacher Shim asks for the students to look over the self-evaluations they filled out last school year and to make necessary changes to it accordingly. Eunho panics and asks Teacher Shim for assistance; her self-evaluation is a mess. The drama then does another parody. This time, we see Eunho being transferred to the ER room in a hospital accompanied by her family members and “doctors” (aka the teachers and principal). While her family members cry in concern over whether Eunho will “make it or not”, the rest of the doctors and surgeons head inside the ER room. They discuss Eunho’s self-evaluation and raise concern over what her chances of getting into college are. She doesn’t have the best student record; she’s barely participated in any extracurricular activities and hasn’t taken any academy classes. She’s nothing too impressive and plus, she’s in tier 6 meaning her rank is not the best.
This information translates over to the present where Eunho explains the situation to Officer Soo-ji and Teacher Shim. Teacher Shim extends his support by looking over Eunho’s self-evaluation and student record with her at the teacher’s office room. Things aren’t looking too bright, but Teacher Shim doesn’t have the courage to admit it that to Eunho. He then suggests contacting Sunbaes in college for advice.
You know what that meeeeeans! Eunho contacts Jong-geun sunbae from Hanguk University to meet up, but is unsuccessful. Turns out Jong-geun’s gonna go on a backpacking date with his girlfriend (say whaaaaat?). So much for Eunho wanting to go to Hanguk University for Jong-geun. Ha. While Eunho hangs up on Jong-geun, Tae-woon who had overheard her conversation with Jong-geun while sitting on his motorcycle not too far away from Eunho makes a mean comment about Jong-geun that captures Eunho’s attention. They then bicker over him causing trouble as X to which Tae-woon admits that he did it to save Eunho from more trouble, accusations, and even possible expulsion. Eunho grows soft at his confession, but warns that she’ll still keep an eye on him. She walks away to her bike and is about to leave campus when he stops her. If she’s gonna keep an eye on him, then why is she going away? She should do her job properly and watch over him. HAHAHHAA. OMFG I FREAKING LOVE TAE-WOON.
Together they head to a manhwa store. Eunho brings up the topic about X again to which Tae-woon comments that he acted as X because he felt suffocated at school and wanted to do something about it. Annoyed, Eunho hands Tae-woon a comic book before walking away and Tae-woon following her. Of course, the boy who claims that he’s not interested in comic books ends up enjoying it the most. Tae-woon laughs in joy as he reads the one that Eunho gave him.
(AWWW ISN’T HE SOOO ADORABLE??)
Because she’s still keeping an eye on him, Eunho drags Tae-woon to her part-time job. He helps her hand out flyers in front of a test preparation academy to people on the street. Tae-woon struggles at the job so Eunho is left to doing it by herself. While Eunho does her job, Tae-woon can’t help but stare at Eunho in admiration and awe
at how beautiful she is at how good she is at her job (just kidding, he’s staring at her because he likes her).
At that time, Dae-hwi shows up at the academy with his best friend Hee-chan (ya know, the one who betrayed Dae-hwi by reporting him for merit points). They talk to Eunho and Tae-woon for a little bit before the intense atmosphere between Tae-woon and Dae-hwi causes them to leave. Dae-hwi hands Hee-chan homework assignments that he had finished for him knowing fully well he shouldn’t do it but still continuing to engage in this behavior. Hee-chan meets with a counselor at the academy over his student record.
Dae-hwi also meets with the counselor and contrary to what everyone expected, it’ll be challenging for him to get into the university of his choice despite being #1 at school. His student records are impressive, but he wouldn’t stand out too much from among the pool of applicants. As Dae-hwi leaves the counselor’s office, he can only look in agony at Hee-chan’s mother who continues to discuss with the counselor about her son’s student record and his chances of getting into college. Poor Dae-hwi 😦
The principal of the school reveals to members of his school committee that he plans on holding competitions soon before finals as a way for students to get their ranks up. Meanwhile, Hee-chan grows frustrated over being in second rank. He’s so close to being #1. He’s reminded once again of his rank by his mother who scolds him for always being #2 and never beating Dae-hwi.
