Just when things seem about to calm down at school and Real King and Baek Ho are getting along, midterm season comes along to throw everyone into a tizzy. Things go pear-shaped when people act out of character from the stress, but new loyalties offer support from unexpected directions. Everyone seems to be changing, many for the better, but some definitely for the worse.
EPISODE 7 RECAP
The kids put on their first cheerleading performance, with Teacher Yang in the audience, trying to stay on the down-low. They put on an impressive show, finishing with signs that they flip over to reveal their true message: “We Lied.” “Teacher Yang didn’t do anything to me.” The signs ask to have Teacher Yang reinstated, and the kids lead the audience to a supportive chant while Teacher Yang’s eyes fill with tears.
Principal Choi is worried the Ministry officials will be angry, but the man who appears to be in charge simply laughs, saying that Sevit students are pretty sassy. I’ll say.
The kids celebrate afterwards, excited about all the attention their performance drew. Even bespectacled Tae-pyung is all tingly, but their teachers are back to business — they made some mistakes, and they need a lot of practice.
Teacher Yang turns serious, worried that the kids will get in trouble for what they did to support him, and gets choked up again. But Teacher Nam calls it a true cheerleading performance, since they were cheering someone on. Na-yeon and Jae-young both apologize to Teacher Yang, and he easily forgives them.
The kids all look at Soo-ah next — doesn’t she have something to say? But nope, she doesn’t, which is as expected. She even starts a new fight with Yeon-doo, saying that she seems awfully happy, and wondering if she’ll be able to stay that way. Gah, can’t you just let people be happy for five minutes?
Principal Choi comes to chastise Teacher Yang for being here (since he’s still officially fired) and while she’s there, she calls out Yeon-doo, Na-yeon, and Jae-young to her office. Yeon-doo whispers to the girls to blame the whole thing on her. The kids are worried about Yeon-doo being expelled, and interestingly, it’s Ha-joon who chases down the principal and, after giving Yeon-doo a pointed look, admits he was also in on the stunt.
And then Yeol joins him. He says he was also part of the plan, because what happened to Teacher Yang was unfair. Then comes the rest of the team, all ready to take the blame so that Yeon-doo doesn’t shoulder the entire punishment (except Tae-pyung, who tries to claim innocence and gets muffled by Da-mi, hee). I’m not tearing up — there’s just something in my eye.
No fool, and not prepared to expel the top five percent of her school, Principal Choi backs down. Back in her office she recalls the man from the Ministry’s comment that at school, lots of things happen that are out of your control. Being fair in those circumstances is part of being a principal. He’s also said that they would be doing a new investigation into Teacher Yang.
In his dorm, Ha-joon still has the ointment and bandage that Yeon-doo gave him for the injuries his father inflicted, and he smiles at them. Yeol comes in, all grins, and asks what he’ll do if Principal Choi calls his father. Why did he stand up for Yeon-doo? “Just because.” He admits that seeing Yeon-doo makes him feel ashamed not to stand up, as well.
The girls are questioned again about their accusations towards Teacher Yang, admitting now that they lied about any inappropriate touching. Well, Na-yeon and Jae-young admit it, but Soo-ah only comments that she has nothing more to say. Teacher Yang is exonerated, and Principal Choi reluctantly gives him his job back… though she does remind him his contract is almost up, and warns him to stay quiet.
But Yang thinks it’s interesting, how he used to feel small when he thought about wanting to renew his contract. But now that he knows it’s all over in two months, he’s feeling pretty courageous. He warns her in turn, not to even think about transferring Yeon-doo — he won’t make it easy. HA, I love him.
He leaves the principal’s office to find Yeon-doo, Yeol, and Ha-joon there to congratulate him. They invite him to a little picnic of delivery jjajangmyun, willing to risk demerits for ordering food in order to surprise him.
He yells at them for breaking the rules, then tucks into the food, commenting that he picked pretty good disciples. Yeol adorably steals all of Yeon-doo’s radishes, causing Teacher Yang to complain about their flirting, which Yeon-doo hotly denies. It doesn’t escape me that Ha-joon looks a little jealous over there, though it’s unclear just what he’s jealous of.
Later, Yeon-doo and Dong-jae study for midterms, shaking their heads as the highly-ranked students freak out and sabotage each other (since midterms affect rankings). Yeol generously offers his notes to help Yeon-doo study, for a price of course — she has to treat him to food several times. Why don’t you just ask her on a date, silly boy?
