Sungkyunkwan Scandal: Episode 10


cover-1.PNGSungkyunkwan is fairy-tale. It is frothy and whimsical, and has an underlying moral bite.

It is also fusion saeguk. By which I refer not just to its attitude to history (not egregious, but not over respectful either). I mostly mean its modern sensibility and its relatability.

After all, everything that happens in Sungkyunkwan could just as easily happen to us. Well, ok, maybe there are a few minor anachronisms, like getting executed for being a girl. But by and large, haven’t we lived through a lot of this stuff? The clothing may be prettier, the grooming quite a bit more elaborate, the politicking on a more national scale and the amount of studying so much less in Sungkyunkwan. But SKKS could be the college experience of any of us.

Your Best Guy Friend Rocks Drag. And you find this… Strangely Alluring

You’re a guy. And so is your room-mate, whom you feel somewhat fond of. But how, in five minutes, did he turn your manhood and your entire world upside down?

He turns up in drag. And he is Drop. Dead. Gorgeous. No kidding.


He runs into your arms. He pushes you to the ground and pretends to make out. He throws stuff at pursuing guards like an interrupted slut enraged, to save your ass. You can’t stop staring at him…

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You try to change the subject to that… that… oh yes, that thing you were breaking and entering for, that… what was it? That wretched book…

Your heart beats wildly. Your beautiful stupid friend hands you the stupid important book. You are forced to look at his beautiful stupid face again. Your hands shake. Your mind screams “leave me alone!”

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But he grabs your hand thinking it is hurt. Is this a great big conspiracy to unman you? Are your other friends about to burst out of a closet roaring with laughter at you? Is this all a beautiful bad dream?

You snatch away your hand. And knock open a door. Which reveals a secret storage room…

Accidentally hacking into

It can’t be your fault if it’s so easy, can it? You were just messing around. OK, it was probably illegal, but you were only after a bit of minor breach of intellectual property rights. Who would have thought you would chance upon explosive evidence of corruption that could bring down the ruling party?

When this sort of thing happens, it’s only your duty to nose around a bit, isn’t it?


But not poke around too much. That would be too dangerous. This can’t be worth getting slung into jail for. Best cover your tracks, too.

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Only it might be too late. Somebody’s super-sensitive and super-suspicious radar has already pinged…

Ha In Soo does not so easily dismiss the gisaeng rolling about with her client in the storage room. Cho Sun and her girls are rounded up. Cho Sun points out that all her girls are accounted for.


So, she’s not one of Cho Sun’s. In Soo orders, “Search again! Capture both the man and the girl!” (Oh the irony, Cho Sun could unknowingly be the cause of Kim Yoon Shik’s apprehension.)

But the storage room is empty. To the back gate! After them!

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And, re-format all the hard discs! That is, burn all the incriminating accounting books!

Finding out after the party that your crush was there. Argh!

You may be the most popular girl in town, but that doesn’t guarantee that your every party will be a success. This party is busted. What a waste of time. You didn’t even get to see your favourite guy.

Your predatory friends complain that they didn’t get to score with the studs, whereas lucky you, you did. “What? What did you say? What do you mean?”

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Oh, your stupid helpful confederates say. Your crush was here. Didn’t you see him? We assumed you were with him!


Fleeing the Scene! A spot of titillating criminal activity

Nothing like a spot of excitement and danger to lend a little frisson. ‘fess up, how many of you have done something mildly illegal on a date. And wasn’t it fun?


You run from the guards together. But suddenly it ceases to be fun and becomes way too scary. The School Rat spots a corner of your pink frock peeking out from where you are hiding, ohnos!

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Fortunately, the pursuers are impeded by an unruly party leaving for the night. They can’t find you in the raucous crowd. They do find the School Prankster among the revellers. He who used to hang out with the School Rat. Interestingly, he’s now on your side, it seems. “What’s up,” he taunts the School Rat. “Getting your knickers in a twist, mate?”

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You’ve evaded the guards, phew. But you are stuck on a wall. It’s a long way down!

And there is your beloved stupid friend, standing on solid ground, taunting you. “Hurry up,” he says with an annoying beckoning gesture. Yeah. Right. Easy for him to say. He’s not stuck in this overpoweringly pink dress and ridiculous hat which make you feel over-girly and un-agile.

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Panicky, you totter and nearly fall off. It’s not funny! It’s mortifying! And scary! What’s he smiling at?! Is he laughing at me? Drat him!

