Pressure affects people differently, pushing some to succeed and others to fail, and yet others to make decisions they might normally never make. As Yeol and Yeon-doo push Soo-ah to confess her wrongdoing, her behavior becomes more erratic and dangerous, to herself and those around her. It may be too late for repentance and redemption, as she sinks to levels so deep, she may never be able to find her way back.
EPISODE 9 RECAP
When Ha-joon finds Yeon-doo on the dark road, limping and crying, she dives into his arms. He holds her as she sobs in relief, but she suddenly becomes aware of their closeness and backs away. She stammers that the road was rough and scary, and Ha-joon smiles at her nervousness.
Back at the campsite, Yeol roars at Soo-ah — he knows she left Yeon-doo alone in town with no transportation. Soo-ah lies that she thought Yeon-doo told her to go back, so Yeol gets right to the point. She thought Yeon-doo was the one with the video of Soo-ah stealing the USB, didn’t she? He says she’s wrong, and that if Yeon-doo is hurt, she’s dead.
Ha-joon bikes himself and Yeon-doo back towards the campsite, but the road is bumpy and they take a spill. He uses his bandanna to wrap her bleeding knee, though by now Yeon-doo has her fighting spirit back and says she’s fine. Inside of pedaling, Ha-joon lets Yeon-doo sit on the bike while he pushes it, which is the cutest thing ever.
Teacher Yang and Yeol drive around looking for Yeon-doo, and Yang asks what he and Soo-ah were talking about before. Yeol just says he’ll tell him later.
The rest of the kids look for Yeon-doo on foot, so when Instructor Nam finally arrives, the place is in an uproar. The kids all come back, but now they realize that Soo-ah is missing. She’s in the tent, freaking right out about Yeol’s statement that Yeon-doo didn’t send her the video.
Teacher Yang and Yeol come upon Ha-joon pushing Yeon-doo on the bike, and Yeol immediately starts yelling at her. He’s really more worried than angry, and he fusses over her injuries while Ha-joon looks on awkwardly.
They get her back to the campsite safely and all the kids breathe a sigh of relief. Yeon-doo declines to say what happened, promising to tell them when it’s sorted out.
Yeol finds Soo-ah pacing in front of her tent, where he asks her if she knows that they found Yeon-doo. He asks if she’s curious what Yeon-doo might say, but Soo-ah only repeats that she thought Yeon-doo wanted her to leave.
So Yeol invites Soo-ah to come to the campfire and come clean… about the USB, and what happened to Yeon-doo tonight. She continues to insist on her innocence, but Yeol tells her it’s all over.
He and Ha-joon had watched the CCTV video that Ha-joon downloaded from the security room, and seen her taking the USB when Teacher Im dropped it. Yeol visited the security company before her tutor asked them to delete the video, and he’d borrowed Yeon-doo’s sticky notes to bait Soo-ah.
Yeol and Soo-ah hear a voice — it’s Yeon-doo, and she’s heard Yeol’s story. She asks why Soo-ah left her behind, saying that she would have let it slide if Soo-ah had a good reason. But now, she can’t do that, because she knows Soo-ah will never change.
Soo-ah goes all Who do you think you are?, but Yeon-doo is just so done. She asks if Soo-ah even knows why she and Yeol are angry — she framed Yeol for stealing the USB and abandoned Yeon-doo in the middle of nowhere, but what’s worse is that she doesn’t even feel any remorse.
Soo-ah haughtily asks Yeon-doo what she’s going to do about it. Yeon-doo warns her to watch and see… starting tonight she won’t be able to get away with this kind of thing anymore. Soo-ah stammers a bit at that, but her pride won’t let her show her fear, even when Yeon-doo says that soon everyone will know about her, even her mother. Soo-ah fires back to Yeon-doo to do her worst, but she’ll never suffer because of someone like her.
When Soo-ah is gone, Yeol finally speaks, asking if Yeon-doo is okay — that outburst wasn’t like her. Yeon-doo wails that she’s tired of standing by and not doing anything, and she can’t let Soo-ah get away with her behavior anymore. So Yeol smiles and tells her to do what she needs to do. But he warns her not to do something she’ll regret.
Teacher Yang sings by the campfire later that night, but his moody songs bum the kids out. Both Yeol and Yeon-doo watch for Soo-ah to make an appearance, but she’s nervous and it takes her a while to join the group. The kids all crank up the tempo of Yang’s song and start to do their cheerleading routines to them, having a great time, but Soo-ah still looks miserable.
