Racket Boys episode 13 recap – the sports festival looms

By Daniel Hart
Published: July 12, 2021
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Netflix k-drama series Racket Boys season 1, episode 13


Episode 13 is okay as it establishes the anxieties surrounding the National Junior Sports Festival, but it throws in another subplot that takes too much away from the main story arc.

This recap of Netflix k-drama series Racket Boys season 1, episode 13 contains spoilers.

Read the recap of the previous episode.

Plenty is happening in chapter 13, but it does feel a bit disjointed, and for some reason, the writers do enjoy pushing in new subplots — sometimes it doesn’t work.

Episode 13 opens up with “10 years ago,” and new athlete Tae-seon is given words of encouragement by his presumed mother on his first day (we’ll come back to this later). In the present day, Park Chan shows Hae-kang and the others a cute dog he’s carrying. Se-yoon is a little taken back, and Hae-kang is bothered. Later on, the kids play games, and Park Chan keeps pushing his romantic advances on Se-yoon, inviting her for a countryside walk.

Finally, Hae-kang shoots his shot

But finally, FINALLY, Hae-kang plucks up the courage to make his intentions known to Se-yoon.

On their walk, Se-yoon expresses her wish is to be a national athlete, and Park Chan says he wants to represent South Korea alongside her. In this romantic moment, Hae-kang appears. Park Chan clearly senses something, so he walks off. Hae-kang admits to Se-yoon that he’s a coward but admits he was worried about her being alone with Park Chan. He gets closer and closer to her — he says he’s going to confess his feelings for her after the National Sports Festival, but he couldn’t hold back.

An offer from the Seoul director

A director from Seoul, who will be the national coach, visits the badminton team. He asks Hae-kang if he wants to play for his team in Seoul. He makes it known that he wants both Hae-kang and Park Chan to join and tells him to win no matter what. Afterward, the director asks Se-yoon to jump on the same opportunity, and she will partner with Na-ra. Hae-kang surprisingly says no, and he wants his team to prove that they can beat Seoul. Se-yoon also says no, stating that coach Ra Yeong-ja is her role model and Han-sol is the best badminton partner.

Surprisingly, before Se-yoon leaves Korea for a Junior Open tournament in Thailand, she and Han-sol fight. It feels more like a misunderstanding, but it ends bitterly. Se-yoon leaves without the friends making up.

They clearly do not know how to express that they need each other for support, bringing a heartwarming plot on friendship.

Coach Bae will not be joining the festival

Before the National Sports Festival, it’s revealed that Coach Bae isn’t joining the team to help, and the team is upset. Bae is taking a rest, and Yoon-dam is annoyed that he’s leaving them to it at a crucial moment — he reveals he got Coach Bae a birthday present but says he’ll forget about him instead. Coach Bae tells Yoon-dam that he has coach Hyeon-jong and his friends now before hugging him.

Se-yoon takes it easy, while Han-sol is well supported

In Thailand, Se-yoon is participating in the tournament. Meanwhile, Han-sol talks about their chances in the sports festival and that they always do better when Se-yoon is present. Back to Thailand, and Se-yoon is winning, but she’s taking it easy. Coach Fang notes that she isn’t breaking a sweat, and it was a warm-up game.

The boys turn up to the festival to support Han-sol, which irks the Seoul girls team. After the tournament, Yoon-dam comforts Han-sol, who is clearly struggling without Se-yoon by her side.

The final for Se-yoon

In the final, Coach Fang tells Se-yoon to focus on the game, and then she can return to play in the National Sports Festival. The pace is fast, and Coach Fang feels something isn’t right. There’s a risk she might not make it to the festival in time, and Han-sol is getting anxious. Coach Fang tells her she’s swinging too hard and fast, and she’ll end up injuring herself. He tells her to forget the sports festival.

Tae-seon returns to apologizes and meet Coach Bae

Tae-seon meets his mother at a cafe. It’s clearly been a while since they’ve seen each other. The mother asks if he came back to apologize to the coach. Flashbacks show Tae-seon hugging his mother, and Bae makes sure he eats properly. In the present day, Tae-seon apologizes to his mother. So Tae-seon visits Coach Bae, who was apologizing to the memorial of Kim Hyeon-gyeong, the birth mother of Tae-seon.

Tae-seon speaks to his mother’s memorial and gets emotional, stating Bae and his wife raised him as his own. And then, Tae-seon tells Bae that he wants to be a national athlete still. Bae offers to help him.

I suppose this was an okay subplot, but it’s episode 13, and I question if it is necessary.

The ending of Racket Boys season 1, episode 13

Se-yoon wins the final match by a large margin at the Thailand tournament and packs her things — she tried her hardest to finish the final early. Sweating profusely, she asks Coach Fang if she can get on a plane and return to Korea for the festival. She really wants to play. Coach Fang is in shock but agrees.

The National Sports Festival begins with the first round opening up. Jeonnam gets off to a great start. However, the girls are anxious. Coach Ra Yeong-ja gets a call to say that Se-yoon is on her way, and there’s excitement. However, Han-sol looks indifferent. But, unfortunately, Se-yoon’s efforts are wasted, as due to extreme weather, her flight is delayed. She stands alone, gripping her passport, tears leaving her eyes. You have to feel for her.

Episode 13 is okay as it establishes the anxieties surrounding the National Junior Sports Festival, but it throws in another subplot that takes too much away from the main story arc.

Additional points
  • Hae-kang names one of his role models as Hyeon-jong.

What did you think of Racket Boys season 1, episode 13? Comment below. 

Netflix, Weekly TV
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