Gong Hyo-jin is really pretty in Biscuit Teacher and Star Candy, perhaps the prettiest I’ve ever seen her. That “you’re putty in my hands” sneer is so captivating I go crazy screencapping it. At this rate (500 screencaps for episode 1 and 829 for episode 2), I’ll need a restraining order by the fourth episode. Stop being so cute, Show!
But don’t stop doling out the surprises. Because you should see how my eyes widened when THIS GUY appeared.
At first it was blurry. Then it got clearer.
After I had picked my jaw up from the floor and ascertained (from a quick check on the Internet) that I was not hallucinating, I squeaked the way my chinchilla squeaks after getting an extra-large raisin.
See why I detest spoilers in any form? Ah, the glee when a favorite actor—whom I have no idea is supposed to be in a particular drama—suddenly appears when I least expect it!
Jung Gyeo-woon‘s appearance in Episode 2 is especially meaningful because Biscuit Teacher and Star Candy is his debut drama. No wonder he looks a tad uncomfortable. His character has no name as yet or maybe he does but I didn’t hear it because I was too busy squeaking. When he eventually says a few lines, you’ll feel a chill down your back. No, not because he speaks awkwardly (his voice is exactly the same in 2005 and now) but because of what he says. I’ll explain more afterward, but for now let’s just say he has a few screws loose in his head.
Oh well, no need to worry about a few loose screws when Teacher Na Bo-ri is in charge. Surely her magic powers will ensure that everything is in its right place!
Provided she survives her first day of school, of course.
Ah, Bo-ri, Bo-ri. So many times in this episode I wanted to hug her. For being sweet but also silly, gutsy but also gullible. For making me all giggly and protective. For reminding me of how the eve of a big day feels like, when my nerves are all knotted and I can’t sleep. Or I manage to sleep but my mind continues to wander and worry.
So Episode 2 begins with our new teacher in dreamland, literally. In the first dream every teacher at Jung Suk High is cheering as she walks down the hallway. Her arms overflow with bouquets of flowers; up ahead a beaming Hyun-woo has his arms wide open, ready to welcome his sweetheart as colleague. (Or maybe he’s just practicing for the day when he’ll have as many fans as Lee Min-ho and he’s standing there and gesturing symbolically above the cacophony of delirious voices: “Thank you, I love all of you, too.”
That dream ends abruptly and she’s stumbling along the same hallway, now dimly-lit and deserted. Up ahead a vampirish Hyun-woo awaits.
Her screams rouse her sister and the latter opens the door to see what’s causing the din. Seeing her, an already jumpy Bo-ri shrieks even more loudly.
I know. The neighbors absolutely love this family. Never a dull moment even in the dead of night, no siree.
For six long years Bo-ri has waited for this day. She looks at her watch, sees the time as 8.20 instead of 4.40, and gasps. “Oh my goodness, I’m going to be late!”
And so our newly minted teacher sets off for The Best Day of My Life, puzzled that the streets are still dark and empty at 8-plus in the morning but not letting that anomaly dampen the joy bubbling inside her. My heart swells as I watch her hurry along. Hwaiting, Na Bo-ri!
She arrives at the school, sees that the gates are still locked, and checks her watch again. Ha, it’s not even dawn. So she tucks herself into a corner and promptly falls asleep.
How much do I love you, Gong Hyo-jin and Na- Bo-ri? A lot.
The gates are still locked when our teacher awakes so she figures she’ll have to find another way to get into the school.
Did you forget that you can fly, Teacher Na? Or are you keeping your powers under wraps for now?
As she’s scaling the railings, Bo-ri overhears what sounds like derisive laughter nearby. Since nothing galvanizes the vigilante in our heroine like bullies ganging up on a hapless victim, off she goes, like an arrow bearing down on its target. Blink and it’s all over.
Hmm, the city needs to hasten with its plans for a special clinic, one that treats only neck cricks.
The first guy, the one who spun that tall tale in Episode 1, can’t believe his eyes. So the legend is not merely a figment of some students’ fertile imagination, it is true! As for the second guy, freshly rescued, we will learn later that he is Tae-in’s step-brother, now a shoo-in for president of the Na Bo-ri fan club.
Also, see that affectionate chokehold? I wonder where Bo-ri learned that from. Or, more precisely, who she learned that from. Was the lesson just yesterday, you think?
An irate “Why aren’t you here yet, it’s your first day and you’re already late?!” phone call from Mr. Flat Nose gets Bo-ri scrambling. As she walks toward the main school block, dozens of students begin to scream and wave. Some toss their jackets into the air. Others jump like there are springs in their shoes. The atmosphere is electrifying.
Overwhelmed, our new teacher waves back. So her dream last night was a foreshadowing of the rapturous welcome she would receive today. How absolutely wonderful!
