Staying true to its mission, School 2017 continues to highlight the ever wrong system in Geumdo High, or in South Korea for that matter. I have no idea how accurate the problems depicted in the show are compared to the ones in existence, but I know for sure that many students are suffering from them regardless of the extent. The student evaluation takes center stage in this episode, exasperating our high schoolers as if the grades used to discriminate them were never enough.
Ra Eun-ho discovers that Hyun Tae-woon is the hoodie guy but she did not report him immediately to the school admin. She gets upset upon hearing his explanation for causing all the troubles at school and points out that he’s being like that because his Dad is the school’s director anyway. Nonetheless, she seems to have no true intention of revealing X’s identity. She’s facing another problem this time because of her poor student evaluation that could prevent her from entering college. Dae-hwi is also having a hard time because of this despite being the top student in the class and fumes over the unfair treatment given to a powerless student like him. This has led him to do something inappropriate while wearing X’s hoodie attire. Eun-ho has caught him.
Each of our main trio has given nearly equal moments to shine in this episode. Starting off with Tae-woon, it’s revealed that he is actually the hoodie guy and it’s clearer now than ever as we learn more about what happened in the past especially how he kneels down while begging his Dad to let Joon-gi see his school for one last time. That is a heartbreaking scene, revealing how truly close he is to his best friend who passed away and was framed to be the sole offender of the road accident. He tells Eun-ho that he’s playing X out of boredom but of course, we know that it is not the case. His justification for doing all the troubles at his Dad’s school has something to do with happened one year ago. But what is it exactly? To rebel against his father? Not quite I suppose, considering the potential existence of a secret organization led by him. Anyway, we’re sure that Joon-gi’s death left a scar in him that’s affecting his emotional state up to the present, so much that he can’t seem to move on.
Tae-woon revealing to Eun-ho that he is X and even bringing her to his hideout is not something that I expected given his somewhat leave-me-alone personality. But knowing that he actually has this soft heart for Eun-ho, he might have come up with that decision because he trusts her and he’s grown more fond of her over time. Eun-ho, meanwhile, feels the same for him. She may not say it but she actually cares about Tae-woon, whom she considers a friend she has come to know deeper in the process of finding X.
Now to Eun-ho, her demerit points may have gone but another problem is posing a threat to her admission to Hanguk University. This student evaluation contains the students’ record assessing their behavior and detailing their extra-curricular activities, two heavy factors being considered for admission in college. Upon knowing that she can still do something about her extracurricular points, she plans to join a competition related to drawing only to find out that the school allows only those with good grades to participate. She leaves a good remark: The top kids’ future doesn’t the only one that matter. Oh, Geumdo High is reeking of discrimination against low-ranking students again. Wait, I forgot that it’s always in place anyway. Shame.
It happens that I’m a student who rants and raves about a stupid educational system, so I come to love and appreciate the lessons of the story. Hopefully, education officials throughout the world who are watching this drama ponder on this very serious topic. How can schools be allowed to discriminate against those students who need their guidance more than anyone else and put too much value on grades as if each student’s worth and future are really determined by mere numbers? The problems even escalate when a student is discriminated based on his/her class as well, as what we see in Dae-hwi’s case. He learns that his student evaluation lacks impact and that he needs to improve it by winning in competitions. Confident enough to ace one particular math tilt, he studies so hard in preparation. But later on, he finds out that the winner is already predetermined and some of his classmates already have the answer key. He’s very disappointed, all the more upon learning that Tae-hwi is the eventual winner because he is the school director’s son. As a result, he makes a daring move.
Dae-hwi, wearing a similar hoodie used by X, sneaks into the faculty room and steals the answer key of the math competition. The timing is insane because Eun-ho chases him and sees his face. That particular scene leaves us with one question: Is it the first time for Dae-hwi to wear that black hoodie? If yes, then he’s just copying X’s appearance to avert suspicion and he’s done the stealing because of his desperation to win the contest. Otherwise, then X could really be not one person.