The Beach Trip
Episode 10 of Twenty Five Twenty One begins with Min-Chae sporting a bruise across her foot. When her mother sees, Hee-Do worries and tells her she needs to get this checked out. It’s something that resonates back with her own past and, specifically, how she hurt her ankle.
This brings us along nicely to Yi-Jin’s confession of love in the past. In reply, Hee-Do maturely tells him… that her feelings aren’t that big right now. She’s not sure how she feels but it doesn’t dissuade Yi-Jin, who gushes over Hee-Do. She has a big smile on her face, as Hee-Do feels like the pieces of her life are just starting to come together now.
Unfortunately Yi-Jin’s happiness is short-lived when he heads to work. His fall-out with the Director is big news and there’s still tension between them. Yi-Jin swallows his pride though and apologizes to his superior in front of the team. Eventually they head outside where he grills Yi-Jin, calling him a useless idiot. Yi-Jin takes it on the chin and tries his best to deal with this hardship.
Yi-Jin feels the weight of the world on his shoulders, and he rings his father that night, who has obviously had his fair share of burdens in the past. It’s a really beautiful chat and one that sees him tell Yi-Jin that his son was the best prize that helped him through his hardships all those years of grafting and working hard.
Speaking of hard working fathers, Yu-Rim’s dad returns from his work and gives his daughter a new gift – a CD player. K-drama enthusiasts will undoubtedly have been as nervous as me watching him in a truck (truck of doom trope incoming!) but he makes it back in one piece.
The thing is, Yu-Rim doesn’t actually have a CD to play on her new walkman but that’s only glossing over the bigger problems here. The family are slipping further into poverty, with them defaulting on their loan. Yu-Rim speaks to Ji-Woong about her concerns, even admitting that her mother is skimping on toilet paper and her father has had the same shoes for years. While they talk, Ji-Woong tentatively approaches the subject of asking her out. Yu-Rim is happy and accepts.
At school, Ji-Woong receives a caning for showing up at school after-hours, catching the cushion thief in the process. Seung-Wan is disgusted by what she’s seen and after sticking up for her friend, vents her thoughts about how school needs to be reformed online. Funnily enough, it’s Yi-Hyun who happens to be listening to this broadcast, and he clings to her words as she compares school to prison.
To break things up a bit, our main characters all head across on a beach trip together, solidifying their relationships and allowing some crucial development to come through for our supporting characters. With Yi-Jin driving, Seung-Wan, Ji-Woong, Hee-Doo and Yu-Rim all head off together. When they arrive to see Yi-Jin’s family, Yu-Jin introduces Hee-Do as a gold medal winner, which is such a nice moment for her character.
While there, Seung-Wan meets her admirer, Yi-Hyun. After shaking his hand, she decides that she can wait for him and walks away, leaving him with a big smile on his face.
As the kids enjoy the time down on the beach, they eventually throw Yi-Jin in the water. It’s a really nice, feel-good moment and as all the kids are splashing around and having fun, Hee-Do and Yi-Jin whisper together on the beach, deciding to get a drink together. It’s an interesting scene too because it appears to be foreshadowing how Hee-Do is going to grow apart from the others later on in life.
After all the ups and downs over the weeks, it’s nice to get some slice of life drama. Everything from showering (complete with budding bromance between Ji-Woong and Yi-Jin) and making food through to phoning home.
When Ji-Woong rings his mum, she’s upset about his grades but he’s unbelievably calm, telling her it won’t happen again and calmly changing the subject to ask if she’s slept okay. Te others are uncomfortable about hearing this but Ji-Woong explains that his parents are divorced.
This allows for everyone to open up about what they’re going through, with Yu-Rim open about her financial woes and Hee-Do mentioning how her father has passed away. The latter’s story even seems to upset Ji-Woong.
With the gang all getting along well, their summer memories are made in this moment, cementing the feel-good vibes that this part of the episode has managed to captured. While there is an ending in the present, cutting to Hee-Do discussing restrictions and her past, the scene on the beach just prior to this of the kids all watching the horizon is the perfect way to close out this chapter.
The Episode Review
Twenty Five Twenty One slows down this week to showcase the beauty of spending time with friends and making memories to last a lifetime. That’s essentially most of this episode which leans into the slice of life drama inherent in shows like Reply 1988 rather than the sport drama or romantic vibes that set the first batch of episodes alight.
That’s not a bad thing though and it’s actually Ji-Woong who gets the best moments this episode. Instead of just a kid who wants to date Yu-Rim and mess about in school, he’s a genuinely good-natured and selfless kid. While being grilled by his mum he had enough wherewithal to ask how she was and whether she’s sleeping okay. It’s these little touches that help to grow even the minor characters.
When it comes to the major players here though, we do get glimmers that Hee-Do and Yi-jin are growing closer together, even if their love isn’t quite there yet. It’s actually quite surprising to find a drama like this take such a mature and realistic approach to love, rather than just diving head-first into portraying their romance.
However, the episode itself has some great moments but as we’ve seen from the present scenes, something has changed drastically over the years. What could it be? We’ll have to wait to find out!