Read Episode reviews for:
Dream High--Episodes 1-2
Dream High--Episodes 3-4
Dream High--Episodes 7-8
Dream High--Episodes 9-10
Dream High--Episodes 11-12
Dream High--Episodes 13-14
Dream High--Episodes 15-16
Contains Spoilers for Episodes 5-6
Hyemi has challenged Baekhee to a showdown. Whichever girl wins the end-of-month assessments gets bragging rights and also gets treated well by the student body; needless to say, this means more to Hyemi than Baekhee, who is already at the top of the school foodchain.
Our love stories are scooting forward slowly. I love Jinguk so much for telling Hyemi to grow up and be bold, but doing so with a huge smile that means he's on her side. And then sweet Samdong puts a band aid on Hyemi's cut forehead while she's sleeping! These are back-to-back moments of pure sweetness, highlighting what each guy can do for Hyemi: Jinguk challenges her and pushes her to be awesomer, while Samdong soothes her hurts. Of this, which do you pick?
Obtain Bandage. Apply Directly to Forehead.
In side news, Pilsook has been demoted to the lower class, but she has lost some weight and her chubbysuit looks closer to natural now. Our villain Baekhee is currently crushing on Jinguk, but he wouldn't like her if he knew how two-faced she has become in her desire to take Hyemi down. I do like how the main girls' rivalry is still about pride and personal issues, not a catfight over a boy.
The lower class has to learn how to convey their emotions through song, so Teacher Oh-hyuk gets Jinman (JYP!) to help the lower class learn to perform properly, so they'll stand a chance against the kids with better training. The lower class kids work hard, and then they do a street performance of "Genie" by SNSD which actually manages to be beautiful and touching and meaningful. Again, this makes me think of the random street performance scene in Dream High 2 and how it can't compare to this one, where the kids are all giving a heartfelt performance specifically to encourage another person.
And then tragedy strikes. Samdong gets hit with a falling flower pot that was meant for Hyemi, and it leaves him bleeding and unconscious. Baekhee is trembling in horror at what she's done; harming an innocent person in an attempt to hurt her nemesis. Hyemi sticks by Samdong's side as he makes his recovery, so this side of the triangle is getting all the bonding right now, but Jinguk is also back at school helping out Hyemi by investigating Baekhee.
Stricken By Guilt-Face.
Samdong recovers just as the half-semester showcase is coming up at Kirin. But the lower class will not have a chance to appear in the coveted showcase! Samdong is heartbroken because his mother was going to come out to Seoul to watch him perform, but now she won't be able to. Hyemi decides to make his dream happen by helping perform a fake showcase, though it's really Teacher Oh-hyuk who puts everything together.
Teacher Oh-hyuk has always been a bland background character for me, but then in a speech to Samdong he reveals that he has even been a bland background character in his own life. Oh-hyuk's dreams are always out of reach, so he wants to help the kids achieve theirs. Samdong breaks down crying when his teacher says this (oh my goodness, real tears? Rip my heart out, why don't you!), and it contributes to the show's ongoing theme of "People are not what you thought they were". Hyemi hates Teacher Oh-hyuk for ruining her family, but Oh-hyuk has rescued her and stuck by her almost more than her two boys have. He has paid her loanshark debts, kept her in school, given her a place to live...it's really quite wonderful. *meltyheart*
Things I Loved:
1. The Love Triangle. Bear with me on this, but Dream High is one of the few instances where I've ever liked both guy characters in a love triangle and where I honestly thought the heroine would be justified in caring for both. We all know that love triangles have to end soon because they only cause pain in the long run, but in these early stages, I see just how great Jinguk and Samdong both are.
The Triangle of Awesome: Aerial View.
2. Hyemi's Emotions. Suzy's not the most emotive actress, but she has always seemed real to me as Hyemi because I know people like this--real human beings whose emotions are just not there on the surface for anyone to see. I think I like Hyemi because she's not flimsy and super-emotional, and when she finally does show her worries, that endears her to me even more. Hyemi cries while Samdong is in the ER because while she'd never drown in her own self-pity, when someone she cares about is hurt, she crumples.
When She Cries, It's Serious.
3. The Meta. I love when K-dramas reference other K-dramas, and this show did some spot-on nods to other shows. I nearly died over the wonderful daydream scene where Samdong pictures himself and Jinguk as being the beloved princes of Kirin, walking through the school doors, gloriously backlit as the goshawful Boys Over Flowers theme song plays.
And now that I think of it, Kim Soohyun does look a lot like Kim Bum from BOF.
1. Pilsook's doll. I really wish Pilsook didn't carry around that creepy little stuffed doll. Ladies, it's acceptable to have these on your bed or your shelf, but not to tote them around in public when you're in high school. But the poor girl is clearly using her doll as a comfort object.
You Can Do It! Jinguk teases Samdong for making cheesy pep-talks, but it's so nice to have someone who's finding the bright side of life and preparing to push past obstacles. And isn't that part of the charm of Dream High, the feeling that these kids can really accomplish something? And it turns out that teacher Oh-hyuk really cares for the kids and is willing to do anything to help them realize their dreams, too.
No Caption Prepared; I Just Like This Picture.
Cruel to Be Kind: Hyemi tells Samdong that owing him favors is a burden to her because she's worried over what will happen to him if he keep rescuing her. The loanshark might even target him, next.
I'm Pushing You Away Because I Care.
Dads Are Disappointing: Samdong's mom is an adoring parent, but Hyemi's dad has abandoned her, and Jinguk's dad is ashamed of him. K-drama papas usually leave a lot to be desired when it comes to fulfilling proper parenting roles.
Too Tough to Have Daddy Issues. Until Now.Cultural Observances:
New words: "Sem" is teacher, but in a affectionate form like "Teach". "Pi" is "blood," which is mentioned when Hyemi gets a cut on her forehead. "Baek" is "100" and Samdong talks about making their ghetto practice room a 100 times better if they clean it up
Episode Evaluations: These episodes are fun and sad and singable and moving. Oh, what a joy to watch characters who work hard, fail, and get back up again! And then we also get a cute performance of "Genie" as icing on the cake.
Question: Dream High fans, at this point in the series, were you rooting for Jinguk or Samdong to get the girl?