High School: Return of a Gangster – Episode 2 Recap & Review

Who Are You? 

High School: Return of a Gangster episode 2 starts with Deuk-pal (currently in Yi-heon’s body) getting knocked out by his bullies. He passes out and has a conversation with Yi-heon’s spirit. Yi-heon wants Deuk-pal to stop trying to help him as he doesn’t think it will change anything.  

Se-kyung comes to help Yi-heon and asks him to stop fighting the bullies. He gives Yi-heon first aid treatment and realises that the latter keeps talking like an old man and speaking of things such as his time in the military. He is confused since Yi-heon is still a high school student and has never been in the military. He starts asking questions like how Yi-heon didn’t recognise him in the bookshop. He says they were good friends so it is shocking. Yi-heon reveals he was in an accident and lost his memories. 

However, Se-Kyung’s demeanour suddenly changes. He accuses Yi-heon of blackmailing him the night of the accident. He says Yi-heon was his stalker, not his friend. He is sure that the real Yi-heon is out there. Se-kyung believes someone is hiding the truth. Yi-heon quickly denies these accusations and insists he got into an accident that led to his memory loss and new personality. Meanwhile, the bullies are also wondering how Yi-heon had the guts to try and fight back.

Yi-heon continues to stay alert and strikes up a friendship with his deskmate and her friends. He spends time looking after them and ensuring they eat and get home safely. He acts like an elder brother, which the girls find cool. At the same time, Se-kyung keeps an eye on Yi-heon, randomly asking him questions to see if he is lying. The days pass by, and Yi-heon continues to do well is sports. He also spends a lot of time at the gym to bulk up. He even stands up for himself when his dad’s secretary threatens to send him to a foreign school.

One night, he drops by the gang’s bathhouse and gets into a confrontation with two gang members. He uses his fighting skills to get the gangsters in line and even announces himself as Deuk-pal.

By the end of the altercation, the two gang members bow to him, and he gives them some pocket money. Soon after Yi-heon leaves,  Jung-chul arrives with the group of bullies from the school.

Led by Jae-min, the young boys are looking into joining a gang. After Deuk-pal’s death, Dong-soo took over so he is the new boss. He is surprised when the two gangsters mention that a young boy dropped by claiming to be Deuk-pal, but he doesn’t give it much thought. However, Jae-min spots Yi-heon leaving and instinctively realises he is the boy the gangsters are referring to.

On the other hand, Se-kyung and Yi-heon start getting closer. Se-kyung refuses to give up until he finds the truth, while Yi-heon uses Se-kyung to help him study. Yi-heon feels conflicted as he is in his senior year and has to make decisions for his future. However, he is not sure what the real Yi-heon wanted to do with his life. 

One night, curiosity gets the best of Se-kyung, and he randomly decides to visit Yi-heon. He uses this opportunity to get into Yi-heon’s room and look for clues. Yi-heon finds Se-kyung snooping in his room and collecting DNA evidence. He starts getting suspicious as to why Se-kyung is going to such great lengths to find the truth.

Se-kyung reveals that he feels guilty and wants to find out what happened to Yi-heon. Acting like everything is normal would mean that the real Yi-heon never mattered to anyone, which makes him sad. 

As they talk, Yi-heon’s mom starts causing commotion downstairs forcing the boys to check what is happening. Se-kyung gets more than he bargained for when he witnesses the reality of Yi-heon’s lifestyle. Yi-heon’s mom blames him for ruining her career and her life. She was a famous actress until she got mixed up with the Chairman and got pregnant. She spends her days drinking and gets angry when Yi-heon orders all the alcohol in the house to be removed. 

After putting his mom to bed, Yi-heon asks Se-kyung to join him while they get fresh air. They end up at a music library and listen to a few songs together. Se-kyung is once again surprised by Yi-heon’s hobbies, which are vastly different from those of other teenagers. The two start talking, and Yi-heon clarifies that after his accident, he decided to make a difference and stand up for himself. He argues that staying silent only empowers influential people more. 

After the listening session, Se-kyung gets a call from his dad demanding to know where he is. Se-kyung lies that he is with a school friend studying and promises to be home before the curfew. Even after the call, Se-kyung demands to know more about the real Yi-heon and what happened to him.

Yi-heon asks him to use the DNA evidence he collected to find out the truth. He says he already has a lot on his plate, from the bullies to the Chairman, and he can’t afford to deal with another problem. He asks Se-kyung to put the matter to rest.

He gets home soon after but seems anxious about what his father will do. Through a flashback, we learn that his father gives him harsh punishments every time he messes up. He is especially triggered when Se-kyung lies. He tells Se-kyung that he put a tracking device on his phone and knows he is downtown. Se-kyung quickly confesses the truth and is relieved when his dad lets him be. 

The next day at school, Jae-min and his minions try to bully Yi-heon again. This time they show him a video of what they did in the past. The video pisses Yi-heon off, and he provokes Jae-min to throw the first punch. An intense fight ensues, and Yi-heon quickly puts all the bullies down.

The episode ends with him about to punch the living lights out of Jae-min. It is at this moment that Jae-min realises he messed with the wrong man. He asks who he really is, and Yi-heon responds that he is Deuk-pal, second in command in the Chilsung Gang.

The Episode Review

It was satisfying seeing Jae-min and his minions getting the beating they deserved. They unknowingly poked a bear and must live with the consequences. On the other hand, it is sad to see what they did to Yi-heon in the past. They made his life a living hell and drove him to suicide. The situation at home didn’t help either. To hear his mom blame him for her mistakes must have been hurtful for Yi-heon.

On the other hand, we have questions about Se-kyung. It seems like he regrets not helping Yi-heon the night of the accident. He wants to make things right, but is that all he is up to? Seeing his toxic relationship with his dad, we can’t help but wonder if he was scared to speak up for Yi-heon because he is a victim, too.

His dad is harsh and no different from any bully. He probably thought speaking up would put him in danger with Jae-min and cause his dad to lash out at him for getting involved in school fights when he should be studying.

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