School 2017 Finale: Episode 16 recap

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This is really it. This is really goodbye. We bid farewell to our adorable and courageous characters who fought their way to justice and equality for all at Geumdo High School. I wish that things were truly this easy and that exposing others through the identity of X would help solve all issues and problems in the world, but unfortunately that’s not how everything works is it? It’s going to be hard to let go of this one, but I enjoyed the ride while it lasted. School 2017, you will be missed.

School 2017 episode 16: On My Way to Meet the Real You

The last episode begins with Tae-woon revealing his identity as X to the entire school. During what was supposed to be Eunho’s hearing on the X investigation case, Tae-woon pulls off his last prank as X displaying clips of corrupted acts committed by the principal and vice principal. Like all the other incidents he is seen again by the students, but he doesn’t run away this time. He moves courageously and approaches Eunho who is also accompanied by the school staff and faculty. Tae-woon removes the hoodie from his head and boldly declares that he is X.

But Eunho won’t let him get away so easily. She also outs herself, standing next to Tae-woon and audaciously declaring herself as X’s accomplice. While the principal tries to get everyone out of the gym, all the students remain and praise Tae-woon and Eunho for their courageous and cool acts. Eunho grabs Tae-woon’s hand and holds it firmly in front of everyone.

After the reveal, Tae-woon and Eunho have a talk outside. Why did they choose to sell themselves out to protect the other? Tae-woon wants Eunho to take back her statement of being X’s accomplice, but she refuses to. It was true after all and she doesn’t want Tae-woon to be the only one at fault. The argument is interrupted by Tae-woon’s father who calls him in for a talk.

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Tae-woon’s father is upset with what his son did earlier at the gym, but Tae-woon remains careless. He questions how his father plans on covering what Tae-woon did as X, but just like how he’s done before Tae-woon’s father will find a way around to protecting Tae-woon’s name.

Tae-woon and Eunho are the talk of the town (aka the school). Everyone’s still at disbelief over them two being X and ponder over whether they can do anything to support the two. Sarang, Bo-ra, and Dae-hwi also gather to brainstorm ideas on ways to support their two friends.

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Principal and Vice Principal panic over what they’ll do if news of the X incident goes public. Meanwhile, Director has a meeting with his steering committee. They refuse to offer him any help in clearing his school’s name and leaves it up to him to solve the issue without doing anymore damage.

The pressure to clear the school’s name amounts. Director decides to expel both Tae-woon and Eunho. That way it’ll be fair and they can say that they handled the case as smoothly as possible.

Teacher Koo breaks the news to both students. They don’t object to the update and comply willingly.

Teacher Shim storms into Principal’s office upset over his most recent decision in expelling Tae-woon and Eunho. How dare he expel them and how dare he enjoy the sausage he’s eating after having expelled them? Lol. Teacher Shim threatens Principal with the School of Education and what could possibly happen once they know about Tae-woon and Eunho, but he stops talking once Principal intimidates him. Haha. He bows to the principal before leaving the office. Loool.

Tae-woon and Eunho comes to terms with their school status. Now that they’re expelled from school they have some free time to do whatever it is that they want. While sitting on the rooftop of a building that night, they converse over what they’re going to do now. They cherish the moment they’re spending together that night, holding each other’s hand and leaning their heads on each other’s. Aww.

Tae-woon and Eunho’s classmates notice their absence from school. While in the classroom, Hee-chan comments that they’ll most likely get kicked out of school which upsets Dae-hwi. The two have a small heated argument before Hee-chan walks out of the classroom. Oh no, no more fighting please. There’s already enough going on.

Maybe getting expelled from school isn’t that bad after all. Tae-woon and Eunho go out on a small date at a coffee shop only to be joined unexpectedly by the rest of the squad Bo-ra, Dae-hwi, and Sarang. Together, they all reunite and catch up at the coffee shop.

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Later on that night Dae-hwi and Tae-woon have a heartfelt conversation with each other. He thanks Dae-hwi for visiting Eunho with Sarang and Bo-ra; she was really happy to have seen them and spend time with them again. Dae-hwi suggests that Tae-woon just return to school, but it’s not as easy as he thinks. Tae-woon knows how stubborn his father is and it’ll be difficult to get his dad to change his mind.

Tae-woon threatens his father to let Eunho return to school or else he’s going to expose all the corruption at his school. Tae-woon’s father is only willing to agree to Tae-woon’s proposal under one condition: in exchange for Eunho’s return back to school, he will need to study abroad.

