No other reason for choosing this photo, but that Park Shin Hye looks really cute.
EPISODE 3: “Champion”
There are some songs that are so well-known within a certain circle that it is often considered the unofficial anthem of that circle. For example, “Arirang” is often cited as the unofficial national anthem of Korea. Cool’s “해변의 여인” (Woman of Beach) is widely regarded as the unofficial summer theme song. And for college students, it’s this song…
The third episode is titled “Champion.” A 2002 song by Psy, “Champion” is probably the most frequently played song on Korean college campuses during any major college festivals or celebrations, definitely in 2002 but even to this day. Alas, I hate this song, but I must agree that there’s something about it that makes people feel uninhibited, well-representing the youth and passion of college students. Even from my own experience, once this song starts getting played, before long, everyone joins in.
As Shin sings his song “Because I Miss You,” he rethinks back to his meeting with his dad, his unrequited love for Yoon-soo, and his Jejudo trip earlier in the first episode. (By the way, we still have yet to learn why he made that trip, and I really hope the drama at one point explains it. I just thought it was unusual for a college age male to go on a trip by himself, unless there was some purpose to it.) Meanwhile, as Kyu-won listens to the song with wonder in her eyes, she thinks back over to all her past encounters with Shin.
“Because I Miss You”
Alway the same sky and always the same day
But for you not being here, nothing has changed.
I thought I’ve let you go and nothing remains.
But no, no. I still have not let you go.
Longing for you, I’m longing for you. Cause I’m longing for you,
I always call out for you, again and again, by myself everyday.
Missing you, I’m missing you. Cause I’m missing you,
Like a habit, now I just call out your name.
Every day by day, I feel like I am dying,
What am I to do?
Love you, Love you. I love you.
Without being able to tell you, I’ve let you go.
Sorry, I am sorry. Can you hear me?
Will you be able to hear my belated confession?
I love you.
After the performance, Kyu-won catches up with Shin as he gets ready to leave. She tells him that she was caught as she answered for him during roll call, and they now need to each write a letter of apology to the professor. Not surprisingly, Shin orders Kyu-won to write his letter for him, and when she refuses, he calls her a “useless slave.” As he bikes away, she wishes upon him a flat tire on his bike.
In fact, Shin goes to wait for Yoon-soo outside her house. (Wait, he even knows where she lives?!) Yoon-soo reprimands him for doing this again, but he tells her about his meeting with his dad earlier that day (confirming to us viewers that he indeed knew that the man in the hospital was his dad) and that he just needed to share the news with someone. Yoon-soo softens, saying that she’s happy for him. (This hints to us viewers that Shin may have once shared about his dad to Yoon-soo.)
The entire campus is buzzing about the upcoming audition for the school’s 100th year anniversary show.
Suk-hyun and those professors who are involved in the production hold a meeting. After the initial introduction, the other professors express concern about the sudden change of the director, of having an outsider spearhead a school production, and of his decision to overturn everything they have planned so far so late in the game.
Suk-hyun says he understands, but he asks that they not react so sensitively and just view him as an alumnus of the school, as he is. And as for the new direction the show is going to take, he already has it planned out. As he looks at Yoon-soo, he explains that the show will be about a girl who leaves her lover to pursue her dream of becoming a star, but after a tragic accident, she returns after failing to achieve her dream.
The air in the room gets charged, and Tae-joon calls Suk-hyun out of the room to have a word with him.
Tae-joon: Must you do this to Yoon-soo?
Suk-hyun: Didn’t you hear me? This is a cliche story used hundreds of times before in other dramas…
Tae-joon: (cutting him off) Yoon-soo is having a hard enough time as is. Don’t do anything to hurt her again.
Suk-hyun: Hyung, do you like Yoon-soo?
Suk-hyun: You don’t seem to know Yoon-soo very well, but she’s not as weak as you think she is. She’s far stronger than me or you. Giving her petty sympathy will hurt her more!
Tae-joon: Don’t act like you’re the only one who knows Yoon-soo well. Six years is a long time. If you are thinking of playing around, you should quit now. I will convince the (university) president myself.
Suk-hyun: I’m not quitting. Hmph, I’m getting worked up. I’m going to see it to the end. I’m sorry, but it seems like there is no place for you to butt in.
