THE SHORT VERDICT:
Youthful, fresh, and with just the right amount of angst, Who Are You – School 2015 is an engaging watch for most of its run, and even manages to feel cracky in parts.
On top of the typical teen problems, Show layers a missing-twin-swopped-lives arc that amps up the dramatic tension. Add on a confusing love triangle which ups the crack factor, and I was a eager happy camper through much of the show.
Despite some of the acting falling on the stiff side and an ending that loses steam, Show manages to remain a fun watch overall.
Who Are You – School 2015 OST – Remember
THE LONG VERDICT:
To be honest, when I started watching this show, I’d just recently finished watching Angry Mom, and I wondered if the two shows would be too similar for me to properly enjoy School 2015, since both shows are set in high school, and both feature bullying quite prominently, to boot.
Thankfully, I actually had nothing to worry about. Even though there are some similar themes on paper, the two shows and their drama worlds feel different and easily distinct. While Angry Mom feels darker and grittier, and is often viewed through an adult lens, School 2015 shines more of the spotlight on actual student life, and tonally, feels more like a real high school drama than Angry Mom.
While my affection for School 2015 doesn’t quite match my (big, big) love for School 2013, I still liked it a whole lot, and consistently looked forward to its next episode.
WHAT I LIKED
From the very beginning, our story and our characters are effectively and efficiently set up, along with many intriguing questions that made me want to know more about the characters, their stories, and their world.
Even after just the first episode, I came away feeling a little hooked already, which is a very good thing indeed.
If I had to distill what made this show work for me, these are the 3 major things.
1. The Twin Mystery
Even just on paper, Show’s swopped identities mystery hook already adds interest and dramatic tension to take our story beyond a typical high school story.
In execution, I really appreciated that Show turned out to be more layered and complex – and therefore more intriguing – than I’d expected, in terms of how it handled the swopped identities arc between our twins Eun Byul and Eun Bi (both played by Kim So Hyun).
Originally, I’d thought we’d get a fairly straightforward scenario of Eun Bi escaping her sad life, and enjoying the perfect life that Eun Byul had. But, as it turns out, Eun Byul’s life wasn’t quite so perfect, and Eun Bi has to face the consequences for the life that Eun Byul had left.
I found this arc not only interesting, but also thought-provoking. So often, what appears good and perfect on the surface really isn’t so good or so perfect, once you dig a little deeper. And that’s what we see when Eun Bi really starts trying to live her life as Eun Byul. As she discovers more about Eun Byul’s life, so do we, and that journey of discovery kept me very much engaged.
To add to the intrigue, we learn quite quickly that it was Eun Byul who had saved Eun Bi, only to then position Eun Bi to take over her life, while Eun Byul herself disappeared. Why would Eun Byul do that? What actually happened to Eun Byul afterwards? Was she dead or alive? These were all questions that kept me curious as I watched the show.
2. The Love Triangle
Not gonna lie; the love triangle between Eun Bi, Yi An (Nam Joo Hyuk) and Tae Kwang (Yook Sung Jae) was a big fat cracky hook for me.
I liked both boys, although I did root for one more than the other (details later!), and it was cracky goodness to see the two boys falling for Eun Bi in spite of themselves. It was all the more cracky to me, in the sense that I just loved the idea that Eun Bi, who’d been bullied and ostracized pre-twin-swop, was now enjoying so much care and attention from not one, but two nice young men. In that sense, it almost felt like Life was making it up to her, y’know?
And even though the boys were constantly at each other while jostling for Eun Bi’s attention, I thought it very sweet and very telling, that they would readily join forces and work together, when it came to protecting Eun Bi. Sweetness. I loved it.
3. Relatable Student Issues
Kudos to the writers, for making screentime for several issues that spoke to the more everyday types of student issues.
The immense pressure to do well and excel; the roles that parents play, in either being a source of stress, or a safe haven for their children; the various forms that bullying take in school; Show made room for all of these minor arcs to each get their time in the spotlight, even as our dual major arcs of the twin mystery and the love triangle continued their trajectory.
