Thumping Spike - Episode 7 (A Squeecap)

Trotwood: I’m calling this the bonding episode. Se Ra and Rim bond over their love of volleyball and the trials they both face trying to keep this going. I always like when OTPs are friends first before they start the whole love bit.
kakashi: Bonding! I like bonding!
JoAnne: You're all just waiting for me to say 'don't you mean bondage?' aren't you.  Well, I won't dance like a little monkey so HA. And what kind of role-play costume is that, anyway?
I honestly didn't think of bondage at all, but now I won't be able to unthink it. Thanks.

Episode 7: Opportunity

The episode opens with the principal telling both of our coaches that the volleyball team will be cut. He even goads Coach (what is his name? Coach?) saying that he had three years of chances and wasn’t that enough. The coach is completely silent, which surprised me since it was clear that the team was being slowly dismantled over those three years.
He's so useless beyond useless that useless doesn't even describe what he is.
Well, what's crazy dog's name? We know her name, she's his daughter, ergo, we know his name. But I don't care enough about him to check. If someone out there cares enough about her to remember what her name was, please share in the comments below. And thank you for your kind support.
He isn’t silent though when he and Se Ra go outside and sit on bleachers. We get this rather long (for a 15 minute ep) backstory about him and how he went to this school, too, and loved volleyball. He talks about how even though he was short; he worked twice as hard as everyone else. [side note: isn’t it funny how people keep talking about being too short to be a volleyball player when Se Ra is basically an oompa loompa?] (Why do you insist upon looking behind the curtain, Trot? Why?) He even does a split while acting out his old volleyball moves. As impressive as that was (I mostly think men who can do splits are basically just normally limber people who happen to have extra ball skin so things don't rip) , I think the most (only?) thing important about this conversation is when Se Ra asks him whether or not it is enough to just play because you love it even if you aren’t a winner. Of course we know that this isn’t just about the team but about her as well.
It would be nice if that were true, but believe me, things are much better if you're a winner. But! This actor can do a full split!!?
Like I said. No real practical application in any of things that I can think of that would matter.
Next we see Jo’s giant puppy happily getting ready to leave his house in his team uniform. His dad confronts him about how he’s never at home. He responds brightly that he’s off to practice. Dad of the Year takes this moment to tell him that the volleyball team is going to be cut, but maybe the coach just hasn’t told anyone yet.
Wow, Tree, you pulled the asscard when someone allotted a dad to you.
They look nothing alike. I'm pretty sure his mother slept with someone attractive and good at volleyball, and that's why this dad is determined to end the team. They were probably team mates. I bet Ass Dad looks at my precious puppy and sees a reminder of his former friend every day. Maybe he could do splits, too, and I'm wrong and there's a very special application for that skill. Maybe Ass Dad tried to do a split and ruptured something and has to sit on ice packs forever.
Puppy jets out of there and . . . off to the training house where Se Ra is sitting on the sofa looking at the President’s Cup paperwork. (Perhaps the President's Cup is in honor of all those fallen heroes who weren't able to complete a split and so were forced to retire early from volleyball and other things. Did anyone see the award? What's it look like? If it's even vaguely reminiscent of a jockstrap, I'm right.He runs in to ask her if this is all true. She shushes him because no one knows yet. Sang Gyun and Hyung Sung come in to ask him if he’s going to practice because Jae Woong said he was busy and Jin Ah and Yong Young went shopping (probably to buy groceries). They look sad that everyone is hanging out separately today, but go off to practice on their own.
Reveal to me the logic of not telling them about this? It's not like they won't find out. 
I think he was focused on being alone with Se Ra.
I think she just wants more time to figure out how she is going to break it to them and what her strategy is going to be going forward. Heaven know that the "real" coach doesn't have a plan.
Once they leave, Woo Jin and Se Ra get back to discussing what the options are. (See?)  Se Ra insists that she won’t let the team be cut. (Oh, those kind of options.  Damn.) Unfortunately, they forget that one player has not been accounted for in our exposition: Han Sol. He comes running in, food hanging out his mouth, yelling about what’s going to happen if they cut the team.
Is this guy legal? In real life, I mean. He's kinda hot. Even with food in his mouth like this. 
I am so glad you said that because I thought he was cute too and I keep forgetting to mention it because I have Puppy brain.
We cut to a hospital scene. Jae Woong is visiting his sister and his mother at the hospital.(His mother? Wow, even in my memory it was his dad. I just completely ignored his mother throughout this drama. I think I even said she was dead at one point.) She is hugging that bear that he won at the amusement park, and he clearly dotes on her. His mother is there, too. (She's so unmemorable you have to keep reminding us, hahahahah, and I turned her into his father. Wow.) What they say isn’t really important just that it’s clear that they all love each other. Despite the hospital atmosphere, it’s clearly a warm scene. Cut to him walking into the courtyard of the training house still smiling. The smile is wiped off his face though when he overhears the group discussing the cutting of the team.
The little girl is really cute. I hope she gets better!
I wish my hair were that thick still.
The players are worried about what they are going to do if the team is cut. Han Sol doesn’t want to go back home because his brother beats him up all the time (Oh no, poor darling). Yong Young says he will have to switch schools and move back to the town where his dad works. Jin Ah interrupts and asks him if he wants to live with him because his family has a spare room. Han Sol begs for the spare room, but Jin Ah doesn’t want him. Jae Woong comes in, outraged. He berates them for only thinking of themselves while the team is at stake and wondering if they have all just been waiting for this happen. He goes off into the bedroom, sweeping off items on a shelf in his rage.
Oh no, volleyball is their life! More than their life! It's their world!! (I wish they would stop sweeping tables and shelves in rage. Nobody does that)
Also, dumb ass pouty boy who wrongly hates my beautiful puppy, that was stupid of you. If they're complaining about the team being disbanded (for any reason) they're obviously NOT happy and WEREN'T waiting for it. Maybe that last split stuck his head up his ass. (I love you though, Rim)
Back in the living room, Woo Jin asks Se Ra what Coach has said. She says that he is worried, but Han Sol doesn’t believe her. He thinks Coach is only worried because of Jae Woong. Right when Se Ra starts to deny this, Jae Woong comes out of the room with an overnight bag and leaves. Se Ra chases after him but can’t catch him once he’s actually on a bus.
He rage quit.
Se Ra, just find out if Giant Puppy can do a split. There's a chance it matters.
I will pause here because this scene also starts the Franklin and Marshall sweatshirt mystery. Clearly in this scene, Se Ra is wearing a Franklin and Marshall sweatshirt. I remember when first watching it, that I thought it an odd choice. Franklin and Marshall is a small (about 2400 undergraduates), private, liberal arts college in Pennsylvania. I know it because I grew up in Philadelphia, and it’s only about 90 minutes away, but it’s not the kind of place a lot of people would know. I figured maybe someone on staff or maybe even Hwang Seung Eon herself went there. I even looked up their volleyball page to see if they had a team
Interesting. So, I heard that many actors bring their own clothes to dramas (unless it's a clothes show and they have a sponsor). The question is, if that is the case here, does she have a connection to that college? 
Oh, Trot.... I also googled and that is actually also simply a clothing line!