And now the horrible guy is holding out his hand. Why does he have to look so adorable when he smiles? Double drat him! You can’t stop yourself, argh, can’t stop! You smile back at him. Hey, this scaling of walls is quite fun after all!

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But when you reach for his hand, he withdraws it. Knew it! Idiot! Tease! Meanie!

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Why does he suddenly look so stiff and stern? What did you do wrong? Is he mad at you? Or could it be that he’s disconcerted? Oh. Right. He still thinks you are a guy. Sigh.

The guards are coming! Ohnos, you mustn’t be caught! Quick! Jump!


And he catches you. You can’t help but land in his arms. Eeks! Awkward vibes!

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No time to analyse. Run!



Are they gone? Oh, phew. Relief!

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Oh, wait. He’s still holding my hand. Eep! Quick! Drop it!


Uh. Um. Oh dear, so awkward.


Your Man Whacks you with Logic

It’s late at night. You’ve had a stressful and exhausting day. You just want to go home. But your man insists on confronting you and setting you straight on Something Important… Sigh.

“Did you take pity on me? Risking danger to rescue me. Is it because you think I’m useless? Did you offer me your hand because you pitied me? Did you think that I would gratefully receive anything?”

Oo, how you so hate it when he turns your own logic against you. Hate it! That is so very irritating. Righteous people are particularly irritating when they have a point. You just want to hit him!

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But he won’t let up. Catching your fist, “I didn’t take pity on you. I didn’t even do it for you. At first I thought it would be a waste of your potential. Then, I needed you. I thought that if I had a friend, it would be nice if it were you. But I didn’t know how to make friends, because it’s my first time. I’m sorry.”

And that just cuts through all your defences. He has made his argument. And he says he does not pity you and (joy) you believe him. And, can it be, you are his only friend? This lovely, well-meaning, earnest young man?

Your heart overflows with love for this lonely young man. And with sorrow, knowing his esteem will never be enough for you. For you love him so much, but he can’t love you. You can’t stop your tears. All you can do is turn away. You are so moved, you are not even watching your words.

“You horrible person. I tried so hard to keep my feelings in check. Really, truly.”

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And it is just as well that you can’t see that he is reaching for you but hesitating to touch you, because if you could you would probably cry even more, or do something that will expose you and your deadly secret.

“It’s all my fault. So, please stop crying.” He clasps your shoulder awkwardly. What can you do but stay turned away, and shed the tears he should not see?


(And, really, how much clearer a set of clues does Sun Joon need? If my brain hadn’t already been turned into mush by the cuteness of Episode Ten, it’ll be screaming blue murder. How on God’s green earth can Sun Joon not realize that Yoon Hee is a girl? What could he have thought Kim Yoon Shik meant when ‘he’ said “I tried so hard to keep my feelings in check”? For a smart guy he sure is dumb. Sigh.)

A Girl’s Best Guy Friends Watch her Back

Annoying as the male of the species can be, there’s no denying that when they are genuinely watching out for you (without some weird agenda), guys can be the best friends to have around.

Both the School Rebel Jae Shin and the School Prankster Yong Ha are on your side. How much luckier can a girl get? School Rebel is frantic for news about you. School Prankster had in fact engineered the drunken party that thwarted your pursuers.

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School Prankster would sooner wear sackcloth than pass up an opportunity to needle School Rebel. “I knew he was a pretty chap. But when I saw him then… even my heart fluttered.”


Jae Shin: “Stupid fool! Why did he do something so dangerous?”

Yong Ha: “Dangerous? Why, it’s the safest way to get into the merchants’ guild house, isn’t it?”

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He is teasing Crazy Horse as usual. He knows that Jae Shin’s indiscreet outburst of concern was over the danger of Yoon Hee being exposed as a girl if she dresses and looks just like a girl. Most provocative! If Yong Ha were not so useful in a crisis, I’d whack a hole in Yong Ha’s head if I were Crazy Horse.

Nobody likes the School Bully

He may be rich, handsome, top boy and president of the Student Union, but if he has a mean streak you don’t want anything to do with him. Even if you are the hottest girl in town and he is hitting on you. Particularly if you are the hottest girl in town and he is hitting on you.

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He’s all worked up and he wants you to tell him who the girl with his rival is. Why should you tell him? As a matter of fact you don’t know, even if you are in cahoots with the School Prankster to cause a diversion. But why should you cooperate meekly, as if he owned you? You’d much rather be obstructive and snarky. “How could a mere girl like me be involved? Aren’t you the most powerful boy in school?”

