Moorim School: Saga of the Brave
Looks like Shi Woo and Chi Ang are evenly matched not only in skill but in immaturity. After some legit moves, they succumb to a playground scuffle complete with biting and scratching. And, of course, end up back in the principal’s office. After laying down the law because these two don’t get it – that martial arts is all about virtue and knowledge and using it intelligently to fight against evil – Dean Hwang assigns them to the lowest rank which includes bathroom duty.
Dorm Mother Sam makes sure the newbies have scrub brushes and buckets to clean every corner of the bathrooms and bathhouse. Nothing like having to clean toilet stalls with the person you least want to be with to build camaraderie. Or not.
Soon Deok, Queen of Part-time jobs, has a much deserved day off. She lounges around with roommate, Sun Ah, and they wonder why someone like popular idol Shi Woo would come to Moorim in the first place. While she calls him greedy for having everything and wanting more, fangirl Sun Ah defends Shi Woo and says he might be having a hard time.
On their way to the hospital, Soon Deok’s father and girlfriend, Bang Duk, shop for some pretty things. The problem is that Father is getting them for his daughter and Bang Duk feelings are hurt that they aren’t for her. Feeling unappreciated, she storms off and leaves Father to find his way to the bus by himself.
Shi Woo is startled when Chi Ang grabs his shoulder. He didn’t hear him come from behind. Suddenly, he gets that ringing pain and winces. Chi Ang asks if he’s okay, but Shi Woo tries to cover it up and says that it’s nothing. When Chi Ang presses him, Shi Woo gets angry and tells him to finish cleaning himself. Soon Deok has given some thought to an interview in Seoul to help clear up Sh Woo’s name and grabs him in the hall to tell him. When she asks if he’s okay, he snaps, “With what? The fact that I can never sing or make music again? Or the fact that I’m in the lowest ranked class?” All she meant was if his hand was okay from the burn from the kitchen fire. Touchy! And baggage! She offers to go to Seoul to do the interview. He wonders what she’s up to. I’ll give it to Soon Deok – she hit the nail on the head when she replies, “Just take it for what it is. Have people been deceiving you your whole life?” Shi Woo isn’t in a place right now to trust anyone and has walls up. Makes him kind of a pill to be around. They agree to meet at the bridge tonight to go to Seoul.
Shi Woo overhears the students discussing the newbies to whom they refer to as Prince Idol and Heir Apparent. He learns the Chi Ang has his own woes as the illegitimate child who can’t be acknowledged. Rather than being a full heir, he is only half-heir. Interesting.
Father has made it to the bus stop, but without anyone to help him on. A student rushes past and knocks Father’s phone out of his hand. He misses the bus, panics, and gets hit by a scooter. So much for Soon Deok’s day off. She gets a call and rushes to the police station to get her father. He is so happy to hand her the bag of cosmetics and doesn’t even think about how scary the incident was. Soon Deok hugs him and cries; Father is okay this time but it was a close call.
Soon Deok brings her famous potato rice cakes as a peace offering to Bang Duk. She heard from Father that Bang Duk left with hurt feelings and she has come to bring her back at Father’s request. It’s push and pull, but Soon Deok is successful and leaves the two love birds together.
Meanwhile, Shi Woo waits at the bridge. It is getting late. Soon Deok realizes she forgot about their meeting place and time with all the family turmoil, and runs to the bridge. She is out of breath and stumbles, but makes light of how tired she is. She asks Shi Woo to get her some water and give her five minutes to rest. When he returns, he finds her on the bench talking about work in her sleep. He carries her to her dorm room and tells Sun Ah to just let her sleep.
Chi Ang looks at a picture of Mother, again. What’s up? He keeps telling her to wait a bit more, but I’m not sure what he means by that other than perhaps it has to do with their outcast position in the world of inheritance. Clearly, Shi Woo and Chi Ang can’t be in the same space. When Shi Woo returns to their room, they both hit below the belt – Chi Ang calls Shi Woo the runaway idol and Shi Woo calls Chi Ang only half a big shot from China. I’m disappointed in both of them although not surprised.
They get in another silly scuffle that brings the students and teachers running. Yub Jung looks pleased that he didn’t even have to plot anything this time around. They’ve gone and pushed their luck (I’m annoyed with the fighting anyway) to the point that Dean Hwang has had enough of their disrespect and immaturity. He expels them. I can hardly believe they or anyone else is shocked at the decision. Chi Ang promises he won’t let it happen again, but Dean Hwang turns his back on them and walks away.
Sun Ah runs after him calling, “Oppa!’ but he cuts her off. “Do you wish to be expelled, too?” Dean Hwang means business.
As the two bad boys stand outside the vast Moorim School entrance, Chi Ang says that he can’t leave like this. Shi Woo follows him back to the Dean’s office. Chi Ang it’s not fair and asks for a different punishment. So whiny. Shi Woo asks for another chance, too. It seems rather anticlimactic, thinking they can ask the Dean to reconsider his decision. Chi Ang throws himself on the ground and says he won’t leave voluntarily, and that he means to stay. (His bad acting is causing me to grumble, he is not convincing, nor is the storyline doing a good job relaying that he has an underlying reason for being at Moorim. So it all seems underwhelming and blah. Please improve, drama). Neither wants to leave with their pride on the line.
It’s time to see what the newbies are made of and to make men out of boys. Dean Hwang proposes a quest that, if accomplished, will earn them a place back at Moorim. He challenges them to scale Moorim Peak and bring back the Moorim marking for a chance to stay. However, only one can succeed because there is only one mark (flag) to retrieve. The students talk among themselves asking if anyone has ever been up there before. It is a daunting mission filled with mystery and difficulty. They both accept the challenge and are told to leave at once just as they are (which means one sock and one shoe for Chi Ang.)
