The Woes Of Young Love
Episode 13 of Twenty Five Twenty One starts with Hee-Do heading back home after the kiss with Yi-Jin, despairing that the world hasn’t ended. Despite the world moving on from the millennium bug, Hee-Do likens her kiss as her personal bug, as things between her and Yi-Jin continue to be strained.
Ji-Woong calls Yu-Rim and Hee-Do outside, rocking up driving his aunt’s car after passing his test. He’s not a particularly fast driver and Ji-Woong’s nervous driving style sees him think twice, admitting he’s terrified.
When they return home, Ji-Woong has a serious issue parallel parking and he’s bound to be outed by his mum. That is, until he convinces Hee-Do to ring Yi-Jin and bring him in to save the day. Only, he’s going on-air soon so that’s a no. Instead, with a group of guys walking past, they all band together and decide to physically move the car. It works, and the whole group erupt into rapturous applause.
Meanwhile, Coach Yang discusses the past with Yi-Jin, revealing what happened between her and Jae-Kyung. It turns out the pair had a really close bond beforehand, although they both knew it could be problematic given the reporter/athlete ties they have.
Jae-Kyung received a tip-off from a man out in the street, who reveals that Yang allegedly received a bribe from the father of another fencer and that’s how she got onto the national team. Jae-Kyung is the one who reported, and eventually ended up being the person to cover the most amount of exclusives about her.
When Hee-Do and Yi-Jin meet again, they dance around the kiss they shared. However, when Hee-Do leans over to try and sort out a stray thread from his jacket, Yi-Jin thinks she’s going to kiss him and hurriedly puts some food in his mouth. Hee-Do is beside herself with annoyance and heads home. As she starts writing in her diary, she realizes she doesn’t hate him (Despite writing that twice) and actually likes him.
With the next fencing competition coming up, Hee-Do is struggling to concentrate. She’s got Yi-Jin on the brain and even Yu-Rim can sense this. Yi-Jin is having a hard time too though and contemplates transferring to keep a distance from Hee-Do. The thing is, transferring brings its own problems, given he needs a very good reason for doing so.
That night, when he heads home, Hee-Do is there waiting. Knowing she may lose everything, she takes up Yu-Rim’s advice and takes a gamble. She tries to say how she feels but Yi-Jin simply walks away, heading home and reporting that there’s a suspicious man wandering around.
The next day, the Presidential Cup Competition goes ahead but Yu-Rim and Hee-Do both crash out at the round of 32 in their individual matches. However, they still have the team games to play.
Hee-Do keeps a cool head when her rival tries berating her, unaware that Yi-Jin is actually watching from afar. She’s both more mature and also still with that same childlike innocence and Yi-Jin can finally sense it. However, he soon grows jealous when a guy called Jun-Ho arrives and asks her for a drink. He inevitably leaves a message for Hee-Do, telling her that drinking with boys is bad for one’s health.
When Hee-Do sees this, she knows it’s Yi-Jin’s doing and hurriedly calls him, demanding an explanation. Yi-Jin is flustered and hangs up, as Hee-Do and the team win their final game. That’s the last time they’re going to be teammates though, with the pair bound to head off and play for different teams in the future.
Ji-Woong tries to seize the opportunity when he meets up with Yu-Rim later on, desperate to hold her hand. The two are super cute together and eventually they do hold hands. The final shot of Ji-Woong’s gloves works so well to show that heart-fluttering young loe and the lengths you take just to hold your crush’s hand.
Unfortunately things don’t work out so well for Hee-Do. She has her heart broken by Yi-Jin, who admits that his earlier outburst on the news, poetically claiming the match was beautiful, was him wavering and he thinks they should put some distance between them. When Hee-Do shouts out “I’m crying Yi-Jin,” He races back outside and kisses her passionately. “You drive me crazy. Fine. Let’s try this kind of love, Hee-Do.”
The Episode Review
This show is so damn good. The way Twenty Five Twenty One writes its characters, weaving that in with both comedy and drama is unrivalled from many of the other k-dramas released this year. The idea of young love, those awkward moments as your heart flutters and you’re desperate to get close to your crush, is conveyed beautifully through Ji-Woong and Yu-Rim.
However, it’s Hee-Do and Yi-Jin that deservedly grabs the plaudits here. It’s obvious that Yi-Jin has feelings for Hee-Do but he’s trying to understand his own feelings and navigate the dynamic between his job and personal life (something echoed by the fallout between Yang and Jae-Kyung).
In the end though it’s the fear of seeing Hee-Do completely heartbroken and in pain that makes him change his mind and head back to kiss her, giving in and deciding to embrace this after all.
It takes strength to ease up on what you’re feeling and try to wrestle with conflicting feelings, and Twenty Five Twenty One just seems to get that. It also makes the ending that much sweeter when Hee-Do and Yi-Jin do finally kiss. What a wonderful episode and a beautiful personification of youth. Bravo, team!