Crash Course in Romance (2023) Episodes 9 and 10
So this is what going mad feels like. Watching Soo-a’s mother, Soo-hee, on the attack is akin to having a root canal done then pay the bill. Talk about excruciating. I can’t say I’m eager to ever rewatch Episode 9 especially the first half which features the over-the-top machinations of All-Care Mothers to destroy Choi Chi-yeol’s reputation just because he committed the sin of tutoring a bright girl that they had unfairly kicked out of the programme. What’s more galling is watching them patting themselves on the back for being so very clever. Soo-hee did at least one illegal thing in the process and it could backfire on her badly. It reminds me of those insane makjang love triangles where the persistent second female lead spurned by the male lead goes on a warpath to kill him and his chosen lady. Literally and/or metaphorically. It’s usually accompanied by some ridiculous declaration like, “If I can’t have him, nobody can.”
Ouch. We facepalm and writhe in second-hand embarrassment. One’s never sure if these drama queens are paying the male lead a high compliment or just being stupid because the script needs them to be. Likewise helicopter parenting on steroids seems to be saying “If we can’t have him all to ourselves, no one can.” Soo-hee who is praised for her resourcefulness is in dire need of a pastime that doesn’t have anything to do with education If there’s any justice, someone should sue her for every penny although there’s some poetry in the fact that while she’s accusing other people of adultery, her beta male husband is sneaking around behind her back. It’s all about a kind of small-scale tyranny for these helicopter parents: Choi Chi-yeol can’t be controlled so let’s ruin his career instead.
Choi Chi-yeol, on the other hand, has got more important things on his mind. He labours under the mistaken belief that the woman he has fallen for is married because the Nam family has perpetuated that lie for Hae-yi’s sake. The crazy mothers with their behind the scenes antics have pushed him to the point where he can’t even lose himself in work to get over Haeng-seon quickly. He is tormented by a falsehood which to my mind could have been easily resolved with a bit of private truth-telling. The show, however, has other ideas. The whole matter has to be… in true K drama form… resolved in spectacular public fashion on the internet. Everyone related to confecting the scandal — from the mothers to the odious creature called Mr Popular a livestreamer who is something of a muckraker — needs to be repudiated comprehensively. Litigation should be on the cards. Of course I’m not saying that a teacher’s character isn’t important but the reaction to his relationship with Haeng-seon such as it is, feels like a parody. The book burning event was bizarre to say the least. The whole thing feels like a social media-driven lynching usually reserved for real sexual misconduct.
No fair minded person should have any time for any kind of trial by media. Any kind. It usually turns into mob rule. And these days it degenerates into a very ugly form of tribalism. People’s unhealthy relationship with social media is in large part to blame for this. No armchair critic has complete possession of the facts in the comfort of their homes under the cloak of anonymity. What’s also irresponsible is that there’s no accountability for spreading gossip and lies on the web.
Biological families aren’t perfect to be sure but the ones featured here are particularly absurd to the point of caricature. I hope. But human beings are creatures of families — if they haven’t got one, they gravitate towards making their own. Choi Chi-yeol desperately needs one. Poor man. Even Jae-woo thinks so as he’s trying desperately trying to ring his newfound brother.
I may have a penchant for angst but a lot of what happens in Episode 10 feels self-inflicted. Unnecessarily so. I don’t know what’s the point of saving face regarding Hae-yi’s parentage when public opinion has already gone so far in a particular direction. There’s no pretending that there’s any way back from the “scandal”. That life could go back to “normal” after that very public confession. It’s the height of naivety to think that Chi-yeol would be untouched by the whole thing and everything would just “blow over in a few days” when Soo-hee is spearheading this malicious campaign.
So it’s Hae-yi to the rescue because she can’t stand the sight of the adults moping around miserably. It’s a lot for a high schooler who has to make the decisive move. We applaud Chi-yeol’s integrity but the dramatic irony dangling right in front of audience gets rather too much to bear.
It’s surprising after what I said last time about the school “love triangle” to see a pleasant shift in direction. Ice hockey boy and Seon-jae are now chums after an altercation in the school canteen when they stand up for Hae-yi. Ice hockey boy amuses me with his idiosyncrasies that often seem to come out of nowhere. At times he may look like he’s trying a little too hard to ingratiate himself with Hae-yi and yet he’s very protective of her. He’s also not as insensitive as he first appears to be. With Hae-yi, Seon-jae and Dan-ji they become something of a quartet in class.
After what’s been done to Chi-yeol, I was a little worried about a killing spree against the conspirators by the resident metal ball killer. The mothers are awful and perhaps there’s an argument that the world would be a better place without them. But they are mothers, needed by their children at least and it might be better that they are shamed so that they can see the error of their ways. Repentance is much less bloody. Killing is extreme. There’s no room for second chances there. And it’s not for normies to play judge, jury and executioner without official sanction. By now the culprit can’t be that hard to pick. It’s someone fiercely loyal to Chi-yeol and there just aren’t that many contenders.