Shin and Kyu-won are called before their professor, as he looks overs their apology letters. Looking amused, he asks them whether they’re a “CC” (Korean short term for “campus couple”) and in a relationship with each other.
Kyu-won: No. Never. That’s ridiculous!
Shin: (calmly) I have high standards.
(Kyu-won gives him the stank eye.)
The professor asks whether it’s a one-sided love then. Shin smirks, and Kyu-won answers no. Confirming that they’re not dating and that neither party is suffering from an unrequited love, the professor concludes that it won’t matter for them to read each other’s letter (for there’s no worry that they’ll suffer humiliation in front of their lover).
Shin: (reading Kyu-won’s letter) Dear respectable professor. For upsetting you by sitting in for another student during class, I’m very very very sorry. I’m really, really, really repenting for my actions. I swear to the heavens that I will really really really make sure that this never ever ever happens again.
Kyu-won: (reading Shin’s letter) Last time, I had an important lesson that I could not miss. I’m sorry for not telling you myself and sending a dumb student to relay the message…. (Kyu-won stops reading at the mention of a dumb student, and accusingly asks, “Who are you calling dumb?!”)
Shin: You really really really really really really don’t know?
When the two start bickering, the professor decides that he can’t just let them off with merely an apology letter. He orders them to clean the theater department’s prop room, and have it checked by the teaching assistant before they leave.
(Blue: Okay, it’s official. Those two are the cutest when they’re bickering with each other! More of this, please!)
The room’s a mess, and Kyu-won wonders how they’ll clean it all by the end of the day. Shin agrees, saying that it’ll indeed be hard to finish it by herself by the end of the day unless she gets right to work. Reminding her that she’s his slave, he has her do all the work while he gracefully agrees to watch over her work.
Kyu-won starts putting away the costumes, and when she tries on what looks like a witch hat, he orders her to try on a jester’s outfit that he picked out for her instead. And a twisted “Pretty Woman” montage follows of Kyu-won trying on different costumes as ordered by Shin, including a Snow White outfit and a princess dress.
But when Kyu-won trips on the dress and falls, Shin immediately shows concern and turns around to ask her whether she’s okay. Just then, the lights briefly go out, and when they turn back on, they find that their face is just mere inches away from each other’s. Kyu-won calls out his name, but Shin literally falls back, startled and unnerved by her proximity.
As they turn to leave after they finish cleaning the room, Kyu-won asks whether he really missed class because of a lesson.
Shin: It’s none of your business.
Kyu-won: Whose fault is it that I had to write a punishment paper?
Shin: You’re the one who lost the bet. If you feel it’s unfair, you should have won. You have nothing else to tell me, right?
Shin turns around and throws her his bike keys. He tells her to pump air into the tires and bring the bike to Catharsis, for her “curse” was the cause of the flat tires when she wished the flat on him. Kyu-won finds this hilarious, unable to hide her delight.
When Hee-joo sees Kyu-won with Shin’s bike, she wants to know what Kyu-won is doing with Shin’s bike and her exact relationship with him. Kyu-won merely asks the same question to Hee-joo.
Hee-joo: Don’t you know who I am? I’m theater major, Han Hee-joo.
Kyu-won: I don’t know. Ahh, are you a celebrity?
This irreverently puts Hee-joo back in her place. But before she leaves, she warns Kyu-won to not cling to Shin, and oh, and not make a move on director Kim Suk-hyun either. Fuming mad, Kyu-won vents all her anger on pumping air into the tires.
Kyu-won drops off the bike and returns his keys to Shin at Catharsis. Suk-hyun was in the middle of persuading Shin to audition for the school’s 100th year anniversary show when Kyu-won finds them.
Suk-hyun: (to Kyu-won) Why, are you interested?
Kyu-won: No, not really.
Suk-hyun: If you’re good, you can even get the role of the female lead. You see, I’m the director.
Kyu-won: The female lead?!
Kyu-won: (turning to Shin) Why did you laugh? Are you mocking me?
Suk-hyun: He mocked you. He just mocked you.
But as Shin turns to leave the place, he turns to Kyu-won and tells her, “I do wish to hear you play gayageum again someday.” This takes Kyu-won by surprise, and Suk-hyun takes this opportunity to present Kyu-won the offer to audition, adding that there’s also scholarship money involved.
