I wonder if you felt the same as I did while watching High, things happen not only at lightspeed (for kdramas’ standards), but it also feels very organic. By “organic”, I mean that the show doesn’t unnecessarily draw out melo-dramas, angsty moments (they are there, but curtailed after 1ep or so). Most of the unfortunate events happen and flow past you to reach the next climactic event. Very Life-like.
I anticipated something to happen in ep15, with Hyung-seok coming back and the revenge plot against Comfo revealed. However, what I didn’t bet on was it only took less than half an hour for President Yoo to be baited, trapped and skinned for the pot. One reason may be cos the show isn’t heavy on corporate politickings, focusing instead of the idea of “family”, which show is rather heavy handedly deals with.
We have the obvious family nuclei — but note that they are all “broken families”; the members are either not related by blood or in some cases, acknowledged as a family. We have Min-seok + Hyung-seok with surrogate father (Driver Choi) and Grandpa, Soo-young + Yoo-ah with widowed (and mainly absent) mum, Jin-woo + sick mum and President Yoo, who feels ashamed of his illegitimate son. Already, the protagonists’ families are not blood-related or even complete. Thus, it is easy for us to also see other “families” within the show — such as the Retail Team, with Team Leader Kim as a surrogate uncle, and the rest of the team as Min-seok’s distant “cousins” of sorts.
Ironically , when the real sibling, Hyung-seok, returns, the balance is temporarily overthrown (before the show kicks him off to Germany again). The familial relationships falter — the Retail Team loses their warm Director Lee and worries over their now-precarious jobs, and on Min-seok’s home ground, Grandpa dies. After Hyung-seok’s departure, life returns to a form of normalcy. However, new family relationships are born or repaired, thanks to Hyung-seok’s shakeup.
Most adorably cute is the sealing of Jin-woo + Min-seok’s brotherhood, with the latter acknowledging Jin-woo as “hyung’, and the former cheekily calls Min-seok his “cute dongsaeng” — before asking to borrow his dongsaeng’s girlfriend. The two are so cute, I won’t mind watching them for hours…like the scene where Min-seok dumps his friends (who are giving him crap advice, as usual) to look for his hyung for a chicken-cola/ chicken-beer (and some peevish whining) session. While complaining to his hyung about how hard studying is, the hyung gives the typical bossy, arrogant elder-brother/sister’s reply — “Oh, studying to ME is a breeezzzee”. (i do that a lot to my younger sis, so i know…it has an immediate effect of making the young’un cutely pissed yet impressed with u at the same time). And of cos, when his hyung points out that Min-seok has been robbing all the chicken drumsticks, the dongsaeng immediately turns on his aegyo and pout-whines to have the LAST drumstick in the box. (again, what MY little sis used to do too) Like a nice big brother, Jin-woo gives in.
On a bigger scale, Min-seok’s ex-“subordinates” at Comfo have also adopted him like their little brother/cousin. All of them turn up for his ice hockey final games — even Managing Director appears to cheer Min-seok on. Now that Min-seok has left the Retail Team, Team Leader Kim gets promoted to Director. Despite him trying to be grave and serious in his new position, the moment he asks about Min-seok, he reverts to his Mother Hen mode. (some habits are hard to break)
So, yes…while we grieve for Grandpa’s passing, we also celebrate the new family members Min-seok has brought in to his life. But there may be one little problem at the moment: with Min-seok back to being a high schooler, his relationship with Soo-young may be tested. And it is starting to hit him pretty hard that his girlfriend is really also a noona — someone older, with a different social circle, different responsibilites and most importantly, someone whom he lacks resources to protect. Afterall, she is the one earning the dole, while he (sans the corporate credit card) is at the receiving end.
[On a separate note: Seo In-guk has really outdone himself in High. His one-man show at playing 2 distinct characters really shows that he IS an actor, instead of juz being eye candy. But oh my, the eye candy part is fully justified too. I can’t decide which Seo In-guk I prefer…the bespectacled, cool Hyung-seok or the cutely jealous, goofy Min-seok. Maybe I’ll juz take both. And no, I’m not sharing. :P]