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And as a parting shot: “If you want to talk to me, come to my store and make sure you pay for what you get.” Ha, that got him. (Oh, my dear, I hope you don’t live to regret provoking him…)

Your guy friend is making you feel funny, and it’s All His Fault of course!

Disaster averted. And your cute little guy friend is back in his guy clothes. Phew. We can stroll home without too much drama now.


But. Wait. What’s that on his lips? Has the stupid boy not wiped off all his lip rouge? Oh, nuts. You can’t let him go back to school looking like that. Well, it’s just a simple matter of wiping it clean, right?

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But that stupid chap, he starts rubbing his mouth. And licking his lips. And going, “Here? OK now?” And suddenly your heart is beating. And you are feeling discombobulated. And you can’t take your eyes off his lips…

Right. Have to get away before a blood-vessel bursts. Walk away now! Dissimulate! “You’re so useless, you can’t even do that right!”

But the puppy keeps prancing around you. “Is it gone? Look! Look!”


Ah, the School Rebel and the School Prankster are waiting. The School Rebel has been worried sick, but now that he sees you both he tries to slink off.

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Your puppy rushes up to School Rebel. “Are you ok? You look like you are hurt!” And he raises a hand to touch the Rebel’s bruised face.

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Why do you feel a sinking of your heart?


(Yong Ha sees it all, of course. He sees that Sun Joon is jealous. He notices Jae Shin nervously catching her hand so that she doesn’t touch his face. Heh heh! He hasn’t had so much fun since he registered with eHarmony.)

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Stymieing the Rival Project Group

Slowing down the rival project group isn’t good enough. If you want to effectively sabotage them, you need to beat them to the results.

In Soo orders his minions to find the real thief before the Kim Yoon Shik Gang does.


The Dream(y) Project Team

Any girl would kill to get onto your project team, with the three hottest guys in school. And you were quite happy too. For about 30 seconds. Then the enormity of the task hit you and it became 100% serious and 0% frivolity.

Strategy meeting!


The stolen account book indicates the thief lives on the college campus. Someone who comes and goes as he pleases. It must be a relative of one of the page boys!

Just how did they come to this conclusion? Why not a gardener? Or the cook’s nephew? You have to speak up: “We shouldn’t just suspect people groundlessly.”

“Groundlessly?” the School Trickster smirks, and flings open the dorm room door. To catch an eavesdropping page boy running away. By golly, that was easy. If only all research hypotheses were this easy to prove.

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Just as evil luck would have it, as the eavesdropping page-boy runs away he crashes into Evil School Bully-cum-Head Boy. Looking as guilty as heck. Evil Head Boy is onto him; he doesn’t have evil sixth sense for nothing…

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An Awkward Dorm Arrangement

Hands up, everyone who has ever had to endure awkward rooming or housing arrangements. Yup, it sucks, but it’s part of student life. The differing standards of hygiene. The annoying sleeping habits. The funny-smelling stuff in the fridge. And worst of all, the suspicion that your room-mate fancies your girlfriend.

You are the toughest street-fighter in town. But you would rather face ten motor-cycle gangs than endure another awkward night in your dorm room.


Tonight you decide to position yourself between the guy and the girl. The proprieties must be upheld! But the girl tosses in her sleep and starts edging towards you. You inch away from her, until you are practically hugging the guy. The guy is well brought-up and deferential, but even he won’t submit quietly to your encroaching into his space. You pull rank. “I’m the senior here. I’ll bunk anywhere I like!” Yes, you know it’s lame, but it will have to do.

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(You wouldn’t have thought we could milk another drop of hilarity from the SJ-JS-YH sleeping arrangements. But, evidently, we can! Will this ever get tired? Quite possibly not.)


The School Canteen

Everyone knows that you can practically film a wild-life documentary on mating habits in the average school canteen.


The School Mischief-Maker is complaining about the Mystery Meat in the soup. Some things never change. You come back to college as a professor, and college food is still as unpalatable as ever. And the mating rituals are still going on. The School Swot is watching the School Girly-Boy intently, sigh.

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(Haha, how I laugh! How does Micky manage to look both blank and lascivious at the same time? I dunno, it must be a special gift.)

Girl-Boy announces that she’s leaving early to start her investigation.

“Sit down!” her room-mates order in unison. “Finish your food.” Hmm. Interesting that her room-mates are being masterful. Guess she brings out the brotherly instincts in them. They may be very different young men, but they are both alpha males after all.


Anyway, enough with the anthropological observations. Time to intervene. “Ah, I see you too are a thief, for you are wasting the food that is supplied by the blood and tears of the proletariat.” Ha, that got her to sit down again and finish her food, pronto.