As Suk-hyun walks away from his car, he finds Yoon-soo waiting for him.
Yoon-soo: Bastard. (She returns the insult he called her in the previous episode.)
Suk-hyun: Why? Are you going to quit?
Yoon-soo: It’s really petty and low.
Suk-hyun: Then how about you? Should I tell you how cruel you were? That’s why I told you to quit.
Yoon-soo: No, I’m going to see till the end how much lower you’ll fall. And there will never come a day that I quit first. I came to tell you this.
(She turns to get back in her car, but he chases after her and apologizes for earlier.)
That night, Kyu-won admits to her dad over the phone that Shin’s mockery is part of the reason why she is considering auditioning. There’s also the scholarship opportunity. Her dad tells her not to worry about earning a scholarship, but he does think it may present a memorable college experience for her. Only by trying out different things will she be able to find what she really wants to do. Once she gets off the phone with her dad, she smiles as she recalls Shin’s words that he wishes to hear her play the gayageum again, and the next day, she announces to her Windflowers’ friends that they should audition.
With 10 days left, students all over campus are busy practicing in preparation for the audition. Except for Shin, who is idly taking naps at the school library.
Suk-hyun tracks down a former student, HYUN KI-YOUNG (Lee Hyun Jin), by asking several different sources, including reluctant Tae-joon and Ki-young’s friend, Soo-myung. Acknowledged by everyone for his talent, Suk-hyun wants Ki-young to play the lead in the 100th year anniversary show, but Ki-young has given up on his dream to purse acting and was on leave from school after his severe stage fright caused him to ruin several productions in the past.
Many people oppose (or will oppose) the idea of Ki-young returning to stage, including Tae-joon, the other kids, especially Hee-joo, and well, Ki-young himself. But Suk-hyun knows otherwise that Ki-young still very wants to act, and that if he lets this chance go, he’ll regret it for the rest of his life. Suk-hyun tells Ki-young to make sure to show up at the audition.
Joon-hee comes to pick up Hee-joo as she finishes another long night of practice, and offers to give her a ride home on his scooter. She reluctantly agrees to it, seeing how he is dressed in his cool drummer outfit, as opposed to looking like his usual self. But she proceeds to complain about the ride the entire way, and when they get drenched from the sudden rainfall during the ride home, she threatens to kill him if she catches a cold. Joon-hee tries to appease her with a chocolate bar, but that only enrages her further and she storms back into her house.
Back at home, Hee-joo shares her confidence about the audition with her mom, and shoots down her mom’s suggestion to use her father’s influence to guarantee landing the lead role.
It’s finally the day of the audition!
Knowing that Ki-young won’t come on his own, Suk-hyun asks Soo-myung to drag him over, if he has to. Soo-myung does exactly that, lying to Ki-young that he has to come to school because there’s a problem and he may not be awarded credits for a class.
On the morning of the audition, Hee-joo runs a severe fever, but she insists on still going to the audition. Her mom tries to convince her to stay, saying that she’ll have her husband take care of everything. But Hee-joo knows otherwise, and that it won’t have any effect on Suk-hyun. She’s ultimately stopped when she physically collapses.
Joon-hee is with his bandmates, complaining of boredom. At first, he wonders whether he should go and audition as well (by doing beatboxing). Then he recalls that Hee-joo will be auditioning, and runs to go watch. But he is left puzzled when he can’t locate Hee-joo anywhere.
Shin visits his father at the hospital, and the father and son play the guitar together.
Joon-hee sticks his head in the auditorium where the audition is being held and asks if “Hee-joo unni” is here. Hilariously, Suk-hyun asks him back, “Did you hurt your head by any chance?” (Haha, yeah, I think we’re all wondering the same thing.) Just as Joon-hee is about to turn back around and leave, a group of boys get ready to dance to “Champion,” the song that is the title to this episode. Joon-hee runs up to the stage and starts dancing along, positioning himself right at the center of stage. (Yeah, I’d be pissed if I was one of the boys auditioning.) Before long, other students who were auditioning join in, and we get a montage of students all across campus dancing and practicing to the tune of “Champion.”