This had the effect of helping to make our drama world feel all the more like a real high school, and I found it a very nice touch.
With an ensemble cast, it’s literally impossible to talk about all of our characters. Here, I give the quick – and sometimes not-too-quick – spotlight to several of our main characters.
Kim So Hyun as Eun Byul/Eun Bi
Playing two different characters in a single show is a challenge for any actor, and Kim So Hyun does an admirable job of playing both Eun Byul and Eun Bi. Not only is it easy to tell the twins apart without having their surroundings spell it out for us, she plays both characters with nuance and heart.
That’s no small accomplishment for an actor of any age, and I find her ability to imbue both sisters with what feels like effortless layers and facets very impressive indeed. Sure, she’s quite the veteran, having spent a mind-boggling 13 years (of her 16 years of actually being alive) in the industry to date. Even so, her ease and maturity in fleshing out Eun Bi and Eun Byul as distinct characters is no small deal. Kudos indeed.
My only (minor-ish) gripe, which probably has as much to do with the writing as it has to do with the delivery, is that in the later episodes, the characterization of both sisters becomes a little flatter than before, and each sister is brought to more extreme points of the personality scale to emphasize their distinctness. Broadly speaking, this meant that Eun Bi seemed a little too docile and sweet, while Eun Byul seemed a little too bold and sassy.
While I would’ve very much liked both sisters to have retained the nuances in characterization that we get in the early episodes when they were living in different worlds, I still think Kim So Hyun did a pretty fantastic job of both characters.
Sassy, opinionated, and bold to speak her mind, Eun Byul was a refreshing and interesting character that I wanted to know more about.
The problem is, I feel like Show gave Eun Byul the short end of the stick. In terms of screentime, from exposition to development to resolution, almost everything about Eun Byul’s story felt rushed. A lot of what we do learn about her, we learn through Eun Bi’s experience.
In that sense, I felt like Eun Byul never got a chance to get properly fleshed out as a character, and that we as an audience therefore never got a real chance to connect with her in a genuine and solid manner. She felt more like a shadow of a character; a mysterious distant person that we spend more time hearing about, than actually spending time with.
I thought this was a big missed opportunity, particularly in terms of Eun Byul’s relationship with Eun Bi (more on that later).
Comparatively, we get to spend a lot more time with Eun Bi as we follow her on her journey of discovery and growth. Ultimately, this made her feel like our protagonist, much more than Eun Byul ever was. While that could’ve been Show’s intention all along, it did feel like Eun Byul had gotten sidelined in favor of her twin.
In general, I liked following Eun Bi on her journey and watching her grow and evolve and basically find herself, as she faced the situations before her.
The trajectory, where we see Eun Bi grow from cowering before bully So Young (Jo Soo Hyang), to eventually standing up to her while living as Eun Byul, was one of the most satisfying arcs in the show. I loved the moment in episode 8, for example, when Eun Bi is awesomely badass in response to So Young, who confronts her in the auditorium. The swag that she wears and her boldness in the face of So Young’s threat completely disempowers So Young, and I love it.
Unfortunately, in emphasizing Eun Bi’s strong empathetic streak (which is totally a good thing too), Show missed a huge opportunity, and that is to have had Eun Bi stand up to So Young, not as Eun Byul, but as herself. Coz I honestly don’t think strength and empathy have to be mutually exclusive traits.
Still, I found Eun Bi likable and easy to root for, and even though there were times when I felt like her journey of self-discovery was a little slow, I could rationalize that things like change and growth can take time.
Who Are You – School 2015 OST – 그 이름
Nam Joo Hyuk as Yi An
You guys have probably figured out my “type” by now, and Nam Joo Hyuk – who’s gorgeously tall, lean, sculpted, and in possession of a set of nicely strong brows – fits the bill nicely. Yes, he’s got a long way to go with the acting, but I can’t deny that I like what I see.
