Early Access: Twenty Five, Twenty One Episode 1

Hi everyone!

Today, I thought I’d share my episode 1 notes on Twenty Five, Twenty One, because, well, I’m loving the show, along with everyone who’s following along on Patreon, and I was wondering if you’d like to join us? 🤗

These are my episode 1 notes, exactly as they appear on Patreon, ie, without screenshots (I’m saving those for the actual review). I hope you all enjoy, and I hope you’ll consider joining us over on Patreon, for the rest of the discussions! ❤️

Episode notes:

E1. Ahhh! I like this one, so much, and right away too!! This rarely ever happens, so I’m beyond thrilled. If Show manages to keep this up, I’m going to be a very, very happy camper.

I love how fresh, this all feels. Many dramas feel like they’re rehashing similar storylines and working to make them feel fresh. This doesn’t feel anything like that at all; this just feels fresh, all on its own. I love that.

I really like the premise, where our entire story is basically viewed in the mind’s eye of the protagonist’s daughter, as she goes through her mom’s diary, while going through a ballet slump herself.

Also! What a pleasant surprise, to see Choi Myung Bin play Hee Do’s daughter Min Chae. I love her, and hope that we’ll get to see more of her, even though I’m thoroughly enjoying our main story, told in flashback.

On that note, how poignantly universal is it, to have mother and daughter actually have so much in common, including the teen angst of feeling like Mom doesn’t understand, and therefore it’s impossible to talk with Mom.

It makes me think of my own teenaged years, when I, too, had felt like it was just too difficult to talk with my mom, because I was convinced that she wouldn’t understand. Ah, don’t we all go through this, after all.

I have to say, I hadn’t quite been sure how I would take to Kim Tae Ri in this role, but I am loving her in this, right away.

I love Hee Do’s energy and spirit. She’s so full of passion and enthusiasm, and her dreams are so big, and so pure. She’s such a gangly, flaily bundle of chaotic energy, and her feelings are as large as I would expect of any wide-eyed, innocent teenager who’s unacquainted with the worries, or the scary things, in the world.

For a start, I love how simple her joys are. Getting to see her fencing idol on a Saturday, even if it’s from a distance, and getting to read her favorite comic book are enough to bring a gigantic smile to her face, and more than a simple bounce to her step, and I find that very innocent and endearing.

Hee Do’s shortsighted plans for a forced transfer also strike me as very teenagery. It amuses me that it doesn’t ever occur to her, that getting arrested in and of itself, could get in the way of her having a career in sports.

Her outrageous plans were fun to watch, though, and in particular, I enjoyed that whole umbrella-fencing sequence, where she singlehandedly commands the attention of both petty gangs, and everyone stops fighting, just to see how she thwacks that one boy into submission. I found that very amusing, and also, I found it rather thrilling, to see her fencing skills and instincts at play.

Even though Hee Do is supposed to be in a slump, it seems like there’s no problem whatsoever with her fencing performance, when she isn’t actively thinking about it, like during the umbrella-fencing thing, and also, when Coach Yang throws that apple into the air, and Hee Do pierces it right through, with her foil.

She does have a knack for fencing, it looks like, and I’m glad that she’s passionate enough about it, to pursue it this actively, despite being in a slump and not performing up to expectation.

I love-love-LOVE that scene, where Hee Do floats that umbrella down to her idol Yu Rim, and then hugs herself in glee, at the thought that her idol is using the umbrella that she’s provided. It’s so very pure, and so very cute. I love it.

That scene where Hee Do screws up her courage to talk with Mom about wanting to transfer schools and keep fencing, is so very well done, I thought. Hee Do’s childlike innocence, earnestness and frustration is so believable, and Mom’s anger and hurt is so clear to see as well. I found Mom’s glassy eyes, as she fights back tears, especially poignant.

Again, it hits home in such a universal way. Hee Do’s thoughts and priorities are just completely different from Mom’s. Mom’s probably been through a lot, having lost her husband, and become a single working mom, trying to do her best for her daughter. And yet, there’s this giant gulf between mother and daughter, that, right now, seems too huge to bridge. It’s such heartachey stuff.

