Pre-Recap Thoughts: Our finale…the very last episode of this tale of the “Short Legs”…Unlike the ending of season 2, this final episode of High Kick 3: Counterattack of the Short Legs concludes gracefully, recounting a beautiful story that graciously takes the viewers along for the ride…to experience–enjoy, mature, lament–with the characters all of life in its varying shades of grays and bright colors.
It’s been a long journey, but I personally enjoyed every moment of it! Without further ado, I give you my recap…
The last episode opens with Ha Sun and Ji Seok at the airport. They both motion in their secret language that they love each other, and then Ha Sun enters through the gates…”not to return,” Ji Seok narrates.
The Ahns celebrate the new incorporation of Nae Sang’s new business, Ahn’s World, which according to Jong Seok has a more global connotation to the name. 🙂 Jong Seok also tells his father that he plans on moving into a dormitory for further exam preparation since there’s a limit to how much he can study on his own.
The Ahns, plus Seung Yoon, give a rousing cheer to each other’s success.
At school, Ji Seok continues to mope around like a lost dog without its owner. Ha Sun has now been in the States for 2 months and has already submitted a leave of absence notice, at least for the rest of this term. Likewise, Teacher Yoon has submitted a sabbatical request, his reasons unclear and unknown to the rest of the faculty.
Meanwhile, Park Ji Sun enters her classroom and announces the results of the recent exam results; Bo Hee reclaims her spot as number 1 in school while Ji Won slips to number 4. Ji Sun congrats Bo Hee and then advises Ji Won to study harder if she still plans on attending Myung Moon Medical.
Alone at home now, Ji Won lies on the couch, staring up at the ceiling. Soo Jung drops by to borrow a bowl for her mother and asks why Ji Won’s so depressed. She suspects that it might be because Ji Won’s dropped from first place to fourth place. However, Ji Won tells her that enjoying something and doing something well don’t equate to the same things. Soo Jung assesses her classmate carefully, repeating that phrase, and concludes that whatever Ji Won wants to “enjoy,” she should just do it! I love how these two have come to support each other, especially in this final episode.
When she returns home with the bowl, Nae Sang and Seung Yoon arrive with their first purchase for Ahn’s World. In a mood to celebrate, Nae Sang presents to Yoo Sun a $400 bottle of champagne, a price that causes Yoo Sun to pummel his arm and repeatedly call him “Crazy!” However, Nae Sung seeks her understanding and explains that this bottle is to represent their future success; they’ll open the bottle only when they truly succeed. Seung Yoon asks how they will know, and Nae Sang simply replies that they’ll just know when they’ve succeeded.
As the Ahns, plus Seung Yoon, look forward to this “success,” Ji Seok returns home, and after a curt greeting to his family, goes straight up to his bedroom. He narrates that it’s been two months now since she left and during that time, they’ve spoken on the phone four times. During those phone calls, her voice was quiet, and there were even stretches of silence; he no longer asks about her mother’s condition or when Ha Sun would be returning. Later, eating alone at school, he continues his narration, revealing that he thought with time, his memory of her would fade, but he notes that it’s been the opposite; his memory of her only gets clearer. Even her voice, her eyebrows, etc. he remembers with clarity, and each time he remembers, he pines for her with a desperation of a crazy man. He wonders, as he drives home from work one day, what will await him at the end of this long wait.
Back at home, the Ahn siblings are at it again. Jong Seok opens a can of soad that apparently had Soo Jung’s name written on the bottom, claiming the drink as hers. OMG! LOL. In the ensuing tussle for the can–Soo Jung bugging Jong Seok to buy her a new one and Jong Seok refusing–she pushes him, and Jong Seok stumbles…right into that expensive bottle of champagne. CRASH!
The bottle shatters into pieces, and Seung Yoon calls them both idiots when the siblings continue their little squabble, this time about who is actually responsible for the breakage. *Tsk tsk* Seung Yoon’s suggestion is to buy a similarly shaped bottle and replace its label with the $400 bottle’s label. They won’t be drinking from it anytime soon, which will buy them some time to actually purchase a replacement later on down the road.
At school, the faculty crowd around a laptop. Teacher Yoon has debuted as a ballad star! *chuckles…woohoo~Oppa!*
While his family worry that it’s already been a week since Ahn’s World opened for business and there’s been no work, Nae Sang rushes into the house with news of their first job. They celebrate and Seung Yoon carelessly asks if this calls for the champagne opening, a slip that elicits glares from both Jong Seok and Soo Jung. Fortunately, Nae Sang doesn’t notice the difference in the two bottles and says that he didn’t spend $400 on this bottle to drink it on such a paltry job. Instead, he suggests celebrating by lighting fireworks since he has to test some of them anyhow.