Because our romantic past is somehow sweaty and smells like a gym?  There was that time under the bleachers...

However, after this scene, the lettering starts getting blocked out. She is clearly wearing an F&M sweatshirt, then in another scene the F is blocked out (fabric tape?) and then later every other letter is blocked out. Did Franklin and Marshall threaten to sue? I would think they’d love the free publicity. Enrollment numbers are down all over the US. Why didn’t the coordi just have her change her sweatshirt once they noticed? She has a different sweatshirt from the morning scene; she could be wearing a different one when she stalks him to the hospital.
Haha, that taping off things in KDrama is so amusing. We should start collecting it. 
Maybe they only paid for one viewing.

Anyway, back to the story. When Se Ra comes back, Coach and Soo Bin are there. Everyone is anxious that she couldn’t catch Jae Woong. She assures them that she will go to his home in the morning. However, Soo Bin speaks up (despite Coach trying to get her to be quiet), telling everyone that Jae Woong doesn’t have a home. His parents sold their house to help pay for the medical bills for his sister. They stay at hospital, and Jae Woong took time off from school last year to work to help with bills and lived in a hostel all that time. If the team disbands, he’s basically homeless. Now everyone is really worried.
Very tragic. Very, very tragic.
Tomorrow night on Happy House or whatever that show is called: Jae Woong Explains Why Volleyball Saved Him from Human Slavery. Happy Camp? You know the one.
Cut to outside a convenience store where Jae Woong is clearly meeting up with an old friend. [Please make sure you have a screen shot of this guy—can’t find who is but he’s really cute - I fully agree!] (So generous with the cute, this show. I am deeply appreciative.) The friend comes out with snacks and beer while Jae Woong apologizes and says it will only be for one night. The friend then worries that Jae Woong can’t drink because he’s still in high school, but Jae Woong tells him he quit. This is a surprise to his friend who assumed that he was going to play in the President’s Cup, show everyone his skills, and join him on his team. Jae Woong scoffs because he never said that. His friend replies, no, but his coach did. He tells him that his coach came to visit them and talked about Jae Woong, wanting him to join their team. He tells him no matter how bad it is, Jae Woong needs to stick it out for one more semester. Jae Woong can barely get his beer down because he’s busy fighting back tears.
Awwwwww, Coach! Not useless after all! Sometimes, it's enough to hear something like this, to hear someone is believing in you to make all the change and give you energy to go on.
I also like those people who stand on the sidewalk and offer free hugs. And money. Money is good.
We cut to the hospital where Se Ra sits next to Jae Woong’s sleeping sister, looking happier than she should be that she sees the amusement park bear here and not elsewhere. Jae Woong’s mom shows up with cut fruit to feed her while Se Ra apologizes for being so late. JW’s mom is so cute and nice and happy that her son’s coach is Se Ra. Even though he said the coach had moved into the training house, he never told his mom that it was Se Ra. Se Ra wants to know how often he comes and when he last visited. She is planning to wait.
That bear is super scary.
I absolutely remember this scene and completely forgot it was his mother. I'm a little scared, guys.
And wait she does. Four days she stakes out the lobby. I can’t believe no one says anything; it’s not like she isn’t obvious. But then I remind myself that this is a drama, and a hospital is probably the one place that she can wear a mask and it doesn’t faze anyone. I would like a gif of this because I find her adorable in this sequence. I also want to thank the show; because of its own notation, I now know the Korean word for stakeout (잠복), which may come in handy in the future.
Your teacher will be surprised! Imagine all the sentences you can build with that word! Amazing!
I'm not a sasaeng! This is a 잠복! I'm an investigative journalist/cop! Would I know the word 잠복 if I was some delulu fan? I'm practically 잠복ing all over here!
