Racket Boys – K-Drama Episode 12 Recap & Review

The Mystery Smoker

Episode 12 of Racket Boys begins after the draft match, with tensions high between Yong-Tae and Hae-Kang. Hyeong-Jong is unsure how to coach this, trying his hand at some tough love. In fact, he even finds a cigarette outside the gym. A cigarette which most of the kids believe belongs to Yong-Tae.

Eventually though Coach Bae convinces him not to get involved. Just like earlier in the season, he tells Hyeong-Jong to let these things sort themselves out.

That evening, Hae-Kang airs out his concerns with Big Gran and Se-Yoon. Ms Shin is there too and she confirms that her mother hasn’t been able to speak since the death of her Mother. This story spurs Hae-Kang on to speak to Yong-Tae.

The two meet at the Willow of  Truth and air out their concerns. Hae-Kang sees this as a blessing in disguise and thanks his fellow racket star, now doesn’t have to hide his injury. He also tells Yong-Tae to forgive Eun-Ho next time he sees him.

The 50th National Draft Matches continue and four of our racket boys could be going to Nationals. For now though, In-Sol and Hae-Kang square off. It goes all the way to match point as well, with Hae-Kang eventually winning. In doing so, this knocks In-Sol out.

After the game, In-Sol is picked up by his Father – as per usual. You can tell he’s down-heartened though and as he steps in the car he struggles to hold back tears. Well, four kids get into the competition and even better, Bae sends a message about how to help the different kids. Among those who managed to get in is Eun-Ho, whom Yong-Tae decides to start running with.

It turns out Coach Bae was not the one who actually beat the kids in the past. Another coach was responsible and targeted poor kids. He also sports a scar at the top of his eye meaning… oh no. The coach who really beat them is not the White Wolf, it’s actually Coach Chun!

Thankfully Hyeong-Jong stops him at the last second before he can do anything stupid. Here, the truth is revealed that Coach Bae was forced to take the blame for Chun.

Well, our White Wolf arrives and forces Chun to apologize to the kids for what he’s done. After, they all sit around and have some food, breathing a sigh of relief that this has been quelled.

Back home, Big Gran lies down and ends up talking again. She apologizes to Ms Shin before passing away.

The funeral is obviously somber but it’s also a chance for everyone to celebrate Big Gran’s life. This is another scene that feels like it’s been ripped right from Reply 1988, and for those who have seen that drama you’ll instantly recognize the parallels here.

The kids wonder why everyone isn’t more upset and poignant. Just then, Shin’s family show up and await the Will being read. The funeral brings back memories for Yeong-Ja too, who won a gold medal specifically for her Mother before she passed away. After holding back her tears there, Yeong-Ja finally lets her emotions be seen in front of everyone now, as she hugs the entire Racket fam.

With Ms Shin now on her own, she reflects back on what happened and the emotion comes thick and fast. Without everyone else around, she pleads with Big Gran to show in her dreams that night so she can tell her everything she’s feeling. It’s a really sad moment and one that will undoubtedly see you tear up a little with this scene!

Shin Phil-Ja (one half of the city couple) shows up with food and admits that she helped Big Gran write out her will. It’s a nice moment, and one that sees the pair grow closer together.

That night, Yong-Tae sneaks out in the middle of the night. The other kids believe that he’s smoking but in reality he’s actually calling his secret girlfriend. This means that someone else is the smoker. But who? Well, the camera does pan across and I want to say it’s Kang Tae Son but I’m not 100% sure. Still, it’s quite the cliffhanger.

The Episode Review

If someone knows who the smoker is at the end, please comment below and I’ll update the recap! It does look like it’s Kang Tae Son but it could also be another of the badminton players too.

In the meantime, Racket Boys delivers an emotionally charged chapter that bids farewell to Big Gran and hello to more tears. There are a lot of emotional moments in this episode and it helps that this large ensemble are all very likable and easy to get behind. This makes these moments all the more poignant.

The larger story here about the community is actually more interesting than the badminton to be honest, and the different characters and how they all fit together is partly why this show works as well as it does.

Still, the ending hints that we’ve got more drama to come. After the reveal with the White Wolf and Coach Chun, this show only has a few episodes left and the ending looks like we’re going to go down a more dramatic route next week.

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