Like Flowers in Sand – K-drama Episode 5 Recap & Review

Kim Baek-du, I See Through You 

Episode 5 of Like Flowers in Sand opens with the customary flashback. While Du-shik sits in the classroom looking gloomy, other classmates talk about a confrontation that involves her father and mention that even though her father is a legend, he could also commit a crime. Baek-du notices Du-shik’s isolation and as they play a game, Baek-du targets Du-shik leading to her nose bleeding while the other children show sympathy.

The scene changes and we find Baek-du narrating the virtues taught by his father to all his children. First, a man always has his head high and confronts challenges. Second, a man never goes back on his word. And Baek-du proclaims that he doesn’t usually follow his father. He avoids Jin-su’s mother and goes back to the arena as an athlete much to his father’s pleasure as his mother terms him “wishy-washy”.

As Baek-du returns to the team, the scene from the previous episode continues in the flashback where Baek-du confronts Yu-gyeong about her true identity. She accepts that she is a cop and is on an undercover mission.

The scene shifts to the coach asking Baek-du the reason he changed his mind with Jin-su standing beside him as the second coach. Baek-du does not reply but from his conversation with Yu-gyeong the previous night, it’s quite evident that the reason is her. Meanwhile, Hyeon-wook ponders upon Mi-ran’s statement and wonders why Choi used to visit the cafe frequently making Mi-ran seem suspicious.

At the same time, the townsfolk are discussing about Baek-du’s capricious nature as he rejoins the team. At the arena, Jin-su notices Baek-du not gripping his opponent’s satba (a fabric belt wrapped around one’s waist and thigh in ssireum) and humiliates him in front of their juniors without letting Baek-du explain. Yu-gyeong is watching this exchange when the coach comes in. He notices her watching Baek-du’s championship match where coach Yeon is captured being nervous. The head coach’s expression changes for the worse. 

At Jin-su’s mother’s restaurant, the team is having a feast while Baek-du, feeling ashamed about keeping the change and feeling like he stole from her, remains outside while trying to hide from her sight. Suddenly, Mrs. Lim appears and confronts him. She asks him to let it all go and also asks him to be friends with Jin-su again. However, Baek-du replies that she might not know but they’re still very close friends. The scene changes and Hyeon-woo is at the reservoir site trying to find Choi’s lost mobile while Mi-ran spots him and tells him (again) that he is living in Du-shik’s house. Hyeon-woo, being bombarded with mentions of Du-shik has developed an interest in Du-shik as well.

At the team dinner, Baek-du is seemingly too friendly with the newcomer Yu-gyeong which raises some eyes as she tries to change the subject to Coach Yeon and it turns out that all the team members lent him money with Baek-du winning the 2.5 million won amount as Mrs. Lim concludes sarcastically, “we have a winner”.  

Hyeon-woo finds “Du-shik Baek-du” written on the wall of the house he is staying at with Yu-gyeong while Yu-gyeong becomes more and more suspicious of Coach Yeon. The next day, the news relay about a 40-year-old ssireum coach found dead in the car. The town is abuzz with rumours of match fixing and Baek-du overhears his teammates talking about it. They discuss how coach Yeon might have been involved in match-fixing and had asked Lim Dong-seok to let Baek-du win because “that match had the highest stakes when the worst one beats the best one”. 

Meanwhile, Baek-du’s brothers mention something similar happening to Du-shik’s father twenty years ago and that “history is repeating itself”. Yu-gyeong confesses to Baek-du that she knew about it and expresses that she might have to go talk to Dong-seok. The next day as she boards a bus, Baek-du appears grinning and explaining that he took a day off. By this time, the rumours about the match-fixing have already reached Dong-seok’s new team. 

Baek-du and Yu-gyeong talk to Dong-seok and he explains that, unlike popular opinion, he did not participate in the match-fixing. Coach Yeon did ask him to play fowl on the match day and lose to Baek-du but Dong-seok felt that it was ethically wrong and therefore, he refused to participate with Yeon. However, at the same time, he is overcome with guilt as coach Yeon had discovered his talent and nurtured him as a player.

Baek-du tells Dong-seok that he did nothing wrong. Dong-seok tells them that even though he did not see who the coach was talking to, he felt that Yeon was anxious the entirety of the match and kept looking at the audience “as if he’s upset someone”. Later, Dong-seok comes up to Baek-du and says that Baek-du did win that day and it was a bad call. Baek-du tells him that he has rejoined the team and warns Dong-seok in a playful banter. 

Alternatively, back in Geosan, Hyeon-woo finds the lost dog, snowball and tells everyone that she was barking at something around the reservoir as the dog owner emphasises how peaceful Snowball is which raises Seok-hui’s suspicions about the murder case again. As Hyeon-woo and Mi-ran discuss about the story behind Du-sik, Yu-gyeong remembers the townsfolk talking about his father’s match-fixing case. Baek-du suddenly rests his head on her shoulder, asleep, as she relives another memory. 

In the memory, Baek-du is following Du-shik on the same day of school that the episode began with. Du-shik confronts Baek-du about following her but Baek-du begins wailing. Seeing him cry, Du-shik joins as the two children cry in the wilderness. Back to the present, Mi-ran tells Hyeon-woo that Du-sik is a woman and that Du-shik is Baek-du’s first love.

Meanwhile, Yu-gyeong and Du-sik talk about how Baek-du purposely got Du-sik to bleed, helping her gain sympathies with their classmates as Baek-du carried all the blame. As they are discussing Baek-du’s a little too good nature, Yu-gyeong tells him that it was a good idea to come back to the team because she knows that Baek-du likes ssireum. Baek-du tells her that it wasn’t the only reason and “I came back because of you” as the episode ends. 

The Episode Review

In this episode, we come across many of the loose threads regarding the match-fixing game investigation and what happened at the championship arena. Moreover, the head coach seems suspicious as the intensity of his expressions changed when he saw Yu-gyeong investigating Yeon’s case. Yu-gyeong’s past story is also slowly unravelling and the show hints that such instances may have happened in the past as well with Yu-gyeong’s father entangled in a match-fixing controversy along with someone’s death.

The entire aura around Du-shik’s past feels somehow connected with the present events. The show has finally revealed all the predictable threads, however the three storylines – of ssireum as a sport, murder mystery and match-fixing case along with the Baek-du and Yu-gyeong’s budding romance – feels like the show isn’t able to focus on any sub-story properly. However, the cinematography, acting and characters do make it an enjoyable watch so far and it has been getting better with every episode, so stay tuned! 

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