Episode 5 of Twenty Five Twenty One starts with Hee-Do deciding to take Yi-Jin’s inspiration and use that to fuel her going forward. After their fencing match, she hands over one of the swords from their skirmish earlier on and flamboyantly waves goodbye to him.
Inside though, her mum happens to be waiting for Hee-Do. She’s been eavesdropping all this time and questions her relationship with Yi-Jin.
Given how much time she’s spending with a boy, she believes Hee-Do isn’t focused. Hee-Do spits back that she’s actually trying out for the National team.
Hee-Do’s same tenacity is reflected on Min-Chae in the present, who ended up jealous of her mother’s glamorous life. Only, reading her journal and realizing that she went through great efforts to make it to where she ended up, gives her a newfound respect for her mum. Those hours of grinding and working behind closed doors is something only Hee-Do’s journal confirms.
Hee-Do shows up to fence, confident that she’s done enough to make it onto the National Team. She makes it all the way to the final against a competitor called Jeong-Hyeon. This is big news, and actually makes it across to the news.
Hee-Do’s mother is shocked when she hears, especially when the reporters intend to get a picture of Hee-Do for the paper.
The match begins and although Hee-Do starts off with a 4-0 disadvantage, all of this is just a ploy to learn the girl’s fencing. Off the back of this, she storms to a 6-5 lead.
Jeong-Hyeon uses every dirty trick in the book to try and put off Hee-Do. Coach Yang is there for her though, convincing Hee-Do to trust in herself and her skills. Hee-Do eventually wins the final. In doing so, she manages to make it onto the National team.
To celebrate, she wants to ring Yi-Jin but doesn’t actually know his number. Instead, she decides to run down there in the morning. However, further drama ensues when she heads in to eat with Coach Yang over her win.
Yu-Rim shows up and she’s not exactly happy. That bitterness is now reciprocated by Hee-Do, who promises to still be her rival going forward.
When Hee-Do heads back home, she learns Yi-Jin has quit his job at the bookstore and moved out too. This appears to be a direct result of an earlier incident involving Yi-Hyun surrounded by the guardians of the bullies, right off the back of Yi-Jin’s threats.
Hee-Do remains determined to try and find him, enlisting the help of Yu-Rim, Seung-Wan and Ji-Woong to try and find him. But it’s no good.
With no luck from pager either, Yu-Rim agrees to hand over the number for Hee-Do to contact him. She also tells Hee-Do to get in touch if she manages to get through to him.
As we soon find out, Yi-Jin and Yi-Hyun are actually en-route to Pohang, intending to make a fresh start of it. Again.
This time though they head back home to see their mother, who’s overcome with emotion when she sees them. She misses their father dearly and as they sit down to eat dinner, Yi-Jin decides they should allow Yi-Hyun to finish up middle school there.
Meanwhile, Hee-Do has her picture taken for the paper, with her mum watching on from the wings. She’s not happy about the picture chosen and Hee-Do is incredulous about it. Despite giving it her all, she’s still somehow picking flaws in Hee-Do’s resolve and what she’s managed to accomplish.
However, Hee-Do is more preoccupied with her national team tryouts, where she’s to share a room with Yu-Rim.
Despite Yu-Rim mentioning snoring, it’s actually her who snores loudly that night. So much for being a light sleeper too s;he doesn’t even wake up when Hee-Do drops some tapes on the floor. These tapes are to help her sleep, and they happen to be recordings from Yi-Jin’s time as a broadcaster.
There’s a really nice dynamic between the two characters here, as we see Yi-Jin eking out a living and forced to grow up and support his brother. By contrast, Hee-Do is continuing to prosper in the National Team, with banners up even congratulating her.
Ji-Woong and Yu-Rim continue to grow closer together while the National Team trains rigorously. In fact, they train so much that we skip forward 3 months in time.
The training is definitely taking its toll on Hee-Do, who isn’t performing at her peak and she even collapses from having a cold. She’s to stay in a different room to Yu-Rim to make sure she doesn’t get infected.
Yi-Hyun gets settled in at school with a new group of friends. Only, he’s clearly ashamed of Yi-jin and his job, ignoring him and even making up excuses to try and fit into a friendship circle. Yi-Jin is disappointed in his brother, imploring him to be honest about his situation.
Yi-Hyun does just that, pointing out how he never wanted to move in the first place. He resents that he’s had to give up all his friends and everything he held dear in Seoul. He’s been struggling ever since, and tells Yi-Jin not to use him as an excuse for moving. This hits him hard, as Yi-Jin realizes he’s the one who wanted to run away.
During that night, he uses the payphone to listen to Hee-Do’s encouraging message, something he’s been doing a lot. While working the fish market that night, fencing news flashes out on the little screen by his stall.
It’s the Presidential Cup Fencing Competition and Yu-Rim’s wins. However, Hee-Do ends up coming in third place.
Yi-Jin grins, happy that his friend is making her dreams come true. This gives him renewed hope and vigor, as he turns the water on to spray into the air; symbolic of their ties in the past. As it starts to snow, Yi-jin looks up into the air…only for the scene to switch over to Hee-Do as she too puts the taps up to sprinkle water in the air.
As the episode comes too a close, it’s Yi-Jin’s turn to leave a message as he promises to come and see her when Full House Volume 15 is released. It’s a really beautiful and touching message, and as Hee-Do sheds a tear, we fade to black.
The Episode Review
There’s a really nice message in Twenty Five Twenty One now, reflected by the two protagonists and their differing fates.
While Hee-Do is on the up, seeing her dreams come true and living life to its fullest, Yi-Jin has been forced to move and is eking out a living, struggling to make sense of what’s happened and losing the support of his brother along the way.
This situation is made all the more agonizing by the distance between Yi-Jin and Hee-Do, with both characters now apart from one another. Seeing them both leaning on the other via voice messages is such a good way of setting up their romance and the ending has some beautiful montages too.
The OST in this show is really solid and that final song is an absolute banger. It perfectly captures the agony and bittersweet nature of love, while also showing that both characters are growing closer together, despite the physical distance between them.
This one’s just starting to kick into high gear now, with a really nice tone and vibe throughout. Roll on the next episode!