Teacher Shim updates Eunho and her family with the good news. But it’s not until Eunho asks about Tae-woon that she gains a better understanding of what’s going on.

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She and Tae-woon meet up to talk about the situation that night. Tae-woon lies that he’s going to study abroad to pursue his passion of design just like how Eunho had encouraged him to. It’ll be a new start for him and he’ll be getting to do something that he had always wanted to do. But Eunho isn’t buying his excuses and lies. She grows sad at the thought of Tae-woon leaving, but doesn’t try to hold him back from leaving. It’s not like he’ll listen to her anyways.

Tae-woon returns home to an indifferent father who warns him again to not cause any trouble. Tae-woon gathers the courage to ask his father if he’s interested in why he did all the things he did as X but his father doesn’t care. He then makes a confession to his dad and states that his number one fear is that he’ll grow up to be just like his father once he becomes an adult. Oof. Tae-woon walks off after the confession.

Tae-woon meets with Teacher Shim the next morning to turn in his withdrawal request form. He’s okay with leaving the school as long as Eunho returns to school. That’s all he wants and cares about.

Eunho decides to use her time off school to continue drawing. While taking a break outside of a convenience store, she’s reminded of her squad members and all the memories she’s made at school. She resumes her part-time job and comes across Dae-hwi while working. He encourages her to be vulnerable and to admit to everyone that she’s not okay even though she’s pretending to act like she is. If she admits that she’s not okay and that really she’s hurting then so will other people. She can serve as an example and role model to others.

Dae-hwi pleads for Tae-woon to return to school, but Tae-woon isn’t so opened to the idea. He can handle his issues on his own.

Nam-joo and Dae-hwi head to school together the next morning. Once at school Bit-na and her classmates confront Nam-joo and belittle her about her situation, but Dae-hwi isn’t having any of it. He stands up for her, but Nam-joo also advocates for herself this time as well. She doesn’t care what anyone thinks about her; she’s just going to do what she wants from now on. YES GIRL YESSSS. She enters the classroom and is followed by a proud Dae-hwi.

Eunho heads to the garbage can to throw some trash out. She stops when she notices that she’s about to throw out the box of print-outs of her webtoon series that Tae-woon had given to her. She recalls all the memories associated with the box and thinks twice about throwing it away.

Having been reminded of Tae-woon, she meets up with him that night by delivering some chicken to his place. Eunho reveals to Tae-woon that she’s going to return to school again, but that she’ll wait for Tae-woon once he returns from studying abroad. She hopes that by studying abroad he’ll discover himself and come back a bigger and smarter person.

Tae-woon spends some time alone that night reflecting on his memories as X. He feels conflicted knowing that he started out as X because he hated the school, but now he actually wants to return to attending the school. It’s ironic how things turn out. What is he going to do?

Officer Soo-ji has a brief meeting with Director. She threatens him to confess or else she’s going to report his school and expose them for all their wrongdoings. But Director isn’t afraid because Officer Soo-ji doesn’t have any concrete evidence of him or his school – yet.

Tae-woon overhears their conversation and this gets him thinking again. He confides in Eunho on his conflicted feelings about his identity as X stating that he became X because he disliked his father. Eunho reassures him that everything will be fine; she’ll be there to support him as he resolves the issues with his father.

While on the car ride home, Tae-woon’s father receives a video of a recording of the school refrigerators when it had expired food. Aware that his son was the person behind the recording, he confronts Tae-woon about it later on that night at home. But Tae-woon isn’t afraid of his father; he’s going to do whatever he can for his father to take responsibility for the corrupted actions at his school.

Tae-woon heads to the police station the next day but surprisingly sees his father there as well. Ahhhh. Tae-woon meets with Officer Soo-ji privately and hands her a USB drive with all the evidence of the corruption at his father’s school. He breaks down upon giving her the USB drive stating that a part of him doesn’t want to expose his father but another part of him feels compelled to because there’s no other way that his father will change if he doesn’t turn him in. Ahhhh, this is so heart-breaking.

Principal and Vice Principal receive a visit from Officer Soo-ji and her colleagues from the police station. Oh yeah! She takes them in for an interrogation because sooner or later they’ll get caught anyways. The two faculty members try to blame the other to save themselves, but it’s no use. They’re both going to get in trouble.

Officer Soo-ji returns the USB drive that Tae-woon had given to her back to Tae-woon’s father. There’s not enough sufficient evidence on there to prove anything, but she does remind Tae-woon’s father about Tae-woon before he leaves the room. He should think about his son and how much his son cares and loves him. After all Tae-woon is just an 18 year old who’s afraid of losing his father.

