Episode 2 of Racket Boys begins with our boys starting school for a new term. Hae-Nam falls asleep in class, which certainly doesn’t go down well with the class president, In-Sol.
Around class, the boys practice their badminton skills. When Hae-Kang mentions Jae-Seok they turn and leave. It turns out he used to be part of this foursome but left for Seoul without even saying bye. This is certainly a sensitive subject given they couldn’t even perform their BTS dance.
In town, the kids go up against the Tollgate bullies, a ruthless group who demand money to pass. Well, Hae-Kang shows his worth, squaring up to them and demanding they leave before he beats them. It works too, and they scarper away. At least to begin with.
Later on, they catch up with Yong-Tae on his own and pour a drink over his head. Alongside the vicious boxer, Yong-Tae winds up getting beaten down by these bullies. Although to be fair, we see that occur off-screen.
Hae-Kang is livid when he finds out and hurries back to the internet café. The other kids try to stop him but Hae-Kang is determined to confront this boxer and the thugs. They head into the alley where Hae-Kang retorts what they’ve done wrong before lashing out at them.
In the aftermath of the fight, Hae-Kang sports a busted nose and a nasty gash up his cheek.
In town, a city couple arrive but Grandma Ome is not happy. They’ve driven right over her spring cabbages! Flustered, they’re hurriedly told to move their car. Ome’s husband is far more forgiving though, and he offers them some supplies.
Grandma Ome is on the move too, and heads off to Haenam to place called “Mother’s Table.” Given the emphasis on technology and the loud city noise, she immediately becomes flustered. Thankfully there’s a lot of helpful people around that show her the way.
While this is going on, Hyeon-Jong hears about a legendary coach named the “white wolf” and sets out to learn more. He was apparently an amazing badminton player and got his name because of his skin colour. Hyeon-Jong soon finds out that this is in reference to head coach Bae.
When he finds out about what the kids have been up to, he scolds them. In fact, he scolds Yoon-Dam the most, given he’s the only one who didn’t get involved in the fight. He reminds them they’re a team and isn’t happy that he just stood around and didn’t nothing.
As punishment, Bae makes him run 200 laps and complete 1000 push ups and 1000 swings. In three hours. Predictably he doesn’t manage it but Hae-Kang suggests he take on the rest.
Given they’re a team, they remember the mantra of “win together, lose together”, deciding to help out their teammate as they do swings and pushups. This is enough for Bae to change his opinion and allow them to compete. As he walks away, Hyeon-Jeong sees an actual white wolf in his stead.
The new city couple start to settle in, with Hae-Kang heading over with some food for them. As they eat, they suddenly stat crying as the camera pans out and shows two nooses hanging from the rafters. Crying turns to smiling though, as they receive an accompanying welcome package from Grandma Ome. Her experience away is enough for her to make them kimchi – which is exactly what they were craving.
This eventually sees the pair head out the next day and pick up Grandma Ome. Ome jokes that they don’t seem the type to commit suicide, before they head off on their way.
It soon becomes time for another badminton competition. Se-Yoon is there but so too is second-placed Lee Na-Ra. Words are exchanged between the two, but it’s broken up by Mr Kim showing and trying to snap photos. Thankfully Yeong-Ja is there to break things up.
Of course, the Racket Boys are there too, where they notice Kim Dong-Hyeon from afar. He’s sporting his blonde hair just like before. Hae-Kang immediately squares up to him but the other team members are forced to pick Hae-Kang up and carry him away.
The Racket Boys eventually find themselves face to face with their old teammate Jae-Seok. Although Yong-Tae is polite, the others are anything but. Anyway, as fate would have it Jae-Seok and Hae-Kang wind up competing against one another on the court.
With the game close and a single point between them, Hae-Kang prepares to face a serve that could decide the outcome of this game…until we hit a cliffhanger ending! Ah, how frustrating!
The Episode Review
Racket Boys returns with another compelling episode, one that successfully builds on the foundations laid yesterday to start building in deeper character connections.
The arriving city couple is a nice inclusion too and they clearly came to the countryside to commit suicide together. It seems they’ve been through some really tough times in the past, especially if it’s resorted to this. However, the kindness offered from the different residents is enough to convince them to at least try and live for the time being.
This is a really nice message overall, and it’s a motif that’s explored throughout the show. However, there’s also ideas around teamwork and love, with the Racket Boys squaring up against various bullies for what they believe in. This helps to reinforce Hae-Kang’s “never say die” attitude and gives him some good charisma too.
The White Wolf subplot is a nice little mystery here and although it’s perhaps attributed to busywork more than providing character growth for Hyeon-Jong, it’s a fun inclusion nonetheless.
Either way, this first week bows out with an agonizing cliffhanger, with next week’s double bill looking like it could be a really exciting one.
|Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!|