Moorim School: Saga of the Brave
So, where were we? After a two-week break, it’s time to join Moorim School students, professors, and outsiders once again to find out what’s happening. Our Shi Woo sports dashing dark hair and while I adored his silvery blonde look, it really doesn’t matter as he is so photogenic no matter what. I like it.
Episode 9 [Sometimes your enemy is closer than you think.]
Wang Chi Ang is rushed to the hospital after a knife would to his side. Soon Deok has been kidnapped by mistake in place of Sun Ah and is rescued by Shi Woo. Now the two of them meet up with a very shaken Sun Ah at the hospital to await the doctor’s report on Chi Ang’s condition. By the time the teachers show up, the doctor updates everyone that Chi Ang is not critical and will recover. No one can understand who would have done this – kidnap Soon Deok and harm Chi Ang – but Soon Deok has some information. First of all, the captors thought they’d kidnapped Sun Ah, and second, she heard someone ask, “Should we take her to him?” But, Sun Ah has no clue who that means.
Everyone feels responsible for what happened to Chi Ang. Soon Deok wants to stay with him because he got hurt trying to rescue her. Dorm Mother Sam wants to stay because his responsibility was to oversee the students and he failed; Sun Ah feels guilty because she is the cause of the whole incident. In the end, everyone feels Sun Ah ought to go back to the safety of the school and Dean Dad, and Sam and Soon Deok remain with Chi Ang.
The school is in an uproar. Students discuss what happened: was this a mission gone bad? Who is responsible? After all, Chi Ang is the son of Moorim School’s sponsor. Yub Jung is as mysterious as ever, and admonishes the students to stop speculating and practice their skills; isn’t that why they’re there? He harasses Choi Ho for getting bullied and not being able to defend himself even after being at Moorim for three years. “What’s changed?” he asks. Choi Ho seems to wonder that himself.
Monk and Dean Hwang meet to discuss what happens next. But, Dean Hwang reminds Monk that only a handful of people knew about the trip to Seoul: students, teachers, and sponsor Chairman Wang Hao. Monk thinks the culprit is someone in their midst. He reminds Dean Hwang that eighteen years ago, many people thought Dean Hwang was the Juk Poong- the one who attacked Chae Yoon. He also reminds the Dean that he alone believed in him, stayed with him, and is still by his side today. Now, Monk wants information. But the Dean wonders out loud if perhaps the enemy is closer than you think. Is Dean Hwang catching on that Monk is an informant to Chairman Hao?
Chi Ang regains consciousness to find Sam and a sleeping Soon Deok at his bedside. He is conflicted since she told him earlier that his attention to her was burdensome. Now he wonders if he has done something else to burden her once again. Shi Woo is worried, too, but their bromance has suffered a blow and he isn’t sure if Chi Ang will talk to him. Soon Deok keeps him updated on Chi Ang’s improving condition.
The hospital releases Chi Ang to recover at his mother’s house. In the meantime, Soon Deok’s father has demanded that the cruise ship turn around halfway into the trip because he can’t get in touch with Soon Deok. When they finally connect, Soon Deok acts like nothing is wrong so as not to worry her father. It’s interesting that the fathers of the Moorim students want to keep close tabs on their children. Something sinister is in the air, even if no one can put their finger on it just yet.
It’s time for Sun Ah and Dad Dean to talk. She tells him that she knows he didn’t want her to go out on the retreat because he knew something bad would happen to her. She’s grown up now, and asks about Dad Dean’s secrets about her mother, her fear of fire, and why she can’t leave Moorim. Most of all, who wanted to kidnap her? The Dean is silent for a long time, but respects that she is no longer a little girl and talks to her about carrying and handling responsibility for the past, love, and relationships. He believes that she can handle the secrets; after all, she is his daughter – but the time is not quite right, he tells her. She surprises him when she responds that she thinks she can handle it for the very reason that she is his daughter. Sun Ah is all grown up.
Feeling unsettled, Shi Woo wanders to the music room. Sun Ah sits at the piano. She doesn’t really remember her mother, she tells him, but vaguely recalls that she sang this song to her – Brahms’s Lullaby – and that it’s really the only song she knows how to play. Shi Woo is about to say the same thing about the song and his mother, but he stops – as if the memory is still incomplete or maybe too painful.
Shi Woo texts Chi Ang asking when he’ll return and if he’s okay. Chi Ang doesn’t reply; the breach of their friendship still weights heavily on him. It’s time for Chi Ang to recuperate at his mother’s house.
