Here we recap and discuss episode 8 of Dream High 2. Caution, spoilers below. Do not read if you don’t want to know what happens.
After JB drags Rian off stage, Yoo Jin explains to the audience that the reason why they’re performing is to convince those who left to come back. He passionately explains how Principal Joo paid his bail money and all but begs him to come back, which only embarrasses his mentor. Principal Joo complains about this to Teacher Ahn beside him, but she says she’s jealous of him and says she’ll work to become a role model like him.
Back at the school, Yoo Jin and the others are hanging yellow ribbon on a tree as an extension of their efforts to bring the principal back. They explain to Seul, who is watching, that they might not like Principal Joo, but they are still grateful for all he’s done for them. When they say at least he’s better than President Lee, Seul defends her dad and storms off before the others can question why.
While JYP is cleaning the campus, he gets confronted by Teacher Ahn about using the students to get on President Lee’s good side. She tells him about her new found principle of treating all students equally and that he should quickly do the same. As they are talking about President Lee’s reaction to the concert, he walks up to them. Walking right behind him is Principal Joo, whom the two teachers are excited to see.
So it seems that Principal Joo sold off his chicken shop and hands President Lee the money that he lent him earlier. President Lee asks him why he decided to comeback, to which Principal Joo replies that he missed seeing the kids even though they always cursed him for being so hard with them. Though he’s not the principal anymore and only a regular teacher, he says he will help the students to the best of his ability. As the two separate, Teacher Joo sees the yellow ribbons on the tree and it manages to bring a smile to his face.
Inside the school, Ji Soo addresses the student body. She tells the old folktale about the ugly duckling and likens its plight to the lower class. Ji Soo then announces that Yoo Jin has been selected as the first “Super Idol” to be part of Producer Shin’s new group due to his skills in singing, stage presence, and composing. Everyone is shocked at the announcement, probably none more so than Yoo Jin himself. Ji Soo ends her speech with a warning to the upper class to stay on their toes and tells the lower class that they should keep working hard because they do have a chance to succeed.
Following the announcement, Yoo Jin storms into President Lee’s office where he sees him meeting with Producer Shin. He demands to know why they didn’t discuss this with him, to which President Lee replies that he already did introduce Yoo Jin’s new teacher to him. After President Lee leaves, Producer Shin asks Yoo Jin why he’s been “rotting” here at Kirin even though he’s a very talented musician. He says it’s because he just wants to be a rocker, not an idol. However, it seems Producer Shin has found out Yoo Jin’s true background: he used to be a child star, but due to his parents messy divorce he stopped his activities. According to the flashback that we see, the reason why they split is because they argued over who should control Yoo Jin. Producer Shin concludes that Yoo Jin is simply in hiding and doesn’t want to be famous anymore. Yoo Jin denies everything and storms out.
Producer Shin now formally announces to the school that he’s creating a new super group, the first member being Yoo Jin, and that he will be giving the students missions as their audition. Everyone is excited about the prospect, except for Nana who is worried about what will happen to HersheE. Ailee doesn’t share her friend’s concert and is instead excited at this new prospect. Their first mission is to prepare a song and dance that is related to rain, the judging for these performances will be done by their fellow students.
Meanwhile, Rian goes to the teachers’ office and asks Ji Soo why Yoo Jin was selected to be the first “Super Idol” even though she felt she had the better performance. She says that half of HersheE’s fans are hers as well so that should be more than enough to qualify her for the new group. Ji Soo responds by saying that Rian hasn’t shown the talent yet and is only known as a B-list actress and the face of the group. Rian says she’s trying her best to change, and that’s why she performed with Yoo Jin and the others. Rather than just saying it, Ji Soo wants Rian to show her that she’s changing through the auditions.
With Yoo Jin’s new-found fame, his friends are falling over themselves to suck up to him so that he’ll pair with them for the mission. He asks them if they’ve had any contact from Hye Sung, but her “friends” don’t really seem concerned about her at this point. As he tries to call her using Soon Dong’s cell phone, not sure how she snuck that in, he’s forced to catch a basketball hurled at him by a very angry JB. He tells Yoo Jin that they need to talk and force him to come.