I’m glad Mom seeks out her old friend Coach Yang to help Hee Do transfer schools, even though it appears to be an uncomfortable situation. I’m definitely curious to know more about what’s happened between Mom and Coach Yang, and why Coach Yang feels Mom owes her an apology, and why Mom had felt so keenly, the need to be understood.

I’d been curious to see how Show would work with using the IMF as a backdrop, without it feeling too suffocatingly like a history lesson, and Show is doing beautifully, on that front.

I like how we get little nuggets of history here and there, like how the public had donated their personal gold belongings, to help the nation through the crisis, while Show keeps its IMF focus mainly on our characters’ personal experiences, thus making it all that much more relatable.

Like how Hee Do couldn’t care less about the IMF, until it impacted her fencing dreams. And how Yi Jin’s entire life has turned upside down, because his family’s gone bankrupt.

On that note, I am really enjoying Nam Joo Hyuk as Yi Jin. So far, it really feels to me, like this role fits him like a glove.

He totally looks the part of a young man, who, up till recently, had grown up with all the comforts he could have ever wanted, and is now acquainting himself with the harsh reality of working multiple jobs in order to make rent.

I really like Yi Jin’s temperament, so far. He doesn’t get riled up easily, like when the neighbor on his paper route makes a fuss about receiving his paper late, or when Hee Do tries to repair that copy of Full House, and fails so miserably.

He could have gotten upset both times, but instead, he remains calm as he apologizes to the neighbor and assures him that it’s just coz it’s his first day on the job, and that his paper would be on time going forward, and he chuckles over Hee Do’s desperate drawings, which she’s used to replace the ruined ones.

Plus, there’s how he works to protect Hee Do at the nightclub, even though they are barely acquainted. I kinda love how he tells his so-called friend that the one good thing about his family going bankrupt, is how he gets to see people at their worst; that that so-called friend should have treated him this way from the start, so that he wouldn’t have been mistaken that they were friends.

YES. I love how matter-of-fact that takedown is, and I love how Yi Jin doesn’t stoop to his friend’s way of doing things, just because he’s down and out. I love that earthy steeliness about him.

So far, I’m also loving the interactions between Yi Jin and Hee Do.

She’s all bursts of pure, unfiltered emotional energy, like when she yells at him for breaking the peeing boy statue in her garden, and he’s all matter-of-fact groundedness. I love the way he seems to be consistently unruffled by her outbursts, and just homes in on the logical things, like checking her returned comics for snot, and telling her that her plan for transferring school sucks.

Plus, I do love that he is so amused by her attempt to repair the comic book. He’s so good-natured. And, it does warm my heart, to think that he’s grown a little bit fond of the noisy, chaotic girl who’s inexplicably invaded his life from the most unexpected corners.

I love that closing scene, where Hee Do yells after him with so much unadulterated joy, to tell him that she’s going to transfer schools after all, and keep fencing, and that she’d used the special right that only comes with her age, that he’d reminded her of.

I love how delighted Hee Do looks, in this moment, and I also really like Yi Jin’s quietly muttered “congratulations,” as he cycles away. That feels pitch perfect, because he’s happy for her, but at the same time, we’re reminded that his life isn’t rosy at all right now, and he’s got to keep working, to keep making ends meet.

I’m really looking forward to watching how this unexpected connection between Hee Do and Yi Jin continues to grow.

On another note, I’m nicely tickled to see Kim Hye Eun play Coach Yang. Having recently rewatched Secret Love Affair, where Kim Hye Eun plays the vain Young Woo who’s always in tight, revealing clothing and heavy makeup, it’s just a bit of a mind-bender to see her in baggy tracksuits and sneakers here, as Coach Yang, and speaking in Saturi, no less. I love it.

Also, I am enjoying Bona as Yu Rim so far as well. I’d last seen Bona in Girls’ Generation 1979, and liked her there. This is quite a different role for her, and so far, I already find Yu Rim rather likable. She’s focused and disciplined, which I like, and there are also lashings of vulnerability and loneliness, which I think I spy, so far.