The Research that Leads Nowhere

The best research method is that which resonates with your skills and experience. Our Dream(y) Research Team is armed with drawings of the young man they chased through the market yesterday.

The School Rebel threateningly interrogates guys hanging out over poker games. Humble Boy enquires of the food stall-holders. You are the School Flirt, so of course you ask the girls.

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Nothing. Nada. Zilch.


Exasperating! But at least you can divert yourself watching Stuffy Boy and Girl-Boy do their awkward mating dance round each other, innocent things like brushing against each other’s hands igniting a truck-load of confused emotions. Teehee!

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But the research is going nowhere. You reconvene a meeting.


“Really very united. How can they not recognize him from such a detailed drawing? Normally they remember even neighbours’ wives’ monthly cycles.”

For it’s not that your collective google-fu or wikipedia-search skills are defective. There is in fact a conspiracy of silence. The poor protecting the poor. Town versus Gown.

The School Rebel-with-a-cause launches into a lecture: “Half of them feed themselves by taking on the lowest of menial tasks. The other half are in servitude to the university. These are most impoverished and hard-pressed in all the city.”

Girl-Boy: “So they have no choice but to steal.”

Stuffy Boy: “A crime is still is crime.”

Good grief, he so does not “get it”! The Rebel is predictably derisive. Even the loyal Girl-Boy is speechless.

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Fortunately Stuffy Boy moves on to a topic which concerns them all, otherwise he’s in danger of being kicked out of the study group. “We have one day left. We have to prove Yoon Shik’s innocence. We need a change of strategy.”

A different line of research is needed. The thief is mentioned in the stolen account book only once. And records show there hasn’t been much theft in the past. So this spate of thievery is recent. There must be a sudden need for money. And perhaps a need for something that has recently suffered price inflation: Salt, and funeral cloth. Bingo! The page boy Bock Dong’s mother died recently.

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Winning 1, Ethics 0

When there is an overpowering desire to win, there can be an overpowering temptation to cross ethical lines. Hey, let’s admit it, we’ve all been there.

But when you are Ha In So, there’s no fight, really.


It’s not hard to track down the elder brother of the page boy who was running scared. And even less hard to bribe him to keep quiet about his wrongdoing.

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Under-Privilege bumps up against Elitism

When different social worlds meet, there is often an interesting clash.

After his disconcerting chat with In Soo, Bock Soo is kicking beside the stream when he is spotted by our foursome.

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They are doing no more than staring, but Bock Dong himself (but a wee lad) gives the game away by shouting, “Run away, Hyung, they’ve come to catch you, run away!”


Adjourn to Bock Soo’s digs. The four assume their customary positions: Jae Shin lounging on his back seemingly disinterested but in fact intently aware, Sun Joon looking on with slightly furrowed brow, Yong Ha ingratiating himself (this time, with the adorable Bock Dong), and Yoon Hee doing leg-work.


“You want me to confess? You’re only students! Why should I do what you want?”

Yoon Hee: “Don’t you have a conscience?”

“I’ve done nothing wrong. And aren’t you all going to become government officials who oppress the common people? Aren’t you even now living off the citizens while reciting Confucius? If I wrest my fair share back from you, so what?”


You’d think he has a convincing argument. Well, yes, in his world. Which is not the same as the righteous (and privileged) planet that Sun Joon lives on: “Stealing is still a crime.”

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“Then what am I supposed to do???!! I had to give my mother a funeral! All her life we couldn’t afford to buy her proper medicine. She worked so hard and she never got to wear new clothes. I should at least send her off in decent funeral clothing. I can’t afford that no matter how hard I try. What should I do? Are you saying that people who don’t have power or money cannot have human dignity? And you want me to help you? Go away. You who are born into privilege can suffer a bit for a change!”

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OK, that gets through even to Planet Sun Joon. By golly, are those tears I see in Micky’s eyes?

Because, er, yes, compared to being trapped in poverty and hopelessness, what on earth is one project assignment, even if failing it means expulsion from an elite school? Except that in this case the failer is not a privileged young lord but the poor and hopeless Kim Yoon Shik. Sun Joon wants to explain this, but Yoon Hee interrupts to say the matter is dropped.

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Why? Precisely, in fact, because Yoon Hee is so much like Bock Soo.

Sun Joon looks a little stunned when Yoon Hee points out that but for getting into this elite school she would be standing in Bock Soo’s place. And he must know it is true – after all they met because she was resorting to unlawful activities to earn money. How quickly he has forgotten that they inhabit different worlds!