As Han Yi An, Nam Joo Hyuk gives off a wholesome, clean-cut, sporty boy-next-door sort of vibe, which I really dig. I love that Yi An is the kind of boy who’s loyal, and who cares.
Add on the fact that Yi An is a hardworking, dedicated competitive swimmer (the abundance of shirtless! Bonus!) who’s not a genius, but simply someone who worked really, really hard to get to where he is today, and my big soft spot for Yi An was pretty much sealed.
His sweet loyalty to Eun Byul, combined with his slight touch of dork amid the star sportsman aura, gave me warm fuzzy goofy grins.
Plus, those broad shoulders are so yum.
There are two major points on which I’d like to defend Yi An. Yes, I like Yi An and it could be that I’m biased. At the same time, I do feel that Yi An as a character got a lot more flak than he really deserved, so here’s my two cents in Yi An’s defense (hey, that rhymes!).
Generally speaking, one of the major complaints about Yi An is how much he withdrew into himself in episode 10, and spent a long time not actually doing anything, compared to Tae Kwang, who was actively seeking out Eun Bi.
In Yi An’s defense, the poor guy had a LOT to process and deal with. Not only the fact that the Eun Byul in front of him wasn’t really Eun Byul, but that Eun Byul may have well died, AND, his swimming career was on hold indefinitely. So much to process, at just 18 years old. It’s a lot to deal with all at once at any age, and even more so, when you’re just 18. I thought Yi An acting up this episode was understandable, even if it wasn’t popular.
The signs that we got, that Yi An was slowly coming to terms with Eun Bi’s identity, and starting to relate to her as herself instead of her twin, were subtle, but they were enough for me. In episode 12, we see him putting his arm around Eun Bi to walk her home, this time knowing that she’s not Eun Byul, and later, we also see him texting her by her name. This helped me to know that in his own way and in his own time, he was coming around to who Eun Bi is.
2. Anger towards Eun Byul
Again in defense of Yi An, I felt that his anger towards Eun Byul in episode 13 – essentially for her deception – was understandable.
He’d been through a very intense emotional rollercoaster because of her, and I felt that Eun Byul didn’t seem to have considered how he might have felt. I felt that Eun Byul’s abrupt way of showing up, and expecting him to just deal with it and accept her, was rather insensitive. In Yi An’s shoes, I’d be upset with her too – at least for a while.
Yook Sung Jae as Tae Kwang
Yook Sung Jae is impressively pitch perfect as the angsty teenage rebel with the hidden wounded soul.
It’s hard to believe this is only Yook Sung Jae’s second major acting role (he was also very good in the underrated Plus Nine Boys). He’s quite the natural onscreen, and portrays Tae Kwang with nuance and heart. Honestly, I think credit largely goes to Yook Sung Jae’s delivery, for the large amount of love that Tae Kwang received from S2015’s audience.
I really enjoyed Tae Kwang’s journey of growth and healing, and thought it was one of the best character arcs in the show. Every step that Tae Kwang made, away from being the resident rebel without a(n apparent) cause, towards becoming a balanced, focused young man with healthy, happy relationships with his friends and family, made me happy.
Tae Kwang tugged at my heartstrings in episode 12 especially.
From the phone call where he can’t bring himself to talk to Mom (Choi Soo Rin), to when he gets all dressed up to go to her wedding, only able to lock eyes with her from afar; it’s all extremely poignant.
And then, after a terrible misunderstanding with Dad (Jun Noh Min), Tae Kwang’s confession to Eun Bi, knowing that she doesn’t reciprocate his feelings, and this tiredly persistent hug, as a tear quietly escapes his eye.
Awww. Poor baby. This scene is just all so heart-tugging, and sweet, and sad, all at the same time.
Although the vast majority of viewers desperately wanted Tae Kwang to get the girl, I honestly think that Show’s decision to focus his arc on platonic and familial love was the better choice. As much as Tae Kwang needs love, I feel that it’s not romantic love per se that he really needs, at this point in his life. He needs love, period. Love from friends, love from family. He needs to be loved, and know what it feels like, to be loved.
