Here we recap and discuss episode 5 of Dream High 2. Caution, spoilers below. Do not read if you don’t want to know what happens.
The episode starts off quickly with Soon Dong and Ailee’s showcase. I’m going to give her the benefit of the doubt and say the former After School member was singing off-key on purpose for comedic effect. Ailee, on the other hand, has a pretty good voice. I might not like the song she’s currently promoting, but I can’t deny the talent. Then we jump right into Rian and Hye Sung’s duet of the Wonder Girls’ “Wishing on a Star”. I know Jiyeon’s always done better with the slower tracks as part of T-ara, but even I was surprised at how well she pulled this her cover of this song. Then trouble strikes as Hye Sung’s mic is not working. Sora does a really good job here of expressing her complete and utter disappointment and shock, and for the first time I actually care about her character. When they complete the stage, Principal Joo asks Hye Sung to check her mic to see if there are batteries. She opens it up, and not surprisingly, there aren’t any. At this point, the obvious suspect is Rian since she was the one who gave her the mic backstage. Rian is gloating at this point and waiting for Hye Sung to get disqualified, which she is, but Principal Joo also disqualifies her for not helping Hye Sung by giving her the working mic.
Backstage, all the other students are thinking the same thing: that Rian took out the batteries so as to humiliate Hye Sung. Rian looks to her member Ailee, only to find the same look of condemnation, and calmly walks out of the room. As Hye Sung runs out after her, she sees JB coming down the stairs to talk to Rian. She angrily tells him to leave because she wants to be alone, even confessing that she did it so he’ll stop judging her like everyone else. JB tells her he knows she’s not that kind of person and comforts her with a hug. Hye Sung, who is standing right below them, is heartbroken. At this point, conveniently shows up and drags her away.
Then comes the first real moment of the drama that has me intrigued. The person who took the batteries out of Hye Sung’s mic is none other than Hye Sung herself. After the admission, she falls to the ground in a daze. Yoo Jin is at a loss for words, and can only help her up. Now it’s Hong Joo and Nana’s showcase as she performs a cover of “Hidden Road” by Yoo Jae Ha. He decides that he’ll let her take his lines and truly shine in their showcase. Back on the stairs, JB tells Rian to just forget about what happened today as unjust things happen all the time. Rian is having none of that and says she’ll remember the moment as fuel for her future sorrow for when she needs it in acting.
We then cut back to Yoo Jin, who drops the missing batteries into the trash. Hye Sung gets mad at him for it and starts digging through the trash for them. He tells her that she did the right thing, and that it was President Lee who started this war. She is too guilt-stricken to hear him, though, and says she plans on confessing she did it. Hye Sung then questions why Yoo Jin is suddenly being nice to her, for which he has no answer.
Hye Sung runs back to the prep room to confess her crime, but is interrupted by Rian asking her if she has any proof of her tampering with the mic. JB then accusing her of doing it herself because she had no confidence. Before she can answer, Yoo Jin shows up and asks if they have any proof that Hye Sung did it. The girls then walk out of the room separately, followed by Yoo Jin who still needs to practice for his showcase. His friend laughs at him when he sees Yoo Jin practicing with the basketball and gives him some advice on how to relax and find his rhythm so he won’t freeze on stage.
Now it’s time for the main event: JB and Yoo Jin’s showcase. JB, being the pro that he’s supposed to be, immediately launches into the performance. Yoo Jin, on the other hand, freezes like his friend said he would. However, he remembers the advice he got and suddenly it’s a two-man show again. Doesn’t help him, though, as Principal Joo cuts him.
Meanwhile, outside, angry parents are protesting President Lee’s tyrannical reign over the school. They see Principal Joo walk outside and immediately mob him. Hye Sung’s dad just happens to be visiting and tries to break up the fight, but they just push him aside. Principal Joo tells the parents they’re doing it wrong and to come back later with their representative. At this point, a bus pulls up ready to take away all those who were disqualified. Teacher Ahn also tells Hye Sung that her dad is here, but she’s able to use the bus as an excuse to not have to talk to him for very long and explain about the upper and lower classes.
While the other disqualified students are enjoying the location they were driven to, Rian is, shall we say, less than pleased about the situation. All of a sudden, an air raid siren breaks their chatter and an uniformed man informs the students that they’ll now know what hell tastes like. Rian has a flash of recognition when she sees the man and her face changes from shock to anger. Looks like it’s time for Idol Boot Camp with veteran singer Psy, something Nana and Ailee confirm to a dismayed JB. He tells them to run, saying it’s first come first serve for the training field, and at first they are all confused. Rian is the only one who knows what’s going on and quickly takes off her boots and runs like her life depends on it. Yoo Jin quickly follows suit, with the rest of the students close behind.
After a quick chat with Rian, Psy has them line up in formation and takes away their most valuable possessions. Of all things, Rian’s possession is the K amulet from the original series. I assume this is a different from the one Sam Dong had since he still has it in 2018 when he becomes K. Or it could be a plot hole, either way. Psy then proceeds to explain their first test when Yoo Jin interrupts him, leading to a group punishment of squats in camouflage fatigues. Just when they get done, Soon Dong opens her mouth and they’re ordered to do another 10. Before they can finish, however, Rian badly pretends to faint. Psy laughs at her fail acting and orders them to do another 50. They then start their obstacle course and attempt to find the belongings that are hidden in the camp so they can leave.
Back at the school, Principal Joo is meeting with the irate parents from before. He says that as Principal, he’s powerless and that they should all band together to help the students. Cue President Lee’s entrance. He likens the students to those that are drowning: he can only help those that reach for his hand, not the ones that have fallen too deep to reach. Those that have fallen that far need to fend for themselves and climb back up. The parents are not happy with this, but President Lee does offer them some hope. If any of them do climb up to the point where he can reach them, he’ll do all he can to pull them out.
Back at camp, the lower class students are understandably not happy with their situation. Snow has started to fall and they’re are all shivering while eating crappy bread. Of course, Rian and Hye Sung are assigned to share a tent, but Rian has decided to take Hye Sung’s sleeping bag for extra bedding, leaving her to shiver in silence. In true boot camp fashion, the students are rudely awakened the next morning by Psy’s megaphone. Some of the boys run into Rian in the hallway and comment that she actually looks like a nicer person without makeup. Rian angrily walks away to get ready and runs into Hye Sung in the bathroom. She tells her about a location of a treasure that she and the other Hershee members found on the camp grounds last time they were here. But since Rian doesn’t want to go get it, she sends Hye Sung.
Hye Sung does as she’s told and goes to the spot where Rian told her it would be. Alas, the box is nowhere to be found and she goes back to ask Rian about it, who is currently walking across the rope bridge. This leads to another argument that has Rian rightfully blaming Hye Sung for her current situation. Rian tells her that if she’s really sorry about it, Hye Sung will leave her alone. As Hye Sung starts to leave, Rian loses her balance from the shaking of an additional person on the rope and falls to the ground. Fortunately, Yoo Jin just happens to be walking by and carries the unconscious Rian to get medical attention. As punishment for breaking the safety rules, Psy ordered Hye Sung to do jumping jacks. She attempts to find out Rian’s condition, only to have Psy increase the punishment. Yoo Jin is concerned about Hye Sung, and peeks in on here during this.
Afterwards, Hye Sung goes back to the infirmary to check in on Rian, who surprisingly is sitting up laughing watching TV. She then demands to know if Rian was acting the whole time. Rian retorts by saying she always does better the second time around. Hye Sung is upset at her because she was worried and accidentally lets slip that she has something to she feels sorry about to Rian, who quickly suspects that Hye Sung took out the batteries in the mic. Hye Sung denies it of course and storms out.
Back at school, Nana walks in on JB changing and tells him that they’re going to go get Rian. At first he tries to appeal to his concern for her, but when that doesn’t seem to faze him, Nana says that he still likes her. This doesn’t sit well with him either, so Nana goes with option C and saying that he’s the only one with a license. Meanwhile, the teachers are having their own night out. Seems like Teacher Ahn had a head-start on the others in drinking and angrily confronts Ji Soo on why she got the upper class, while she’s stuck with the lower one. Ji Soo apparently isn’t far behind her and compares her voice to a mosquito before passing out. JYP does his best to play peacemaker with the two drunk women, and complains that there’s not a normal teacher in the school. At that point, Ji Soo’s phone rings and she sobers up immediately to answer it. Something urgent has come up and she quickly walks away, which Teacher Ahn takes as an admission of defeat and orders JYP to buy another round.
Ji Soo’s urgent call takes her to the police station where she’s there to act as guardian for President Lee’s daughter. She’s apparently gotten into a fight with the other girls at school, and as a big-time entertainment exec, he can’t exactly be seen strolling into the station without rumors spreading. The two seem to have a strained relationship, which I’m sure will play out sometime down the line to explain why President Lee is the way he is.
At camp, Psy orders the students to write letters to their parents to apologize for all the wrinkles and worry they’ve caused them. As he’s talking, he’s interrupted by the cheerful voice of Nana, who walks in with Ailee and JB. The trio goes to the infirmary to find Rian, who isn’t there, and an argument ensues between JB and super fan Hye Sung. When he accuses her of secretly wanting to torment Rian, Hye Sung snaps and says he’s lost a fan before storming out. Yoo Jin, who also followed after them, is more than happy to see this and rubs it in JB’s face before going after Hye Sung. The remaining three then go out and look for the missing Rian.
So it seems Hye Sung decided that searching for everyone’s treasures at night is the way to go. Yoo Jin chased after her, but can’t seem to find her. Meanwhile, Rian is sitting on the swing set that she told Hye Sung about earlier in the morning when JB comes walking up. She’s surprised to see him, and tells him to leave. Now we see a flashback to when the Hershee girls and JB were first at the camp. Apparently Trainee JB’s treasure was the first pair of dance shoes that he wore out. He offers one of the shoes to Trainee Rian, who looks hesitant to take it, and promises that he’ll debut by the time he wears out his ninth pair. As he walks away, thinking how cool he must seem, he’s brought back to reality by Trainee Rian throwing the shoe back at him. He walks away dejected, but turns around and sees that Trainee Rian has in fact picked up his shoe and is dusting it off. Trainee JB then takes this chance and kisses Trainee Rian on the cheek. At first Trainee Rian seems like she doesn’t like it, but eventually a smile breaks out on her face and she stomps on his shoes, saying that she’ll help him wear them out faster.
Back in the present time, as Rian starts to walk off, JB asks her if she still has his 9th pair of sneakers. Rian asks him why he’s asking about it now, but gently steps on shoes before walking away, showing she also remembers what happened between them back then. Meanwhile, Yoo Jin is still searching for Hye Sung, who just happens to find Rian’s K amulet.
JB and the Hershee girls are now back with the other students at the campfire. He says he can help them finish finding everyone’s treasures in an hour, but in fact his idea is just to steal boxes from the teachers and put random things in there to trick them. At first nobody seems receptive to the idea, but then Rian decides she’ll do it. JB, of course, goes along to help her. As they’re searching, Rian finds the letters that the other students wrote and begins to open one when JB interrupts her by finding the boxes.
Meanwhile, Hye Sung and Yoo Jin are still wandering around the camp. Yoo Jin finally finds her after she finds his music composition book, but she slips and falls down a hill as she tries to meet up with him. He rushes to her to check if she’s okay, but all she can do is laugh. At this point, they decide stargazing is the thing to do. As Hye Sung sees one, she starts to describe how it would probably taste really good to eat. Yoo Jin gives her the crazy look, but she just laughs. She tells him that she’s found the remaining 4 treasures and starts flipping through his composition book. When he tries to take it back, Hye Sung says she’ll only give it back if he sings her a song. As Jin Woo sings, we cut to scenes of the various students along with shots of President Lee and his daughter, and Principal Lee walking carrying a large luggage. JYP is also seen carrying a drunk Teacher Ahn, and the two share a moment and admit to each other their dream of becoming a singer as they stare up into the sky. As the song and episode ends, we see Yoo Jin carrying Hye Sung in a similar fashion.
FINALLY. This is the episode that I’ve been waiting for from the start. We start to get the back story on JB and Rian, and Hye Sung and Yoo Jin start developing their relationship. Granted, it felt a little forced for why Yoo Jin started to pay more attention to her, but I’ll take it since they’re already on the 5th episode. We also get a glimpse into President Lee and see that Principal Joo actually cares, even if he’s apparently the reason why the school has failed so miserably since the original season. But yes, finally, we get actual character development for each of the leads. Best of all, they cut out a bunch of the superfluous story lines and focused only what was important for the story. Hopefully the next episode can build on this momentum.
Special bonus: Jiyeon singing wishing on a star just because I really liked this cover.