Thumping Spike - Episode 16 (A Squeecap)

trotwood: I initially wanted to call this episode “Stay Away from Soo Bin, Puppy!” but then I realized really that I needn’t worry. I do think things are a bit clarified in this episode, and some of this has to do with the high stakes of the tournament and how that often forces us to see outside of ourselves and what is important to others.
Kakashi: I think this episode should be called "Sweaty Boys in Shorts". The one making these titles really has no clue!
JoAnne: If we name it 'No Sweaty Boy Shorts' will someone remove them?

Episode 16—Rejection

(Once again, we have a misleading title. It should be called “New Understandings” or “Awareness” or “Resignation.” Are the title people behind again? Have they stolen Kakashi’s whiskey? Why does this still bother me?)
If only I had whisky.
I think I do, come over.

We open episode with rehash of the ending of last episode. Yes, they always do that even though the episodes are only a few minutes long anyway! The group walks towards the building that houses the President’s Cup. After Se Ra asks them all of they’re ready, and they give a sorta cheer (to be fair, when I was in situations like this, I felt too nauseous to cheer properly), Se Ra and Jae Woong look at each other, but before either can say anything, we hear a shout from our (not) favorite fan girl Soo Bin, yelling at Jae Woong to come to top of stairs in hurry.
She really is a completely useless character. What do we call a second lead who is not at all a second lead? 
The producer's daughter, but not his favorite one.
She has clearly done this so often that no one really moves, and Jae Woong just looks tired before walking slowly towards the stairs. We quickly find out that she is calling because her dad, Coach, is on crutches with his leg in a cast. (Do we know why? Is this a “doing the splits” accident? He just talks about kicking. I’m hoping something is lost in translation). (Do we care? No. He is another completely useless character who does nothing and serves no purpose. Must be hard) As soon as Jae Woong sees him, he drops his bag and runs up the stairs.
He pushes the coach down the stairs, laughs maniacally, and shouts, "I never leave my work undone!" No? That didn't happen?
Next scene, we see them all eating together in what looks like a convenience store on the outside but is really a restaurant on inside with long tables. Our team is at one table and another team is at another table. (I like uniforms; they distinguish groups one from another. I wouldn’t want my team wearing white like that other team, though. Think about those laundry bills!)
This confused me. So they just looked at the venue they would play at and then went to eat? I think this show has an enemy in the editing department.
The guy who puts together the flashback montages is better liked than the guy who does the regular editing, so he always wins the time wars.
But it's clearly later since the scene where we want JW to push the coach down the stairs is during the day and this scene is at night.
Se Ra and Secretary Kim come in to saved seats next to coach, and as soon as Se Ra sits down, a member of the other team recognizes her. But he isn’t about to go gaga, he only starts talking trash about her and how it must be over for her since she’s coaching the last place team. That's not nice at all. Of course, Woo Jin and Jae Woong are sitting next to each other and the closest to this loser. (Se Ra hears him, too.)  But even though it’s Woo Jin who throws down his chopsticks first, it’s Jae Woong who gets in that player’s face first. He grabs him and asks if he wants to die (this is the one phrase other than “I love you” that I never fail to recognize in listening tests. Hmm. I wonder what that means). (simply that it's used a lot in Kdrama!) He yells at the other player for talking as if his team is in first place. The whole team is up and trying to hold him back but also looking ready to fight. Se Ra yells at Jae Woong to stop, and they all do, but not before we get a shot of Soo Bin looking between the two when they make eye contact. Ah Jin asks Jae Woong to calm down (aww, he’s always trying to keep the peace), and Woo Jin stares at Se Ra too. (Please include screen shot of Woo Jin and Jae Woong looking back over shoulders at Se Ra—the two of them so tousled and intense. sigh).
Sure, sure.
Immediately after this, Se Ra realizes the possibilities standing right in front of her. 'You two! Meet me in that conveniently empty and comfortably appointed room over there! now! And no sweaty boy shorts allowed!' The rest of the scene is a mystery because the film melted.