Yes, students, I am here. Na Bo-ri is here! I will be a good teacher. Thank you!
Ajumma, what are you doing?
No, not that voice. Not him! But maybe it’s just a dream. Yes, everything is so faint I must be hearing and seeing things. I’ll just sleep some more.
Turns out she’s not dreaming. Turns out the welcome isn’t for Bo-ri but for the school’s F5, with the loudest shrieks reserved for their leader. How embarrassing! Still, she’s a teacher and he’s a mere student. How dare he talk down to her like he’s older or more senior?
Hearing her rattle on about respect and dictionaries, he leans into her face. What are you doing? she asks, flustered at his proximity. He pretends he’s about to bite her. Um! he says, like a playful lover. Mom! she screams, as he grabs her wrist just as she’s about to fall backward into the fountain. I was so surprised, she gasps, relieved that he caught her in time. Haha, he mouths wordlessly as he releases her hand.
PARK TAE-IN! YOU WANT TO DIE?!
It’s not so much a question as it is a statement. Not that it bothers the incorrigible one in the least; the guy is too busy chuckling and collecting money from his underlings for winning their Drive-Ajumma-Bonkers bet.
It’s not every day that a new teacher reports for work dripping wet, but in this instance no explanation is necessary; the principal knows her son DID IT. So she reminds Bo-ri of the first condition in her contract: Keep Tae-in out of trouble or kiss her job goodbye.
Maybe cloning dodos would be easier. Still, nothing ventured, nothing gained. The scorecard may be in his favor right now (yesterday’s proceedings a distant memory), but wait till Park Tae-in sees how far her determination can take her. No way is she allowing that jerk to derail her dreams! She will march into class, she will win every battle, she will show Tae-in and the other students who is boss!
But nothing seems to be playing out the way she has envisioned. Hyun-woo’s first sight of her after six years and she has to look like a drowning duck. Instead of a classroom of students cowering in fear before her, most of them aren’t even in the room when she opens the door. Why bother studying when something much more interesting is brewing inside the gym, between Tae-in and the leader of another gang?
No, no! Don’t you dare make more trouble, Park Tae-in! Don’t do anything until I get there!
Thankfully Human Shield Na Bo-ri arrives just in the nick of time. One second later and that shoe would have landed on its intended target. Phew.
The blow is so hard Bo-ri passes out. Ah, is that concern on your face we see, Tae-in? She saved you, so surely it’s your turn to come to her aid, no? Show everyone that deep down you’re a sweet boy with a gentle soul. Do your bit to protect your teacher.
Okay, you didn’t have to interpret that “protect” bit so literally, Tae-in. What’s your stepmom the principal going to say when she sees this? She’s totally going to blow her lid!
Just when it looks like the morning couldn’t be more miserable, guess who should come along to make the sun come out?
Mr. Sunshine hands her a mirror and some ointment and explains that he couldn’t help her in the gym earlier because he
was a coward didn’t want rumors to fly. He then chirps: “Teacher Na Bo-ri. No matter what happens in the future, I will always support you! Teacher Na Bo-ri. Congratulations on becoming a teacher! My name is Ji Hyun-woo. I’m an art teacher. Please take care. Teacher Na Bo-ri.”
I don’t know about you, but if anyone utters my full name and profession thrice in the span of thirty seconds, and also introduces himself in the same breath when I already know him, I’m totally hightailing it out of town.
Mr. Creepy walks away and is thus spared the sight of Bo-ri’s heart bursting out of her rib cage and doing cartwheels. Then, in a sure sign that she’s caught whatever queer bug he has, she chirps back: “Teacher Ji Hyun-woo. My name is Na Bo-ri. Although I’m not yet a good teacher, I will become one. I will wait for that moment when I can stand next to you.”
Watching and listening with his jaw on the ground, Tae-in turns to his F5 members and asks: “Is she for real?”
Her face still flushed with joy, Bo-ri is scrubbing the restroom (because apparently this is a school where the students rule) when she receives a rude surprise.
No, don’t ask me why the toilet doors are bolted from the outside. Or why Bo-ri isn’t pissed like she should be but is instead crying and consoling herself with this sorry excuse: “Never mind, Na Bo-ri. At least you can be by Ji Hyun-woo’s side.”
I love you, dear drama, but that doesn’t mean I can’t roll my eyes sometimes.
Tae-in is mildly surprised to see that Bo-ri is wet again, this time not of his doing. As she walks past him, her mood somber, he jabs: “Are you giving up already? That’s no fun. I thought you would continue fighting with me.” He then takes out a copy of her teaching application form and mocks her real motive for wanting to be a teacher.
Is it for Hyun-woo? I’m disappointed. I thought you would be different but it seems you are just the same. I expected too much from you. Well, have a good time falling in love.