Finally, Jae Woong comes through the door. She grabs onto him, and he looks surprised. I don’t blame him. He looks far better than she, and he’s the homeless person!
Do you think she smells a bit funny after not taking a shower for 4 days?
Pretty much all I could think about. But you know Koreans don't really have body odor, so maybe not. I used to think that was awesome but then I realized that in return for that genetic advantage they are fated to die if they get caught in the rain.
They take it outside. Se Ra asks him to come back, but he doesn’t see the point with no team. She assures him that they are going to save the team and go to the President’s Cup, but what would be the point if he doesn’t come back. He looks at her finally seeing her but once again addresses her not what she is saying. He wants to know if her agency lets her out looking like she does and how a volleyball goddess has so much time. Finally, she tells him the real truth. She’s quit all of it. Why would she keep trying to be the volleyball goddess when she can’t even play anymore? At his look of surprise and questioning, she looks down at her ankle.
Bonding's in the air!
I'm standing firm in my refusal to be manipulated.
This next scene is funny even though it’s sad. We cut to a couple from the hospital (male in patient wear) staring off screen and pointing. Camera pulls back to show us Se Ra sobbing uncontrollably with Jae Woong looking around at all the stares, completely embarrassed. He doesn’t know what to do, so he just pulls the hood of her sweatshirt over her head.
Did they think he hit her or something? Poor guy. 
It's a hospital, so I assumed they thought someone was dying. Or had died. Maybe they bled to death after rupturing something while doing a split.  
He tries to get her to talk about her injury. It turns out that she had surgery five years before, which was really tough. They told her if she relapsed surgery might not work again and she’d have to go into treatment. Her ankle hurts; she’s afraid to go to the doctor again. He can’t believe she would give up like this. She hasn’t even seen a doctor. He’s like, it’s been five years (and he does this really adorable five year awkward count thing with his hands); medicine is different now. She is afraid that people will find out, and she’s nothing without volleyball.
Bleh. Go to a doctor. 
And teach Rimmie how to count. His confusion is very cute, though.
This seems to upset him the most, and he asks her what does it have to do with anyone else whether she plays or not. Is she going to sabotage her career? But Se Ra is focused, too. Isn’t he walking away, too? She tells him to come back so they can go to President’s Cup and to Hanbit University. He smiles slightly at that, probably wondering how she knew about Hanbit (don’t know because we don’t know about it), and she brightens a bit that he’s clearly softening. The episode ends with them staring at each other. But we all know he’s going to come back.
Bonding completed! Next: hot kisses. 
His head looks sort of Q-Tip-ish there. (Shit, where's Mary?) *hides*


One of our commenters asked about this coach, and I didn’t respond because I have nothing to say.
For a show that knows how to divide up dialog and give everyone enough background so we get to know them; it hasn’t really done much with this coach. Se Ra comes on board, he introduces her, and then he disappears. It doesn’t surprise me that the other players think he only likes Jae Woong since he doesn’t seem to have set up anything for them nor has he tempered Woo Jin’s clearly overenthusiastic and potentially damaging practice schedule. I hate to say it, but I had the same question as the principal. He has had three years, and Se Ra has done more effective coaching in the couple weeks she’s been there. Then the writers give us this fairly long back story discussion that still doesn’t explain his current ineffectiveness. All it does it take time away from people I’d rather see.
All I can says is that he has one of those hair thingies.
Yes! What the hell!
I'm glad someone else brought this up. I was afraid to because I didn't want to be known as the hair person (since my Pied Piper commentary). But why does he have a hair band when he's balding? To me, it looks like it would hurt.