Read Episode reviews for:
Dream High--Episodes 1-2
Dream High--Episodes 3-4
Dream High--Episodes 5-6
Dream High--Episodes 7-8
Dream High--Episodes 9-10
Dream High--Episodes 11-12
Dream High--Episodes 13-14
Contains Spoilers for Episodes 15-16
Hyemi, Samdong, Jinguk, Baekhee, Pilsook, and Jason are slated to be in a new pop band, so their professional hopes are in high gear. Samdong and Jinguk talk about their love rivalry over Hyemi, and Samdong says he's not confident that Hyemi will pick him. Oh, kid, you just don't know what we know. Samdong goes to talk to Hyemi, but when he calls out to her she bolts in the other direction and runs for an unreasonably long time. Samdong catches her on the stairs and asks, "Do you still feel sorry for me and pity me?" She can't answer properly (but the answer is "no"), and her phone suddenly rings--her dad has returned!
Hyemi's Dad: Abandoner of Daughters, Ruiner of Good Moments.
Dad shows up at Teacher Oh-hyuk's house and Hyemi runs to him happily, then starts beating him. It's good to see that she doesn't instantly forgive him for being a deadbeat. In a less rosy world than Dream High, leaving your teen daughter in the hands of a loan shark usually wouldn't end well. Anyhoo, Dad's back in the picture and he wants to move their family to the States so Hyemi can attend school at Julliard and pursue classical music again.
But Your Boys Don't Want You to Leave, Hyemi!
Hyemi kinda wants to go to the States, but she's conflicted about the choice. Samdong talks to Hyemi outside her closed bedroom door: "Can't you just stay here? You brought me out of my troubles. If you leave now...what am I supposed to do?" He doesn't get an answer. Jinguk is going to miss Hyemi a lot, but Samdong is hurt deeply by the idea of separation. So now we know: one guy will eventually be okay without her, and one won't recover for a long, long time.
Their new 6-person pop group is called "Dream High" and they've all got mad skills, but unfortunately Jinguk and Baekhee have been black-balled from television appearances, so the group can't really promote. JYP suggests that they all do a flash mob and gain internet success instead of pursuing traditional routes of publicity. And the kids gather their flash mob by blackmailing every kid they know! It's rather hilarious that our main six kids have been mistreated often enough that they can call on favors from the entire student body. The flash mob scene is perhaps the most fun thing I've viewed in a long time.
These days, Hyemi's avoiding Samdong like the madness, but Jinguk tells her he knows where her heart lies now.
It Lies With the Guy on the Right.
Samdong, however, is offered a really huge opportunity to go to America by himself, just as Hyemi has decided to stay in Korea. Oh noes!
Fast-forward eight years into the future. It's 2018. Pilsook is a kindergarten teacher, and though she's not in the spotlight anymore, she had a good musical run and she and Jason are still happy together. Baekhee is a totally boss dance teacher at Kirin, and her former mentor Teacher Shi is the Arts Director. Teacher Shi and Teacher Oh-hyuk are married, and he's still as much of a bleeding heart as he ever was. Jinguk is a major K-pop star (he shows up at the airport looking a whole lot like Rain), but Jinguk is not the world famous Grammy-winner "K" mentioned in episode one. "K" is actually Samdong. Our precious snowflake became a world star, and he still wears the pendant Hyemi gave him.
Necklace of Great Significance and Marketing Value.
A flashback reveals that Samdong didn't want to go to America, but to push him on to greatness, Hyemi all but forced him to leave. Nowadays, Hyemi's doing classical music, and all her friends (except Samdong) and teachers have come to watch her 100th concert.
But doggone it, the ending let me down. Hard. I wanted a big 8-years-have-passed reunion between Samdong and Hyemi. WHERE IS MY REUNION, Y'ALL?
See This? We Needed More of This.
Things I Loved:
1. Like Father, Like Daughter. It was pretty funny to see Hyemi's dad exemplifying all the not-so-great aspects of Hyemi's early personality. He's spoiled and fastidious like Hyemi was, he has a poker face like his daughter, and he has trouble emoting.
This IS My Happy Face.
2. The Magic Six. We don't see them all together for very long, but I loved having the main six cast members all in one band.
Dream High Rangers, Assemble!
3. The Flash Mob. It's pure grin-inducing musical awesomeness. One of the better scenes in the series.
1. The backstory about Hyemi's mom is overwrought and kinda ridiculous. It wasn't believable even within the context of this very dramatic show.
2. The Ending, and the accompanying empty feeling that comes when all the warm fuzzies are gone.
My Exact Expression During the Last Five Minutes of the Show.
Own Your Own Past: In a TV interview, Pilsook has to face a giant picture of her pre-weightloss self and has to publicly poke fun at the way she used to look. She shouldn't have to do this, but I'm proud of her for rolling with the punches and not getting angry. Pilsook explains to Jason that even at her highest weight, she was pretty happy. She doesn't want to erase the old pictures from her blog because that would be erasing the memory of her happiness. Jason reveals that the picture on his cellphone is of her old self, so he's cool with her at any size, too.
Jimjilbangs! Hyemi's Dad takes her and kid sis Hyesung to a jimjilbang sauna to stay overnight while he's hiding from the loanshark. I think it's the exact same jimjilbang from our earlier dance practices.
And the Uniforms Are Still Just as Classy.
House slippers: It's so cute that everyone in Oh-hyuk's house, from tiny children to grown men, is wearing little puffy slippers because in Korea, shoes are not worn indoors.
oraeganmanimnida is "It's been a long time/long time no see/ we meet again"
Miguk is "America"
Gokjeongijima is a longer form of gokjeongma, or "Don't worry"
Byeongwon-eso is "at the hospital"
Episode Evaluations: To be honest, I was let down by this ending. I wanted Samdong and Hyemi to be together in the present, whenever the present was for the end of the show--and they aren't. In 2018, they're in different places being totally awesome, and while that's so very realistic, it's not my favorite move. *sigh* My romantic hopes are rather easily dashed.