Jong Seok steps outside for a bit and runs into Ji Won, who wishes him luck on his exam since he’s even moved into the dormitory to do well. Jong Seok reminds her that he has never once joked about Myung Moon University–and about her is the unspoken addition–and definitely plans on getting accepted to that prestigious school. Ji Won offers him a handshake of good luck (Oh no…why does this feel like a farewell?). Ji Won comments that the label, College Student Ahn Jong Seok, suits him well. Liking the sound of it, Jong Seok tells her to just wait and see; he’ll obtain his goal.
Later that evening, the Ahns climb to a small plateau in Seoul and ignite a firework in celebration. Watching the spectacle, Jong Seok narrates that his father’s company took off like that firework, but as to whether his father would succeed enough to warrant the opening of the champagne, he doesn’t know. He speculates that the illusion of the expensive champagne bottle won’t matter, though, by the time they open it because their father will have succeeded far beyond the scope of caring for a faked $400 bottle of champagne. Then thinking back on his last encounter with Ji Won, he wonders if all the dreams are merely that, illusions. He doesn’t know if Ji Won and Myung Moon University are illusions for him, but because people have illusions/visions, they strive towards realizing those dreams.
The next morning, Ji Won checks the mail before heading off to school and stands transfixed in one spot because of one postcard.
Meanwhile, Ji Seok gets out of bed and narrates that he doesn’t know when he started doing this, but recently he’s starting matching his time with Ha Sun’s time over in the States. For instance, when he sleeps, he wonders what she is doing right now in the morning. Time crawls and with each crawling hour, he concludes that he cannot live without her. As he jogs one day, he resolves to fly and see her. Sprinting back home, he decides that he’ll call to tell her that he misses her and is going to visit her before he departs. As he increases his speed through the streets of Seoul, he narrates that anything would be better than living without her.
Then just as he stops in front of his house to catch his breath, he hears Ha Sun’s sweet, quiet voice: “Teacher Yoon…I’m sorry…for returning so late.” He can only look on her and shake it head that it’s all right. Talk about expressions saying more than words!
At school, Ji Won sits with her hands neatly folded on top of the postcard, staring at only that…even during class as the teacher comments that the number 1 scorer came from this classroom but that the last test’s number 1 has now slipped to number 4. Unaware of thoses around her, Ji Won merely reads and rereads the postcard.
Attempting to reply to Kye Sang’s “Ji Won, how are you?” Ji Won abruptly gets up from her seat, grabs the postcard, bows farewell to her teacher and exits the classroom.
Concerned, Soo Jung follows after her and asks her if Ji Won is leaving to do that thing she mentioned she wanted to do. At Ji Won’s silent nod, Soo Jung smiles gently and wishes her luck. Aw…As Ji Won purposefully walks out of the school, she brightly answers Kye Sang’s question: “Ahjussi, I have not been well, but I plan to be well from now on. So I’ve decided to quit this endless and fruitless ratrace of who won first and who slipped to fourth. Whatever I do from now, I hope you’ll watch and cheer me on.” And then Lee Juck’s voice narrates that this concludes the real-life tale of “The Counterattack of the Short Legs.”
Fast forward into the future, Lee Juck comments that there is an epilogue, but one that is merely a vision of the future…for his enjoyment. An elderly Jin Hee calls him from his crystal-screen lap top to dinner, and Lee Juck exits to join her for dinner.
As for the epilogue…
Seung Yoon is now President of South Korea, and as he’s interviewed by the New York Times for his groundbreaking transformation of Korea into a premier welfare system, Soo Jung acts as translator. When he misunderstands a question from the interviewer about whether he had a model to follow for his new system of government, he asks Soo Jung if the interview is asking about a runway model.
Embarrassed, Soo Jung mutters under her breath, “Not that type of model, Stupid!” LOL…some things never change, I see.
The remaining 3 minutes of the show then regales us with a massive “walk down memory lane” as we view just how far we’ve journeyed with the Ahns and their small community of friends and family.
The final frame of the show reads, “First meeting…first script…first filming…first broadcast…the anticipation and longing for those moments that will never again be, we remember one by one…goodbye…”
Post-Recap Thoughts: This is yet another drama series that will be joining my “permanent collection” of must-see dramas. Although the beginning started slowly–I wasn’t sure if I was going to keep watching the show, much less recap it, when I saw the first few episodes–the series quickly picked up speed, causing me to quickly care deeply for some characters more than others. In the span of the entire series, though, the writers deftly wrote each character so that I had no choice but to start to care for them all…even if by a little bit. Seriously, how did I go from rooting for Kye Sang/Jin Hee to Lee Juck/Jin Hee?! LOL
As strong as the core group of actors was, the supporting group was just as strong, providing comedic relief when necessary but also supplying plenty of life’s struggles and insights for the viewers.
I have much more to say about this series, but I think I’ll save it for tomorrow’s post, which will cover the series’ special. Until then, I hope you enjoyed the recap.
My assessment of the ending in one word?