Thumping Spike - Episode 17 (A Squeecap)

Trotwood: I don’t care what they are calling this episode, but it should be called “Family.” We have some father son bonding and great bromance moments. Gi-joon is finally (sorta) doing his manager job. Even Coach is starting to (sorta) act coach-like. Instead they call this episode . . .

Episode 17: The Truth

(What truth? Who’s Truth? Sigh. I really should move on from this title obsession)
Don't they know there is no truth? Have they not read a single page of poststructuralist theory? They should have.
Here's the truth: I'm still REELING over the fact that Han Sol is my beloved AOY Sunbae, and I didn't immediately recognize him in AOY OR give him enough love when I was watching this. I liked him, but not like I (and everyone else) love Sunbae.

The episode opens with Se Ra rung outside hoping to catch Jae Woong after their phone conversation. She is too late though.
That's so stupid >.< why did he walk away?! And wait. Why was she on that balcony in the first place? Are they all sleeping there, where the tournament is? Why? Is it that far away from the house?
Can we just assume yes? 
The next scene is a new day. The team is walking into the building when a fancy car shows up. Well. Well. Well. It’s Woo Jin’s dad. Se Ra’s speech yesterday must have had an effect, clearly.
This is a cute little scene though. The dad is acting cool but is clearly embarrassed. Dads do that when they've messed things up and know it.
It's not just dads.
This leads us to typical sport movie scenario #2: Estranged parent shows up at major sporting event. Child of said parent tries too hard and then starts playing poorly. Said player is about to get benched because “a championship is on the line,” but begs to remain in and gets support from arch rival or arch rival is hurt and he/she has to play instead. Player turns it around for a glorious win and bonding moment with parent and arch rival who is now a best friend.
Yes, all that, but I have another question: why does this hall look exactly like the hall they usually train in? Do all the sports halls in Korea look the same?
I love the smell of a gym. Not the locker room, the gym. The varnished floor and bleachers, the vinyl mats hanging on the wall. It's a particular smell, it's the same in every gym, and it's very nostalgic for me.
So this is what happens, but a few details are important.
#1 Woo Jin’s dad is in that class of sport parents who get banned from games. He berates his son and slams and stomps things (no wonder he’s bonded with the toddler-acting principal). He even tells him if this is the best he can do, he should just quit. (Such a winner, this guy. How he has such a pleasant son, I can’t figure out).
I probably wouldn't want to permanently bond with Tree because of this father. It's a good idea to look at the parents before getting, for example, married to someone. And hahaaaa, Tree's faults were SO.OVER.THE.Top.
I'm thinking that my big sweet puppy might have some incentives that could help me overlook Dad, at least for a while.
#2 Coach is an ass. When Se Ra says during their time out that she wants to keep Woo Jin in, he says that they will lose if he keeps playing like this and what will that do to Jae Woong’s future. This riles up Han Sol, who asks him if he only cares about Jae Woong (the answer would be yes, Han Sol—he doesn’t see what a good player you are either).
Han Sol all the way (if that's the name of my favorite player that is)
There he is! You have to watch Age of Youth, Kakashi. Some day. Really first class.
#3 Jae Woong speaks up in support of Woo Jin and fits that arch rival role, but I think ever since he fed the puppy, he doesn’t really see him as a rival anymore. He, of course, wants to win, but he clearly sees how painful it is for Woo Jin on court and the damage it would do to him and team if he got pulled right now.
I'm glad Rim is over being a butt.
Now I just see Yang Yang.
Woo Jin volunteers to sit out, but then hears his dad yelling that he shouldn’t quit before giving it his all. He goes on such a rant that one of the officials has to remind him that the match is still on. Really, dad? Can you just make up your mind?
Wow, this dad has ISSUES.
I'm rethinking my earlier position, honestly.
Of course, he goes back in and goes back to playing well. They even include some on court bonding moments between him and Jae Woong with his hyung telling him to loosen up his shoulder, which makes him smile. He just needs supportive family, too. I can imagine him feeling so lonely in that house with his dad, especially knowing that all the other players get to see each other all the time in the residence. (please have screencaps of JW pointing at him and shoulder or their fist bump and Climbing tree puppy’s happy smile response)
Sure, sure.
Awwww but they're so cuuuuuute.
Next shot is of president rushing off to car, drinking water and complaining about how his throat hurts (yeah from all that harpy-like screeching!) Woo Jin rushes up to car to thank his father for coming—in his dead serious, auditioning for an historical drama way. His father begrudgingly tells him that he will come back for the finals if they make it and gives him his credit card to take team out to dinner. Puppy is so happy that his dad might come back. I wonder if his dad ever came to any games before?
Seriously, I'd pick another dad. This one is pretty useless. He was carried away though with his fanboying. He probably just needs intensive therapy, at second thought.
Can my puppy have one happy family and get the girl one time, in one drama, please?
Meanwhile, in other news our (not so) favorite manager, Gi-joon, is meeting with a medical specialist who is going over Se Ra’s medical records and X-rays. The doctor determines that surgery is a possibility but the specialist is only going to be in Korea for a limited time. Se Ra will have to agree to surgery within a week or travel to Germany after the specialist leaves.
Aaaaaand ... we know what will happen, don't we. 
White truck of doom?
Back at the hotel, the team is relaxing after stuffing their faces. Even Han Sol is full, which surprised everyone. Hyun Sung says he thought he’d never see the day when he refused to share his food with Crazy Mutt (aka Soo Bin) and glasses says he thought he’d never see the day that he’d be full. Jae Woong calls Hyung Sung out, telling him that he and everyone else should stop calling her that. They all agree and look chagrined like he’s their dad or something. He then goes out and Woo Jin follows.