Meeting the In-Laws

Never an easy one, this. But when you have been sheltered all your life, your father is doting but not the sharpest knife in the drawer, and your potential father-in-law is the Left State Councillor, you have quite possibly bitten off more than you can chew in calling for this meeting.


You pay your respects as prettily as you can. And that’s one thing you can do – you can do pretty. You apologise ingratiatingly for your impudence in initiating an audience. Surely he will be charmed by this!

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But he looks you in the eye and says unsettlingly, “So you will pay for your bad manners the other day with your impudence today?”

What?! What did he say? The cheek! Oh. Wait. Must be sweet…

He continues: “He only knows books. He has no skill understanding women.” (Oh, no truer words ever said, if only he knew!) “He’s not had a sister or any female friend.”

“REALLY?!” I’m his first? Really? Whee! Oh. Wait. Father is signalling to back down. Must stay calm and decorous. Calm and decorous.

At last, the meeting is over. So scary! Totally scary! You will have to get away from this frightening man. When you are married, you and your husband will go away to China to study. (Haha! The overseas-studies plot trope!)


But, wait. Oh, he has the young lord’s eye-lashes! So cute! So totally cute! (Ha, even your long-time maid is freaked out by the schizophrenia.)

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One of the Gang Goes All Righteous

You know how it is. The project team is so close to a breakthrough, so close to completion. And suddenly one team member gets a severe case of over-sensitive conscience. The results are not objective… we are making assumptions which are not valid… the premise of our judgement is not sound… we can’t go on like this. The rest of the team is aghast. What, you want us to flunk, just like that? At the same time, in their heart of hearts, they know that you are right. Oh dear, what to do?

Yoon Hee produces an accounting book. She had snuck one before she and Sun Joon left the Merchant Guild House! (Not very surprising.) The book records bribes paid by the merchants to the ruling Norons. As long as society is corrupt, there will be desperate people like Bock Soo. How can she turn him in just to clear her own name?

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Jae Shin: “What? Are you saying you’ll let yourself be framed and expelled?”

Yoon Hee: “I don’t know. I don’t know what to do.”

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She walks out.

Jae Shin goes after Yoon Hee: “Is this all you will do? If you are going to give up so easily, why come here at all?” He knows better than even Sun Joon what being in this school is costing her, and it kills him to see her throw everything away.

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“I’m sorry for not being able to do better.” And she bows in apology. And walks away.

What can one do or say?

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When Youthful Idealism bumps into the Real World

It’s a sad, sober moment when you realise that the world is a lot more complicated, messy and unfair than you thought, and that you are a lot more powerless than you ever imagined. And when you realise that standing up for your ideals can launch you into direct opposition to your family which is entrenched in the establishment.

And you know you are in trouble when your jokey friend is trying too hard to jolly you. “Don’t worry about it! Daemul doesn’t really know what he’s doing. He only took the book out because he was mad!”

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And as ever, when Yong Ha wants someone to process with, he seeks out Jae Shin: “Too bad for Sun Joon. That book implicates his father. I wonder what he plans to do with the book?”


Jae Shin doesn’t bother to get up or open his eyes: “No matter what he has done, your father is still your father. It’s the deepest shit.” You too, Jae Shin? Have your youthful ideals run up against your family loyalties too?

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And as Sun Joon leafs through the incriminating book, he thinks of Yoon Hee saying how she was just like that thief, he remembers the thief pouring out his woes and the royal guards thrashing the market, and he ponders the injustices of his world.


(Hmm, I think this is going against the pater, and that’s not going to be pretty…)

The Best Kind of Teacher

The best lessons are the ones that hit you hard. Yoon Hee and Professor Jung have a tête-à-tête in the school library.

“Given up on your case already, I see?”

“I’m innocent. Even if I’m not able to prove it, it is enough that I am innocent.”

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“No, it’s not enough. You, Kim Yoon Shik, are not innocent. No matter how noble, if a government official can’t clear his own name, he does not qualify to be an official.”

“Girls do not qualify to be officials – you have said so yourself. But here is something even more remarkable: Why is the country in this rotten state? Have not its affairs been managed by men who are qualified to be officials?”


And the best kind of student is the one who can give as good as she gets, able to score a hit even against her esteemed Professor.

The Best Kind of Trust

What do you do when a moral decision has terrible consequences for someone you care for? It is hard enough for you, but for him it tears his very soul apart. What do you do? Why, if you trust that person, you hand that decision to that very person. (Leadership coaches round the world, are you paying attention? Empowerment is trust!)