It’s the 3 bully girls. Female classmate Bora who they bullied last time informs them that Teacher Shim wants to meet with them to go over their student records. They end up going to visit Teacher Shim, but shows no interest since they don’t plan on going to college anyways. Yikes.
Dae-hwi and Eunho are looking over their student evaluations. Dae-hwi suggests that Eunho turn her webtoon drawings into a series so that she’ll have a better chance of making it into Hanguk University. Before she can agree to the idea she’s reminded of something – their cleaning punishment!
Tae-woon, Eunho, and Dae-hwi get scolded by Teacher Koo for not doing their jobs correctly. The 3 apologize and head out the teacher’s office room only to overhear a conversation that classmate Bit-na is having with a teacher. Turns out there was an art competition that Eunho wasn’t aware about. She asks the teacher for more information about it, but since Eunho isn’t even a top rank anyways the competition wouldn’t have helped her. Enraged, Eunho gives the teacher a lesson: it’s not only the students at the top of the school whose future matters. Every student matters. Tae-woon – who’s standing behind Eunho the entire time watching her – is impressed by Eunho while Dae-hwi can only look at the teacher in disgust.
After leaving the teacher’s office room, Eunho walks on ahead leaving Dae-hwi and Tae-woo behind with each other. The hate for each other is still there as they continue to taunt each other: Tae-woon is a puppet to his father while Dae-hwi remains a puppet to his friend Hee-chan. Thankfully no fight between the two breaks out before Dae-hwi leaves and walks away.
Tae-woon’s father visits Tae-woon in his bedroom revealing to him that there will soon be a math competition held at the school and handing him the answers to the exam. However, Tae-woon refuses to take the math exam; he tells his dad to give this opportunity to other students who are more desperate. But Tae-woon’s dad also refuses and throws the packet of answers onto Tae-woon’s desk knocking down the picture of Joong-gi. He won’t let Tae-woon live this way.
We then rewind back to the day of the accident 1 year ago. While Tae-woon remains frozen and numb at the hospital, his dad is busy speaking on the phone with reporters and essentially blaming Joong-gi for the accident. Meanwhile, Dae-hwi’s at Joong-gi’s funeral ceremony with his mother and the two are the only ones there. The only visitor is Tae-woon’s dad’s employee who had come by to the ceremony to hand Joong-gi’s mother some money. While Tae-woon escapes from the hospital and hurries on over to the ceremony, Joong-gi’s mother shares with Dae-hwi the impact that he and Tae-woon made on her son’s life. They both shed tears over these memories and words that are being spoken.
Tae-woon enters the room to find Dae-hwi and Joong-gi’s mom crying together as well as the envelope of money that his dad had given Joong-gi’s mother. Tae-woon grows even more furious when the next day at school, his dad refuses to allow Joong-gi’s mother to enter the school with her son’s urn. She just wants her son to visit his school one last time, but Tae-woon’s dad won’t allow it because it’ll distract the students (omfg are you kidding me? URGH).
Tae-woon marches to the principal’s room where his dad is and gets on his knees, pleading for his dad to allow Joong-gi to enter the school one last time. If he does, Tae-woon will listen to and obey his father from now on. But Tae-woon’s dad just walks away without saying a word to Tae-woon (oof this is so hard to watch).
We return to the present with Tae-woon in his room staring at the picture of Joong-gi. He decides to meet up with Eunho that night to relieve himself of his sadness and stress. They sit down at the roof of a building and their conversation leads back to Joong-gi. Eunho reveals that the reason why she’s working so hard in life is for Joong-gi. He lost his life while saving hers; the least she can do is not waste her time and to actually just live. She encourages Tae-woon to do the same. Live.