Shi Woo shares his feelings with Dean Hwang that he is comfortable inside Moorim and feels protected by the seal. He also tells him about the man he met when Soon Deok was kidnapped and how he showed up and used the same method the Dean used to make Shi Woo’s pain go away. Shi Woo asks the Dean if this man could somehow be involved in the kidnapping incident. Dean Hwang is astonished and asks what the man looked liked. Shi Woo only recalls that his eyes looked so sad.
That man, Chae Yoon, walks through the woods. He looks for Moorim School but can’t find anything, not a sign, not the seal. As he reports this to Luna (who is she?), a man approaches him who was sent to fill him in on what happened eighteen years ago. There was a group, the Guhji Party, who wanted to kill the successor to Moorim Institute. The Juk Poong were cult insiders of the Moorim Association who also wanted to kill the successor and claim the power for themselves. They got rid of the Guhji Party-riffraff renegades – who posed an obstacle to the Juk Poong. But, the man tells Chae Yoon, there is someone who remembers the story who was involved back then and is still alive – a person who lost his eyesight over the incident.
Flashback: Soon Deok’s father’s wife has died. As he drinks and cries in a bar, the owner stands over him and tells him to stop drinking his sorrows away for the sake of his baby daughter. Instead of showing up day after day and drinking, he needs to find a way to take care of her. The Guhji Party members sit at the next table and discuss “business.” The Juk Poong are recruiting and they decide to act as mercenaries and get paid by the Juk Poong to steal the chintamani. Soon Deok’s father overhears and is swayed by the rumored power and invincibility of the possessor of the chintamani. Perhaps he could get it for himself. He secretly follows the Guhji Party to the hideout in the mountains where Chae Yoon’s wife and two small children are sleeping.
Soon Deok’s father ends up being a witness to the killing and destruction that follows. The mother fights with all her strength against the intruders but she is no match for them. They ransack the house and find the chintamani key. After turning everything upside down, they leave the mother for dead and set the hideout on fire. It quickly goes up in flames. From behind cupboard doors, two toddlers emerge crying, “Mommy. Mommy. Mommy!” Soon Deok’s father – who has watched the whole thing – sees only the boy, and grabs him out of the flames.
With that strong memory, Soon Deok’s father sits up in bed and can only say, “It’s all in the past.” Yet, he is clearly troubled and saying that won’t change what he knows or let him forget.
It’s been a couple of days since Shi Woo and Soon Deok have seen each other. He is happy to see her back at Moorim and makes her sit down and have a proper dinner with her haphazard schedule. He simply watches as she eats and tells her that he was scared when he saw her taped up and bound in the car that drove off. “Don’t disappear on me,” he tells her.
Professors Dae Ho has his own theory. A seeker of the chintamani himself at one time, he talks with Professor Yoo Di (they dated once and he is still interested). Imagine, he tells her, that a young boy’s dream is to find a legendary golden treasure that he read about in a book. Now that that boy has grown up, he pursues the dream – the gold, the chintamani – in earnest, believing that it really does exist. After all, he has inherited his family’s wealth and has the ability and desire the search for the chintamani. Then all power will be his. Does Professor Dae Ho something about Chairman Hao? Or…could Chi Ang be that young man who is beginning to understand his position and power? He has been exposed to the legendary chintamani at Moorim and for the first time, considers the advantages of his father’s power (and his by association), and sets aside his immaturity for a way up the ladder of success.
Chi Ang has asked Secretary Chang from his father’s company to look into ONP Holdings. Chi Ang thinks hard about the connections. It was the ONP Building that Soon Deok was brought to by the kidnappers and where he was injured. Secretary Chang tells him there’s no affiliate by that name, but Chi Ang is sure that he’s seen the ONP name before. Thinking back, he recalls seeing ONP Holding paperwork in a briefing with Secretary Chang. At that time, Chi Ang had been brought on board at his father’s company, but was disinterested. He was also told that ONP was a paper company and to not worry about it.
Chi Ang knows different now. Putting subtle clues together, he wonders if his father had something to do with the kidnapping and what he might be hiding from him. He is going to use his privileged position to get information.
Geez, maybe Monk is in this for himself. He may be the only one who knows that Chairman Hao and Dean Hwang each have a piece of the chintimani key. Plus, he is digging for information to find out if Sun Ah has the third and final piece. He has chummed up to both the dean and the chairman, but I’m not sure he is on anyone’s side but his own.