She finds him at archery practice (a young man frustrated and confused goes to the gym, of course). She says that she hopes to accuse the true perpetrator of the wrongdoing, i.e. the corrupt merchants and court officials. But she will leave it to him to decide whether to produce the incriminating accounts.


And isn’t this amazing, folks? Such courage. Such belief in her man. Such respect for him.

Beneath the weight of this trust and responsibility, even the Son of Noron falters. “I might disappoint you.”

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She looks him in the eye and addresses him only as a soul-mate can: “Even so, I believe in you more than I believe in myself. You may seem stern and rule-bound, but you are only trying to be a good person. So a decision made by you will be the right one. Even if it’s not the decision I would make.” And she means this. Even if he lands on the side of family loyalty, that would be his decision for this time, and she would abide by it even if it meant expulsion.

How to Reform a Delinquent

You don’t get angry and bitter people to change by threatening them or lecturing them, or even bribing them. You appeal to what they already cherish.

So you go back to Bock Soo’s house and you connect with the one thing he definitely cares about.


“A boy has been wrongly accused. You know well what that feels like. Eavesdropping will be a habit if you keep doing it. And so will running away.”

Bock Soo is exasperated, but can’t leave.

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Continuing… “My Hyung always told me that. I used to have one – a fiery-tempered hyung. He was right. And I listened to him. That’s what younger brothers do. How do you want this kid to turn out? A petty thief? Or a coward?”

“Get lost!” Bock Soo cries. “Who do you think you are?”

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“You still have a chance to be a decent person.”

Bock Soo continues to retort defiantly. But we can see that he is really wrestling.

When you Confront your Own Father with your Youthful Idealism

Some things are more important, even to the straight-laced, than school curfews. Sun Joon pays his father a visit: “For a responsible scholar on whom society depends, the most important thing is his principles. More important even than his own family. Father has always taught me this.”


Hmm, where is this leading? Not sure he’s liking the sound of this, the Left State Councillor pauses his brush stroke.

“Even now, do you believe it? I’ve always tried to emulate you. Is that always right?”

“You sought me out needlessly. You are my son. You have never disappointed me so far, and I doubt you ever will.” The Left State Councillor continues unconcernedly with his painting.


Dear me. I’m not sure that this father really knows where his son is going to take this. Are we on the verge of a complex and explosive father-son conflict?

Plotting at the Girls’ Pyjama Party

Hyo Eun and her girlfriends are enjoying home-made facials. And, of course, engaging in domestic plotting.


“How are you going to make that ultra-filial son, Lee Sun Joon, a compliant husband?”

“I’m going to grab him!”


“I’ll spend the night with him!”

(Haha, too late! What I would give to see the expression on your face when you find out that he’s already been spending lots of nights together with another girl!)

The Night before the Make-or-Break Viva

The Principled One is still agonising in the library, the Accused One is up all night sleepless, and the Invested One is anxious (and sensitively stays outside so as to give Yoon Hee space).

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The Viva!

The king asks for an investigation report from Yoon Hee.

“I didn’t find the real culprit.”

Jae Shin surges to his feet: “He will come to confess!” He feels sure he got through to Bock Soo last night. He has to have gotten through to Bock Soo last night!


In Soo rises: “The investigation period ended yesterday. If the culprit is not found by now, he fails.”


“You are right,” the king says equably.

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Just as Yoon Hee bows her head in submission to this decision (while Jae Shin looks rebellious and Yong Ha looks tense), Sun Joon arrives. “The real perpetrator is here,” he announces.

101b-170 101c-170

“Here, in this accounting book, Your Majesty.”

Report Card

Wow! He really did it. He really put his principles above his filial loyalty. And that’s no small potatoes. Methinks that this is only the first of many moral battles he is going to fight. And how we wish for our Sun Joon – our own special anal, dense, righteous, brave Sun Joon – all the strength and affection he will need for his fight. All the strength and affection he will need, of course, from Yoon Hee. Hurry up and hook up, kids! What are you waiting for?

Boring morals aside (I kid – the moral aspects of this drama are pretty interesting), this Episode also ups the romantic stakes. What may have started out as a desire to protect the girl he accidentally discovered is turning into full-blown obsession for Jae Shin. Yoon Hee knows very well by now where her heart lies, but can do no more than try to deny her impossible desires – impossible because she cannot be a girl in Sungkyunkwan and impossible because she believes him taken. And even the dense-as-a-plank Sun Joon is becoming aware that he does not have a normal range of feelings for his young room-mate. Seldom has a blossoming triangular love affair been more delicious. Hurry up and hook up, kids! What are you waiting for?


