This week rekindled my affection for this show. Episode 5 started the upturn, but episode 6 totally solidified it. At this point, it's apparent that logic is not something the PD or the writer are focusing on, and I'm watching with that notion in mind. It's a lot easier and a lot more entertaining when you don't try to make sense of everything... especially because nothing really makes sense. Some super cute moments for our leads, but also
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Episode 6 Recap
Tae-joon reads Jae-hee's letter as she rides off in a taxi with Daniel. In the car, Jae-hee explains to oppa that she shouldn't have come and that it's her fault that Tae-joon's having such a hard time (waitwhut?), so she decided just to leave (and I'm thinking,--along with Daniel, apparently, who seems to be the only voice of reason--hey... wasn't that the whole friggin' reason you came halfway across the world and pretended to be a boy?). When asked if she won't regret that decision, Jae-hee frowns.
Meanwhile, Han-na and her manager oppa are on their way back to Serin when Han-na discovers the bag with her uniform in it that Jae-hee returned earlier. With the uniform, she also finds Jae-hee's light-up bracelet from Taean--the same trinket she'd seen on Tae-joon's desk back at his dorm hours earlier. The cogs begin to turn in her head as she tries to work out what exactly is going on.
Back at the prelims, Tae-joon holds out hope for Jae-hee's sudden arrival and passes on his jumps every time his turn comes up. Eventually, he's got to jump, and with Jae-hee's red shoelaces laced through his shoe, he runs up to make the jump... only to hit the crossbar on the way down. He readies himself to try again...
In the taxi, Jae-hee explains that Tae-joon is jumping because of her. If that's the case, Daniel says, then she should be there to watch him: "If the situation hurts, then take the pain--if it's difficult, then accept it. Jae-hee, don't avoid it. Because your friend Tae-joon is doing just that right now." He stops the taxi and Jae-hee jumps out, running back to school.
Tae-joon's on his last attempt when she runs into the gym. Jae-hee calls out to him, and he looks up, almost an expression of relief coming over his face. He starts off at a run for his last jump and clears the bar no problem. Everyone's ecstatic--he qualified for the competition. Jae-hee's so overcome with emotion that she tears up. Tae-joon pumps a fist into the air, feeling uber proud of himself.
We catch up with Tae-joon after the contest is over, and Jae-hee comes up, explaining that there was no way she'd miss her roommate's big day. She gets a text from Daniel, who tells her it's probably okay if she stays in Korea for a while. Why didn't he just tell her that from the beginning and save us two episodes...?
Jae-hee's ecstatic, and jumps Tae-joon in a hug for a second without thinking. Embarrassed, Tae-joon freezes for the briefest of moments and then pushes her away awkwardly. He gruffly mumbles that it's not such a big deal that she's staying and she needn't be so excited. Even so, he shows off his shoe that has her red shoelaces laced through it, bringing a smile to Jae-hee's face: "Anyway, I used it well--the luck you gave me. It must have been pretty effective." Aw, you big softy.
Apparently, Eun-gyul took up Da-hae on her offer of a date, which is why he couldn't make it to watch Tae-joon and Hyun-jae's prelims. They're at the movies when Da-hae pops the big question: "Should we date?" Which stops Eun-gyul short. He feels his heart pumping in his chest, but can't give her an answer.
Han-na heads to Genie and finds Jae-hee waiting outside the dorms. She confronts her about the bracelet, admitting that she knows Jae-hee was the one who took her uniform. Is Jae-hee a pervert? If not, then is she a girl? Jae-hee looks up at her with doe eyes, at a loss for words.
Tae-joon shows up just in time to stop Han-na's line of questioning. He pulls out his own bracelet, asking if that was what Han-na had seen in their dorm room. He explains that someone had been selling them on campus a while back. Tae-joon drags Jae-hee into the dorms, leaving a confused Han-na outside, wondering where she went wrong.
As they walk back to their dorm, Tae-joon warns Jae-hee to be more careful. First it was the teddy bear underwear, and now it's Han-na's uniform. Isn't she being a little too obvious? Jae-hee asks him what exactly it is that she's being obvious about. That she's a pervert, of course. Jae-hee argues that she really isn't.
If that's not it, then what is it? Is she a girl? She has no answer for this, since she can't very well admit that she is, and vehemently denies it. Tae-joon concludes that she really must be a pervert then. But it's okay--he's been taught to respect the taste of others and totally won't judge. Haha.
Meanwhile, preparations for the Genie festival get underway and the dorm heads start picking out participants for the Miss Genie contest. Eun-gyul shows Jae-hee pictures of the past years and the dorm heads dressed up as girls for the contest. Jae-hee asks him how things are going with his lady love and offers to help him if needs it.
Our newly cute leading male, meanwhile, is back at the dorms cleaning his camera when he realizes the time. He wonders where she could have gotten off to, and then immediately berates himself for being worried. Lol. Jae-hee's in the laundry room chatting with Eun-gyul, but by now it's pretty late, and Tae-joon wanders out to the lobby to find out where she is.
This is, of course, when he runs into her, carrying her basket of newly-washed clothes. She tells him that he looked pretty cool at the comp today, but he brushes off her compliments and says he's just getting started.
In the lounge, Seung-ri draws long hair on a picture of Jae-hee, deciding that she'll be the perfect contestant for the Miss Genie contest. Haha.
The next day at school, Jong-min asks Jae-hee about the pool accident, and Jae-hee explains that she just slipped and fell. It's a little odd that he knows about it, though, so she asks him how he found out. Jong-min explains that the guys told him about it. He'd thought she was allergic to chlorine, but she seems just fine now. Jae-hee assures him that she wasn't fine--she almost died.
Seung-ri swings by their classroom and asks to speak with Jae-hee. Up on the roof, he drops the bomb that he wants her to be one of their representatives for the Miss Genie contest. She vehemently refuses, for obvious reasons, and runs off.
Eun-gyul goes on a third date with Da-hae after stopping in at the shoe store to get his soccer cleats repaired. He doesn't want to just get new ones like the store owner suggests, because these cleats are particularly lucky for him. Even so, he figures their time is up and chucks them. Da-hae shoots the bag with the shoes in them a lingering glance. They head out to eat burgers (which, apparently, people in Korea eat with a fork and knife...) and Da-hae admits that she doesn't know a thing about soccer. She helps Eun-gyul cut his burger. Aw.
At the dorms, Tae-joon (i.e. Minho) shows off his big, big muscles by doing pull-ups on the bunk bed. Jae-hee comes in, offering to help him with his training if he needs it. Tae-joon tells her he doesn't, but Jae-hee leans over the bed, unable to hear him, which brings their faces this close to each other. They're both caught off-guard, and jump back, Jae-hee hitting her head on the bed frame, and Tae-joon dropping to the ground. He rushes into the bathroom to calm himself down, cursing Jae-hee.
The next day, Teacher Lee tells the class that they need participants for the festival. No one wants to volunteer, so she volunteers Tae-joon to be a barista at their cafe. This, of course, prompts Jae-hee to throw up her hand, which in turn prompts Eun-gyul. Seeing this, Jong-min throws up his hand to volunteer as well, and Teacher Lee assigns him the job of server. He scoffs at this, but she assures him that it's only because he's the prettiest. Lol.
Jae-hee goes out with Tae-joon to train in the morning, getting in his way more than anything. He stops when he sees the athletic club running on the track, getting a wistful expression on his face. Jae-hee takes this as enough initiative to make a deal with Seung-ri. She tells him she'll dress up as a girl for the Miss Genie contest. He lights up at this and thanks her profusely. She stops his celebrations cold by telling him there's a catch; she wants a favor from him. He agrees immediately and offers to grant her anything in his power.
Teacher Lee asks Eun-gyul to go to the grocery store to buy supplies, and he drags Jae-hee along with him. While they're there, Jae-hee picks up a box of lemons to make honeyed lemon snacks for Tae-joon. Yes! I was hoping they'd put this in. On her way back to the dorms, she runs into a deliveryman who's dropping off gifts for Tae-joon from his fans.
Tae-joon returns from practice that night to find the pile of gifts. Among them is two jars of honeyed lemons with a note. He recognizes Jae-hee's handwriting on the note and looks up at her sleeping form (scoffing at her lack of caution), plucking a lemon slice out of one of the jars to try it.
In the gym the next day, Seung-ri's distracted, remembering the deal he made with Jae-hee. She'd wanted the sunbae to help get Tae-joon back in the athletic club. Seung-ri had said that wasn't something in his power to do, but then Jae-hee had reminded him of her wild card: if Seung-ri promised to get Tae-joon back on the team, she'd do the Miss Genie contest.
Remembering this deal with her, Seung-ri asks Coach Baek to consider reinstating Tae-joon. Later, Baek runs into Tae-joon in the gym while he's training. At a loss for what else he can do, Tae-joon kneels in front of the coach, begging him to take him back. Coach Baek finally agrees, but there's a stipulation: he'll have to be Hyun-jae's training partner. Tae-joon agrees. Hmm... this should be interesting. Baek tells him it was because of Seung-ri that he was reinstated. He seemed to be pretty worried about Tae-joon, and despite the way he looks, Seung-ri's got some feminine qualities about him. Lol.
The day of the festival arrives, and the group from Dorm 2 put on a coffee shop a la Coffee Prince where the guests can come in and be served some delicious brews by a slew of flower boys. Jong-min presents the assembled crew with a tiger costume, and Jae-hee volunteers to wear it and advertise for them. Eun-gyul takes a picture with her after she gets dressed in it, getting fluttery feelings even looking at her in the tiger costume. HAHA. This makes Jong-min angry, as usual.
Jae-hee heads outside to walk around, and eventually gets relieved from duty by Eun-gyul when she wants to go to the bathroom. It's only after they switch off that Tae-joon swings by to give the costumed person a coffee ("Grungy! Here, drink this. Some costumer just left after ordering it. It's too wasteful to just throw it away." Pfft.), thinking it's Jae-hee. He tells "her" not to work too hard and pats her on the head. Eun-gyul takes a break to drink the coffee, wondering at Tae-joon's actions.
Back at the "coffee shop" Eun-gyul gets a visitor in the form of Da-hae. He arrives to greet her and the guys ask him if she's his girlfriend. He denies it vehemently, with poor Da-hae listening in at the whole conversation. Tae-joon insists that she's a girl, and she's his friend, so that makes her his girlfriend. O rly, TJ? Then is Jae-hee your girlfriend? Logic is not this boy's strong suit.
Jae-hee comes in, still wearing the tiger costume and takes a seat at the table next to Da-hae. At the bar, Eun-gyul glances over at the two girls, at first looking at Da-hae. But then his gaze slowly wanders over to his Squishy, whom he realizes is watching Tae-joon. His face falls for a moment, until he realizes it and shakes himself out of his daze. Hmm, interesting... so, Eun-gyul is starting to see what's going on.
Anyway, he takes Da-hae outside to the soccer field. He starts to say something, but Da-hae (who probably has an inkling of what he wants to say) distracts him by mentioning something about the soccer team. She rattles off some information about the goal post and the position that Eun-gyul plays, clearly showing off that she's been doing her research.
It's a speech that surprises Eun-gyul, because on their last date, she'd known nothing about the sport at all. He asks her why she'd bother to memorize all that information on a sport she doesn't care about. Is she really that much of a soccer fan now? Da-hae explains that she's not really interested in soccer--it's him that she's interested in.
She presents him with a present, which turns out to be his newly-repaired soccer shoes--the ones he'd thrown out at the restaurant. Eun-gyul is touched by this gesture and tells Da-hae to come watch him play soccer. She asks him if this means they're dating now. He doesn't answer, but he does stand up and ask for her hand, smiling. They walk off, hand-in-hand. Aw.
Next up, the Miss Genie contest begins. Seung-ri is the host, naturally, and some SM idol boy band starts off the whole thing along with a taekwondo show by the first dorm boys. One by one, the various guys participating in the contest (which includes Jong-min) come on stage and perform, showing off their individual talents. Tae-joon opts out of the show, and gets up to leave, just as Seung-ri swings by to tell Jae-hee to get changed.
Tae-joon beats Seung-ri backstage and intercepts him in order to thank him for helping him out with the athletic club. Seung-ri brushes him off, telling him to thank Jae-hee instead. Tae-joon doesn't understand, so Seung-ri tells him that she offered to be in the Miss Genie contest if Seung-ri got Tae-joon back into the club.
After this, Seung-ri heads to the back to give Jae-hee her clothes. Hilariously, he also pulls out two huge bread buns. Confused, Jae-hee tells him she ate a lot at dinner already. Seung-ri gestures at his chest, explaining that she won't be eating them so much as wearing them. HAHA. He leaves her to get changed.
Outside, Tae-joon tries to work up the nerve to enter the dressing room to thank Jae-hee. He chickens out when he hears someone coming to the door from the other side and hides around the corner. Seung-ri rushes by on his way back to the stage. By this time, Tae-joon has lost any courage he'd built up and changes his mind. As he heads out, a guy walks by on his way toward Jae-hee's dressing room. Tae-joon watches him round the corner, getting a bad feeling.
Meanwhile, Jae-hee is inside, changing her clothes. Her mystery prankster from the last episode sneaks his way into the room and steals all her clothes, leaving her naked and not knowing what to do. This is, of course, when her cue to go on stage comes up. When she's a no-show, Seung-ri runs into the back to find out what's going on.
Jae-hee manages to lock the door and turn off the lights just in time, but wonders what the hell she's supposed to do now. Seung-ri and the boys run off to find the keys to the dressing room.
Following up on his bad feeling, Tae-joon manages to intercept the prankster in the hallway. He trips him, and then pushes him against the wall. It's the same guy that Jae-hee got into a fight with in the bathroom in episode one. He asks Tae-joon why he's getting involved in Jae-hee's business, and Tae-joon replies that he's her roommate.