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This comment gets to Tae-woon’s father and that night Tae-woon and his dad have a talk. Tae-woon expresses his disappointment in his father and wishes that he would just be honest about everything instead of lying and covering all his wrongdoings up. Tae-woon’s father willingly accepts Tae-woon’s request and agrees to listen to him. He finds a picture of Tae-woon, Dae-hwi, and Joong-gi sitting on Tae-woon’s desk and picks it up to look at Tae-woon. He’s grown so much (but like this is exactly how I feel when I think about BTS’s Jungkook).

Wow, just one conversation with Tae-woon really changed everything. Tae-woon’s father reveals to Teacher Koo that he’s planning on turning himself in. Additionally, he asks for Teacher Koo to be the new principal of Geumdo High School while he continues on with his own plans of becoming a teacher at another school he purchased on the countryside. He trusts that Teacher Koo will do a great job in taking care of the school and ensuring that it is safe and fair for all.

Eunho gifts Tae-woon a new shirt since he won’t be needing to wear his black sweater anymore. They bicker back and forth over the shirt and even when Tae-woon calls Eunho “noona” and does aegyo for her so he can have it, she teases him by running away with it. Hahaha. Aww, they’re too cute.

Tae-woon’s father proceeds with his hearing on the corruption of his school with Officer Soo-ji. Meanwhile, Principal (or shall I say former principal) packs all his belongings into a box while in his office. Vice Principal rushes him to hurry and together the two make jabs at each other back and forth. Lol, these two are a couple themselves I swear.

Tae-woon checks up on his father that night at home to make sure that he’s okay. Aww.

Oh Eunho, when will your bike ever stop breaking? While Eunho worries about her broken bicycle, Tae-woon shows up to school with a brand new bicycle for her. Aww. He also teaches her how to fix her bike in the case that it ever gets broken again, but Eunho wonders why. He can always fix it for her when it breaks like how he’s always done in the past. But things don’t always stay the same forever..

Tae-woon breaks the news to Eunho. He’s going to move with his father to the countyside since he’s the only family member left that his father has. NOOOO. I’M CRYING. THIS IS SO SAD. Eunho breaks down into tears upon receiving the news from Tae-woon. She’ll try to visit him, but it might be too difficult so he’ll be the one making the visits. Tae-woon wipes Eunho’s tears from her face while she continues to cry.

Eunho has a difficult time coping with Tae-woon’s departure. She’s reminded of him where ever she goes on campus whether it’s in the hallway or in the classroom.

A year passes and Eunho and her classmates are now seniors. Officer Soo-ji now has both a stable job and a relationship, Young-gun is planning on becoming a policer officer and is currently training to become one, Dae-hwi and Nam-joo are still very much in love with each other, and Issue and Kyung-woo have now formed as a duo performing to songs together.

Meanwhile, what about Eunho? She still draws and she’s still towards the bottom rank at school. Haha. Nothing’s changed much. Her dreams of getting into Hanguk University is still… just a dream.

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Even Tae-woon who’s not at the school anymore still remains influential. Now many students are wearing black hoodie sweaters at school because of him. Surely enough, Eunho still thinks about Tae-woon all the time and misses him just as much. Tae-woon seems to be enjoying his new life at his new house with his father. They can now freely engage in fun conversations with each other and eat chicken together for breakfast. Haha.

Tae-woon receives a surprise visit from Eunho at his school. She arrives just in time to see him receiving gifts from two female students. Upset and jealous, she manages to get the girls to go away and spends some time alone with her happy boyfriend.

They rejoice over Eunho’s successful webtoon series which has been getting a lot more views lately. Meanwhile, Tae-woon hasn’t accomplished his dreams yet of designing a motorcycle… but he’ll get that done someday. Haha. The two get on a bus together and it’s not the easiest feat for Eunho who has still not overcome her bus trauma since Joong-gi’s incident but she takes slow steps to recovery with the support of Tae-woon. After getting off the bus, the two lovebirds walk side by side while talking to each other.

Eunho is still not over her bus trauma and still has wounds that are yet to heal, but she believes that the process to healing is just as important as the destination and results. Meanwhile, for Tae-woon he hid behind the mask and identity that was X but was able to eventually get rid of that mask to discover his true self.

And through their own respective journeys, they learned the most important lesson that’s not taught at school: the truth about themselves.