21 thoughts on “Sungkyunkwan Scandal: Episode 10

  1. oh such a fantabulous recap!!!
    eHarmony? lmao.. epic!
    oh and I agree with you, someone, hook up! nao! haha
    Thanks serendipity!!

  2. “He runs into your arms. He pushes you to the ground and pretends to make out. He throws stuff at pursuing guards like an interrupted slut enraged, to save your ass. You can’t stop staring at him…”

    hahahahahahahahahahahahah oh god, you are brilliant!!

  3. Hahaha, MUCH THANKS for such a brilliantly-entertaining, well mapped-out commentary serendipity! LOVED IT!

    You are as hilariously insightful with your character-radar, as the wickedly lovable Yong-ha! 🙂

  4. Thank you! That was such an excellent recap!!!!! Your’s and thundie’s recaps are always such a pleasure to read.
    “He hasn’t had so much fun since he registered with eHarmony”- HAHAHA!
    What an adorable episode (as if there is such a thing as an episode that is not adorable..). I continue to enjoy every single element and character of ‘Scandal’!

  5. This was one of my favorite episodes! I think protective Moon Jae Shin is pretty hot or rather, I just think Yoo Ah In gets more visually appealing by the episodes. Heehee. Thanks for the lovely recap!

  6. This recap just sparkles, chingu! You made it so exciting and I LOVE the parallels between Sungkyunkwan and our own college experiences. Too bad, I didn’t have a roommate or best friend who rocked drag!

    Onward ho to Episodes 11 & 12! (Which we will be unleashing this week, keke.)

  7. Awesome recap! I nearly died at this, “He hasn’t had so much fun since he registered with eHarmony.” I see that stupid ad on TV every day.

  8. “And worst of all, the suspicion that your room-mate fancies your girlfriend”– or (in Sunjoon’s case) the suspicion that your room-mate might be coming on to you…

    lol eHarmony, watergate. it’s so fitting.

    gah, i love you and your cracktastically written recaps. thank you and keep up the good work.

  9. Love the recap and commentaries! Thanks, serendipity!

    Yoon Hee does look so gorgeous in the hanbok. (but where did she get it? and how did she manage enough time to get dress and do the make-up? shut up, critical brain! mind your own business while I oogle and drool to my heart’s content) Anyway… even I am totally girl-crushing on Yoon Hee so I can’t even imagine what Sun Joon must be feeling. Poor boy. But, my sympathy still leans more toward Moony coz k-drama conventions ain’t gonna give him the girl he loves.

    SSK, you own me heart. I think about you day and night. The CUTE and PRETTY in SSK are steamrolling (a word thundie so aptly used previously) me to the max! I spent all afternoon yesterday on Youtube watching making-of and interview clips, and videos of Micky and his hommies (but mostly of Micky, of course) while I should be productive because I have a truckload of homework and studying that need to be done. I now know the names of all DBSK members. Good golly! Please, have mercy, SSK!

    P.S. Tomorrow is Monday! WOOOOOOOT!

  10. Yoon Hee does look so gorgeous in the hanbok. (but where did she get it? and how did she manage enough time to get dress and do the make-up? shut up, critical brain!

    Haha, doozy, I had the same questions watching Return of Iljimae when Iljimae (Jung Il-woo) suddenly donned a gisaeng’s garb. But he looked so cute I didn’t care!

    I now know all the names of the DBSK members, too. Just don’t ask me to identify them… except for Micky, of course. 😆

  11. @ dooby and thundie:

    The inverse is true for me. I started noticing DBSK when I chanced upon their Mirotic, sometime June or July. Totally LOVED this.

    Had also watched Mickey in his mini J-K collaboration drama prior … a drama that was quite near-impossible to find back then, and again I was attracted by that OST (Kimi Ga Ireba) .. ‘Beautiful Love’.

    So, Mickey Yoo-chun was exactly unfamiliar before I jumped into SKKS (somewhat reluctantly for me, the period drama phobic). But Song Jong-ki (ironically, my favorite character of the Joseon quartet) is a total stranger to me.