Realizing that he’s been tricked, Ki-young refuses to audition and turns to leave. The next group of auditionees is called in, Windflowers. However, Suk-hyun continues to address Ki-young’s back.
Suk-hyun: If you leave like this now, you will have no other chance. This is your last. Are you confident that you won’t regret it?
Tae-joon: Don’t waste your time. He’s impossible.
Suk-hyun: Do you want to remain “impossible” forever? (Ki-young takes a step towards the exit.) Ki-young!
Tae-joon asks Windflowers to start, and they start to play their song “If I Leave” from Empress Myung Sung OST. After some hesitation, Ki-young begins to sing along, his eyes closed the entire time. (I’ve earlier translated the first verse of the lyrics to the song here.) The judges applause in awe, and Kyu-won utters under her breath, “That was amazing.”
As the Windflowers’ girls watch Ki-young leave, they marvel at his beautiful voice. Kyu-wonders about how he was able to sing it when they have never coordinated with each other prior, and wonders if this is what performing is all about.
She texts her dad letting him know of the audition. She tells him it was fun, and that she’s glad she did it.
The audition is over, and Tae-joon remarks that Hee-joo didn’t show. Hee-joo’s mom calls, but Suk-hyun says there can be no exception.
When Joon-hee learns that Hee-joo missed the audition because of a cold, he runs to the hospital where she is staying at. As soon as he runs into her room, she blames him for everything and tells him to “go die.”
Joon-hee agrees that it was his fault and decides to correct the wrong. He starts stalking Suk-hyun, trying to convince him to allow Hee-joo to audition.
Suk-hyun: Luck is talent too. It’ll be unfair to the others as well.
Joon-hee: Hyung, you don’t know love!
Joon-hee: I’m a good runner. I don’t run out of breath even after a 100 meters race, but I can’t breathe when I see unni. This is love!
Suk-hyun: (laughing) Yeah, it sounds like love. Good luck!
The Stupid members are wondering about Joon-hee’s whereabout, noting that they haven’t see him all day. Then one of the members asks if Shin has been taking guitar lessons, noting that there’s more depth in the way Shin plays.
As Shin contemplates over their words, he receives a call from Joon-hee asking Shin for a favor. He asks that they cancel their performance at Catharsis, and instead meet at their school’s outdoor auditorium.
That evening, Joon-hee drags Hee-joo there, where The Stupid is already waiting for them. He tells her that this will be the site of her first performance, but she protests, saying what’s the use when there’s no one to listen to her. At that moment, Suk-hyun appears behind her, noting that he’s here to listen.
Hee-joo runs up to the stage and has the performance of her life, singing Jaurim’s “Magic Carpet Ride.” Suk-hyun remarks to himself, “She’s good.”
When Joon-hee drops her off back at the hospital, she tells him not to be mistaken that she was moved by something like this. But despite so, she “graciously” accepts and eats the chocolate bar from Joon-hee. Once alone, she smiles as she says to herself, “Even if I fail the audition, I have no regrets because I’ve had the greatest performance of my life. Thank you.”
The list of those who passed the audition is posted, and all the usual suspects have passed, including the Windflowers girls, Hee-joo, Ki-young, and those jealous upperclassmen theater major girls.
Everyone who has passed is told to gather at the auditorium, but The Stupid members are confused as to why they were called here by their professor. When Joon-hee spots Hee-joo, he runs to her, only to be told to get lost. To the amusement of Kyu-won, Bo-woon gets mad as she misinterprets their interaction as Hee-joo flirting with Joon-hee.
Suk-hyun walks in, and asks everyone to separate into two groups- the actors and the musicians. Shin raises his hand to say they didnt audition, but his female professor cuts in and says she recommended his band.
Shin gets ready to leave, when he’s stopped in his tracks as Yoon-soo walks into the room. And as Kyu-won walks to the musician side of the room, Suk-hyun tells her to go to the other side. She will be practicing with the acting team.
Kyu-won is puzzled as to what’s going on, when she gets distracted away by the sight of Shin staring at Yoon-soo, who’s staring at Suk-hyun, as he talks to Kyu-won. The love square is established!
Kyu-won: What is this? The air in this room… this feeling… what is this?
(And so starts the heartache of young love…)