When it’s calmer, Yeol suggests they play the Truth Game, but the kids are reluctant to play in front of their teachers. The teachers get the hint and leave, though Teacher Im is so eager to play, they end up playing their own version in their tent. They argue about which of them has the harder time, and Teacher Im vents about Principal Choi throwing things at him and asking him if she looks fat. He wins, ha.
Back at the campfire, the real Truth Game commences. Ha-joon is asked who his first love is, but he takes punishment (a heart drawn on his cheek, hee) rather than answer. Yeol notices when Yeon-doo gives Ha-joon a thumbs-up and he smiles back shyly, and it seem to make him uncomfortable.
Ha-joon asks Dong-jae what his dream is, which Dong-jae says is to overcome his phobia of being touched. Da-mi asks how that started, and he tells them it was because of Yeon-doo. She was the little girl he pushed off the jungle gym, and it scared him when she was unconscious for three days afterwards (though she softly insists she’s fine now).
Since then, he’s been afraid of getting provoked and hurting someone badly. Hyo-shik sweetly reassures Dong-jae that he can conquer that fear, and nobody will get hurt.
Soo-ah starts to get up to leave, so Yeol quickly barks a question at her: Why did she ditch Yeon-doo? The kids are shocked at this, and start to get angry, but Yeon-doo interrupts to say that it was a communication error. She gives Soo-ah a pointed look, and Yeol smiles — Yeon-doo is back to herself.
He and Yeon-doo walk together later, and he asks if she feels better. She admits that for a while she wasn’t sure what she would do, but she figured that exposing Soo-ah in front of everyone wouldn’t make her feel better. She didn’t want to humiliate her in front of everyone.
Yeol teases that she made him the bad guy, but Yeon-doo knows that he did what he did for her, and that he didn’t enjoy it. That’s why he gave Soo-ah a chance to fess up on her own.
Soo-ah pulls Yeol aside to talk, and asks why he didn’t tell everyone the truth. He asks in turn if she noticed how Yeon-doo protected her, again. He warns Soo-ah that Yeon-doo won’t keep doing that, and Soo-ah begins to cry. Her mother would have killed her if she got second place again. She knows what she did was wrong, but she was desperate.
She asks Yeol for time to reveal everything herself, and to tell her mother and the school the truth. Yeol also wants an apology to Yeon-doo, which Soo-ah agrees to. Yeol is reluctant, but he gives her three days. After he walks away, Soo-ah wipes her tears, and her hard expression comes back — I knew it.
Once Yeol is alone, he thinks of how he saw Ha-joon pushing Yeon-doo on the bike, seeming jealous. Ha-joon also remembers being with Yeon-doo, and grins to himself to think of how she fell into his arms. Yeon-doo herself can’t sleep and goes out for fresh air, and all three of them wander the campsite, lost in their thoughts.
Yeon-doo finds Yeol, and he jokes that she couldn’t sleep for wanting to see him. That’s probably truer than he thinks. He complains that he wanted to spend a lot of time with her while away from the school, but she ended up disappearing.
He admits that he felt responsible, and that when he blew up at her, he was really angry with himself. Yeol says that he wishes he’d been the one to find her, and been able to give her a hug when he did.
Laughing at himself, Yeol says that he doesn’t want to worry about her secretly, or pay attention to her secretly, anymore. He’s tired of beating around the bush. He finally tells her, “I like you,” and she’s so surprised that he has to prompt her for her answer.
Yeon-doo hesitates, and the moment is lost when Ha-joon finds them. He notices the awkward atmosphere, but they brush it off and go for ramyun.
In the morning the whole team gets in some practice, and Instructor Nam tells them that they’re getting good enough that regionals is a real possibility. They realize that Soo-ah isn’t here — she’s in Yeol’s tent, going through his things. She pulls out a tablet, frustrated when it’s locked.
The kids all gather to go home, not eager to return to the dorms. Yeol almost confronts Soo-ah, having noticed that his belongings were disorganized, but in the end he just grins at her.
Back home, Soo-ah reports to her mother and Director Lee about the camping trip. She starts to confess to them how she got number one ranking, and says that Kim Yeol was cleared and came back to school. Mom interrupts to warn Soo-ah not to give up her top ranking again, and Soo-ah is too afraid to say more.