He gets Jae-hee's clothes back from the guy and stealthily returns them to Jae-hee without actually walking into the room (he's literally just a mysterious hand). But Jae-hee, his #1FANINTHEWHOLEWORLD, recognizes his hand and thanks him. She gets dressed, and the other boys (Seung-ri and co.) manage to finally get the door open (where were you while Tae-joon was off fighting bullies and finding his own super special dressing room key?). When they see her, their jaws drop.
Jae-hee walks out on stage, flabbergasting everyone, including, poor puppy Eun-gyul. She starts to sing and his whole face lights up. Even as he smiles at her, he tells himself to get it together--those aren't real, they're just made from loaves of bread. He assures himself it's just a guy made up of a couple of loaves of bread. Aw, haha. Then, adding insult to injury, Jae-hee sends a wink in his direction, practically melting Eun-gyul into a puddle of happy. Also watching the show is Dr. Jang, who feels more than a little uneasy at the spectacle Jae-hee is putting on.
After the show, Han-na sends a text to Tae-joon that she'll be coming by soon. Eun-gyul catches her in the lobby and she asks him to take her to the gym.
In the gym, Tae-joon is doing some late night jumping practice. Still dressed in her girl clothes, Jae-hee finds him. She tells him she wanted to thank him. Tae-joon plays dumb, asking her what she's thanking him for and whether something happened. She explains that she recognized his hand. Cutely, he just hides his hand behind him, continuing to play dumb, but sneaks in a question about whether she won or not.
She tells him that she didn't. The judges said something about her not being feminine enough. Pfft. Staring up at him, Jae-hee asks, "Am I really that bad?" He doesn't answer, instead moving forward a couple of steps, clearly getting into her bubble.
She shrinks back, not sure what to expect, but he simply reaches into her hair and plucks out a stray piece of confetti. Tae-joon steps back and admits that she's not so bad to look at, bringing a tiny smile to her face. He grins a bit as well, and then tells her that he's got to get back to practice.
She agrees, and takes a step back to leave but stumbles over the high jump crossbar (which is on the floor) and falls forward, sending a box of confetti flying into the air, and her flying into Tae-joon's arms.
He catches her around the waist and they fall back onto the high jump mat as Eun-gyul and Han-na arrive just in time to watch from the doorway.
I think part of the reason why episode 6 helped this drama get back into my good graces was the decision to use Stand Up as the ending song again. You have to understand that I'm not a fan at all of the rest of the OST, so hearing this one song that I love being used well is such a reprieve.
Eun-gyul continues to be my favorite character because I find his conflict more engaging than much of the rest of the stuff going on in this drama. This week, he was faced with the very real opportunity to live a normal life by dating Da-hae. She's cute, funny, and everything he should want in a potential girlfriend. And yet, he can't seem to break himself away from his Squishy, and that drives him up the wall until he realizes how stupid he's being and takes the plunge. Lee Hyun-woo continues to do a good job portraying Eun-gyul's inner conflicts on his face. As a viewer, you can almost see the cogs turning in his head as he works out what he's doing. And that crestfallen expression of disappointment every time he sees Jae-hee looking, not at him, but at Tae-joon is just heartbreaking.
More and more, Minho is wheedling his way into my heart as Tae-joon starts to get more adorable. In the first couple of weeks, what he was missing was that subtlety that was so inherent to the character of Sano Izumi. Now, we've started to see those little expressions on his face, as when he lights up, relieved, at the sight of Jae-hee at the preliminaries in the beginning. One thing's for sure, it's going to get harder to screencap Minho if he starts actually emoting, lol. For Tae-joon, it also helps that he's getting more and more protective of his little uber fan. Those moments are the best part of this OTP, along with their little awkward moments around each other in the dorm room.
Hmm, what else? Oh. Plot. Right. Plot is one of those things that any adaptation of this particular story has had a hard time coming up with, and BY is no exception. This show reminds me a little of Playful Kiss in that it doesn't necessarily have an over-arching through line that needs to be resolved by the end. I mean, yes, we have the conflicts of Jae-hee being a girl and Tae-joon having to overcome his Yips, but other than that, there's no big THING that everyone's trying resolve.
That's why, from episode to episode, it feels like there's no real plot that's chugging along. BY is more like a Japanese drama because it uses an episodic format, giving us individual conflicts from episode to episode and much smaller arcs than Korean dramas normally do. I think that for this particular adaptation, there's no other way to go. There's no real story in Hana Kimi other than "girl dresses like boy and enters boys' school to help her crush high jump again," which leaves the writer without a real plot to work with.
Even so, the characters have proven engaging enough for me to continue watching. Plus, when you have no real expectations going into a show, even pure, frothy, nonsensical fun has a way of sucking you in.