    That dance version of DBSK’s Mirotic; how well all those 5 talented dudes can really groove and sing (real high! and acapella so naturally), as well as watching one of their live performances (Nov 2008) of the song totally got to me.
    So much so a few other DBSK songs were dug up (Why Have I Fallen In Love With You is another favorite) to burn for Summer car-listening.
    And I am still hooked to Mirotic … very hooked. To the point all of us in the car can pitch in unison with Chang-min when he reaches his Mirotic high: “You know you got it …. YEAaaaaaa – hooo …” 🙂

    It’s a hoot to watch Super Junior’s Hee-chul fooling with the same Yeaaaaa moment, and strangling himself. 🙂

    I started familiarising myself (too late .. they pared down to YJY = what a waste!) and differentiating the 5 members and enjoyed their camaraderie.
    How different each seemed to be .. in voice, in personality yet how they could gel, and how they clowned around.
    for eg, there was this Champ Elysee clip … “bon-roooo, anni … anni, no .. it’s bon-zoooo, zee, zee … hahahahhh!( this was Mickey to Xiah)

  12. i love this serial day by day, episode by episode. I’m glad I decided to watch it!
    And i love that both of blogs I frequent decided to recap it! 😀 Can’t get enough of SKKS…

    I can understand Yong Ha has so much fun watching the three others’ interactions.. It’s so much fun to see your friend’s trying to hide jealousy, trying to hide their feelings.

    btw thundie, it’s easy to tell who’s who in DBSK…it was more difficult when I tried to remember the Super Juniors’ members’ name 😛
    this is how I describe them : the leader (Yunho), the serious one (Micky), the short one (Junsu) , the pretty one (Jaejoong), and the tall maknae (Changmin).

  13. Thank you for the recaps, Serependity! And I am looking forward to episodes 11-12 recaps this week! It’s Sungkyunkwan Scandal Overload!

    Heh heh! He hasn’t had so much fun since he registered with eHarmony. – My goodness! Hahahahahahaha! The bestest thing I have read lately.

    And I so agree with you! HOOK UP ALREADY, KIDS!

  14. Wonderfully written recap with so many favorite scenes. Makes me actually want to rewatch ep 10–which I won’t because I really can’t be this obsessed.

    I just love the meet the in-laws scene & the Sun Joon visiting his father scene mostly because of KGS and his amazing eye acting. In these scenes, I found my thoughts aimlessly wondering what the Left State Councilor was like when he was young. Probably cerebral, stoic, somewhat idealistic and definitely hot.

    While this show has me squealing like a fangirl more times than I would like to admit, what keeps the story interesting & fresh for me are the emotional pulls from the rite of passage theme of growing from not-quite-a-boy to a man in the environs of college life, which ironically Yoon Hee is often the catalyst of, e.g. questioning authority, questioning the status quo, & questioning what it means to be a “man”

  15. Thanks for the funny and fantastic recap! I think that Sun Joon’s dad is a really interesting character… It seems that he really takes pride in Sun Joon’s ethical nature. Unlike minister Ha, he has taken care not to corrupt his son. Sun Joon is like one of those beautiful plants that the left state minister cares for. I think in the end, he will feel a lot of pain for disappointing his son!

  16. Everyone,

    Thanks for all your lovely comments! Sorry I’ve not been able to keep up with them. Churning out the recaps is sucking up my time! But everyone, really, love your insights and am grateful for the appreciation.

    I’m glad we can all enjoy this ADORABLE and absorbing series together. So many appealing characters, so many fun situations.


    (in Sunjoon’s case) the suspicion that your room-mate might be coming on to you… — How did I miss that? Of course, ha ha!

    @ soomp

    Wow, you have graced us with your presence. Very welcome! *salutes*

  17. My first visit to your blog after viikii suspended SKKS channel and we kdrama addicts are frantically searching for new blogs to slake our thirst. Your haiku format for Ep.12 (?) is just amazing. What a talent you have for blank verse, but I think there are rhyming moments too. And of course your asides are really hilarious. I love bloggers who provide such asides and comments, together with the recaps/commentaries, so we can go chuckling to ourselves, probably leading our partners/husbands to suspect that there may be something seriously wrong with a woman who chuckles in the wee hours while happily staring at the laptop! Anyway, keep up the good, and great, work! We non-Korean drama addicts (I’m a Burmese, by the way) are forever grateful to you and the other bloggers.

  18. OMG… may be this more than 100 time I am visit this site…. never bored, or tired… I cant stop my self to read all recap….i am really love it, imagine moon jae shin OMG he really adorable,

  19. I have to say this is brilliant. Love, love, love the modern parallels. Hilarious!! Great writing Serendpity! Also particularly loved how you got the rhythm of the chase scene down pared. I don’t even have to watch the show to get the atmosphere. Fabs!

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