I’m really curious to see how Hee Do gets on with her fencing idol, now that she’s finally in the same orbit as her.

Also, I’m curious to know who Hee Do’s online friend is. Could it be Yu Rim herself, I wonder?

*This show is being covered on the Ultimate Early Access (US$25) Tier on Patreon*

To view episode 1 notes in Patreon, along with everyone’s comments, you can go here!

You can find my Patreon page here, where episodes 2 through 4 notes are already available.  Just look for the tag “Twenty Five Twenty One” or click here.

Episode 5 notes will be out on Monday, 7 March 2022! I hope you’ll consider joining us!

It’ll be a way to have fun, and support me at the same time? ❤️

PS: For more information on what the Patreon experience is like, you might like to check out my Patreon update post for March, which you can find here!

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1 year ago

I literally had goose bumps during the first show. Felt like I was watching a shooting star. I loved everything about it. KTR I thought over acted a bit but realized she’s playing someone 12 years her junior. Now I like the way she (or the director impact?) plays the role. I had a good Korean friend that personality was similar – I’d think to myself – are you for real? Anyway, love the throwback old vcr and rough video. The writing is exceptional through 2 episodes. Ep1 was interesting the way IMF was portrayed – blame it on IMF seemed to be the theme from teenagers pov at the time. Will be interesting to see if this changes over the episodes. For those not familiar with that time period, suggest reading up on it a bit – it was a devasting period for Koreans from what I read.

1 year ago

Ah, Kim Tae Ri, eh? Except for the starship junkies, one of my very favorite actresses, very underrated in Mr. Sunshine by contrast with the support leads, and yet has some of that excellent show’s most powerful scenes. I will once again recommend Little Forest, wherein she really shines. Maybe this is the one to get me watching again.

1 year ago

My teenager asked if I’d wanted to watch this with her and I refused, thinking that it’s going to be one of those puppy love, teeny-bopper stories (I can be jaded at times). After reading your Ep 1 review, I thought maybe I’d give it a go. Thank you. I shouldn’t be too judgy. Lol!

1 year ago
Reply to  Aiki4640

pls try..its a very beautiful and amazing drama..

1 year ago

I luff this show so much, it warms every little dark & cold corner of my heart! I find the mother-daughter relationship parallels b/w the IMF era & the post-covid times particularly poignant, so I’m hoping to see more of that, as much as I like having Yi-Jin & Hee-Do on my screen. Their camaraderie is so sweet, I don’t mind if they choose to stay platonic in the coming years (& that’s big, considering every k-drama shoehorns in a romance!) ✨

The skinny, girly KTR is really at home with this role, although like you KFG, I feel NJH as Yi-Jin is an even better fit, because he really gives off that vibe of a giant kid forced to grow up overnight, striking the perfect balance of awkward & dreamy, while looking like he’s in constant need of a bear-hug! 🥰

1 year ago

This show gets me in the feels too!! BTW what is Saturi and what does it mean when a character speaks it? I have picked up little words and phrases of Korean including “Are you crazy?!” (repeated ad nauseum in Are You Human Too), “delicious”, “I miss so-and-so” as well as the terms of respect or familial terms. But not enough to tell if someone is speaking in a different dialect.

1 year ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Thanks for the quick reply! Yes that helps to know it simply means a country dialect rougher than Seoul accent. I guess I was wondering if its a specific kind of slang that connotes a certain attitude.

1 year ago

Show gets a big tick from me so far 😊

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
1 year ago

Kim Tae Ri is an early contender for Best Actress of 2022, and Nam Joo Hyuk is perfectly cast! I expect some bittersweet moments later on though. Please show, don’t break my heart…

1 year ago

It actually took me a couple of episodes to warm up to this show – I think I just wasn’t in the right mood for it when I started. But, everyone’s enthusiasm kept me going. Now I’m grinning and laughing, feeling charmed, and simply feeling, just like most. It’s a completely engaging watch!