My Thoughts:

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Aww, what a cute ending. I’m glad that even until the very end the drama spoiled us by giving us scenes of Tae-swoon and Eunho still very much happily in love with each other like how they were when they were attending the same school. Not much has changed between the two and it’s great to see them still the same individuals they were before being separated. Whether together or apart, they are still in love with each other and nothing can ever really set them apart.

I’m glad that things wrapped up and that everyone had their own happy ending. While I felt like we were in a way cheated and had a cop-out with the whole turnaround that Tae-woon’s father had this episode, I didn’t necessarily find it too random either though considering that the drama had given us some glimpses of Tae-woon’s unstable relationship with his father so I could understand why Tae-woon’s father ultimately chose to act differently this time. He wanted to be different for his son and to be a better role model because he had failed to be a good example in all the 18 years of his son’s life so he found a good opportunity to start now. As they say, sometimes it’s better to start later than never so even though Tae-woon’s father changed a little bit too late into the game he still changed for the better in the end and received his son’s warmth, love, and forgiveness as he had wanted. Tae-woon’s father learned his lesson and now he knows better to not return to the way that he used to be before which is ultimately the greatest lesson learned.

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I think Tae-woon’s newfound relationship with his father would have been a lot more impactful on me personally had the drama given us more backstory behind their broken father-son relationship. School 2017 would give us hints here and there and small glimpses of what went wrong with their relationship, but didn’t devote or invest too much time in it for you to care enough. I found it a bit unfortunate and shameful because this episode would have been an even more perfect wrap-up and ending to their father-son plot had the drama given us more context and content on it. I think it was still fine the way it was even with what the drama gave us, but the potential for more and better was there and it’s unfortunate the drama didn’t grasp onto that opportunity.

I’m glad that the drama focused on the overall plot of X throughout the entire run even if it sometimes forgot to spend some time on it because it was focusing on other things instead. The X plot was its primary plot more so than any other plots so it was nice seeing that if anything the drama could manage to focus and resolve the one plot that it had set itself up for since the beginning of the drama. As I stated before in my recaps, there were a few plot holes throughout the drama such as with Eunho’s college situation which the drama dropped halfway into the series or the sudden emphasis on side characters Bit-na and Hee-chan or the drop of side characters such as Kyung-woo and Issue. I think School 2017 had it all going for them but was incapable of balancing so many characters and storylines out that it failed to properly dedicate appropriate time to each. As much as I enjoyed watching this drama, I will also linger over the possible contents that we could have gotten had the drama decided to explore some characters and plots that they chose not to in the end (my poor Kyung-woo deserves better. I also think Dae-hwi and Tae-woon’s make-up was so anticlimactic considering how long the drama spent showing their hate for each other).

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Plots aside, I enjoyed the cast members especially Kim Jung-hyun who played our lovely Tae-swoon. I’m glad to have discovered him through this show and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what he has planned for the future. He was such a scene-stealer in this drama and really shined in whatever he was doing or saying. I especially loved his portrayal as the cute and cool Tae-swoon who would do anything and everything for Eunho. He also has talent in comedic acting so I would love to see him do a romantic comedy as his next project. I’m also gonna miss our squad who consists of Tae-woon, Eunho, Dae-hwi, Sarang, and Bo-ra. I think their relationship as a group of friends was one that was unexpected but was ultimately helpful and useful and fruitful when it came about to happening. I’m glad that they found support and comfort in one another’s presence because we all know how isolating and lonely things can get at Geumdo High School.

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As with all my other drama recap series, it’s always bittersweet to finish watching an entire drama and recapping a series I watched from the start. It’s always hard for me to let go of and bid farewell to characters and relationships that I witnessed and supported from the start. School 2017 is no exception for me. Although there were moments where I wanted to scream in frustration or pull my hair out, there were also plenty of moments where I was squealing in happiness and crying in tears of joy and laughter. Also, this was my first completed recap series in a while so this recapping series especially means a lot to me in particular. I hoped that y’all enjoyed my recaps even though I know that I’m lacking and still have a long way to go in terms of improvement and progress. I can only hope that my recaps provided you with some kind of comfort and happiness just like how the drama has given me and all of its viewers.

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I get easily attached to dramas I’ve watched from start to end so it’ll take me a while to say goodbye to School 2017. It was an enjoyable run while it aired and I’m excited to see the future projects that each of our cast members are going to take after this one. Maybe a high school reunification 10 years from now won’t sound too bad either.

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