Anyway, she clearly calls Jae Woong outside. (I would’ve, too, and not for the reason Jo might think. You DO NOT get into a fight before during a tournament. I’d bench even my best players for causing a ruckus at a restaurant). But... nerves! And no sex! It's like she knew what I was going to do in the previous paragraph, which isn't possible. Trot? Do you have secret powers you haven't told us about? He tells her to just leave it. She tells him not cause trouble and to stop training on his own during the tournament as well. He tells her to stop worrying about him because it will make him think she’s interested in him. Humph. Of course she is, but she would’ve said that to anyone. COME ON, stop this bullshit now. There should be no separate training during tournaments—only stretching and recovery exercises. Don’t be a (Rim)butt, Jae Woong.
She offers him private, one-on-one stretching and recovery exercises. He tries to turn her down since he's broke, of course - it's only when she looks insulted and slaps him that he realizes his error. 'Fine,' she says. 'I'll invite rich-boy Jae Woong, too. Will that make you feel better?' I know it will make me feel better...
Before she can reply to him, Woo Jin comes out to tell her that everyone is waiting. She goes in with one last glance at Jae Woong. Woo Jin goes in with a death glance at him too. Gif please.
Sure, sure.
Woo Jin's thinking about ways he can hurt Jae Woong. I hope he reconsiders, because we have those stretching and recovery sessions to look forward to.
And let’s all take a moment to acknowledge that they are wearing shorts. (pause)
You very rarely see men in shorts that hit mid-thigh, these days. A moment of appreciation.
Okay. Back to the action and to Secretary Kim who is quickly going from one of my least favorite people to my most favorite. She’s turned into the team mom! She unpacks a suitcase which is full of Omega-3 tablets, Super Omega-3 tablets, multivitamins, and red ginseng for the boys to keep their energy up. Even Se Ra notices the changes and teases her about how she has changed so much since coming to the residence. Secretary Kim seems a bit embarrassed and just gruffly says she doesn’t want a bad ending. She’s worried though. She asks Se Ra about the game the next day in worried way about playing the 2nd to last team and whether Se Ra thinks they can win. Se Ra pauses and then says “we won’t lose.” Secretary Km sits down, not looking convinced.
Hey, this wasn't even PPL! No close-ups.
The actress brought them in herself to get more screen time.
We get to opening of game. Coach gives them a lame pep sentence (I just have no patience with him since he was never really around all this time), Se Ra tells them to just play like they practiced, and Jae Woong whispers to them that if they lose, they are dead meat.
I don't understand his function either. Is he the coach or is she the coach?
He's the coach, but the writer knew we'd never create alternate sexy scenes for him so they added her. Sexual tension between that man and two of his players...that's a different story. One that does nothing for me. Sorry to those of you who would like it. Maybe next time.
Next follows typical movie sport scenario #1. Loser team shows they can play like a team and pull together to win. I enjoy watching all of these, and they do a good job switching cameras to make us believe that Rimbutt can do those great jump serves, so I’m fine. Two question/observations: 1. Where did these fans come from? I assume some are family members, but there are a lot of kids in school uniforms. No school pays money for a fan bus for losing team. 2. Everyone on sidelines is cheering (actually screaming like crazies), too. No actual coaching is going on. Are they just so relieved to be playing well?
I like the actual sports shots too! Good thumping spikes, wam! Nice legs!
Does someone wham a spike into either Soo Bin or CrutchCoach's face? No? Not interested.
Seriously, when they actually win, Se Ra is screaming so loudly and forcefully that I thought she’d break something. She’s this close to crying. They are all so happy and screaming and hugging each other that it makes me smile. Jae Woong looks at Se Ra in the midst of their celebration and looks thoughtful; it’s more than being happy that she is happy, and I think it even goes beyond what he is about to do next.
Hm. What will happen if they win the Presiden't Cup? She will scream herself to oblivion.
He walks right up to her in the midst of this celebration, and she eyes him warily. (I did, too, the first time I watched this worried he was going to confess to her right then or hug her or something equally embarrassing.)
I thought he'd force-kiss her. 

