Why did I start?
For the drama addicts who know me; I am a pretty busy person. I don’t simply pick any drama because there are so many things to do. So why did I start this?
No matter how complicated my relationship with my profession is; I am still a teacher. So any school drama attracts my attention; so I was attracted. Then the cast gave me a definite reason to start. Though I hesitated when I read the plot. I mean c’mon! No ladies in their 40s acting as teenagers! But now that I finished episode 1; I’m hooked.
The drama starts with Jo Kang Ja (Kim Hee Sun) cooking in her restaurant and having a monologue. She’s meditating the ways people use to show off their power and strength. She mentions age, fist and money. Then she models one of the strong ways; the power of speech. She goes into a cursing fit when customers start fighting. She looks so adorable. The curly hair sure makes her look like an ahjumma.
Jo Kang Ja then goes home to face one the one invincible power; her mother-in-law, who typically starts nagging and Escolding. Kang Ja’s husband is apparently a mama’s boy and a careless man. He just plays around with his mom not doing anything useful.
The main story starts when Kang Ja’s daughter Oh Ah Ran (Kim Yoo Jung) leaves for her academy. Kang Ja talks to her daughter who coldly ignores her. The mom follows the daughter and in the most caring way offers her a ride, a scarf then allowance. Rudely, Ah Ran keeps cutting her mother out. Kang Ja goes back home. It starts raining and the worried mom carries an umbrella and runs to her daughter’s academy.
What happens to Ah Ran before her mom arrives?
Ah Ran is a model student, but her friend is questionable (we’re not sure as to why). The girls bully the friend; I kyong and call her lesbian. When Ah Ran tries to help her friend, she gets bullied and pushed around as well. One male student, Hong Sang Tae (B1A4’s Baro; who’ll turn out to be the owner of the school’s son) witnesses the bullying and makes a phone call. Another student appears; who’s obviously a bully as well because he scares the hell out of the female students who bullied Ah Ran and I Kyung. The female bullies leave and the male student Go Bok Dong (Ji Soo; first time seeing him or at least noticing him) tells Ah Ran roughly not to ”cause trouble” again.
Back to Kang Ja.
Kang Ja awaits her daughter in front of the academy. When Ah Ran beholds her mother she freaks out. She drags her mother away from the students’ eyes and tries to send her away. The mother insists on an explanation of Ah Ran’s coldness towards her. Ah Ran and after trying to send her mom away pointlessly admits that the problem is that her mother is her mother. She refuses the umbrella and runs back to I Kyong. Kang Ja watches Ah Ran walking away, and in her frustration throws the umbrella away. At that moment, she meets our hero.
The academy teacher Park Noh Ha (Ji Hyun Woo) is disregarded by the pressured and uninterested students but he’s obviously in love with his job. Though it’s only the first episode, he apparently cares about his student. He’s so naive and kind. When he notices Kang Ja, who’s wearing her daughter’s gym clothes, throwing away her umbrella, he mistakes her for a student and follows her. Pissed-off Kang Ja enters a street stall and orders soju. No Ha tries to stop her in all his teacher toughness. He sucks out Kang Ja’s last attempt to calm down. Kang Ja breaks into another fit of cursing leaving Noh Ha and the other customers stupefied.
When she goes home she opens her daughter’s locked room with an extra key to demand an answer. Kang Ja notices Ah Ran sleeping with her uniform on. Taking the jacket off, she beholds the multiple scars on her daughter’s body. When Ah Ran refuses to give her mom a satisfying answer, Kang Ja goes nuts. She consults her husband who tells her it’s better to solve it quietly Both mention something about Ah Ran not being their biological daughter and Ah Ran seems to know but no further explanation is given.
Next day she meets with Ah Ran’s teacher who advises her against investigating the matter and asks her to cover it up. Kang Ja raises a school violence issue but the more she tries the more she finds that it’s not only useless but that it’s going to hurt her daughter even more. She even contacts a judge she knows. But after attending a trial on a similar issue and seeing how the assailant repeated the exact action immediately after the trial and witnessing a mother wailing because her daughter committed suicide because of the same issue, Kang Ja tries to change the method. She goes to the police station and tries to report it but she fails.
That same day, Go Bok Dang chases Ah Ran and gives her a real fright threatening her to shut her mouth and not mention what she knows about I Kyung (which we still don’t know). Petrified and scarred Ah Ran breaks down the moment she finds herself in her mother’s arms. Kang Ja finally realises that it won’t be easy to solve that issue and recalls Ah Ran’s teacher’s words of asking her to transfer her daughter to another school.
Side Stories/ Characters
Veteran actor Park Geun Hyeong plays the minister of education. He only made a brief appearance in the first episode so I’m not sure. But based on my guess and his previous roles, he’ll be a bad guy.
Park Young Kyu plays chairman Hong Sang Bok the owner of the school. He’s a jerk who’d do anything for money. We see him acting sick to avoid answering to some investigations. We’re not sure to what yet but from the way he beat his employee’s brains out, he’s the violent and arrogant type.
Hong Sang Bok is followed by four people. Ahn Dong Chul (Kim Hee Won) who appeared at first to be composed and reasonable but from Gang Ja’s flashback seems the opposite. In Gang Ja’s memories he beat her to make her stay away from his sister. We do not the details yet.
Chairman’s secretary is Joo Ae Yeo (Oh Yoon Ah). She doesn’t seem to enjoy her job much and she casts hateful glances at the chairman. Much to be revealed there.
Oh Dal Bong (Kim Byeong Chun) is the head teacher of the school. He’s a brown-nose busy flattering the chairman.
The most intriguing character of all around the chairman is the charismatic villain Kim Tae Hoon; playing Do Jeong Woo. Not sure what kind of villain he is and to what extent his villainy will reach but I can tell by the smirk. I’m always impressed by the amount of darkness he can portray.
The story is set in school. The focus is on school violence and eduction as politics and business. It’s not your typical bullying work seemingly. Many dark secrets are going to be found out. I dare to say it’ll be a bloody battle in the education field.
The acting in the first episode is satisfying. Kim Hee Sun can disappoint sometimes but judging from episode 1, this role fits her well. Ji Hyun Woo does great wherever he is. Will enjoy watching his as teacher and will lament my luck of not having a similar teacher in my workplace. Not sure if they’ll be romance between him and Hee Sun since she’s married but after 2 hilarious scenes in episode 1, I’ll look forward to their encounters.
Kim Yoo Jung is a young genius. So far I hate her character -maybe because I acted the same way back in high school and I don’t know how to manage such students now!- Anyhow I’m sure she won’t disappoint.
The two actors I’m mostly looking forward to watch are Kim Tae Hoon and Baro; being a fan of both.
What will the next episodes hide for us?