Yes, it’s for Ji Hyun-woo, so? I’m not a good teacher now but I will be. Because that’s what you want, isn’t it? You’re lonely; you want someone to take care of you. You’re such a troublemaker because you are seeking attention. You’re doing all this because you want love!
Don’t talk nonsense! Who says I’m lonely?! And I don’t care whether you are concerned for me or not!
You just wait. I will become a great teacher because of you!
In that war of words, I don’t think Bo-ri knows if Tae-in is really lonely. She’s just saying it to taunt him because he made her angry. But her words hit home because, as we will learn shortly, he is indeed lonely and hungry for love and attention.
On his end, her words hit a raw nerve because they are true. And even though his pride is wounded because the last thing he wants is for a near-stranger to call him out for what he is (they just met yesterday and already she’s acting like she knows him better than anyone else), somehow he isn’t seething mad. Or is he? If we need an explanation for what he does at the end of this episode, could it all be due to this hallway diatribe?
Bo-ri returns to her desk in the teacher’s lounge and finds an envelope from Hyun-woo. As further evidence that no personal information is private or sacred in this school, the envelope contains details of Tae-in’s past.
Thus we learn that his mom killed herself, that Tae-in blames his dad for his mother’s death, that he became stepson to the principal when he was eight, that he misses his mom terribly and that’s why he wants to come back to Korea so that he’s at least under the same sky as her body (or ashes, RIP), and that Hyun-woo can’t be trusted as a step-uncle to keep his nephew’s secrets. Boo.
So her words about him being lonely weren’t just a wild shot in the dark.
For the first time, and because her sister asks her pointedly, Bo-ri thinks about what kind of teacher she wants to be. All along she had wanted to teach in order to be with Hyun-woo. But now that she’s an actual teacher, what kind of legacy does she want to leave her students?
In class the next day, Bo-ri announces to the students that she’s trained to teach Korean but that she won’t be teaching just yet because her role is to be a homeroom teacher first. In that spirit she’ll be a student just like them, so could they please take care of her? And oh, during that brief introductory session Tae-in winks at her and she mouths back: “You want to die?”
All in all, a most uneventful first class. No buckets falling on her head, no objects (or humans) defying gravity. No student acting out of the ordinary… except Jung Gyeo-woon’s character?
After Jem-ma announces to Tae-in that it’s a given that both of them will get married and that her mom wants to see him, Ho-joon (we’re not told his name in this episode but that’s what I got from the dramawiki page) says matter-of-factly that it’s just Jem-ma’s ploy. The person she really likes is not Tae-in but him. Hmm, okay, if you say so.
But when Ho-joon says the same thing about Bo-ri after the latter sidles up to Tae-in, that’s when we begin to suspect the guy’s a little batty. This time Tae-in is more than miffed; he practically wants to beat Ho-joon up. Hmm, why so worked up, Park Tae-in?
Anyway, now’s not the time to worry about an underling who’s off his rocker. Of more pressing concern is a teacher’s indecent proposition.
Will you go out with me after school?
Are you interested in me, Ajumma?
(She nods giddily.)
But I’m not interested in you.
Hey, you can’t judge me from my appearance alone. You never know. You might like me in the end. Let’s go out, c’mon!
And so she waylays him after school… as Hyun-woo watches them in the distance, his enigmatic expressions (first a smile and then a slight grimace) sending a chill down my spine.
The odd couple’s first stop is for yogurt. He asks what she wants to know; she replies that she wants to find out more about Hyun-woo. What he likes to eat, what he wears at home, what sort of girls he likes, and sundry other small but intimate details.
Hyun-woo’s flatulence is first-class. Stinks like hell.
Okay, noted. Park Tae-in is the king of farts.
Hey, I meant Hyun-woo!
Don’t be rude.
This conversation is no fun at all. So he leaves in a huff, then gets an idea that makes his eyes gleam. He turns back and puts his face next to hers.
Teacher. Do you really want to get to know me?
She nods hesitantly. Must he always lean so close to her?
He makes a call, grinning
adorably mischievously as he speaks. They walk—and it must have been an extremely long walk because now it’s night—and stop when they come to the front of a hotel.
She protests that the place is too expensive and she can’t afford it. The food is free, he says. You like free food, don’t you? She blushes that he should know her secret.
I don’t know what is it with the guy, but when he’s up to no good, that’s when he looks so yummy you just want to eat him up.
For goodness sake, behave, Park Tae-in!
The place is a jazz bar and Tae-in proceeds to impress his teacher (and me!) with his mean English and piano skills. As she watches entranced, one of the F5 guys is there in a prior arrangement with Tae-in which Bo-ri is not privy to. Pretending to be a waiter, he spikes her cocktail when she’s not looking.
It’s the next morning. Bo-ri awakes, in a strange place and in just her lingerie. On the nightstand is a note. It reads:
Until I die, I will never forget what happened last night.
Signed: Park Tae-in