Thumping Spike - Episode 9 (A Squeecap)

Trotwood: This is the one episode where the title seems to fit. I am going to admit that the first time I watched this show, I think I skipped a bunch of this episode because this is the other kind of ep/story arc that I find the most uncomfortable. (see my comments in the beginning of squeecap for ep 2). I feel too edgy to watch the set-up of a trap or plot against the leads and/or people I like in dramas. As a specialist in literature, I understand the necessity of such exposition to overall plot; however, I’m far more able to enjoy the post fall out. I’m much more about solutions than anything else. I think that is why I am getting less and less interested in opening episodes of dramas. Tell the set up in a couple of lines and get straight to the rising action. So, everyone, help me cringe through . . .
kakashi: Oh! Yes! The thing I hate MOST in literature/entertainment has always been the good person being falsely accused of a horrible thing they haven't done. HATE IT!
I only hate it when I can think of 17 different ways they could END THE PROBLEM immediately, but don't.

Episode 9—The Trap

This episode opens in the gym. Everyone is gathered around while Se Ra announces that they are scheduled to have a game against Hyunchang, the team that is in first place. All the team members are in shock except for Jin Woo because he knows that the next thing she says is going to shock them even more. I also must say that I it was adorable how they all defend her when Han Sol asks if she’s crazy. She tells them they need to win because they need to keep going and win the President’s Cup. Han Sol, in an attempt to make up for his disbelief earlier, says that it is good to have dreams. But then she breaks it to them: She has promised the president, Jin Woo’s Dad of the year, that they would agree to abolish team if they didn’t win. Now it’s everyone’s turn to look at her like she is crazy. And they all say at once, “Coach, Are you Crazy?” (time for a gif)
Look at those beautiful colors in that gym! Let's climb higher to see better! *climbs tree*
Too bad, I'm here first. *pushes you off*
(rushes to get first aid kit)
Side note: who are those other two players standing next to Ah Jin? I’ve never seen them before. I thought no one but the main people came back after the probation?
It's those guys that die first in battles, you know, extras. Did I ever tell you guys I have a childhood neighbor who went to Hollywood to live his dream as an actor but that the only role he ever got was as an extra in "Thin Red Line" and that they finally cut out all the scenes in which he was crawling through the mud? 
Nope, this is new information. How has he been supporting himself all this time?
Could he be one of these extras?

Next scene we get to the match. Our guys don’t play the first game well and lose. Notice, I said that they don’t play well not that they were outplayed. Se Ra, my Olympic coach in the making (love her), notices this as well. She asks them if they think the other team plays like a first place team. Jae Woong even asks now if they are really in first place. She says that Hyunchang is playing like a first place team and that our Daehan boys are playing like a last place team.
I actually hate sports dramas. All that tension! But I really like that floor. Look!
It looks like it's floating on a pool.
Then she asks Jin Woo to tell his teammates who they are really playing against—Hyunchang’s substitutes. Han Sol says of course why would they send their good players to play them, but Yong Young is offended by that. Se Ra praises Yong Young, asking them all what’s wrong with Daehan and why are they losing hope already? Then she threatens that if they keep playing like this, she’s going to take away their nighttime snacks. Han Sol looks like he might cry, but Jae Woong mumbles in disbelief, “did she just threaten us with food?” He clearly finds this funny and adorable.
Me too, but it seems to be effective? Anyway, lesson, kids: in sports, about 50% if not more is about the psychology. Have another shot of the beautiful floor!
There's a floor under all those cute puppies?
If you guys are struck by the floor, you should watch more volleyball games, especially professional ones in Korea.
Whatever. It works because they come back playing together—coordinated and focused. There are three random players whom I’ve never seen before with Sang Gyun on the sidelines and Coach Song (once again) is nowhere to be seen. They play well and win. Afterwards, they are sitting outside snacking (Sang Gyun is also reading) looking so happy after winning. Hyung Sung teases Han Sol about why he’s so happy that they beat a team of substitutes, but Yong Young defends him asking aren’t they all happy that they finally won? This is their first win! [I’ve been on teams like that, and the feeling is glorious even if the other team is equally forsaken.]
Warm fuzzy feelings. Yes, winning feels great! 
I just swallowed a bug. It kinda takes the edge off the celebration.
They all watch as Se Ra comes out of building with the other team’s coach. They bow to each other, and he starts off, but one of Hyungchang’s players comes up and asks if he can get a picture. She says, of course, and a bunch of the other team members run up so they can all get in the pic with the volleyball goddess. I love how our Daehan boys have completely gotten around and past how she is famous. To them, she’s just their coach. Han Sol wonders about that and how that happened. Yong Young seems proud. Sang Gyun remarks (w/o taking his eyes off his book) that his middle school team mates keep asking him about her and why he doesn’t post pictures. This makes Woo Jin worried. He asks him is he has posted any, but he hasn’t. Woo Jin tells them all in his best team captain voice (so cute) that they need to remember to be careful and not take any pics or post them and that they can’t be careless with her. He looks right at Jae Woong when he says that they also have to careful how they act around her as well. Jae Woong, who has been staring at the photo gathering this whole time, looks back at him and scoffs, but it’s clear that he doesn’t like this reminder of who Se Ra is.
Attitude, darling Rim, attitude! 
It's amazing how little attention I pay to Rim when my Giant Puppy is around.