The next day at school, there are flyers everywhere announcing the math competition that is set to take place at the school soon. Hee-chan asks Dae-hwi if he’s planning to enter in which Dae-hwi reveals that he is. With that, Dae-hwi gets right to business and starts studying for the math competition. He has to win this competition or else he won’t get into the university of his choice.
However, all the studying is just a waste of time. Dae-hwi finds out through Hee-chan and his friend that the answers to the math exams have already been revealed and that Tae-woon has access to them. Tae-woon will basically win the competition anyways so there’s no point in trying. Fed up, Dae-hwi rips up all his textbooks and throws them away at school while he cries in front of his mother once he gets home. He’s had enough.
Even a meeting with Teacher Shim seems hopeless. There aren’t many competitions that Dae-hwi can enter that will make his student evaluation look impressive enough to get into the university of his choice. Just right before he leaves the teacher’s office room, he notices a teacher placing all the exams to the math competition in a cabinet in the corner of the room.
That night, Dae-hwi reflects back on the math competition and the things Hee-chan told him in regards to the competition. He then pulls out a pair of keys – keys that would allow him to enter the campus.
Tae-woon and Eunho are in the empty warehouse discussing about her webtoon series when she leaves to get a breath of fresh air. While walking around on campus, she spots a person dressed in a black hoodie on campus. She follows him to the teacher’s office room where he’s caught stealing a pack of the questions and answers to the math competition. Once X realizes that he’s being chased by Eunho, he runs away. Not too long after Tae-woon joins the chase as he witnesses Eunho running after X.
Eunho manages to successfully stop X by taking a detour instead of running after X. They meet and she gasps as she realizes who it is in front of her as X. In front of her is Dae-hwi.
This was one sad episode. So sad. It was heart-breaking. It was probably the saddest episode yet because we finally get a glimpse of how the plot with Joong-gi is intertwined in the lives of our 3 main characters. You’re given a reason to care for them and so much more.
I’m surprised that we got more context and background story on the accident just because I thought the drama had showed us everything already. While I enjoyed how the drama showed us the aftermath of Joong-gi’s death and was able to weave the impact of his death carefully into the present with our 3 main characters now, I’m hoping the drama won’t drag out this plot for too long or at least offer us something new or surprising out of it. But I also do enjoy that Joong-gi serves a different purpose or role in the lives of our 3 characters. Because of Joong-gi, Tae-woon is rebelling as X. He’s doing this because he wants to get revenge on his dad after the terrible way his dad treated Joong-gi and his mother. It’s a reasonable excuse for me to understand why Tae-woon would do things as X and I actually support him. It also makes me wonder whether he’s going to repair his relationship with his dad or just resent his dad for the rest of his life.
As for Eunho, we see that although she didn’t personally know Joong-gi that well she has so much respect and love for him that she’s doing things because of him. Because he saved her, because he died in the process of saving her, because he inspired her, she lives and she’s living because of him. The drama does a good job in revealing that detail to us in this episode and I’m hoping that Eunho can also help inspire Tae-woon to do the same. He’s right now just kind of here and there without any dreams or goals in life especially after the death of Joong-gi. The accident has impacted his life to the point where he’s just existing, not necessarily living. So maybe the talk with Eunho will get him thinking and motivating him to do something beyond what he’s doing right now (which isn’t much). I want to see Tae-woon grow, not only for personal development but in honor of Joong-gi as well.
Then as for Dae-hwi, losing his best friend hit him really hard as well. It might even be more difficult for him to process and understand the death of his best friend just because he actually wasn’t there to know or witness what had happened. In the back of his mind he will always have lingering questions that he will probably never get the answers to because he knows how Tae-woon’s dad handled everything and there’s nothing he himself can to do change things now. Maybe that’s why Dae-hwi despises Tae-woon and has this intense relationship with him now. He hates Tae-woon’s dad for framing Joong-gi and he hates Tae-woon for not saying anything or defending Joong-gi and instead remaining indifferent to what his dad did. It makes you wonder why Tae-woon didn’t say anything back then when his dad made these decisions to the reporters. Did he just stay quiet? Did he not say anything against his father? Or maybe he did say something to his dad but just got ignored? There are so many questions regarding Dae-hwi and Tae-woon’s sour relationship that’s left me thinking.