He grabs her wrist (and I was saying “oh no”) and takes her over to the other team, stopping obnoxious boy (OB) from the previous night’s spat at restaurant on his way out. OB is a tampon, also where you are? Yes, also where we are. He introduces Se Ra to him as Coach Kang and asks if he still thinks she is washed up now. OB mumbles an apology, but Jae Woong says he can’t hear what he’s saying. His name for OB is Last Place. Everyone is watching now. He says to OB that he has now become last place, so why can’t he give her a proper apology. He sighs, and asks for his coach (who we see mumbling in background). This gets OB to quickly spurt out an apology, but Jae Woong isn’t done. “Is there something wrong with your neck?” he asks. Now OB does a proper apology, including a bow. Everyone on our team is pleased. Secretary Kim even laughs. No not everyone is pleased. Soo Bin isn’t happy and neither is Woo Jin.
That was over the top, yup.
It's not good sportsmanship to humiliate your opponent and we were all taught not to sink to someone's level if they were misbehaving, besides. I get Rim's fierce desire to avenge her, but still tis is bad form.
We cut to Jae Woong coming outside, stretching like he’s preparing to go on his nightly exercise routine. What a little rebel! Se Ra pops up and spreads her arms to stop him, saying didn’t she tell him not to do independent practices now? She wants to know what he expects them to do if he gets hurt. He thinks that if he doesn’t do the same ritual that he’ll get hurt (I understand that. My defense partner—when I played city league ice hockey—and I used to always stop through the McDonald’s drive-thru on our way to games to eat a cheeseburger. One time, we were running late so we didn’t go, and we played like crap. The coach insisted that we stop from then on no matter what—even if we were late).
Yes, rituals are good. 
Trot just became even cooler to me. Ice hockey is one thing. City league ice hockey, though. So impressed with your tiny fierce self. So impressed.
[I lead my team in penalty minutes the year we won the city championship, but I still had an excellent plus/minus rating ( I share this tidbit with my student athletes when they try to intimidate me; they always back off]
Se Ra goes on to give him a compliment about that day—not the apology—but his play today. He just looks serious and says he is going to make sure they win the tournament. She gets all excited and says of course, we’re going all the way. Yadayada. But clearly, once again, she has missed the shift in his mood. He then says that he’s going to put everything on the line to put that winning trophy in her hands and secure her honor as their coach. That is why he can’t and won’t get hurt. Okay. I was swooning here, and so is she. There is nothing you can say to that.
Yes, I can: Sera is an IDIOT.
But you cannot deny that Rim can be swoon-worthy. I mean, there is NO OTHER REASON to love his dumb-ass self as much as we all do, other than that we know the swoon is lurking nearby at all times.
We aren’t the only people who have seen this interchange. The camera pulls back to show us that both Woo Jin and Soo Bin have seen this whole thing. Soo Bin is crying, but when Woo Jin asks her why she is crying, she not only says it’s nothing but asks about his face. Looks like our Climbing Tree has tears in his eyes, too. Aww. Awwwwwwwww. Awwwwwwwwwwwwww. They are commiserating over lost love. I’m fine with this as long as they do NOT get together. (shudders) ((don't jinx this!!!! >.<))(God if this be thy will...please reconsider.) This whole scene shows them both the depth of feeling that Jae Woong has for Se Ra, which makes Soo Bin weep harder. She only stops when Woo Jin wonders out loud how nice it would be if he could control his feelings and gives a loud sniff. When she asks him why he’s crying, he just looks silently at her (aww, come here for a hug puppy. Jo is busy with a secretary, she won’t have time now)(You have sadly misjudged me, my friend.) We need close ups of his eyes pooling with tears.
We transition to more sad for our puppy. It’s clearly the next day, and the team members are outside the gymnasium milling about. They are all obviously talking to their families. Woo Jin looks longingly at them but stoically stands by himself. Se Ra comes out and notices this. She goes back inside and calls up his dad and tries to convince him to come to a game. Of course Bad Dad scoffs, but Se Ra is quite good, talking about the battle a player has against himself and how lonely it can be on court and how a friendly face of a family member can make the difference. She says she knows he knows this since he played, too. When he talks about how busy he is, she comes right back with, “I’m not asking for President Lee to come but for Woo Jin’s father to come.” Master stroke Se Ra! More coaching in the future for you.
I wanted to snark about how lame it is for an adult to be sad when once dad isn't there but then I remembered that these aren't adults yet. Not so lame then.
And it's an important game, and I don't think his dad ever goes. He completely doesn't support his son in this.
I don’t know the time table to this next scene because when Jae Woong finally goes outside it is dark. Anyway, the team, minus the random members, are all in a room. Jae Woong says he is going to take a walk and Soo Bin (why is she even here?)(Because we did wrong in our past lives, Trot.) jumps up to stop him.