When Se Ra is saying goodbye to the other team, she notices someone hiding behind a wall in the school gate. It’s Eul Young, but he runs away before she can talk to him.
Awwww, he wants to join the team again! Awwwww
Or he's going to do something crappy.
That night, Jae Woong leaves the training house for his nightly exercise regimen. Sweaty and all. Se Ra comes out and asks him not to go, saying that he played all five games and should get rest. But sweaty and all? Are you suggesting he shower before exercising and getting sweaty again? He says he has to run a couple of laps to cure his insomnia and heads off with her tagging behind. Woo Jin comes out of the house unseen (must be before 10 PM) looking after them and distinctly unhappy.
Very sorry, dude. Second lead. Not much can be done about it. 
Next time, sweet puppy. Rim waited a long time to get the girl. This is just a quick webtoon (although very well done). Your turn will come.
Really, it needs to come soon. He is good in everything, and (like I've said) MUCh better than that other guy from 5urprise.
We move to Jae Woong running around the track and passing by Se Ra who has fallen asleep sitting up. She’s doing that whole head bob thing with a towel in her lap. He smiles at this picture, takes the towel, and sits next to her. She wakes up and asks him how many laps he has left, and he says they should go back. (And because I’ve seen the show’s title, I’m thinking “Get Up and GO NOW!). But they don’t listen to me and keep talking. She tells him he should run to cure his insomnia, so he should finish his laps. He asks her if she didn’t get any sleep. She says that she was up coming up with strategies because Coach Song sure as hell wasn’t going to! (okay, she didn’t say that last bit but she should have). He teases her about spending time on strategies against a team made of substitutes, but she’s not listening because she’s fallen back asleep on his shoulder.
OMG get a room. All that flirting! 
Forget the flirting. Nice extended look at Rim's legs, which I really like.
Add him to our "men who run well" list.
He looks painfully awkward at this and tries to scoot out from under this skinship. However, when he tries this, it looks like her head will roll off and right to ground, so he stops and scoots back. Se Ra in her sleep plays out some of our Rimbutt fan fantasies by snuggling up closer to him when he shifts back next to her. He stares at her lips and looks like he’s going to . . .
OMG hormone alert!!! All that running and then this! 
Just wait, someone will point out how this is tantamount to a sexual violation since she hasn't given consent. Oh wait, no...that would be on another website. Here we're thirsty. And reasonable.
But they are caught by some random guys coming randomly around (no one comes here, so we all know this is a setup, right?) asking if he’s from Daehan High school. Se Ra wakes up, Jae Woong wants to get out of there, but she’s too groggy and wondering what’s going on. Random guys pretend to be surprised to see someone famous and start randomly talking while the one in the middle takes pictures. Sigh. We all know this isn’t good.
Definitely not. I thought he would be beat up or something, our guy. But that usually only happens when it's right before a match and then we should think he's not going to be able to play
Yeah, this stinks of scandal, not physical injury. Timing is everything!
Somehow though, Se Ra doesn’t understand why Jae Woong is so worried and rushing her off home. He’s mumbling to himself that he should be more careful. She’s trying to comfort him and tell him that nothing happened, but he’s mad at her. He tells her not to follow him anymore and when he tells her to go, she needs to just go. He doesn’t understand why she can’t see how dangerous that situation could have been. He even calls her teddy bear while he’s yelling (aww—I think I melted a little there). She asks him whether he’s angry and worried about her? (duh—although, I think she is genuinely surprised that he could be angry because he is worried about her. Sigh. She’s really had NO friends has she?).
Listen to the man, Se Ra. He's a high schooler but if you look closely, you will see the man just underneath that youthful surface. Also, major bonding. A lot of touching. 
I'd like to see the man underneath...
We cut to the random guys sitting in the car with Secretary Kim who has clearly paid them to do this. She yells at them for not getting better pictures (the scene is actually funny, but I don’t care - haha, it is!). They get paid anyway. Meantime, Jae Woong goes back to his room and the more he thinks about the incident, the more he finds the whole episode at the track suspicious. He talks himself through it while Han Sol is on his bunk reading manga. This just confirms to Han Sol that Jae Woong is crazy.
What a bitch that Secretary is!!!! Did our mouth-nose jerk know about this??! 
I'm thinking not, probably. He didn't give a whiff of evil CEO, just kind of assy. And this stunt reeks of jealous underling.
The next morning, Se Ra is about to go out to the practice? To exercise? Buy toilet paper? Towels? Croissants? Condoms. In any case, Jae Woong stops her and tells her to put on a mask and a hat. She sleepily complains to him that no one is going to out watching at the break of dawn (has she not seen Dispatch? He insists that she go back inside. He leaves only to be accosted at the gate by a gaggle of reporters. They ask him if he’s the one in the picture and how long she’s been living in that house? Se Ra is in her room seeing all the pics of her and a blurred out Jae Woong on her phone with headlines like “Se Ra’s date with a high schooler.”  She gets a phone call. Let’s take a bet who it’s from, shall we?