Dae-hwi is probably the most pitiful character in this drama just because he’s playing the game by the book when it’s been emphasized and shown over and over again in this drama that there’s no such thing. And even if there is, people will always find a way to cheat and win. While some others have the advantage of having money and financial stability, Dae-hwi doesn’t have any of that so he has no choice but to actually study and work hard to be successful. Maybe that was how he was able to become the top rank at his school — he did what he was supposed to do and didn’t cheat his way up to the top. But as the drama illustrates, you can only be at the top for so long if you don’t have the money or wealth to keep you there. And unfortunately for Dae-hwi he doesn’t have that privilege so he had to resort to breaking inside the school to stay on top. If everyone’s cheating and no one seems to be saying anything about that, then why can’t he cheat too?
I actually enjoy the scenes of our 3 musketeers together whether that’d be them cleaning or messing around with one another. I actually didn’t notice how much I missed them until this episode when the three were being scolded by Teacher Koo. Haha. I’m also hoping that along with more scenes of them together, I want to see their relationship as a group transform into something positive and big. Would it be asking for too much if they somehow all got close to each other and teamed up to become Team X or actually became friends halfway into the drama? Maybe Joong-gi’s death can play a role in merging the 3 to go from enemies to friends or frenemies.
I had mentioned in the last recap about how Joong-gi’s death would serve as a reason for Tae-woon and Eunho to become closer and would add another layer to their budding relationship and you definitely see that within this episode. Although they obviously have some sort of resentment for each other because of misunderstandings in regards to X, the one time where they can actually sit down and listen to each other instead of bicker is when they talk about Joong-gi. I love this softness and understanding evident in the two’s relationship because we rarely get to see this side of their relationship, but it’s the side that I love, want, and am enjoying the most. They’ve been relying on each other as a vessel or anchor to help them process and move on from the accident that’s scarred them both and has made them feel guilty. Just like how Eunho said in this episode, Joong-gi is one of the many reasons why she’s living and she encourages Tae-woon to do so. After hearing this, I wonder if he will go through any changes and maybe change his lifestyle or thoughts in regards to life.
I wish the drama gave a reason to care for our other characters though. I really don’t have a reason to care for any of them or to feel any sort of sympathy for them. I actually had a discussion with my older sister about School 2017 and we agreed that the show just simply has too many characters who don’t actually serve any kind of role or purpose in this drama. They’re just kind of there and are only used when the writer needs to show frustration between the classmates (that leads to fights) or for whatever minimal purposes. They’re just extra characters and while I understand that they’re not our main characters, the writer still chooses to have them in the drama but for what reasons? Kyung-woo was barely in any scenes in episode 5 and Issue hasn’t been around for such a long time. Why have so many unnecessary side characters that takes away rather than add to the show? Why not just build a stronger and more tight-knit drama with just a few multi-dimensional characters? Sometimes having less is better.
I could see through this episode the cracks of the acting by our actors and while it’s not too horrible to the point where I can’t watch this drama, it does take away a little bit from the drama for me. Sometimes there’s long unnecessary breaks in between conversations or it sounds like the actors are just simply reciting their lines without putting in any emotions or reactions and this distracts me from being emotionally invested in the moment or that particular scene in the episode. I understand that the cast members are relatively still new at acting and only have a few projects under their belts so here’s to hoping that they will improve and get better. This is such an interesting contrast to the adults who are all veteran actors and have played in many other dramas and movies before.
Now that Dae-hwi is also X, I wonder what’s gonna happen from here on out. Here’s to hoping for more 3 musketeer scenes, more cute but also raw moments between Tae-woon and Eunho, and a stress-free Dae-hwi who remains at the top because he’s honest and hard-working — not because of money.