And I appreciate that we get to see glimmers of that, in his friendship with Eun Bi, in his connection with Teacher Kim (Lee Pil Mo), in his interactions with Yi An and his dad (Lee Dae Yeon), and of course, in his relationship with his own dad. It made me happy to witness that healing happening, as little love sprouts finally become visible (not that Tae Kwang’s dad never loved him before) in the later episodes of the show.
Jo Soo Hyang as So Young
Ugh, So Young. I disliked her, so much. I hated her gloating smirk, I hated that she seemed to take actual pleasure in bullying others, I hated that she never seemed to feel remorse, even when her actions led to very serious consequences.
Essentially, So Young as a character aggravated me a lot, which means that Jo Soo Hyang did an excellent job with the character.
I found So Young’s behavior disturbing on so many occasions. Here are just the more alarming instances:
- When she would feel no remorse even while under the impression that Eun Bi had committed suicide as a result of her bullying.
- When she felt no relief when she realized that Eun Bi had lived instead of died.
- When she determined to kill Eun Bi in episode 8.
- When she blithely ruined Yi An’s competition in episode 9 with her taunting text, and then felt no remorse when he got into an accident that ruined his shoulder.
Show paints a context for So Young that helps to humanize her – her parents are downright awful, and the worst role models ever – and resolves her arc by making her suffer the consequences of her bullying ways by having her new schoolmates ostracize her, but I never found the resolution satisfying enough.
I wanted So Young to be truly sorry for her actions, not just because she ended up suffering because of them, but I wanted her to really feel sorry for the trauma she’d caused other people. In essence, I wanted to see that she had an actual conscience.
Also, I wanted to see her receive formal punishment for her actions, many of which were actual crimes. Show should’ve sent that message, that all the physical and emotional abuse that So Young was guilty of, is serious stuff in the eyes of the law. I think seeing So Young spend time in some kind of detention center or institution would’ve gone quite a long way in making Show feel more satisfying overall.
Lee Pil Mo as Teacher Kim
Special shout-out to Lee Pil Mo, whom I felt was perfectly cast as the kids’ homeroom teacher. I found him warm and quite adorable as the teacher with Heart, and I really liked the firm yet caring way he interacted with the students.
It’s a pity that Teacher Kim’s arc feels shoehorned in, but I did appreciate that Show spent some time exploring his perspective and backstory.
As brief as it is, I like the way Teacher Kim’s arc is treated in episode 15, in the sense that we see him leaving the school, not to satisfy a rule or a law, but to satisfy his own conscience.
I respect that he feels he needs the space and time to think and find his direction and passion all over again. After all, how can one truly teach without passion, right? And in the end, I do love that he finds his passion again, and squarely in the classroom too, where he belongs.
Who Are You – School 2015 OST – Reset
As with the characters themselves, there are way too many relationships in this show to be able to do them all justice. Here’s my spotlight on some of the more major relationships.
The OTP Loveline
Like I mentioned earlier in this review, the love triangle and its related developments was one of my biggest crack factors while watching this show.
I thought the writers did a good job of making both boys worthy contenders for Eun Bi’s affections. With Yi An’s melty-cozy brand of loyal friendship on the one hand, and refreshingly honest interactions with Tae Kwang on the other, Eun Bi was, objectively speaking, spoilt for choice.
Show did a pretty good job teasing this arc through most of its run, so that shippers in both camps weren’t even quite sure what the outcome would be, till the very end.
Yi An and Eun Bi
As you’ve probably gathered by now, I was on this ship rather the Tae Kwang-Eun Bi one, from pretty early on in the show.
Much as many viewers felt like Tae Kwang ought to get the girl – not only coz of his wounded soul appeal, but also because he understood and supported Eun Bi in ways that everyone else couldn’t while she was living as Eun Byul – I rooted for Yi An because, well, Eun Bi liked him. The fact that I liked him too, was bonus, but secondary.
