Moorim School: Saga of the Brave
[Even if I won, I feel like I lost.]
Dean Hwang has set up the top six students for a mission as the final part of the test. They have been dragged, unconscious, to the Bell Tower. They wake up to, “Did everyone sleep well? Here is the final group test. It is an escape mission. You must get out and each one will be graded on a first come, first serve basis.” Mr. On My Own Yub Jung is ready to do whatever it takes to escape alone and come in first. It is complicated by the addition of a fire, as the Dean uses Shi Woo’s and Sun Ah’s trauma to help them overcome it. The real fear is inside their brains. Not my psychology style. When smoke appears, Shi Woo and Sun Ah both freak out, but Shi Woo realizes he can get through the test – a sign that he is more focused and self-aware than when he arrived at Moorim. Chi Ang helps Sun Ah calm down so she can think clearly, too.
While the other students work together and are willing to include Yub Jung, he takes advantage of the situation and escapes alone through the fan vent and even shoves the ladder away, injuring Soon Deok. “Good luck, losers,” he calls down and locks the grill so they can’t follow. Oops! Seems as if he counted his win too soon. The teachers are waiting in the hall and realize he has betrayed the others. Professor Daniel, the martial arts teacher, decides to become an obstacle for Yub Jung and takes him on, something Yub Jung definitely wasn’t expecting.
The other students escape through the window and to the roof by climbing a rope. Once outside, they scurry down the wall. Soon Deok, however, has injured her arm blocking the falling ladder. Shi Woo realizes she can’t make it and carries her down on his back. Aw, a romantic save.
The Dean and teachers wait for the students to finish the mission. It’s Sun Ah, not Yub Jung, who comes in first followed by Chi Ang, Soon Deok, Shi Woo, Choi Ho. Yub Jung gets dragged in by Professor Daniel for sixth place, but you have to wonder if he learned anything at all. There is a twist to Dean Hwang’s final assessment. Rather than place full blame on Yub Jung, he tells the group that, had this been a real-life situation, they would have lost a colleague – yes, the one who betrayed them. Chi Ang protests and says it was Yub Jung who ran away, but the Dean asks, “So if he betrayed you…is he no longer a colleague, then?” Growth pill for thought. Furthermore, Chi Ang is taken aback when Shi Woo graciously tells him that he lost this round and congratulates Chi Ang on the win. Certainly Chi Ang must think, “Who are you and what have you done with Shi Woo?”
At the hospital, Chae Yoon (the man in the coma who has woken up) talks with Chairman Wang Hao. He asks if Hwang Moo Song (Dean Hwang) knows that he is alive. Chairman Hao tells him everyone at Moorim Institute assumes he is dead. “Because you never know when another attack may come.’ Well now, that’s cryptic. Chae Yoon is surprised to hear that Hwang Moo Song is the Dean at Moorim.
Backstory: Chae Yoon talks very seriously with (then) Chairman of Moorim Institute about the Juk Poong – a powerful group whose identity is unknown. The Chairman vows to find out the person in power and change that person, but he is in poor health and, in an effort to take care of important matters, gives the key to the Chintamani to Chae Yoon. He also adds a warning not to trust his friend and colleague, Hwang Moo Song. What does that mean? While practicing martial arts, Hwang Moo Song is told that Chae Yoon was picked as heir of Moorim International and has Se Ryung as his girl. The messenger concludes with, “I guess winner takes all.” Hwang Moo Song looks very unhappy. Is that a gleam of revenge in his eyes?
Dean Hwang informs Shi Woo and Chi Ang that the mentor-mentee tutoring is over, as they have successfully completed exams. Grades are posted and the students are, on the whole, pleased. Choi Ho reaches out to Yub Jung, but he seems to be angrier and more distant than ever. Professor Daniel sends Soon Deok to the health office since her arm is still sore. Shi Woo accompanies her. They fumble around, findig it awkward (in a good way?) to be together.
Shi Woo suggests they take a walk and get some air. He tells her that he used to get pressured to write songs and would take his frustration out on his group and manager, like a jerk. But, his hearing seems better since being at Moorim, and…Soon Deok interrupts and wonders if he will write a lot of good songs while he is here. Shi Woo looks at her – really looks at her – in a different light. She’s pretty, thoughtful, and -thump – his heart seems to beat a little faster with her in front of him now. He asks about her story. She had to work in high school and, although she wanted to go to college, couldn’t afford the tuition, she tells him. So, even though it is behind her father’s back, she attends Moorim and works part-time because the tuition is free. Her father is against Moorim because he thinks it’s a school that teaches you to fight. I think there’s more to it than that.
Sun Ah asks Chi Ang what his wish from Soon Deok was – the one he trained so hard for to win against Shi Woo. He tells her it is for a date – to go to a movie and have fun. Sun Ah acts like she wishes it was her he wanted to take on a date.
Chae Yoon works at getting his strength back. Chairman Wang Hao is behind it all, patiently waiting for the pieces to fall in place – whatever that means. Chae Yoon is haunted by the thought that perhaps Hwang Moo Song was behind the fire and losing his wife and children, and is determined to pick up where things fell apart eighteen years ago.