Santa Claus!
Kim So Eun, and she's pissed.
Back outside, Coach Song and Soo Bin come strolling up. Long time no see, Coach? Whatcha doing now? How come you are coming all late and wrong? Did you even bother to check in after yesterday’s game? Why aren’t you going to track with your golden boy, so Se Ra can sleep at night? Too busy practicing your splits and thinking bitterly about the glory days of your youth or out buying hairbands to keep back hair you no longer have?! Sorry. Rant over.
Maybe he's doing it for tax reasons? You know, evasion? 
If he turns up in Squad 38 I'm going to laugh.
He is in it! He is a fellow tax collector!!!
He's one of the group who's been scammed.
They work together to sneak in the house, but Soo Bin leaves her dad by the wall to get over himself. (I hate her). She gets inside to see them all sitting around looking at their phones. What’s happened, she asks. Se Ra comes out of her room looking ready to face the death squad. Rae Woong runs up to her to ask what she is doing. She says that they are waiting for her to some out, so she’s going. He tells her to go back inside her room, but Soo Bin tells her to get out. She yells (without knowing what is really going on, I might add) that Se Ra needs to leave this house because it won’t end until she is gone. Representative Gi-joon calls right then, telling her that Se Ra needs to just tell him when, and he’ll get her out. She actually says, no. That she is fine. I think she is really ready to go out and face them on her own. Actually, I think she could, too, but . . .
I don't know, but this really seems like scandal-material, doesn't it?! Coach falls in love with her almost underage student while living in the house with him? I don't know
Yes, instead of the made-up scandals we see every day, this seems actually a bit like it could qualify if you didn't know the reality of it.
Jae Woong grabs the phone out of her hand before she can hang up. He identifies himself—giving his full name and saying that he’s the one in the picture. I’ surprised that any of the team members are surprised, since each one knows it isn’t him. Soo Bin yells out Oppa, and we cut outside to see all the reporters leaving. Why? What were they told that they would leave?
Free beer in the pub next door? 
He's actually 30, so there's no problem?
Coach Song watches them all leave and goes into the house (just like that?) only to find Se Ra slapping Jae Woong across the face (actually I think he deserves this—told you not to mess with the oompa loompa! But a slap? That seems extreme). She’s furious. Doesn't excuse her behavior. But Soo Bin goes crazy. How dare she slap her oppa. All the guys have to band together to pick her up and drag her out. I love how Ah Jin just goes off to hide in his room alone. Se Ra doesn’t even flinch though. Soo Bin might be mad, but Se Ra is exuding a white focused heat. Coach Song in his completely ineffectual way starts trying to ask questions, but neither looks at him. Se Ra asks Jae Woong if he knows what he has done? After all the difficult decisions that she has made, he has put her back to where she started. She looks angry but also betrayed. He stares right back at her, telling her that this isn’t the place she should be.
Very nice cheek muscles there, Rim. And frankly, I don't get her little speech. What are "all the difficult decisions that she has made"? To move into a house full of (often) half-naked boys?
Yeah, nothing hard about that. I mean-no, never mind.
As you said above, this is scandal material. They both know that, but she is ready to address the press on her own and tell them about her injury and her coaching and the fact that she was no longer the volleyball goddess. The difficult decisions she has had to make were to go out on her own without a manager and to not be a pampered doll star but to work with them. She could have left after the fight and done CFs, but instead she decided that she was going to coach them and build a different life than the one she had dreamed of her entire life.
Redirecting your life is not something small, but on a scale of 1-10 I'd give her tragedy about a 3.
We cut to the agency where Representative Gi-joon has clearly just hung up from talking to Jae Woong. He starts talking to someone and the camera pulls back to reveal that he talking to Woo Jin who is sitting on his sofa ramrod straight. Seriously, his posture is to die for. Put this boy in a saeguk STAT! However, the representative is not feeling the climbing tree puppy’s charm. He’s trying to figure out what is going on because Jae Woong claims to be the person in picture and clearly Woo Jin has as well.
Oh. Damn.
I guess he forgot a little thing called 'being unusually tall.' I'd be more worked up about the stupidity but I'm busy imagining manes of glory and what people wear under all those robes. Or don't. It gets pretty hot in Korea, after all.


Noble idiocy rears its ugly head in not one but both male leads. What the heck. Ironically, the only guy asking Se Ra if she wants to be saved is the one guy we don’t like.
So, I'm quite worried about Tree. Not Rim, I mean, he already got to feel Se Ra up, kinda, and stare at her lips. He is not innocent. But poor Tree? Nothing but pining and angst. 
Are you suggesting she give him a free grope to even things out?
I love how Kakashi made a Rim/Puppy sandwich out of this post. First slice of bread (lead) Rim, sandwich fixins, 2nd slice (lead) Climbing Tree Puppy. Has this been going on all the time, and I just noticed?