Instead he offers to tutor her, and they study together late into the night in the laundry room. HA, Yeon-doo literally falls asleep while Yeol is talking, and claims that it takes skill to come in 196th place.
Yeol asks why she came to this school if it’s so hard, and Yeon-doo sighs that her mom wanted it for her. Sometimes she thinks she should leave, because she’s not doing very well considering the expensive tuition, and she worries she won’t get into college. Yeol promises to get her a few notches up in ranking.
He notices a little cat charm on her phone, which she says is her lucky charm. Without it, she feels like she’ll do even worse, and possibly lose ranking points.
They try to hide when someone walks in, but it’s just Jae-young looking for a place to study, since Soo-ah appropriated their suite’s bathroom. She wonders if Yeol and Yeon-doo are having a secret tryst, but Yeol says it’s more like charity on his part. And you wonder why the girl doesn’t know you like her?
The next day the Baek Ho and Real King kids all study together in their room, even helping each other and grinning when Tae-pyung and Hyo-shik bicker amiably. Yeol points out how well they’re all getting along, and the Baek Ho girls ask the Real King kids’ rankings. But there’s no derision at hearing the low rankings, and everyone seems to really enjoy each other’s company.
Except Soo-ah, of course, who gripes at the noise. She storms from the room just as her nose begins to gush blood, and Teacher Yang sees and stops to help. He sweetly asks her to care for her health, but she turns on him, barking that she doesn’t feel at all apologetic towards him. She got demerits and is an outcast now, of course blaming him and not her own actions.
But Teacher Yang sees right through her, and tells her so. He offers to talk any time she needs it, and looks frustrated when she declines.
Yeon-doo gets the yawns during another tutoring session, nodding off while he watches, and he uses his notebook to shield her face from the sun. He leaves her to her nap, crinkling to himself, and we see that he used all their books to set up a fortress around her. He also left a note stuck to her forehead, asking her out to a movie after midterms. Every time I think he can’t get any cuter…
In class later, Yeol watches nervously for any indication that Yeon-doo wants to go out. He texts her, then motions her to check her phone, but Teacher Yang is pacing right next to her desk. She finally sees the text asking why she hasn’t answered his question, but immediately gets her phone confiscated until after midterms. She’s mostly worried about her cat charm and chases Teacher Yang out of the room, leaving Yeol hanging.
Yeol follows her out and watches her whine about her cat charm, blaming him for getting her phone snatched. She refuses to answer his question, and only snaps that it will be his fault if she loses a rank.
Figuring he needs to get her phone back if he wants that date, Yeol plans to sneak into the teachers’ lounge at lunch. At the last second, he stops himself, wondering why he’s thinking of doing something this crazy… then he remembers Yeon-doo worrying about taking the midterms without her charm, and in he goes.
He quickly finds the phone, but has to scramble to hide when another teacher comes in, but he’s instantly caught. He quickly palms the charm and puts the phone back, and leaves victorious.
He finds Yeon-doo in the cafeteria, but he’s interrupted by Hyo-shik, who comments on how often these two are together lately. Hyo-shik pulls out his phone and pretends to hold an interview, asking about the truth of their relationship, but gets chased off by Yeon-doo. Yeol though, calls out for him to come find him later and he’ll tell the truth.
Even Teacher Im notices how hard Yeon-doo is studying lately, though she groans at her low grade on the most recent essay test. Yeol made the highest grade, again, which upsets Soo-ah as she’s been told in no uncertain terms to make sure she’s Number One this time.
She corners Teacher Im to ask why she got a lower grade than Yeol, arguing that originality is subjective. She demands to see Yeol’s essay, and when Im’s knocked to the ground by a couple of Real King students and chases them, leaving his belongings scattered, Soo-ah snatches up his USB (which is, hilariously, a teddy bear).
Teacher Im goes nuts later looking for it, and the lady teacher who caught Yeol in the office wonders if he took it. Teacher Yang entreats Im to wait and look a bit more before accusing Yeol, but Im is too angry to listen.
Meanwhile Soo-ah plugs the USB into her laptop, startled to see the English midterm, and she quickly downloads it and throws away the USB. She overhears the teachers discussing Yeol having possibly stole the USB and goes back for it, as she remembers her mother and tutor hammering home what a threat Yeol is to her academic status.
She gos to the study room, and slips the USB into Yeol’s bag while nobody is looking. Okay, now I’m officially done with you.