Bang Duk overhears the conversation between Chi Ang and his mother and finds out that she is Chairman Hao’s concubine and not his wife. Her son, Chi Ang, was taken to live in the main house in China, but he kept running away to be with her in Korea. It’s been hard for both of them, never fully accepted in the Chairman’s privileged world of money and power. She and Bang Duk drink the afternoon away, finding more common ground than one would expect, and in the end become unlikely friends. Chi Ang’s mother gets an unexpected phone call from Chairman Hao who tells her that he is coming to Korea and will be staying with her.
Chi Ang feels lonely and chums with Sun Ah. They drink and talk together in the Bell Tower and get to know one another a little more. He finds out that she is not interested in Shi Woo as a man; rather she has a love for him as a fan, someone she cares for. (You know, like a sister.)
Soon Deok ends up working at the chicken delivery place again. Part-time jobs aren’t easy to come by, but neither is good help. The owner is very happy that she is back and makes up for treating her badly with a raise and overtime.
Shi Woo’s creative juices are flowing in the writing department as he pens songs, “Innocent Smile” and “Together,” inspired by his time with Soon Deok that day.
With Chae Yoon waking up from an eighteen-year coma, undercurrents are beginning to stir. Chairman Wang Hao – the Chairman of Moorim International – is coming to Korea. More specifically, to Moorim Institute. Monk reports to the Dean that Chairman Hao wants to meet him, especially now that his son, Chi Ang, attends. Surprisingly, Dean Hwang replies that he is not allowed to come to the school. Monk reminds him that the Chairman is the school’s sponsor. But, Dean Hwang stands firm and insists the school rules should apply to everybody equally.
Upon receiving that news, Chairman Wang Hao is put out. He is told that the Dean will meet with him, just not at the school. The Chairman is not pleased. He says that soon it will be revealed what Hwang Moo Song is trying to hide. Chae Yoon dresses, and with the aid of a cane and in Luna’s care, leaves the hospital. Is he going along to Moorim, too, I wonder?
With the news of a school retreat, Sun Ah naturally is sent to find out from Dean Dad where they are going. She is excited about leaving the campus (she’s never been out except for the time she sneaked to the Mobius concert). The students take the news of where they’re going badly. Seoul. For most, it’s no big deal. Sun Ah and Soon Deok, on the other hand, are thrilled. It’s their first trip there and they can’t wait to go to the top of the 63 Building. While everyone is away, the Dean will stay and guard the campus. Hmmm.
That night as Chi Ang lay in bed, he wonders why the piano music is different tonight. It’s not Sun Ah who is playing, however; it’s Shi Woo. Soon Deok wanders by the music room and stops at Shi Woo’s playing, watching from behind. It is awkward when he turns to find her there and she makes an excuse. He picks up the music notebook that fell out of her bag and asks if she bought it for him. She denies it, and as they tug at the notebook and she talks too much, Shi Woo leans over and sweetly kisses her.
She is surprised, startled, unsure – and runs off to her part-time job. On the way out she bumps into Chi Ang. With Shi Woo close behind, they each grab one of her arms. She pulls away and leaves. The two guys stand face to face. It’s bromance upset.
- Chae Yoon was supposed to become the Chairman of Moorim International, a position that Chairman Wang Hao now holds. Hwang Moo Song was upset eighteen years ago at the news that Chae Yoon was to be the heir – he must have thought he was next in line. There are hints that Hwang Moo Song was at the scene of the explosion and fire where Chae Yoon’s wife died and he ended up in a coma, along with children Shi Woo and Sun Ah being lost in the shuffle. In the hierarchy shakedown, Chairman Wang Hao is over Moorim International and Hwang Moo Song is the Dean of Moorim Institute. They have never met. Only Chairman Hao knows that Chae Yoon survived. Who is Chae Yoon to them? Things are coming to a culmination where all three must meet – what is the real truth?
- It’s hard to know who is good and who is bad. I certainly found the twist that Dean Hwang may bear a grudge against Chae Yoon interesting. Still, I hold out that Dean Kwang swept Sun Ah to safety back on that day of the fire. Not sure, though, with the new developments this episode.
- How is Soon Deok’s blind father connected to Moorim – he has a real hate/fear/anger towards it.
- I also wonder who Yub Jung is to everyone or anyone.
- Chairman Wang Hao has arranged for a retreat to get everyone away from Moorim, and even though he is told he cannot come to Moorim School, will meet the Dean who he has never met before. With Chae Yoon leaving the hospital ready for – something, what, though? – is he going to be in on the meeting, too? Chae Yoon knows them both, but Dean Hwang doesn’t know that his frenemy is even alive after all this time. So, with the students at a retreat and only the dean at the school, what will happen?
- I’ve always been a Shi Woo-Soon Deok shipper and in a way, I’m not sorry to see Chi Ang showing interest in Sun Ah. Cute couples.
- Shi Woo is showing a lot of growth/change and is even aware of it himself. I can’t wait for him to find out that Sun Ah is his sister and look for a happy reunion with their father, Chae Yoon, too. I hope. Oh, and a little romance, and perhaps restored bromance – or is that too much to ask?
- I’m not over the drugging thing, and it makes what would otherwise be an okay teen coming-of-age story, but the plant elixir that was snuck into the alcohol no less is still a bugger that I can’t overlook. While on the topic of what bugs me, I am disappointingly underwhelmed by the plot hole of Moorim’s raison d’être in the first place, and what the students – all of them – are there for.