Finally! X’s identity is revealed! Unless School 2017 is just messing with us using plot twists that can get disappointing sometimes, we now know who the hoodie guy is. I did not expect him to be really the one under the hood but I’m not surprised at all upon seeing him exposing his identity to Ra Eun-ho. This episode sheds light on what really happened during the accident one year ago that destroyed Hyun Tae-woon’s and Song Dae-hwi’s friendship. I was not surprised to know the real culprit’s identity knowing that what happened in the past could explain his present behavior. WARNING: Don’t read this article if you haven’t watched episode 4 yet or you’ll end up cursing at me.
The “grim reaper” teacher arrives at the room and witnesses the ongoing fight between Tae-woon and Dae-hwi. He tells them to stop and then talks to them privately, giving them the option to be reported to the school violence committee or be punished unofficially for what they’ve done. Eun-ho, who also arrives at the classroom and tries to stop the fight, has to take the punishment as well because she did not report the incident right away. They choose latter, so they have to run a number of laps in the gym and do some cleaning for ten days. Meanwhile, Eun-ho has to catch X in order to clear her name of demerit points ahead of the evaluation of her student record in Hanguk University. However, when she gets the chance to find out X’s identity and report him to the school authority, she helps him escape instead. Later on, X exposes his identity to her.
Trouble-maker student X is Hyun Tae-woon! Really? Is that it? It’s going to be less fun now if it is really the case as we don’t have to spend time anymore thinking about X’s identity. But what if that ending is just a plot twist to lead us into thinking that Tae-woon is the real culprit when he is actually not? Also, I find it confusing—the scene where there are three students (faces not shown) having a conversation via text. “Can we trust Dae-hwi?” a guy asks. A woman quickly replies, “Since he’s desperate.” Then another guy says, “It’s time to close things out.” What is this supposed to mean? Desperate for what? To close what? If the conversation is truly related to X, doesn’t it suggest that X has really accomplices? Now that I think of this, the first episode has also this kind of scene and based on that scene one of the guys is X. Huh, so this is really not a one-man show after all. The hoodie guy is not alone.
One important question to be asked right now is whether or not Tae-woon is really X. Another is the possible existence of an organization that does all the troubles according to plans. As for the first one, it’s not that I don’t believe Tae-woon is the culprit. After all, given how guilty he is all this time about his best friend’s death, I can see him becoming X as his way to rebel against his dad who framed Im Joong-gi. But I can also see Dae-hwi being X as his way of making revenge or expressing his anger towards Tae-woon’s Dad who framed his powerless best friend. They are both equally likely to commit such crimes in school because of that incident that killed their best friend and destroyed their friendship. Still, I am more inclined to believe that at the end of the day, the culprit is Dae-hwi. I couldn’t fathom yet his complex character but his hatred towards the frame-up thing or Tae-woon’s Dad is more than enough of a justification for him to destroy the school. There are still some things in the story concerning him and Tae-woon that I don’t understand completely. The whole thing, I think, could be much more complicated than I thought it would be.
The possibility of a secret student organization does not fit well with X’s motives assuming that he is doing all these things because of Joong-gi’s death. Why would the other students join his cause? Maybe they are doing this to rebel against the school’s educational system and they are not aware of X suffering from the incident one year ago. Also, I’m curious as to how many students are members of this group, if it really does exist. If there are many, then we can consider the idea that the hoodie guy is not one person. That there are some instances when another guy is playing X. Well, this is going to be more interesting. I like the idea of a secret student organization messing up with the gibberish Geumdo High and fighting for what Ra Eun-ho called as “justice.”
I consider this episode the best so far, in part due to its portrayal of one adult in the school who genuinely care for his students. Mr. Shim’s way of discouraging his students from reporting each other for merit points is heart-wrenching and shows just how caring he is as their homeroom teacher. Not only did he run over 50 lapses on the soccer field to convince the students, but he also (finally!) says the words he long wanted to be heard by the school principal—stop the demerit system now. Fortunately, the principal reluctantly listens seeing how Mr. Shim is so determined not to post again the demerit tarpaulin he removed earlier.
I like this episode better than the rest mainly because of that scene where the students are reminded of their own acts that are no different from the delinquent school’s principal’s. How can they throw away their friends for some merit points? This question strikes Ra Eun-ho who, upon believing that Dae-hwi is the culprit, helps him escape instead of exposing his identity. After finding out Dae-hwi’s situation the other night, she loses the courage to report him and secure his admission to her dream college. He is a friend holding on to pain and scars, she says.