“close/friend” provides a bit of a breather after last week’s episode, honing in on the show’s mythology and character dynamics instead.
This recap of The God of High School season 1, episode 8, “close/friend”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
The God of High School episode 8 feels like a bit of a breather after last week’s episode set up the dual narrative format and introduced a great deal of unexplained mythology. “close/friend” has its share of action, but it’s a calmer, more character-driven installment, and a good deal of it is devoted to explaining how those fanciful energy manifestations work, especially since Mori, Mira, and Daewi all remain unable to utilize their charyeok abilities – and Mori specifically actively resists the idea of doing so.
“close/friend” is also a response to Daewi’s intervention in Taek Jegal’s match last week and an introduction for Park Ilpyo, a fellow contender and a clear candidate for being the enigmatic “Key” whose team competes this week. He, though, a bit like Mori, swerves the use of charyeok, despite his opponent leaning on it, which makes for a bit of a parallel between the hero and this new, still relatively mysterious character.
Since Mori gets introspective in The God of High School episode 8, we also get to see more of his past, including his relationship with his grandfather. Ideas of legacy have always been strongly felt in this show, especially in the context of fighters entering the titular tournament in order to try and preserve their unique martial legacies – see Mira, in particular. For Mori to get this treatment feels welcome, especially in how it relates to his rebuking of charyeok and the introduction of Ilpyo.
The business with Nox feels lessened in “close/friend”, which is no bad thing. This very much feels like a functional episode of setups and teases, the kind of thing that builds and promises future conflict without leaning too heavily against in-the-moment drama. That’s fine, and necessary, and feels welcome after last week’s all-out chapter. There’s still a lot going on here to keep an audience invested, and the future of the show still looks pretty bright.
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.