Dean Hwang suddenly gets a strong sense that someone is lurking in the halls of Moorim School. He sends the teachers to check on the students, but so far, all is well. When the Dean returns to his office, someone has broken in and rummaged through his things and left a mess. The window is open. The first to arrive is Monk, but in a matter of minutes the students and staff are all in the Dean’s office. Monk uses the opportunity to list the recent breaches at Moorim – a kidnapping, a break-in – and wonders if the seal has been broken. In front of everyone there, he asks if the Dean will continue to keep silent about the key after all this. He purposely lets out too much information, casting suspicion on the Dean who remains silent.
After everyone’s gone, the Dean asks Monk why he said what he said in front of everyone. While the Monk insists the Dean shouldn’t hide secrets about the key any longer and that it is putting everyone in danger, the Dean keeps a level head and says that they can’t be sure the break-in was to find the key. Monk reminds Dean Hwang that many in the Moorim Association think he was the one who stole the key from Chae Yoon eighteen years ago. Dean Hwang sees that Monk isn’t as loyal as he thought and won’t be pressured into revealing what he knows. However, Monk has succeeded in spreading suspicion about Dean Hwang among the students and staff. As the teachers discuss the key, Professor Dae Ho tells them that the keeper of the key was ambushed by the Juk Poong eighteen years ago. It was then that the key was broken into three pieces and it disappeared. But who is the Juk Poong – is it Dean Kwang? That’s what everyone wonders.
Shi Woo meets the Dean in the foyer and tells him that everyone is confused. Dean Kwang tells Si Woo that he was his age when he first heard about the chintamani. When Shi Woo asks about the key, the Dean tells him that he doesn’t possess it so much as the school possesses it. There is a bond growing between these two with the unspoken and perhaps not clearly understood link of Chae Yoon that they share. Dean Kwang must have some idea that the man who appeared and healed Shi Woo’s head that time could be Chae Yoon. Furthermore, the Dean suspects that Shi Woo is his son and the natural successor to Moorim School. Shi Woo’s comfort at Moorim confirms that he was called there for a reason. As the atmosphere surrounding Moorim quakes at the stirring of an awakening, those present can’t help but be involved.
Secretary Chang has information about ONP Holings after all. He meets with Chi Ang at his mother’s house. It feels like a set up. Secretary Chang tells Chi Ang that he hasn’t told his father anything about the kidnapping or his injury. The reason is that he doesn’t want Chairman Hao to be disappointed in Chi Ang again. Chi Ang is surprised as Secretary Chang continues. It is important to build confidence in Chi Ang’s abilities to take over Sang Hae group, but as it stands, Chairman Hao cannot justify Chi Ang as successor. That is why the Chairman sent Chi Ang to Moorim, to establish his position there first as capable and powerful and make a name for himself there. Then the son that has the power will be prepared to run the great Sang Hae Group.
- Oh no! Shi Woo and Chi Ang are preparing to be rivals, arch enemies, protector and pursuer of the chintamani. Just as their fathers were eighteen years ago. We could see Chi Ang step back from Soon Deok and not contact Shi Woo this episode. It felt like a tear in the relationship he had with each of them. Instead of viewing his father, Chairman Hao, as someone he wants nothing to do with, he is becoming aware of the advantages of being the heir to Sang Hae Group. In the meantime, Shi Woo has been awakened to suppressed memories that have caused him to consider why he is at Moorim and what his connection to it – and other people – means. It feels like Chi Ang is going to the dark side, while Shi Woo is stepping up to the greater cause. But, I can’t be sure of this, yet.
- I didn’t mention Yub Jung in the recap, but his sinister looks and higher awareness of what is going on makes me think he is somehow involved in the break in. Who is he associated with?
- Also Professor Dae Ho was there eighteen years ago and knows the most about the rival groups, the chintamani, and the rumors. He and Dean Hwang must be on the same page, or is he in cahoots with Monk? Monk is growing impatient and starting to cause trouble.
- Then there’s Sun Ah – our Zelda-like character. She seems innocent to what is going on, but has acquired powers and skills at Moorim and is strong both physically and mentally. Dean Hwang has raised her well. Now that she is no longer a little girl, it is a bittersweet exchange between father and daughter about revealing secrets and the responsibility and burdens that go with it. The Dean knows she has been put in danger, but he can no longer protect her by hiding her away. I look forward to Sun Ah’s involvement in the chintamani – in fact, I await the paring of brother Shi Woo with sister Sun Ah and their unleashed power to take on the forces of evil. I just hope it’s not Chi Ang who becomes their enemy because the ending won’t be pretty.
- What direction do you think Shi Woo’s and Chi Ang’s bromance will take?