Shi Woo and Chi Ang aren’t exactly on speaking terms and resent each other as they head away from Moorim. One of the students sends a drone after them. When the boys look back they realize that Moorim School has disappeared and nothing but the silent, dark woods surround them.
Troublemaker Yub Jung isn’t sad to see them leave, saying that they weren’t qualified to be in the school to begin with. Sun Ah asks to talk with him outside. She tells him that she knows he tampered with the ice and hot oil to cause the incident in the kitchen. He is unfazed and says that he wants those unqualified guys out whatever it takes. When she says that what he did is against everything that Moorim stands for, he scoffs and tells her that he’s not there for the etiquette, morals, and training. Rules? You can keep them. He’s there for what he can get out of it. The other students overhear him, but he doesn’t care, he’s in it for himself, and calls them all losers.
Everyone – teachers and students – are concerned for Shi Woo and Chi Ang. Except for Professor Kim who brags that it was he who put the flag on the mountain and climbing it is no big deal. Even Monk wonders if Dean Hwang was too harsh by putting the boys in danger and Moorim’s reputation on the line. Dean Hwang is wise, however, and his plan is far-reaching beyond just the two new students. He doesn’t think they are the only problem at Moorim or that they’ve created all the ruckus on their own in just the two days they’ve been there. Although harsh in his punishment, there is a purpose that is meant to reveal some things and perhaps teach some life lessons that can only come by trial.
The students lie awake, unable to sleep knowing that Shi Woo and Chi Ang are in the wild. Far away, Chi Ang’s mother,too, looks at his picture and wonders if her son is all right.
Next morning, the boys make their way up a steep and narrow pass. They’re whiny and unpleasant to each other. When they come to a canyon gap, Shi Woo wants to go down and around, but Chi Ang foolishly says that he will make a road where there is no road. At that, he leaps across the gap. It’s scary, and he makes it – momentarily; with a slip of his foot he slides down the cliff and dangles. Shi Woo has no choice but to make the leap without another thought.
Shi Woo scrambles to rescue Chi Ang. He fights against the pain and ringing in his ear to hold on to Chi Ang and pull him to safety. (A sign, I’m sure, that his helping someone means he is on the road to overcoming.)
Chi Ang is mildly grateful when he realizes Shi Woo is in pain. Shi Woo angrily says, “I told you not to do it,” and walks past him.
Chi Ang calls after Shi Woo to test if he can hear him. For now, Shi Woo seems all right. Chi Ang, who is limping at this point, makes a shoe for his aching foot with his wallet and tie. They both have chips on their shoulders and won’t give an inch even after what they’ve been through. Thirsty and tired, they come upon a trickle of water in the rocks, but soon take off running after spotting a snake. Somehow, they get separated. All the while, the students at Moorim watch from the drone camera.
The scene goes to the man in a coma in the hospital:
Flashback: He and his family, a wife and two small children, quickly dress and pack. They are in a mountain hideaway. He tells his wife that he was told to bury the jewels somewhere no one knows about. He placed a seal around the house so everything is safe. It’s far enough away in a secluded place in the mountains where he once rested while he trained. He tries to reassure her.
Dean Hwang looks to Mt. Moorim. What does he know about that hideaway in the mountains, the man in the coma, and that family? Why does he recall the woman, that man’s wife, burned and unconscious or perhaps dead? The Monk stares out the window, too. Clearly there is a secret on that mountain.
Shi Woo is in for an unfriendly surprise. There, in front of him, is a wolf. He steps back, but it’s too late – the wolf sees him. Not only that, the students watch with horror at Shi Woo’s perilous situation from the drone camera. Poor Shi Woo is in serious danger. The wolf lunges and whoops! collides with the drone and the screen goes blank.
Dean Kwang’s words that the two students won’t make the mission on their own come true; it is his own daughter, Sun Ah, who is the first to run to her Shi Woo who is in trouble. No one can stop her.
It’s man versus beast as the wolf knocks down Shi Woo. He scurries to his feet. The gleaming charm around his neck – a Morrrim symbol perhaps? – momentarily blinds the wolf as they stand off face-to-face. What will happen to our Shi Woo?
- I want to like this; I really do. What feels off is that there isn’t the intensity in Shi Woo’s and Chi Ang’s relationship that would have me rooting for their bromance. Shi Woo’s angst feels more real to me than Chi Ang’s and maybe that’s because we don’t know what is behind Chi Ang’s reason to be at Moorim, yet. Like I said, they both have chips on their shoulders that may be representative of immature guys in their respective situations. I mean, Prep Schools are notorious for obnoxious privileged students, but I don’t think either of them earned the right for a chance to prove themselves and should have just been expelled. Of course, there wouldn’t be a story, so I get the quest assignment, and thank goodness for Dean Hwang who keeps the tension and mystery out there even if nobody else does.
- But, the tension and mystery aren’t compelling enough. The fight scenes aren’t exciting, the near-death scenes aren’t scary, and the danger isn’t well, dangerous. All in all, there is a lack of intensity and emotion. Bad acting? Bad production? Probably both.
- I do like the introduction of the backstory on the mountain, the hidden jewels and the apparent death of the woman and, of course, the man in the coma. Hmmm, that brings up the two children. And Dean Hwang – remember the opening scene where he rescued the little girl and brought her to Moorim? So, is Sun Ah the little girl from that family in the flashback, and perhaps Shi Woo the little boy? Well, that’s an interesting thought that piques my interest some now that I think about it.
- Totally don’t care about the on-again-off-again romance between Professor Kim and the female professor.
- What about you? Are you sticking with Moorim School?