So when Teacher Im barges in to accuse Yeol of stealing, the USB is found in his bag, though Yeol claims to have never seen it before. The kids are all shocked to think Yeol may have stolen the midterm exam, but poor Yeol insists he’s innocent.
Teacher Im starts an investigation, calling Yeol’s father to the school. Yeon-doo hears about this after the fact, and sees Yeol becoming an instant pariah with the other students, who now assume he’s only ranked first because he’s been cheating. Even the Baek Ho and Real King kids believe it, all except for Ha-joon and Yeon-doo.
Yeon-doo admonishes them for badmouthing Yeol when he’s not here, accusing them of being happy because their rankings could go up. She cries that they should know Yeol by now, that he’s not someone who steals. Can’t they, of all people, trust him?
The investigation begins, and Yeol’s father asks for proof that he stole the USB. Unfortunately, he’s the only person seen on the CCTV entering the office, and the USB was found in his bag in front of witnesses — it’s pretty damning. The principal suggests a twenty-day suspension, but his dad asks for thirty days’ community service instead, and a chance to take make-up exams later. Not to mention, a hefty donation to the school.
At that, Yeol scoffs, and complains bitterly that they never even asked him any questions. He didn’t get a chance to defend himself before they declared him guilty.
As Yeol leaves school for his punishment, Ha-joon is the only student who walks out with him. But Yeon-doo runs out to catch him, and as his dad watches, she apologizes — she knows what happened, and that this is her fault for having her phone confiscated and causing him to be in the office at the wrong time. Yeol only gives her the cat charm, and wishes her luck on her midterms.
At home, Yeol goes straight to his room, and Dad follows him to say that his was the best he could do in this situation sp as not to ruin Yeol’s future. But to Yeol, that’s the problem — his father always does everything so damned logically.
He doesn’t come out of his room until after dark, where he sees the specter of his young self sitting alone in the dark as his parents scream at each other in the next room. His father accuses his mother of cheating and strikes her, which little Yeol hears clearly.
His mother had left with nothing but the clothes on her back, leaving Yeol alone for two days to fend for himself. It was then that he decided never to trust anyone.
A couple of days later Yeol’s dad has lunch with Yeon-doo’s mom, who’s shocked to hear that he still hasn’t even shared a meal with his son since he’s been home. Dad says that Yeol doesn’t want to eat with him, and Yeon-doo’s mom cuts right to the heart of it — Dad didn’t make it known that he wanted to spend time together, either.
She bluntly tells him that he’s doing this all wrong, by not letting Yeol know that he believes he’s innocent. Yeah, that would be an important detail, Dad. No wonder Yeol is hurt.
Yeon-doo has trouble concentrating on her exams, staring instead at Yeol’s empty seat and writing his name on her paper. After, she wonders why he hasn’t contacted her to let her know how he’s doing.
Yeol spends his days doing his community service at a retirement center, and one day he hears chanting in the courtyard and looks up to see Yeon-doo, entertaining the seniors. Aww, he’s so adorably thrilled to see her.
She admits to him that she didn’t do well on her exams since she lost her tutor, complaining that he wasn’t smart enough to get himself out of this tangle. But his confidence is shaken now that everyone believes he’s only first place because he cheated, so Yeon-doo says that she’ll believe him, no matter what place he holds. Ha, I think she just made Yeol swoon a little.
Back at school that night, Yeon-doo sneaks into the security office to look for the CCTV footage of Yeol in the office, and runs smack into Ha-joon. He yell-whispers at her for doing such a dumb thing, even though he’s here doing that exact same thing, having downloaded the important video.
The clutch each other in fear when a couple of guards hear them and discuss getting the key to check the room. Yeon-doo offers to go out first — as the known troublemaker, she can afford to get caught. But Ha-joon grabs her to stop her, and they tussle long enough that the guards come back.
The hide in a closet and laugh, relieved, when the guards leave. Yeon-doo is ready to go to bed, but Ha-joon nervously calls out to her, asking her to stay and look through the video with him. They stay up late trying to find the video of Yeol entering the office, until Yeon-doo starts to fall asleep.
Ha-joon tries to gently take her pen before she drops it and wakes herself, but she rouses anyway when he touches her hand. Ha, he just puts the pen back, looking awkward and so cute.
Yeon-doo surprises Ha-joon with jajjangmyun, giggling at his surprise and joking that this is why she doesn’t hang out with model students. HAHA, her secret is that she has it delivered to her dorm window. She loves jajjangmyun because her mom won’t let her have it, and Ha-joon admits that he and Yeol ate it a lot as kids because their parents worked a lot.
