The Banana Incident
Black Dog returns this week with a slower episode as it concentrates on the exam questions the teachers have to submit. This drama certianly takes its time settling into its groove but thankfully the second half of this one picks up the pace and ends things with an intriguing and surprising cliffhanger.
We begin with Hae-Won asking what he will take the fall for. Mr Do leaves so Ha-Neul tells him she needs to talk about the exam questions. He tells her that she’s not her course partner and to know her place, before leaving to take a call. Ha-Neul returns home to find her uncle having drinks with her parents and talking about her performance at school while she asks him if she has a chance of becoming permanent.
Mr Do speaks to Hae-Won about his current situation while we see Yoo-Ra struggling with her studies. She then waits until everyone is gone and starts taking pictures of the sample exam syllabus on Jae-Hyun’s desk. The next morning, the teachers receive an email from the principal explaining that they need to submit their exam questions. Later on they all find out about the short term teacher spreading rumours about Mr Moon online and wonder just who it could be.
Afterwards, the four Korean teachers meet to discuss the exam questions and Ms Park decides to help as she has a few questions to suggest. Mr Ha then asks Ha-Neul if there were any issues with his questions as she will be the one editing them.
Meanwhile, Yoo-Ra is still angry that Ha-Neul told the other teachers about her family situation. This prompts her to go to Mr Do instead to ask a question about the lesson. When Ha-Neul arrives in the office, she’s surprised to see Yoo-Ra talking to Mr Do. This then prompts Mrs Park to ask her why she didn’t go to her own teacher instead.
On her way home, Ha-Neul comes across Mr Do who asks her to share some food together. He tells her that he understands that it mustn’t have been easy to have seen one of her students coming to him instead of her. He also explains that he didn’t mean to belittle her about the exam questions and Hae-Won. Since Mr Ha is Hae-Won’s senior, it’s a sensitive subject for them and the former may have become offended if Hae-Won questioned him. We then cut to Hae-Won suggesting to Mr Ha that he change the questions. The latter then becomes angry and refuses to change them without a valid reason.
The next day, the Korean teachers meet again to discuss the questions and when Ms Kim and Ha-Neul leave, they witness Mr Ha unfairly berating Hae-Won about little mistakes he made. As they head back to their office, Mr Ha asks Hae-Won for the senior performance evaluation but they’re nowhere to be found. Ha-Neul finds out that if they’re lost, all the students will have to retake the tests. Stressed and unwell, Hae-won collapses and is taken to hospital.
Ha-Neul decides to replace Hae-Won for his lesson when she sees how much work he has been putting in and how much his students like him. We then cut to hospital where Hae-Won despairs about the situation. He then receives a call from Yeo-Hwa who tells him that Ha-Neul found the missing papers and that she subbed for him.
He later gets out and heads to Young-Soon’s noodle bar, where he happens to be a regular there. Ha-Neul appears from the back room and is surprised to see her colleague there. Young-Sook is surprised too and as they wait for the bus, she finally tells him all about the issues with the questions.
The next day they both head to Ms Park, intent on telling her the truth which then leads to the questions being revised. The four Korean teachers meet together to work and re-submit the questions which finally results in the exam being printed.
The day of the exam finally arrives and everything seems to go without a hitch. However, later in the evening Yoo-Ra heads to the study room and as she looks at Jae-Hyun’s answer book, he accuses her of being a thief. Enraged, she starts throwing books at him, getting the attention of the teacher who takes them to the office. We then cut to Ha-Neul who gets a call from Ms Kim revealing that one of the students has made a serious complaint about the exam questions. The episode ends with all the teachers meeting as Ha-Neul narrates that this is how the famous Korean Department Banana incident started and was talked about for years to come.
Black Dog is quite the unusual drama; while it is really slow-paced and takes its time building up the main plots, it does have an interesting premise and I have been quite surprised at the direction this one has taken. While I thought it would be a typical classroom drama concentrating more on the students, we’ve seen a lot more of the background and administration for the school and teachers.
There are quite a few controversies as well with the exam questions being changed to make Mr Ha look better but especially with the way the short term teachers are being treated. Hae-Won is almost at breaking point and this in particular has been quite heartbreaking to see. The episode ends with a nice little cliffhanger and while I’m still unclear about what the complaint is all about, I am hoping the drama will not take too long at revealing what this is and hopefully may just pick up the pace as the weeks tick along.
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Expect A Full Season Write Up When This Season Concludes!