How does Ji-Yoon handle the pressure at Pembroke?
Episode 6 of The Chair Season 1 sees all our big plot threads come together for this grand finale. Ji-Yoon discusses her choice of taking the role at Pembroke, delivering a heartfelt confession about how she feels. Only, she chews up Ju-Ju’s therapy session with these concerns, eventually leading to her heading into work.
In doing so, the other students aren’t happy with her alleged gag order, which has spread across university and into the newspapers too. Her lectures even evolve into political chatter about people of colour in positions of power. Ji-Yoon however, doesn’t have an answer.
Instead, attention falls to Bill’s disciplinary hearing. Ji-Yoon has his back, printing out glowing recommendations for Bill and failing to print out the critiques. Larson is concerned by this, questioning how emotionally invested she is in this and not looking at the bigger picture. What with the current scandal around campus, it’s unnecessary heat on Ji-Yoon.
What’s the deal with Daphne and Bill?
All season long The Chair has had a weird vibe between Daphne and Bill. Well, the student heads over to Bill’s house and lets herself in, removing her jacket and sitting on the sofa. Bill immediately becomes freaked out though and tells the girl he doesn’t want to sleep with her.
Daphne laughs incredulously; it turns out she doesn’t actually want to sleep with him and just wants him to read her novel! Along with her manuscript though falls a newspaper, with the headline about Ji-Yoon’s scandal. Given Bill lives under a rock, this is the first he’s hearing of this and he rushes out the door.
Bill hurries over to Ji-Yoon’s place and pitches his brilliant idea. He’s going to sue the faculty and then use the settlement money to go abroad and study in Paris. He wants her and little Ju-Jo to follow, swooning her with this idea. So much so in fact, the pair end up kissing outside.
Ji-Yoon eventually pulls away and speaks her mind. She believes Bill is using Sharon’s death as a blanket to disguise his self-destructive behaviour. Ji-Yoon is completely in the right here, but Bill can’t take it and eventually bails, calling her a lackey to the dean.
What’s the outcome to Bill’s hearing?
The hearing finally goes ahead and Bill speaks his piece. As he does, Ji-Yoon changes her mind and decides they should look at the bigger picture after all. Given Ji-Yoon is not being impartial, she decides it’s not a fair procedure and skips out, allowing the others to make their decision.
Well, Bill is inevitably let go while a close-run vote of no confidence comes out positively for Ji-Yoon at 6-5. She’s able to keep her position she decides not to. Instead, Ji-Yoon gives up her position of chair and gives it to Joan instead. The students seem happy with this decision and with no Bill at school either, it seems things are on the up.
How does The Chair Season 1 end?
Bill reads Daphne’s novel while Yaz and Rentz team up together in class. With Joan now the chair, and lumped with this – as Ji-Yoon puts it – ticking time bomb, it remains to be seen how she’ll handle the pressure.
Outside campus, Bill arrives to greet Ji-yoon outside. Despite winning his settlement and getting a fair amount of money, he turns it down and decides to fight to try and get his job back instead. With no salary to support his daughter, Bill is determined not to give up and to keep teaching. He has enough to tide him over until Friday… by which point Ji-Yoon offers him $12 an hour for babysitting duties.
The Episode Review
So The Chair ends with an uplifting tone and all of our characters going on a journey. It may not make sense narratively but at least it has good vibes – so there is that.
The crux of the issue here though – along with the ill-placed comedy – comes from the plotting which is completely askew and devoid of logic.
Our big drama this season has been around Ji-Yoon being forced to make difficult decisions as chair. She was told during episode 1 to cut salaries as enrollments are down and needs to get rid of three teachers.
By the end of the season, Bill is let go while the three highest earners are all still on the payroll and presumably joined by a fourth in Yaz. Given she was in the meeting at the end, and Ji-Yoon promised her more money and a lucrative contract to stay and not go to Yale, this spells financial disaster for Pembroke.
And what of Bill too? Throughout this season there’s been a weirdly shoehorned story around Daphne in here and the big “haha” moment involves her not wanting to sleep with him but have him read her novel
It’s a pointless subplot in truth that adds absolutely nothing to this show. And that’s before mentioning his arc which involves him fired and still hopelessly unsuccessful by the end. The only exception of course is that he’s a little more hopeful… but how long will that last?
The other subplots all get some sort of resolution, although Joan being the chair is more of a poisoned chalice than anything else. All Ji-Yoon has done is hand over all of her prior issues and problems to Joan, who’s likely to retire in the near future anyway!
In the end though, The Chair has a lot of problems and despite some good vibes, bows out with a finale that raises more questions than actually wrapping things up in a meaningful way.