There’s a little beat of awareness when they both go for the same pickled radish, and Ha-joon remembers Yeol stealing Yeon-doo’s radishes when they ate with Teacher Yang. He lets her have it, and when he reaches for the next one, she grabs that one too. And the next, hee.
The rankings are published, and because of Yeol not having sat midterms, Soo-ah is in first place. Her mother finally tells her she did well, and takes her out for a nice lunch and gives her a new handbag. That night Jae-young and Na-yeon notice the bag and comment on how deep her mother’s pockets must be.
They tell her to enjoy it until Yeol gets back and regains his first place rank, which is news to Soo-ah. They tell her that Yeon-doo is checking the CCTV looking to exonerate Yeol, so Soo-ah runs to the spot where she swiped Teacher Im’s USB. Sure enough, there was a camera pointed right at her. Heading back to her room, she finds Yeon-doo talking about the situation on the phone with Ha-joon, but there’s nothing Soo-ah can say.
Yeon-doo gets a text from Hyo-shik with a video attached, which turns out to be the video that he took asking what their relationship is. But as she watches, she suddenly perks up and whispers, “I found it. The evidence that will clear Yeol’s name!”
At that, Soo-ah turns to stare at Yeon-doo in shock.
How much do I love Ha-joon as Yeon-doo’s protector and loyal puppy? SO MUCH. All he’s ever needed was for someone to show him some kindness, and he’ll be faithful for life, I’m sure. He’s already got that in Yeol, but one person can’t be everything. One person could be a fluke — but when multiple people show caring and loyalty, you start to develop a sense of self-worth. Ha-joon needs that, and I love that he rewarded her kindness and silence with an offer of his own sacrifice. He really was willing to take the fall with her for their cheerleading stunt with the signs, and I adore that he was the first one to speak up, even before Yeol. He’s a good person, and worthy of friendship — all he needed was for someone to tell him so.
And it’s so wonderful how Yeon-doo is starting to do exactly what I thought she would, with her indomitable spirit and willingness to stand up for her beliefs – she’s starting to inspire others. Ha-joon is only the first of the Baek Ho kids to see what she does and want to be more like her, but he won’t be the last. We’re already seeing the battle line between Real King and Baek Ho blurring, and the kids starting to intermingle and like each other, which is one hundred percent Yeon-doo’s influence. I can’t wait for them to all become true friends.
I just really, really don’t want Ha-joon to fall for Yeon-doo, because I don’t want anything coming between him and Yeol. And it looks like he’s at least experiencing some attraction, and jealousy of her growing relationship with Yeol, which has me a bit worried. Hopefully, since we know that he knows that she’s all but Yeol’s girl at this point, it won’t go any further than a little crush. If anyone understands what it means for Yeol to finally open up and trust another person, it’s Ha-joon. He knows how Yeol feels, and how his feelings for Yeon-doo are changing him for the better. Surely he won’t do anything to ruin that for his best friend and most fervent defender. Right? Right?!
Yeon-doo’s strong moral compass continues to impress, as she took the brunt of the blame for Yeol getting in trouble at school. He was the one who pushed her to answer his text in class, and Soo-ah was the one who framed him, yet Yeon-doo still feels regret that her using her phone in class resulted in his being wrongfully accused and punished. It’s so like her, to feel responsible even when her own involvement was incidental and that others made more conscious choices that led to the situation. But I’m glad it led to her declaring her belief in Yeol, which was a small moment but you could see the look in his eyes that showed what that meant to him. He’s always pretended not to care what anyone thinks of him, but as we learn more about him, we;re seeing how much of a defense mechanism it is. He does care, and it means a lot to have Yeon-doo tell him that she believes in him, no matter what.
Yeol’s story is becoming clearer, and his anger towards his father makes a lot more sense now. Violence is never an answer to a conflict, and for a young boy to hear his father hit his mother would be a life-changing event, even if he hadn’t then been basically abandoned for two days. It’s no wonder he lost the ability to trust anyone, even though it seems that his father may have changed since then based on his kind and tender demeanor when he’s with Yeon-doo’s mom. But if the two have never discussed the problem, it’s no wonder that Yeol is still stuck in that moment of shock and abandonment. And it’s no wonder that it took someone like Yeon-doo, with her blinding loyalty and innate goodness, to make him want to trust someone again.