I mean, despite the numerous reasons that one might think of, of why she should choose Tae Kwang, in the end, the heart wants what it wants; the heart wants who it wants, as any one of us who’ve ever been in love (reciprocated or otherwise) would know.
On top of that, I actually found the developing dynamic between Eun Bi and Yi An pretty interesting in and of itself.
From the very beginning, Eun Bi struggles with any and all of Yi An’s gestures of affection towards her, because as far as she’s concerned, that affection is really for her sister. And so, whatever sweet and swoony things that Yi An does for her, it’s hard for her to respond. Her integrity doesn’t allow it, and she feels a sense of responsibility to Eun Byul, to keep Yi An at arm’s length.
From Yi An’s point of view, it’s even more confusing. “Amnestic Eun Byul” feels like a whole new person to him, and one that he likes even more than the old Eun Byul, as he admits in episode 7. That arc, which evolves into that of Yi An eventually discovering that Eun Bi is her own person, and coming to terms with it, then sifting through his feelings and figuring out what he really feels for whom, is a progression that I found interesting, engaging and yes, squee-worthy too.
Some (many?) viewers found Yi An’s change of heart, from liking Eun Byul to liking Eun Bi, unnatural and unbelievable, but I actually found it pretty plausible.
Given that Yi An’s nursed a crush on Eun Byul for so long, I could easily believe that at some point, it became more of a habit than he realized. Also, given that Eun Byul consistently responded to his affection with mock sarcasm when she was in a good mood and actual cold shoulders when she wasn’t, I couldn’t blame Yi An for being drawn to Eun Bi’s more gentle, sweet-tempered nature. Plus, she quite clearly liked him back, while Eun Byul had steadily sent him mixed signals at best.
With that context, I actually was very much on board with Yi An’s growing feelings for Eun Bi, and rooted for both he and Eun Bi to recognize said feelings.
The Yi An Appeal
1. When he’s being cute and adorable
I just found it quite adorable that Yi An has the habit of sitting on Eun Bi’s porch when he’s missing her or thinking about her. Even more adorable is the fact that he absolutely doesn’t want her to know.
It’s super cute that he runs all the way back to the sports center in episode 7, just to keep up the ruse that he was totally at the pool when she’d called. Hee.
2. When he’s being gentle and serious
As lovable Yi An is when he’s being dorky-cute, I love it even more, when Yi An takes a break from his friendly banter to be gentle and serious.
I loved this beat in episode 7, when a timid Eun Bi asks him if they’re still good friends even though the Eun Byul that he knows now is very different from the Eun Byul that he’d known before.
After ribbing her about the answer being dependent on how she does, I love the gentle yet intent look in his eyes as he admits that he seems to like the new Eun Byul more.
I found that gaze, followed by this shy smile, very melty indeed.
3. When he’s focused
It’s true that Yi An needed a good number of episodes to work through his feelings and come to terms with them. When he finally figured it all out, though, I found his brand of focused purposefulness very swoony indeed.
I basically love how Yi An handles himself in episode 15. Well, aside from the way he punches that random guy, which was just the writers shoehorning in a way for him to be at the police station at the same time as Tae Kwang.
Other than that, I really liked how he handles the romance front. Once he’d figured out how he felt about Eun Bi, he goes about handling it, one piece at a time, setting things in place until he feels ready – and free, really – to go to Eun Bi to make his feelings known.
From letting Tae Kwang know how he feels (above), to fulfilling his gold medal promise to Eun Byul, and getting closure for his one-sided love while retaining their friendship, to maintaining a healthy rivalry with Tae Kwang and showing gruff friendly concern to Tae Kwang when Tae Kwang was down, to finally seeking out Eun Bi and spending time with her, and expressing his intentions to her.
That’s actually really grounded, mature thinking from an 18-year-old, and if that’s what we get from Yi An’s time of extended brooding, I say it’s well worth it, coz I find his wholesome focused sort of approach very melty indeed. ❤
Tae Kwang and Eun Bi
In my mind, there are 3 main reasons why Tae Kwang appeals to many viewers as the right match for Eun Bi.
