Episode 3 explores parent issues, and the meaning of family in many forms as the kids prepare for more badminton.
This recap of Netflix k-drama series Racket Boys season 1, episode 3 contains spoilers.
The opening two episodes of Racket Boys were promising — it’s certainly a family-pleaser, with not many expectations to set the world alight, but it doesn’t need to be that. Sometimes a warm story is all we need.
Jae-seok takes Yoon-dam and his friends out for something to eat. They all seem comfortable with him now, apart from Hae-kang, who believes he is still a traitor and a “loser.” However, when Hae-kang is offered food, his tone quickly changes. The boys fill their faces and enjoy the food. Afterward, Hae-kang wonders what rank Jae-seok is after beating him, and he dreams of being first in the nation… and then he’ll play baseball again. He seems to have gained a following already, with people outside the badminton venue wanting to talk to him.
Do we have to wonder if Hae-kang truly wants to return to baseball? Where his priorities lie will becoming important to the story.
Hae-kang meets his former baseball coach for a meal — he tells him that he should play baseball again; Hae-kang explains that since doing badminton, he’s realized how much he loves baseball.
At home, Hae-kang’s mother returns with food, but Hae-kang storms off and heads inside his bedroom. Ranos is confused and wonders what’s wrong. At school the next day, Hae-kang does not appear motivated either. His mother finally approaches him and asks if she’s done something to upset him, but he walks off.
Feeling the pressure
Most of the episode is about Se-yoon’s unparalleled ability, but how even the best players suffer mentally when it comes to pressure.
Se-yoon is feeling the pressure of badminton due to the pressure to win. A journalist tells Ranos that she and Se-yoon have many similarities and features. Se-yoon is then interviewed, and she confidently gives answers on her international tournament coming up. The journalist notes that female athletes do not get the same attention as men, so Coach Ranos ends the interview early, pushing aside the sexist suggestions.
Preparing for her singles finals, Se-yoon asks the coaches what she should do, and they tell her to do “the usual” because she’s naturally good. It seems she was asking to be coached, but the only person she needs to overcome is herself. When she returns to her hotel room, she sees all the messages of support. A video has been made for her where friends and acquaintances wish her luck; this gives her confidence, knowing that everyone has her back. Hae-kang’s message to her is the most touching, and it makes Se-yoon well up. He tells her that it’s okay to lose, and in the future too.
In flashbacks, Hae-kang offered her wise words as well as children. In the present, Se-yoon sobs.
Woo-chan’s issues with his father
Hae-kang and the others learn that Yong-tae’s birthday is on the next competition, so they should do something for him. Earlier on, Woo-chan snapped at Yong-tae and wants to make it up to him. He reveals he has problems with his father at home; he disapproves of him playing sports, but recently he told him to “do his best.”
New Zealand Singles Championship
Episode 3 brings success for Seo-yoon as she overcomes her anxieties.
It’s tense in the singles final as Se-yoon is against someone from New Zealand. Finally, she wins the match, and everyone is elated. She does the victory dance on TV, and Hae-kang smiles. Back in Korea, Hae-kang and others learn how seriously Se-yoon takes the sport, even adjusting temperatures in her training to play better in different countries. The coaches note how better she gets with each match.
Relive the moment when Hae-kang demonstrates what it means to be a team:
Hae-kang got used to not having a mother
Hae-kang’s relationship with his mother then takes over in episode 3 — he clearly has a lot of baggage begging to seep out.
Ranos asks Hae-kang if he wants to go out to eat, but he declines. He asks her if she knows what he likes and wonders why she’s acting like a mother now. He explains that when he was younger, he got used to not having a mother, and he is irritated that she is here now. Ranos realizes that her son may have a point, so asks Hae-in to see her homework — it’s a photo of a family trip, and her face has been glued onto it. It’s an emotional time for the mother, and she tells Hae-kang that she understands why he’s behaving in the way he is. Hae-kang tells his mother that she was following her dreams, and badminton was more important than her children.
Ranos does not want to make excuses but tells Hae-kang that he is more important than badminton. She explains that this is her first time being a mother. Hae-kang responds, “it’s my first time being your son too.” Later on, Hae-kang chills near the beach — his father joins him and explains the pressure put on his mother — she had to choose the Olympics or stay, and journalists always asked her questions constantly about being a woman in sport. This explains why she shut down the interview with Se-yoon earlier.
Hae-kang and Se-yoon talk about Ranos
While making noodles in the kitchen, Se-yoon and Hae-kang bump into each other, and there’s tension between them — they’ve definitely caught feelings for each other. They talk about Hae-kang’s mother, and Se-yoon explains how she smiles on a rare occasion, and one time she was talking about her son and proudly showed him off on her phone. Hae-kang asks Se-yoon about her mother, but she states she lost when she came to her games, so she stopped coming, thinking it was her fault.
Se-yoon and He-kang decide to have dinner together at Grandmas. It feels like an unspoken date. When Hae-kang returns home, he tells his mother that he has a headache, so she checks his temperature and gets him medicine. The mother and son are slowly healing old wounds between each other. Meanwhile, Se-yoon is told that she should make up with her mother and explain how she won the final – so she texts her mother.
Hae-kang, his family, and friends take photos next to the sea. As a large group, they are slowly becoming an extended family. Hae-in tells Hae-kang that she hasn’t seen him smile like this for a long time. It then returns to the scene between Hae-kang and his baseball coach — he’s conflicted because he likes his new friends and environment, and he recognizes there will not be a badminton team if he leaves. His baseball coach is understanding and says he will be back.
Racket Boys episode 3 explores parent issues, and the meaning of family in many forms as the kids prepare for more badminton.
- Woo-chan’s father believes his son will quit sport eventually, which is why he wished him luck.