Seems Rian’s mom isn’t done meddling with her life. She’s apparently still trying to get Rian to sign a new contract so she can do solo activities. Rian tells her about the “Super Idol” competition at school and that if she does well there then she’ll be set. After she hangs up, she sees JB and Yoo Jin arguing about her and Hye Sung. JB thinks Yoo Jin stole Hye Sung’s song as well and that he did it to hurt her. Yoo Jin responds back that Rian was the one who stole the song and that he had meant for Hye Sung to sing it all along. At this point, Rian decides to step up and ask JB if the reason why he’s defending Hye Sung so much is because he likes her. Yoo Jin and Rian are shocked when he says yes, and Rian tells him to stop joking around because she’s not the jealous type. JB tells her to think what she likes and walks away.
Once again JB just happens to find Si Woo and Nana leaving on what looks like a date and interrupts them. They ask him where he’s going, but JB says nothing and just demands to borrow Si Woo’s car. Si Woo refuses at first, but sees that it’s important to JB and so gives it to him.
Meanwhile, Producer Shin is meeting with the teachers to determine the teams for the upcoming audition. Of course, Ji Soo takes the Eden and HersheE girls, while Teacher Ahn takes the band members, minus Yoo Jin, but including Hye Sung. Thinking that her group is too handicapped, Producer Shin gives her Yoo Jin as well. Ji Soo asks Teacher Ahn about picking Hye Sung since she transferred, but Teacher Ahn says since she crushed Hye Sung’s dream, she’ll also bring her back.
Teacher Ahn meets up with her assigned students, plus Seul for some reason, and gives an impassioned speech about how she’ll now listen to their voices and try to find their true strengths and weaknesses to help them out. The students are confused at her sudden change of heart and question her motives. She tells them that they’re not doing this for President Lee, but for themselves.
At the same time, Ji Soo is meeting with her own students. She tells them to throw away their pride as idols and focus on the basics. The paper thin difference between professionals and amateurs is desperation. Just like how a duck will drown if it stops furiously paddling its feet underwater, if they let up their careers will be over.
Back with Teacher Ahn’s group, Hong Joo is singing for her so she can assess his abilities. She compliments his abilities and designates him main vocal. Now it’s Ui Bong turn. She says he can’t sing, but he can express his emotions very well so he’ll be the team mascot and visuals. Next comes Yoo Jin, and my favorite part of the episode. He simply strums an air guitar and shouts “G Minor!” Teacher Ahn is unsure what to say at this point, but of course passes him. Seul says nothing during her turn, and is assigned to the rapper role to express her rebelliousness. Soon Dong butchers Rain’s “Love Song” almost as badly as Teacher Ahn did Baek Ji Young’s “That Woman” in episode 4, and is assigned main dancer since Ui Bong says she can dance well. Now all that’s missing is Hye Sung.
Now we go back to Ji Soo’s group. She tells them not to forget their confidence and that they’re already swans. After leading them through a quick routine, Ji Soo catches Rian’s glance in the mirror and gives her a brief smile of approval. Somehow it took till now for her to realize that JB is missing and she asks about him.
Our wayward idol has apparently gone to Hye Sung’s hometown where he’s immediately greeted by Hye Sung’s little sister. She recognizes him and demands a caramel from him to get on her good side. JB meets with Hye Sung’s father, who refuses to let him see Hye Sung for fear he might convince her to go back with him. Meanwhile, Hye Sung and her sister are watching the two talk, and her sister comments that he seems too cool to be Hye Sung’s friend. She asks Hye Sung why JB came if they’re not close, to which Hye Sung has no answer. As Hye Sung’s father leaves, he accidentally knocks JB into a bucket of cleaned vegetables, much to Hye Sung’s horror but her sister’s delight. She rushes out to check on him and he notices that she cut her hair.
After JB gets changed, he finds Hye Sung’s sister waiting for him. She tells him that he’s lost all points with her father and drags him into Hye Sung’s room to show off her look for the pageant she’s going to be in. She says that she talked to her father on his behalf to let him stay there since it’s too late to drive back. But, in exchange, he has to drive her to the pageant the next day since her dad doesn’t approve of her doing it. JB notices all the rubix cubes in the room and after her sister mentions that their mom died 2 years ago, he has a flashback and realizes how Hye Sung knew that he had his cube for 2 years. Hye Sung then interrupts them and says it’s time for dinner.
As they’re eating dinner, Hye Sung’s family are all staring at him as he’s scarfing all the food down. After he realizes this, he slows down and apologizes, saying that he hasn’t had a home-cooked meal in a while. Hye Sung’s dad says he should visit his parents more often then, but JB reveals that he’s an orphan since his mom died when he was little and his dad died 2 years ago. He sympathizes with JB and tells him that he’s allowed to stay the night.
Back at school, Hong Joo, Ui Bong, and Soon Dong are practicing rain-related songs. Yoo Jin walks up to them and asks if they’ve heard from Hye Sung. Since he’s been asking about her so much, Ui Bong asks him if he likes her. Yoo Jin adamantly denies it, of course, which only confirms it in the others’ minds. They tell him to forget about her because she’s dating JB and that they heard he went to her home to get her back. Yoo Jin angrily gets up and we see Rian overheard them and was standing on the stairs.
To vent her frustration, Rian goes to the practice room to work on her dancing. She recalls the conversation she had earlier with Ji Soo about her not having skills and to prove herself in these auditions. The other HersheE girls are watching her from the doorway, and Ailee remarks that Rian has changed completely since Producer Shin arrived. She also says that Rian was the black hole in HersheE, but Nana silences her and drags Ailee off before Rian hears.
Back in Hye Sung’s hometown, she asks JB why he came for her. He’s not sure himself and returns the rubix cube to Hye Sung. He thanks her and says that it really did give him strength back then and hopes that it’ll now give her strength. JB then asks if she’s really going to give up singing. Hye Sung says she will because she knows she has no talent and won’t make it as a singer so it’s best to just give up now. As she gets up to leave, JB awkwardly blurts out that he likes her. Hye Sung just smiles and says that she’s liked him too since debut. He tells her that it’s not just because she’s a fan, but she still doesn’t believe him, saying he’ll be punished for lying in a church. His response is then to get drunk and tell her? That usually works out well, right? His alcohol tolerance is apparently less than 0 because he passes out after one sip of wine, conveniently on Hye Sung’s lap. I know JB’s a rookie and all, but that was still some terrible acting.
When he wakes up, he finds that Hye Sung put an earbud in his ear to listen to music while sleeping. As a sleeping Hye Sung lays her head on his shoulder, he starts singing Se7en’s latest hit, “When I can’t Sing”. The lyrics are surprisingly relevant to JB’s case, and you can listen to the full version here.
As Se7en’s song plays, we transition back to school where Rian is getting rid of all her belongs that remind her of JB. Soon Dong, being the leech she’s been so far, sees Rian throwing them away and sifts through them to see if there’s anything she wants to keep. She finds JB’s old sneakers and tosses them to the side. Rian, despite what she says, clearly still has feelings for JB and can’t quite bury them when she sees the sneakers. We then cut back briefly to the church in which we see Hye Sung has woken up and is enjoying JB’s little performance.
The next day, Yoo Jin calls Hye Sung, but her sister picks it up. She informs him that Hye Sung stayed out all night and when he demands more information, she calls him rude and hangs up. Smart kid that one, I approve. Yoo Jin then tells Ui Bong that he’s going to skip school and leaves the room. He goes to Teacher Ahn to tell her that he’s going to go get her, at which point he sees Rian’s mom angrily walking towards President Lee’s office with Rian in tow. She demands to know why he’s making Rian audition again even though she already did so. She even threatens to take Rian to a different agency if they don’t let Rian continue her idol activities. Apparently, Rian is the only one in the household earning money and they will starve without the money she brings in. President Lee is amused at her threat of moving Rian to another company but says he’ll look into getting Rian an appearance somewhere.
After she leaves the teacher’s room, Rian’s mother drops the angry act and says she only did it for Rian’s benefit. She seems oblivious to the fact that if anything she probably made things worse and tells Rian to make sure to stay healthy. As Rian is sadly moping around the hallway, Yoo Jin comes out of the teacher’s room to see how she’s doing.