1. They’re both wounded souls
Because they’ve both experienced deep hurt and rejection in their lives, they are able to understand and empathize with each other in ways that extend beyond what other regular people can offer.
In that way, it feels like they’ll each be able to help heal other’s hurts. It also feels like they fit together, kinda like how two broken pieces put together might make a whole, perhaps.
2. They can be honest with each other
From pretty early in the series, they know each other’s deep dark secrets. Eun Bi knows that Tae Kwang’s mother is a top star, and Tae Kwang knows that she’s not really Eun Byul.
Because they know each other’s secrets, they can be honest with each other and not worry about putting up a false front when they’re talking to each other. The freedom to comfortably be oneself is a precious outlet, and effectively positions them to become close.
3. He protects and helps her
When So Young transfers to Segang High and begins to be suspicious of Eun Bi’s true identity, it is Tae Kwang who consistently comes to her rescue. Better yet, he often takes the opportunity to put So Young in her place, like in episode 6, where he simply says to her, “Do you want to die?”
Particularly because So Young is such an aggravating character in our drama world, it feels like Tae Kwang should be winning all the points, for scaring her, even temporarily.
Like I mentioned earlier in this review, I felt that the writers’ decision to make Tae Kwang’s character arc about platonic and familial love and healing was a good one.
While it was painful to watch Tae Kwang struggle with his unrequited feelings for Eun Bi (poor baby), it was actually gratifying to see the positive effect that she had on him. When Tae Kwang was in her orbit, he smiled more, was happier, and behaved like less of a rebel, even. And I believe that the reasons for that actually go beyond the context of his romantic feelings for her. Just because of the kind of person that she is, she has that effect on him, and that was meaningful to witness.
I particularly liked the beat in episode 13, when we see Tae Kwang playing with the kids at House of Love. It’s the first time we see him being so carefree and happy, really, and seeing him so happy made me happy too. 🙂
Eun Byul and Eun Bi
Considering that Eun Byul and Eun Bi are the two characters squarely in the center of our missing-twin-swopped-lives storyline, their relationship with each other was naturally of great interest to me.
While Show did a decent job of giving us both Eun Byul’s and Eun Bi’s backstories, and I did like what we got in terms of a feel for their relationship, I wished Show could’ve given us more.
I found it really poignant that both Eun Bi and Eun Byul were people who were living in guilt.
Eun Byul felt guilty for having ‘stolen’ Eun Bi’s life, while Eun Bi felt guilty for ‘causing’ Eun Byul’s death, and also for causing the people at House of Love to believe that she’d died. I wondered how they would heal each other’s wounds as they interacted with and got to know each other, and really looked forward to seeing them reconcile.
What I loved
In episode 13, we finally get to see Eun Bi and Eun Byul together, and I love that the twins are just so happy to be together. It’s so cool that they would instinctively reach for each other, even though they really barely knew each other. I also found it extra sweet that Eun Bi would be able to instinctively address Eun Byul as unni.
I loved, too, Eun Byul’s fierce protective instinct towards Eun Bi. Whether giving So Young a (pretty darn satisfying) smackdown for what So Young had done to Eun Bi, or rushing to Eun Bi’s side when she perceived Eun Bi was danger, like she did in episode 15, Eun Byul’s unni instinct is dialed up to strong-and-unapologetic, and was pretty great to watch.
Essentially, it feels like Eun Byul and Eun Bi complete each other, in the most endearing way possible. They’d both felt alone, in different ways, and now they have each other. Aww. ❤
What I didn’t love
So I get that live shoots made it hard to have Eun Byul and Eun Bi in the same frame, coz not only does doing that take twice as long to shoot, there’s also lots of editing involved.
Sadly, it actually was pretty obvious that Show was purposefully keeping the twins apart in scenes.
Like in episode 16, when Eun Bi hangs out with Song Joo (Kim Hee Jung) and Shi Jin (Lee Cho Hee). It would’ve made perfect sense for Eun Byul to have been there too. Instead, we’re told that Eun Byul had arranged the party just for Eun Bi to spend time with the girls. Boo.
One of THE things I really would’ve loved to see, was both twins going to school together. That would’ve been so great, to see them making themselves at home in Segang High, both as individuals and as sisters. Ahhh! How much fun would that have been? But, we never get to actually see something like that, simply coz it’s too time-consuming and technically difficult to do, given the time available. Which is a huge pity, and rather frustrating, coz that’s exactly the stuff that I wanted to see. Double boo, and a big ol’ pout for good measure.
Tae Kwang and Teacher Kim
While it’s a secondary arc, I couldn’t resist giving a quick shout-out to the blossoming bromance between Teacher Kim and Tae Kwang. Their odd-couple pairing just makes their bromance all the cuter.
I thought it was very cute how Teacher Kim and Tae Kwang keep meeting on the rooftop and end up sharing moments of mutual counsel.
Teacher Kim’s kindness and acceptance felt like just what Tae Kwang needed in his life. And it tickled me that in spite of Tae Kwang’s rebel ways, he actually ended up being a voice of reason to Teacher Kim on more than one occasion. Most notably, it’s Tae Kwang’s words that eventually convinced Teacher Kim to turn himself in to the police. That’s deep influence indeed.
I was sad that Teacher Kim left, but I found it really cute that this doesn’t stop their bromance from blooming, and Teacher Kim’s departure actually causes them to become chummier instead of more distant.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE SO MUCH
I really liked how Show focuses on character and relationship development. What I didn’t like so much, was that Show tended to be rather lax in the logic department, and enjoying this show required some serious suspension of disbelief, especially with all the stuff that related to the twins and Eun Bi’s switched identity.
On top of that, some arcs felt shoehorned-in, and several plot points got connected in distinctly clumsy ways.
[SPOILERS THROUGH THE END OF THE REVIEW]
On top of the stuff I’ve already mentioned in this review, here are a few more examples of the stuff that I didn’t like so much in the show.
- With both twins alive and well, there’s an unidentified person’s ashes wearing Eun Bi’s name in a niche that no one seems to have thought of straightening out.
- There is way too much wrist-grabbing in this show. More often than I’d like to admit, I felt like the two boys were playing a literal tug of war and Eun Bi was the rope on which they were tugging.
- Eun Byul’s return was too long-drawn-out. Show shouldn’t have teased so much with this arc, coz by the time Eun Byul actually appeared, it felt like old news.
- The arc around Teacher Jung (Lee Shi Won) felt extremely jerky. One moment she was cartoony-bright, then she became darkly borderline psychotic, and then – poof! – she was suddenly all tears and forgiveness.
While I didn’t find it terribly hard to shrug of these weaknesses in order to enjoy the show, it does make me wistful that this show could’ve been so much better, without them.
THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING
In the end, it feels like Show ran out of time and just stuffed as many plot points as it could into the remaining minutes of its run, never mind filling in the gaps of how characters actually got from point A to point B.
Of all the things that Show served up in its finale, my single most favorite bit, is that Eun Bi now shares the same last name as her sister, and that she comes back with more of Eun Byul’s sass as well.
On the downside, it would’ve been nice to see how she got to this point, after being so meek all series long. Another downside, was that Show didn’t give Yi An the attention he deserved as our romantic endgame. We should’ve had more screentime with Yi An, so that more viewers would’ve been on board with his and Eun Bi’s arc.
All in all, despite the ending feeling more like a highlight reel that got shoved in, in place of actual storytelling, and despite said ending feeling quite anticlimactic and rushed, I genuinely enjoyed my watch of S2015, and will unabashedly think fondly of the fun cracky times that Show did give me, in spite of its flaws.
What can I say, I’m optimistic that way. 😉
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Enjoyable and even cracky in parts, despite the rather underwhelming ending.
FINAL GRADE: B
For those who haven’t seen the show, here’s a quick teaser:
For those who’d like to revisit the world and characters of School 2015, here’re a couple of MVs for ya: