Moorim School: Saga of the Brave
Something unusual is happening at Moorim School that no one can explain with the arrival of Wang Chi Ang and Yoon Shi Woo. Dean Hwang, a formidable figure of authority, tells the two of them to follow him to his office. As they walk behind him down the hallowed halls of Moorim Institute, he informs them of the school’s high purpose to protect and uphold world peace. It is, in fact, the only institution sanctioned by the UN Peacekeeping Organization. Furthermore, Moorim holds the top position in World Martial Arts competition for twelve consecutive years and consistently produces students of the highest caliber. But, Dean Hwang adds, Moorim and its achievements are not listed in any public record.
The other students wonder why idol Shi Woo and filthy rich family boy Chi Ang are at Moorim. But the question of the hour remains: who triggered the magical seal? The instructors wonder if the dean released it ahead of time, or was it one or both of the new students? Yet, they know that’s ridiculous because it’s impossible. Sun Ah asks Soon Deok if she released the seal. She didn’t, she replies, although she somehow ended up leading Chi Ang there. Sun Ah recalls seeing Shi Woo stop the light fixture in mid-air at the concert and wonders to herself if he released the seal. “Who released the seal?”is the question everyone is asking.
Dean Hwang informs Chi Ang and Shi Woo that classes start tomorrow, and sends Chi Ang with Resident House Mother, Sam (ha ha it’s Sam Okyere, what a riot!), who escorts him to his dormitory room. Sam rattles off the duties and expectations of the students – cooking, cleaning, laundry, trash – to Chi Ang’s dismay. There’s no cleaning service or cooks? Then Cha Ang will get his father to sponsor those things. Sam is no nonsense and tells Chi Ang not to think about shirking his duties. Sam is, after all, the security guard, too. Nothing gets past him.
Shi Woo stays behind to speak with Dean Hwang in private. He is shocked when the Dean says, “You can’t hear,” before he even tells him anything. Shi Woo asks if he can fix it, but the Dean makes him look deeper. “Don’t you think your situation needs to change first? Do you think your struggles are because you can’t hear? The problem is inside you.” Spiritual ouch. Shi Woo’s pent-up anger and hurt flare with such a personal insight and he storms out.
Shi Woo continues to operate on the premise that all he needs to do is fix the media smear campaign to get back on track. He calls his manager to tell him that he found the girl who can clear up matters with an interview to counter the story that has ruined his reputation. But Manager Kim dumps the ugly entertainment business truth on him: you should know when to bow out in a situation like this. He tells Shi Woo to get a lawyer. Shi Woo is blindsided by all this.
There’s a knock on Chi Ang’s door: several students stop by to introduce themselves. I was starting to give Chi Ang the benefit of the doubt with his personality, but after the way he snubbed the students with his arrogant remark, “Sorry, but I pick friends who I think are at my level,” I take it back. He’s a brat.
Shi Woo grabs Soon Doek and tells her to come to Seoul with him to tell them the truth. He didn’t run from the thugs like it was reported (and her comments on the air didn’t help), but chased after the paparazzi to avoid a scandal that would harm Da Rim’s career. He needs Soon Deok to clear up story by telling that to the reporters since she was the ony witness. She agrees, but with her busy work and study schedule there’s no way she can go with him to Seoul right now. The big misunderstanding is that Shi Woo still thinks she was coerced by CEO Choi to frame him and keeps insulting her by asking how much she got paid to lie. Soon Deok thinks he’s the biggest jerk for talking to her that way. She butted in and saved him from a bad situation, shouldn’t he be thanking her? The more she denies being a part of the set up the more belligerent he gets that she owes him, which only makes her resist his request to help him all the more.
Shi Woo sits alone in the dark stairwell reading the harsh comments online against him: Yoo Shi Woo is over. He is no longer a shining star. He recalls the day when CEO Choi scouted and approached him with a deal. Shi Woo’s song shot to #1 on the charts and CEO Choi embraced him as a son. To Shi Woo, who had no parents, it meant the world. But the music industry is fickle, and Shi Woo now realizes CEO Choi was only after money from the beginning. His ears ring and he winces in pain.