Seems Rian’s mom’s rant worked and President Lee got Rian a gig of some sort, an unpleasant one I’m sure. She boards the bus, complaining how she couldn’t even get a car for her. Yoo Jin then steps on the bus and sits next to her, must to Rian’s dismay. She tells him to stop following him around, but he says that he has his own business to take care of in Choongjoo, Hye Sung’s hometown. Who wants to bet an angry standoff between our 4 main characters is coming up?
Meanwhile, Hye Sung checks to see if her dad is sleeping and then helps JB and her sister sneak out to go to the pageant. Her sister notices it seems awkward between them and asks if anything happened last night. They deny it, of course, but it still seems weird to her. Yoo Jin has also arrived in town and asks the if the elders he meets knows where Hye Sung lives. They tell him that she’s gone into town for the pageant. Yoo Jin thinks Hye Sung is participating in it, and says her standards have dropped.
Seems the “event” that Rian is singing for is at a random field in the middle of nowhere. She meets the person in charge who takes her to a tent and tells her to put on the costume. Just then she sees a text from President Lee asking for photo evidence that she actually did. Rian calls her mom to complain, but President Lee already gave her mom the money so she has no choice but to do it. Hye Sung and JB show up and not surprisingly, the event Rian is about to do is for the pageant that Hye Sung’s sister is about to compete in.
The event is about to start and Hye Sung’s sister runs into Rian in the preparation tent with the other girls. She tells Rian that the cat mask is too much if she’s trying to stand out, to which Rian replies to just worry about herself. The announcer says they have a special guest performing for them today and starts the music. I was expecting it from Rian’s costume, but was still amused when T-ara’s “Bo Peep Bo Peep” started playing. In this world it’s apparently a HersheE song, and Hye Sung is excited to hear it but says there’s no way any of the members would be here. When Rian is reluctantly dragged on stage, she sees Hye Sung and JB and becomes even less willing to perform. Hye Sung comments that they found a good copy of Rian, but JB seems to suspect that it’s not just a copy. At this point, Yoo Jin walks up to the performance and recognizes Rian on stage.
When she doesn’t sing, the crowd starts heckling Rian and tell her to get off the stage if she’s not going to perform. Conveniently, a wayward soccer ball from the nearby field flies onto the stage and hits Rian in the head, knocking her mask away and her to the floor. Hye Sung and JB are shocked to see that it actually is Rian, but before they can react Yoo Jin runs on stage and checks on Rian. She faints and the episode ends with him carrying her off stage in his arms.
Seems like this drama turned this around as we had another good episode. One thing I’ve noticed in this drama so far is the lack of loyalty the characters have for each other. Let’s start with the idols. JB basically abandoned Si Woo early on but still uses him to borrow his car or for rides. In HersheE, Ailee seems like she has no regard for Rian at all. Only Nana seems genuinely concerned about the wellbeing of her fellow label mates. They we come to Hye Sung’s friends. How can they be crying their eyes out about Hye Sung, but do nothing else? Soon Dong abandoned her in episode 6. Hong Joo and Ui Bong don’t seem to care much either and they repeatedly tell Yoo Jin to forget about her. Them performing Hye Sung’s song for Rian was one thing, since they didn’t know it was her song, but in general they just don’t seem to think highly enough of Hye Sung to do anything but talk. If anything, JB seems to be the one who cares most about her. He’s the one who went after her at the train terminal and back to her hometown, and he’s the one who stuck up for Hye Sung’s song by dragging Rian off stage.
I do like how they’ve weaving all these similarities between the main characters though. With Rian and Yoo Jin you see the perils of having parents who are overly involved in their child’s life. JB clearly sees his old self in Hye Sung and you even have both losing a parent 2 years earlier. This could be something that becomes a plot point down the line, but we’ll see. Rian also sees a bit of her old self in Hye Sung and it’s probably part of the reason why she can’t stand her.
I’m also curious about how Principal Joo managed to destroy the school so quickly. He seems like he cares about the students in his own way so it seems unlikely that he’d just let the school go bad so fast. I know it was necessary to set the plot of the school, but I think they could’ve come up with a better explanation.
My choice would’ve been Jin Woon yelling G-Minor, but since I can’t find that, here’s Hyorin’s cover of “I’m in Love” by Ra.D that played after the credits: