High School: Return of a Gangster – Episode 1 Recap & Review

Life is What You Make of it

Episode 1 of High School: Return of a Gangster starts with  Kim Deuk-pal taking a maths test at his home. The teacher is concerned that Deuk-pal has been failing and is not showing any improvement.

He heavily criticises him, and they are interrupted when Jong-chul announces they caught Kwang-soo. The teacher immediately regrets his words when he learns that Deuk-pal holds a high position in the gang. However, Deuk-pal holds him in high regard and asks him to be escorted out. 

Unfortunately, Kwang-soo tries to escape and threatens the teacher with a knife. This only annoys Deuk-pal further, and he fights to save his friends. Based on how quickly he overpowered Kwang-soo, it is clear that he is no ordinary fighter and why he is second in command. At 47, he is still agile and can land a knock-out punch. 

After the incident, they rush the teacher to the hospital and then pay a visit to the Chairman, the gang’s Leader. Deuk-pal expresses his concern that Kwang-soo may have defected to a rival gang. However, the Chairman remains unperturbed and advises Deuk-pal to focus on his studies and take over the gang.

On his way back, Deuk-pal sends his driver and bodyguard off and opts to go home alone. On the way, he stops for a smoke and comes across Yi-heon moments before he jumps off the bridge. He rushes to help the young high school boy, but he gets hit by a truck after saving Yi-heon. 

The next thing he knows, Deuk-pal wakes up in the hospital in Yi-heon’s body. At the same time, Jong-chul and Jong-soo stop by to get revenge. They throw a few punches and take Deuk-pal to his own funeral memorial. Deuk-pal tries to explain he is still alive, but no one believes him.

They attempt to force him to apologise, but he runs to the morgue. He is confident he can resurrect if his spirit returns to his body. Unfortunately, the doctor explains that he is already gone and his body will be interred soon.

Deuk-pal decides to try jumping off the bridge again, but he only wakes up three days later with a broken foot. He is sad to find out he missed his funeral but opts to look at the positive side of things. 

He is surprised by the fact no one visited Yi-heon while he was in the hospital but makes up is mind to live as Yi-heon. Soon after, his father’s secretary drops by and brings his school books and personal tablet. She warns him not to cause any more trouble as she doesn’t have the patience to deal with his drama.

Upon reading Yi-heon’s diary, he discovers that the boy was being heavily bullied at school and neglected at home. Deuk-pal is so angry and vows to avenge Yi-heon.

He checks himself out of the hospital and heads to Yi-heon’s house. The house manager warmly welcomes him. She fills him in on everything that has been happening at the house. According to the house manager, Mi-kyung (the Chairman’s secretary) has been encouraging Yi-heon’s mom’s drinking habits.

The house manager believes Mi-kyung is trying to get rid of Min-seo while the Chairman’s legal wife is in the hospital. Mi-kyung is worried that if the Chairman’s legal wife dies, Yi-heon and his mom will take over the company. The house manager notes that Yi-heon’s personality has changed but thinks it is because of the accident.

As days go by, Yi-heon dedicates himself to working out and getting ready for school once it opens. He also tries to learn as much as he can about the real Yi-heon. He even cuts his hair and changes his appearance.

The new haircut gives him a fierce and cool look. One day, he goes to the bookshop to buy textbooks and runs into a Se-kyung. From the looks of it, Se-kyung immediately recognises him as Yi-heon and is surprised when the latter fails to recognise him. Se-kyung helps Yi-heon buy the right books and sees him off.

Soon, school opens, and everyone is surprised to see how Yi-heon has changed. At first, they are unable to recognise him and think he is a new student. No one is more surprised than the bully gang and Se-kyung.

The bully gang led by Jae-min corners Yi-heon and instigates a fight with him. Yi-heon thinks he is ready to go head-to-head with the bullies, but he overestimates his new body. Even though he is a skilled fighter, his new body is not strong enough. Unfortunately, he is given a knock-out kick, and the episode ends with him passed out cold.

The Episode Review

The Return of High School Gangster has been one of the most anticipated K-dramas of the year. Fans were disappointed when the show was postponed, but it was worth the wait. Based on the two episodes released so far, we are in for one entertaining show, and we love it. 

It is interesting how Yoon Chan-Young does a remarkable job of acting like a 41-year-old trapped in the body of a suicidal 19-year-old high school student. His impressive acting skills carry the whole show.

It was also nice to see Lee Seo-Jin, who plays the role of Deuk-pal. It has been a while since we last saw him. The show has the perfect balance of comedy, action and a great plot. We have high expectations moving forward.


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Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!


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