Director Lee tells Soo-ah in private, that it was Yeol who made a copy of the incriminating CCTV footage. Soo-ah correctly guesses that Director Lee knows the truth, but she hasn’t told Soo-ah’s mother. She warns Soo-ah that if the problem gets any bigger, she’ll have to tell her.
Soo-ah tells Director Lee that Yeol is using the video to threaten her into confessing to the school. Director Lee says that that absolutely cannot happen, but Soo-ah says that she has three days — she’ll find that video and destroy it.
Yeol’s dad and Yeon-doo’s mom go out, where he keeps pestering her about marriage. She says she wants to keep dating like this, but he doesn’t, and wants to break up if they aren’t going to get married. He says that she’s made him a better person and father, and suggests that they all eat together when the kids come home soon.
Soo-ah apparently did more than look at Yeol’s tablet, she stole it, and he nearly catches her looking at it in the study room. He’s aware of what she’s doing, and enjoys staring at her and making her nervous.
She starts to leave before the team meeting, claiming to be ill, though Yeon-doo pokes at her a little. She can study until her nose bleeds, but when it’s time for practice she’s never feeling well? She mentions that Soo-ah only has two days, and warns her not to wait too long (while Yeol smirks at Yeon-doo’s ferocity)).
When the teachers arrive, Yeon-doo says pointedly that Soo-ah will be staying for practice after all. They work on lifts and Ha-joon accidentally drops Yeon-doo, but it’s Yeol who rushes to help her up.
After practice, Yeol asks if Yeon-doo was just being hardnosed to get Soo-ah to stay and practice, and she whines that he always knows what she’s thinking. She knows nothing will change, but she’s ready for Soo-ah to stop. Yeol brightly says that they’ll find a way to make her stop, and changes the subject to their relationship.
Oh Yeon-doo, can you really play dumb after he so honestly confessed? Yeol complains about all the skinship she shares with her male teammates, and pouts that she even flirts with Ha-joon. He forbids her to do those things anymore, and says he’s the only guy she can touch, but Yeon-doo just laughs in his face and refuses. Good girl.
She heads inside, giggling to herself at his adorable jealousy, and runs into Soo-ah looking thunderous. She warns Yeon-doo not to say a word until her time is up, but Yeon-doo says that she should be thinking about confessing.
During class, Soo-ah asks to go to the nurse, as she’s not feeling well. Instead she grabs a bag she’s got hidden, and heads to the restroom. Teacher Yang sees a hooded figure in black and recognizes it as Soo-ah, and follows to see what she’s up to.
She enters the boys’ dorm, goes into Yeol’s room, and opens his laptop. She finds his USB copy of the video, but Teacher Yang confronts her before she can leave with it. He sees the video playing on the laptop over her shoulder and tries to see it, but she wrestles it away and manages to remove the USB without him noticing, which falls onto Hyo-shik’s bed.
Yang sends her back to class, saying that they’ll talk about what he saw on that video later. Soo-ah was unable to grab the USB and she stops at another of her cigarette stash points, and when it’s time for Yang’s class, she’s still not returned. She meets with Director Lee, confessing that this situation has gotten too big for her to handle.
Director Lee has called the school and says that the recording hasn’t gotten out yet, and instructs Soo-ah to go back to school and beg Teacher Yang for understanding. Then she needs to find out what Yeol and Yeon-doo want, offering to bribe them with money if necessary. Yeeeaaah, that can’t possibly backfire.
Ha-joon and Hyo-shik practice trust exercises in their room, with Dong-jae looking on. Ha-joon is bad at it, feeling guilty about dropping Yeon-doo earlier, and humbly asks for help. But he’s distracted, and wanders off when Yeol calls him to get ramyun, making Hyo-shik wonder what’s up with him lately — he never used to worry about anything but studying.
Hyo-shik flops onto his bed and cries out — he landed on the USB that Soo-ah threw there. Thinking it might be something racy, he plugs it into his computer, and sees Soo-ah stealing the USB.
He takes the USB to show Da-mi, who grabs Yeon-doo’s laptop from her locker to watch the video. They figure out that this is why Yeol kept needling Soo-ah at the campout, and wonder why he hasn’t told the school yet.
Soo-ah returns to school, where Teacher Yang yells at her for not doing as he asked and going back to class. She tries to do as Director Lee said and beg for understanding, but the students around them start to murmur… Da-mi sent the video of Soo-ah stealing the test USB to the entire student body. When Soo-ah sees that the video came from Yeon-doo’s computer, she freaks out.
Yeon-doo herself is pretty upset to realize that her computer was used to send the video, though the Real King and Baek Ho students all agree that Da-mi did the right thing, even if she did forget that she was on someone else’s computer. Yeon-doo and Yeol are both upset that Soo-ah still had one day to make it right, and now that’s gone.
Yeon-doo goes looking for Soo-ah, who’s also furiously looking for her. They confront each other at the top of the staircase and Soo-ah slaps Yeon-doo, hard, and snaps that she broke her promise. Yeon-doo tries to explain that this wasn’t her doing nor what she wanted to happen, but Soo-ah is too angry to listen.
She grabs Yeon-doo by the lapels, just as Yeol and Ha-joon reach the bottom of the stairs. Soo-ah accuses Yeon-doo and Yeol of planning this, and yells, “I’m going to kill you, Kang Yeon-doo!”
Screaming, Soo-ah throws Yeon-doo down the stairs. Both boys lunge to catch her, and one of them does, though we don’t see which. They roll to the foot the the steps, landing with Yeon-doo safely on top.
Yeon-doo slowly sits up, staring at her savior in horror. It was Yeol who caught her, and he lays unconscious, bleeding heavily from a head wound.
You would think that by now we’d all be used to Yeon-doo and her strong sense of fairness and justice, but she just keeps upping the ante. It was impressive when she got back to the campsite and had every right to tell everyone that Soo-ah abandoned her, yet instead she gave Soo-ah a chance to explain herself before telling anyone. But it was also gratifying to see her let fly on Soo-ah when she heard the whole story, because patience and giving people the benefit of the doubt only go so far, especially when that person doesn’t deserve or appreciate it. At some point, you have to face the truth and cut those ties. It was good to see that Yeon-doo is human and has her limits, and is capable of losing her temper and saying harsh things, though it was also very in character for her to regret her words and give Soo-ah one last chance. It’s also very mature of Yeon-doo to know when to give someone a chance to defend themselves, and when to let them know that the grace period is over.
Soo-ah continues to impress as well, if by “impress” you mean “shock and horrify.” She’s proving that she’s capable of, and more than willing to, sink to deeper depths than I gave her credit for in order to get ahead and cover her tracks. For a while there I was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt that she was just a very troubled girl under tremendous pressure, who’s been taught to win at all costs, because at times she truly seems conflicted and horrified at her own actions. But I don’t believe her tears anymore — anyone with a halfway-normal psyche knows that you don’t throw someone down the stairs just because you’re angry at them, especially when the cat’s out of the bag and it’s too late to hide anymore. There’s no explaining that away, other than that Soo-ah is suffering from some pretty serious psychosis and needs professional help. I’m not even interested in seeing her realize the error of her ways and be redeemed anymore — she has now actually, deliberately tried to kill someone, and she needs serious intervention, immediately.
On the romance front, we all know that Yeol likes Yeon-doo, but what’s even better is how you can just see his respect for her growing the closer they become. When he was confronting Soo-ah at the campsite and Yeon-doo joined the argument, Yeol pretty much let Yeon-doo do all the talking, even on his behalf. It’s a small thing but speaks volumes, and it’s the first time we’ve seen the two of them in such a united front against their common enemy. For Yeol to let Yeon-doo take the reins and speak for him is pretty huge for the guy who vowed never to trust another human being. I love that as much as he has romantic feelings for Yeon-doo, he also sees and treats her as an equal. Even when she got upset enough that she started making threats, he didn’t say anything until they were alone, which shows tremendous respect on his part. And even though he was concerned by her over-the-top outburst, he let her handle the situation her own way, and didn’t try to tell her what to do or stop her.
But Ha-joon… he’s killing me. The way he looks at Yeon-doo is just so sweet, and her harmelss (on her end) flirting isn’t helping. In that, Yeol is right, that she shouldn’t be flirting with Ha-joon because you never know what it might lead to. Ha-joon’s crush is evident now, and so far he’s keeping it to himself, but if she doesn’t nip that in the bud it could lead to Very Bad Things. I worry that if he doesn’t realize soon that Yeol has dibs on Yeon-doo (in the sense that she obviously likes him back), he’s heading for a major heartbreak.