Before we get to the rest of the scene, let us pause to notice that our Climbing Tree Puppy is wearing a sweatshirt that says “Grown Man” on it. Thank You, Puppy. Thank you for allowing us to not feel like we are going to be arrested. We all agree that really, you are a grown man.
It's getting confusing now, cause I thought they were not yet fully grown.
Grown enough. It's like drinking and voting and going to war. In this case, he's grown enough for us to feel okay about wanting to feel his biceps or run our fingers across the back of his neck or okay YES DAMMIT lick his abs.

Anyway, Jae Woong yells at Soo Bin and of course this riles Han Sol, who stands up for her, yelling at him for yelling at her. He says a person with her bad temper and manners wouldn’t just come all the way to Anje for her dad (smirk). Even Yong Young wonders if Han Sol is giving her a compliment or insulting her (Good for you, actor playing Yong Young! You haven’t had any lines in a while). However, his defence of her just gets Soo Bin mad at him, which bewilders him completely. Jae Woong tells Soo Bin that he wants to talk to her outside. Inside, Hyung Sung and Sang Gyun get up to console Han Sol, who is tearing up because she doesn’t understand how much he loves her. Aww. You could do better, Han Sol. Don’t wait for her. You’re good enough to play in college. You’ll meet a jolly, food-loving volleyball player there during preseason camp time, I promise!
I'm going to yawn a bit here, over in my corner. Don't mind me. But the actor playing whats-his-name is good, I wouldn't mind seeing him in something else.
OMG OMG OMG is Han Sol SUNBAE from Age of Youth? I KNEW he looked familiar. (It's been so long since I watched this...) Update: I checked. It IS him. Oh man...Sunbae is 17 different kinds of adorable.
Outside, Jae Woong has the talk with Soo Bin that he probably should have had with her years ago. He tells her that he does care about her, but he doesn’t feel the same way that she feels for him. She is, of course, hurt. He handles this very well. He tells her that if something happened to her, he doesn’t think he could stand it, but it’s the same way he feels about his sister. He wants her to be good and to do good and not go astray. She tells him that she hates him and asks him why he’s making it so hard to hate him. He looks pained, almost as much as she does.
Sis-zoned. And goodbye, whats-your-name.
It would be more touching, but I'm laughing at her hair.
The next thing we see is Se Ra coming out on a balcony. Her phone rings, and it’s Jae Woong. He asks her if this is how she felt when she rejected him, and because this is completely out of context for her, she asks him if something has happened. He only replies that she shouldn’t worry. He knows that her answer is “no,” but he’s feeling a bit achy. She looks stricken and even more so when she realizes that he’s standing in parking lot below her balcony.
I just want to smack her.
Smack her hard so she falls off the balcony and Jae Woong catches her and she finally realizes she's being an dumb-ass.
The episode ends with them staring at each other over this distance.
I told you to hit her HARD.  No one ever listens to me.


When Woo Jin was crying, all I could think (well besides, wanting to rub his back—in sympathy people! In sympathy!) was he needs to be in a saeguk now. With his height, his posture, and his keen ability to portray stoicism, can you not seem him as the faithful scholar/warrior who gives his life in the 2nd to last episode for his prince?
It's just not right that Tree has to go through such hardship. Stupid show. Stupid Sera.
I agree with you both. But in this sageuk, could he maybe have a brief, passionate affair with one of the older court ladies? I'd like to know what he sounds like when he says 'Noona' in a particular tone of voice. For research.

Jae Woong’s character owned the 2nd half of this show. Yes, the forced apology was (a bit) over the top. But his clear change from winning this so he can escape and go to university to winning this for Se Ra and that glorious smile she had on her face was completely fetching. Even Woo Jin and Soo Bin were moved by that; I think that was why they were both in tears. They understood on some level what that really means about the category of feeling he has for Se Ra. He also was so nice to Soo Bin, a character I’ve never liked, but for whom he has always had such patience. Yes, he should have said something earlier, but he was nothing here but kind and gracious and even loving. No wonder Soo Bin can’t hate him. The situation also made him empathize with both Soo Bin and Se Ra.
This is the first episode in which I like Rim and his acting. So... yay.
He's had his moments, but it's clear to me that as an actor, our beloved Rimmie spends serious time just phoning things in.