Would they also object to us calling Rim "Rim Butt"?
I wonder which would be more insulting? Climbing Tree or Rimbutt?
He joins Jae Woong in (half-ass) stretching and then comes my favorite scene of episode. Jae Woong asks him if he’s thinking of joining the Saewoon Fire team, which surprises Woo Jin since apparently this is the first place professional Volleyball team in this story’s world. Jae Woong asks why Woo Jin is so surprised since he said he wasn’t interested in transferring in the limelight, meaning he doesn’t want to play in university. The only other option is to go pro. He stops in fake incredulity and says, “You aren’t thinking of playing for the last place team are you?” Woo Jin denies it and Jae Woong sighs with relief since he was beginning to think that Woo Jin had an attachment to last place teams. (Woo Jin gives him such scrunchy younger brother look that I wanted to climb up and hug him. Okay. I would’ve hugged him like a Koala in a Eucalyptus tree during this entire scene. Okay, during every scene. In every episode)
It's all very cute, yes.
That smile. So precious.
I love this interchange because I love the way they look at each other. Jae Woong plays the big brother that Woo Jin needs. He even tells him about how his dad never came to see him play until he started winning in middle school; we need results to touch the hearts of adults (of poor elementary school volleyball player JW, let me hug you, too). He tells Woo Jin that they need to win this thing so Saewoon Fire comes looking to recruit him and so his father will look at him differently. Really, is he just going to go around making everyone swoon? First Se Ra and Soo Bin in the last episode, and now Woo Jin?
I'm just glad he's no longer acting like a complete jerk.
I'm swooning over the sweet puppy, he steals my eyes from Rim.
Woo Jin looks at him in admiration and guilt. He even apologizes. I think he apologizes because of his feelings for Se Ra and his (former?) wish for Jae Woong to stay away from her. I think he had an instinct about Jae Woong even from before or he wouldn’t have gone to him in the earlier episodes for advice. But I think that he hasn’t realized the depths of his hyung or the real potential of this friendship until the last couple of days. But Jae Woong doesn’t have a clue why he would be apologizing, and Woo Jin doesn’t clarify.
Our tree is just too good a kid
They're both sweet guys.
In the team meeting, which only includes our regular team members not the random alternates (they ran out of money to pay the extras), the Coach is giving them tips, when Secretary Kim comes in to get Se Ra to take a phone call from Gi-Joon. At practice the next day, rumors about a surgery swirl get confirmed when Gi-joon comes to sit in. He waits to talk to her after practice but not before sharing a stare down with Jae Woong. Sigh. You should move on, my friend. But you won’t.
Good suit. Not what's in it though.
What is a surgery swirl? You have to be careful with pin stripes...this one seems rather gangster-y but i'd have to see the cut again to really decide.
After a group pic (and the only smart thing Coach has ever done—forcing them to take a celebratory pic now since they might not get any farther in tournament) and Secretary Kim promising her that if anything happens while she is gone, she will contact her immediately [Go Team Mom, Kim! (what in hell's name is she wearing?!)], Se Ra goes with Gi-Joon to see the specialist. They have the best conversation in that car that they’ve had this entire series. She talks about how she is worried and he actually cheered her up. Did he go to a manager workshop over the weekend or something? (maybe he cuddled with a cow? I hear that's the latest fad for stressed managers--I just found this! Thanks Kakashi-- However, he does get upset when she wants to postpone until after tournament, but to fair, the specialist is surprised, too.
I'm not, sadly.
COW cuddling? Why a cow?
We go back to hotel where Jae Woong is asking Secretary Kim (what is she wearing??!) about Se Ra’s whereabouts. When she tells him that she went back to Seoul, he wants to know if she has decided to have the surgery, which surprises her. She just found out herself, so how come Jae Woong knows about it? Then she starts teasing him. She wants to know if he is one of the two guys who confessed to Se Ra. He is surprised. She keeps going saying that Se Ra asked her the other day about the odds of getting confessions from two guys at once. Understanding dawns onto him. He knows he is one of them. He also knows the other can’t be Gi-joon because even though he understood what Gi-joon meant about keeping her with him all the time, she did not.
Huh, I'm confused. I thought we were long past this point. But I guess we're not.
This is the moebius of love.
The episode closes with him barging into the team hotel room, and asking to have a word outside with Woo Jin. Woo Jin doesn’t look surprised or afraid just resigned, like he knew this would happen eventually.
He must know he's in a drama.


I felt badly for both Woo Jin and Jae Woong and their family volleyball history. From my experience, it’s actually more important for parents to show up to games when their kids are playing on a losing team then for when they are winning. When my daughter played Junior Varsity Volleyball, all her team members really remembered the parents who went to their games because no one else did, and we all cheered even when they lost. In beginning, they were so new, one of the refs actually stopped a game to reposition them all because they completely forgot their rotation. Why would kids need to learn that their parents only love them when they win?
I agree, it's super important for kids to have their parents there whenever. Here, we have two days of "open door" at the school. It's not even a competition! One girl cried last time because she thought her mother isn't coming. She did come, just late, but it was horrible to see.
I grew up with a culture of parents attending sports events, plays, concerts, etc - and in this town, there was a LOT of parental support for everything.  I don't remember anyone not having someone...I wonder if there was?

Do we know anything at all about Woo Jin’s mother?
She must have been a saint, though.