Episode 6 of Melancholia begins with Yoon-soo and Seung-yoo standing in the rain. Seung-yoo disguises his confession of love in maths-focused language. When Yoon-soo admits she doesn’t understand, he gives her a package and leaves.
When she opens the gift at home and sees a framed picture of herself, understanding dawns in her eyes.
Another picture has fallen into the hands of Ms. Noh. Ye-rin offers to trade the implicating picture of Yoon-soo and Seung-yoo in exchange for help on her midterms. Ms. Noh simply laughs and tells her to hold onto it for another time.
Seung-yoo shows Professor Ji his work on his problem. He previously sent the proof to the Congress of Probability Theory and now has an invitation from the Congress to give a presentation on the equation.
Yoon-soo congratulates him and says she has thought about their last conversation. She agrees there are some equations you can’t help but fall in love with. Yet, if you devote all your energy to these, you will lose yourself.
He asks what to do about a problem that’s worth its damage. Maybe one day, she says, such a problem will find him when he is older and strong enough to not lose himself in the equation. (Reader, she is the equation.)
She gives him his picture back, insisting she can’t accept it. But when he later leaves it unattended, Gyu-yeong snatches it. He tells Seung-yoo he must do poorly on his midterms, or he’ll show everyone this proof that he likes Yoon-soo.
Seung-yoo isn’t swayed. He decides to protect Yoon-soo, which he can do better once he’s the top student. He proceeds to ace the midterm exam. When Gyu-yeong advertises the picture, Seung-yoo takes it and burns it.
Ye-rin does well on the exam too. Mr. Han provided her with the answers beforehand. However, she misses one question.
It turns out that Yoon-soo had changed one question on the exam at the last minute. When the Vice Principal learns of the potential cheating, he calls the Academic Performance Management Committee. And the Principal secretly phones Ms. Noh’s sister again.
Ms. Noh had apparently given Mr. Han permission to provide Ye-rin with an answer sheet. She now instructs him to organize a retake based on the fact that one of the test questions could only be solved using a theorem not found in the students’ textbooks.
In front of all the teachers, Seung-yoo proves that there is an alternate solution. Mr. Han now can’t justify a second exam, which leaves Ye-rin in a bind.
When Yoon-soo confronts Ye-rin, the student has a panic attack. Ye-rin’s mother finds both of them in the nurse’s office and immediately slaps Yoon-soo. Seung-yoo stops her from slapping the teacher again. Meanwhile, gossip about Yoon-soo and Seung-yoo intensifies.
Ms. Noh assures Yoon-soo that a thorough investigation will be held to discover dishonesty from any of the students. We don’t get to see this process come to light, however.
Yoon-soo encounters a man who brings her to Ms. Noh’s sister, Yeon-woo. Yeon-woo recalls a situation in which both of them were students at Ahseong High School. Their teacher, Mr. Kim, was escorted out of the school by authorities. It’s implied that he was innocent and that Yeon-woo’s father got rid of him for whistleblowing.
Yeon-woo tells Yoon-soo that her sister is even worse than her father when it comes to getting rid of good teachers. She offers to help her if she needs anything, but Yoon-soo distrusts her.
Ahseong’s vice president has eyes on Yoon-soo, and he informs Ms. Noh about their meeting. This is the first time we see the calm director panic about anything.
Seung-yoo and Yoon-soo congratulate each other about their respective upcoming events; both resolve to move on.
Ominously, while Seung-yoo gives his presentation, the camera pans to Professor Ji. He muses that there is a potential for error in Seung-yoo’s addendum to his theorem.
The episode ends with Yoon-soo’s wedding. Nearly all of her colleagues and students attend. But as Yooon-soo walks down the aisle with her fiance, the picture slides change. Broadcasted in front of everyone is the picture of Yoon-soo sleeping on Seung-yoo’s shoulder. Several more pictures of the two of them follow.
Ms. Noh looks slyly to the side. On Yoon-soo’s face, however, is the dawning realization that her life will never be the same.
The Episode Review
I love the analogy between mathematics and the relationship between Seung-yoo and Yoon-soo. Melancholia seems intent on showing us the connection between teacher and student, and yet still (thankfully) holds back on their romance with a knowing wink to its audience. “Not yet,” they’re telling us. “They’re not ready—but it’s coming.”
And it is! I have no doubt that romance will be brewing later in the show. The slow build up will be worth the wait; it’s best to not mess around with skewed teacher/student power dynamics. And with the next episode skipping forward a few years, I think the show is ripe for a romance/redemption arc.
Apart from tasteful developments between Yoon-soo and Seung-yoo, this episode feels largely recycled. It drags its feet with a lot of slow midterms-centered drama.
Additionally, the flashback to Yoon-soo’s and Yeon-woo’s school days feels like a too-perfect parallel to Yoon-soo’s current situation. And while this slow-moving episode was begging for something to happen, the timing felt off when something finally did.
But the ending is compelling! The episode is elevated by that climax and all-around stunning performances from the cast.
The preview for episode 7 skips forward several years. I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to seeing an older Seung-yoo reunite with Yoon-soo—what are your thoughts?