Dean Hwang silently comes up behind him and tells Shi Woo to stay still as he massages his temples. “A person’s energy is the same as this world. Not being able to hear means that one of your energy points is blocked. Finding that won’t be a problem,” he tells Shi Woo. Using reverse psychology, Dean Hwang offers to escort Shi Woo out since he doesn’t seem to want to stay. However, Shi Woo says he won’t go back alone. Fueled by CEO Choi’s betrayal, he insists that the situation was caused by Soon Deok’s statements on the air and he won’t leave Moorim until she goes with him to Seoul to fix it. Dean Hwang doesn’t go easy on Shi Woo, telling him that he can play the blame game all he wants, but nothing will be solved until he looks at his own heart. There is hard work to be done, Shi Woo. Are you ready to face your inner person? Is your heart telling you to stay at Moorim and work on yourself even without a guarantee that you will heal? Dean Hwang is talking about high scale things, but Shi Woo still thinks it’s about getting his hearing fixed and taking care of damage control for his image. Dean Hwang’s parting words for the evening are, “Everything is up to you.”
The teachers discuss why Dean Hwang would allow two new students. Daniel teases Professors Kim and Oh Di for bickering and tells them to take their lovers’ quarrel elsewhere. It seems their relationship is on-and-off. Even Monk Bubgong inquires of Dean Hwang why both students remain when only Chi Ang was expected. The Dean, who appears wiser by the minute, thinks that perhaps it was the school who called to Shi Woo rather than Shi Woo seeking out the school.
Shi Woo resolves to stay for now. He wears a necklace that is intriguing – is there a meaningful connection with his past and present that is symbolizes? Or to Moorim School?
Déjà vu fan service shower surprise! Shi Woo and Chi Ang are roommates and they couldn’t be unhappier. They voice their protests to House Mother Sam whose response is the old adage, “they say enemies meet beneath a bamboo bridge.” Fuss as they may, Sam tells them to suck it up and make it work, “There is no special treatment in this dormitory.” Sam is the greatest.
They’re stuck with each other now, fighting over who gets which bed and who is more disgusted with whom. Aw, bromance in bloom. Down the hall, Sun Ah softly plays a lovely rendition of Brahms’ Lullaby on the piano. Shi Woo falls asleep while Chi Ang remains wide awake looking at a picture of him and his mother. Back at the mansion, Mother longingly holds the same picture. “Mom, wait a little longer,” he says. It’s hard to know what he is thinking.
Rise and shine! Exercise time! Sam delivers the two new students to their first martial arts class. After class Shi Woo stops Sun Ah and asks if she was the one who saved him at the concert. When she says it was her he asks why she told him to come to Moorim Institute. She makes light of it and says it is because the dean can help him. Shi Woo isn’t convinced at her feigned naivety and refuses to break down any walls to let her in, not even with a friendly handshake.
Someone else calls Shi Woo’s name. There is a mysterious undertone in the conversation between Professor Kim and Shi Woo. When Professor Kim asks why he came to Moorim, Shi Woo basically tells him to mind his own business. He suspects Shi Woo has something up his sleeve and, although Shi Woo doesn’t answer, he doesn’t deny it, either. Hmmm. Professor Kim has his eye on Shi Woo for some reason. It is an odd exchange.
What’s up in Shanghai? Chairman Hao is back in China and asks about “the man in the hospital.” (Let’s see, so we have a son out of wedlock which is used to keep him at bay and now an unidentified comatose father/older brother/son.) He’s told that his condition is the same. Chairman asks if there is a possibility that he can regain consciousness. I wonder how the actors can keep a straight face shooting such a soapy cliché kdrama scene. And of course at some point he will regain consciousness.
Over breakfast, the students bet Shi Woo and Chi Ang won’t last. Yub Jung ups the ante and promises that he will make them cry and go home like babies before the entrance ceremony in a week. He seems particularly hostile towards the two new students.
It’s cooking class with Professor Kim and Shi Woo and Chi Ang are teamed up together. Today’s menu is fries. Yub Jung decides to make his move. Immediately after Professor Kim warns them of the explosive danger of hot oil and ice cubes combined, Yub Jung intentionally adds ice to the batter, offers it to Chi Ang, and stands back to watch. When the oil is heated, Shi Woo tells cooking partner Chi Ang to add the batter. Chaos ensues: a disastrous fire explodes.
That’s not the worst part, however; Shi Woo crouches under the counter at the memory of him as a crying, helpless child in a house on fire. He recoils in fear. In the classroom, hot food flies everywhere as the students martial arts deflect the hot flying pieces like a food fight on steroids. Sun Ah shields Shi Woo from spattering oil with a towel. When it settles down, Shi Woo furiously grabs Chi Ang’s collar and yells, “You did that on purpose, you punk!” Yub Jung is pleased with his mischief-making.
I’m really feeling sorry for the series of unfortunate circumstances that Shi Woo faces and can hardly blame him for being moody and acting wrongly on misunderstandings. The staff meet with Dean Kwang. Professor Kim is ready to kick them both out over the kitchen incident, but Daniel thinks it may be too early for such a rash decision.
Sun Ah must be the little girl in the beginning of the story who Dean Kwang protected in the woods. She begs “Dad” to fix Shi Woo’s hearing. However, Dean Dad is still upset that she left without permission to go to the concert in the first place. And now she has brought him to Moorim and wants him to fix his hearing just like that? She begs Dean Dad to fix “my Shi Woo.” When she mentions he used powers to stop the falling light fixture in mid air, Dean Dad takes notice.
Next class: meditation. Chi Ang’s behavior towards Mermaid Ariel Soon Deok is adorable, but he is so arrogant and awful to everyone else. Monk Bubgong instructs the students to look into the inner self and the hurdles each wants to overcome. Shi Woo sees himself as a young child crying in a burning house. His mother lies unconscious on the floor. He is startled, but when Monk asks him what he saw he replies that it was nothing. Chi Ang is not on board with the whole meditation thing and mockingly says that he sees scary thugs and runs away leaving a girl behind. It is a jab at the false media report about Shi Woo and all the students know about it. Everyone is uncomfortable with Chi Ang’s thoughtlessness. Such a mean thing to do. Chi Ang is so immature. Sun Ah warns Chi Ang not to mess with Shi Woo. He scoffs at her threat, but now that we know who her daddy is, he should probably mark her words.
Secrets keep coming. A contemplative Chairman Hao opens a safe. Inside there is a beautiful box with a Moorim-looking charm. Chi Ang’s mother brings a thank you envelope to the modest home of Soon Doek’s parents. Mother is happy for the money but Father refuses it. #1 – his daughter did the right thing regardless of recompense, and #2 – he’s learned that nothing in life is free.
As much as Shi Woo wants to pack his bags and leave, something keeps him at Moorim School. The students gather around a martial arts competition between Soon Deok and Sun Ah. Yub Jung tells Shi Woo and Chi Ang that the class is too advanced for them. He provokes them with, “Shall we see how good the new students are?” at which point Shi Woo challenges Chi Ang. So, they’re not beginners after all; both demonstrate impressive marital arts skills.
The students are shocked. Even Yub Jung is surprised and realizes these two are not going down that easily.
- I went on and on last episode about Shi Woo (Hyun Woo) and Chi Ang (Hongbin), and I could continue to do so. But, I want to throw in my excitement over Shin Hyunjoon’s brilliant portrayal of Dean Hwang. I like his demeanor, his thoughtfulness, and his wise approach to everything. Add to that the revelation that Sun Ah is his daughter (or, at least she calls him “Dad” – she was the child he carried in the woods), and I’m pleased with the direction of the story in that regard. I wonder what being grounded looks like at Moorim, because she’s still in hot water with Dad over sneaking out to the concert in the first place. Not to mention bringing Shi Woo to Moorim. However, Dean Dad didn’t seem aware of Shi Woo’s powers before Sun Ah mentioned them.
- I love how Sam and Daniel have been incorporated into this drama as teacher/staff. They are surprisingly good a their roles and I love how they’ve blended as foreigners into the kdrama world, too! (They are members of the Abnormal Summit k-variety show – check it out, it’s entertaining and informative.)
- Kudos to our female leads, Sun Ah and Soon Deok. I love their bold, go-get ’em attitude and hard work. They possess integrity (especially Soon Deok) that we can only hope our two new students develop. I do hope the misunderstanding about the news report and Soon Deok’s part in it gets straightened out for Shi Woo’s sake.
- Shi Woo has had plenty thrown his way in life. The poor boy needs healing if only he can take Dean Hwang’s lead and not bail out of frustration and anger. I love his broken character and, like Dean Hwang, hope that he can open up and heal from the inside.
- This does follow Harry Potter and Hogwarts in some ways : the mysterious location, the achievements of excellence, magical powers, charming maroon uniforms, lonely backstories – but there are enough differences that I’m not feeling it’s a copy cat show. At all. Moorim School has already proven that it can hold its own as a solid story of youth, transformation, and morals. And hopefully, awesome bromance! 🙂
- The man in a coma (sigh).
- So, what are your thoughts about our two rivals, Shi Woo and Chi Ang, or any of the other intriguing characters in Moorim School?
- *BTW – Hongbin reminds me so much of Im Siwan♥!