Twenty-Five Twenty-One season 1, episode 3 recap – a well-paced chapter

By Nathan Sartain
Published: February 20, 2022
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K-Drama Netflix series Twenty-Five Twenty-One season 1, episode 3


A decent enough, well-paced episode which progresses the plot neatly and continues to flesh out the characters.

This recap of the K-Drama Netflix series Twenty-Five Twenty-One season 1, episode 3 contains spoilers. 

Read the recap of the previous episode.

Twenty-Five Twenty-One season 1, episode 3 recap

Once again, we start in the present, with Min-chae dreaming of her mother’s young self, before she realises it is in fact the present-day Hee-do looking over her. The whole family bicker then bicker amongst themselves over a variety of things, but the only real nugget of information here is that we find out that the protagonist did indeed make fencing history. Then, we go through a quick scene of Min-chae’s massage therapy, and then to a discussion the parent has with her child over why she didn’t quit fencing all those years ago. It’s an attempt to find out why the youngster may give up on ballet, with the answer something we’ll have to find out another time, as we swiftly jump back to 1998, where we’re greeted by Yi-jin solving an updated bathroom door puzzle.

After the fresh answer to the brain teaser is given by Yi-jin to Hee-do as a thank you for their time shared together, we cut back to the lanky former student arriving home, where he is flanked by class president Seung-wan. There, the initially prickly girl suddenly changes her tone when she discovers that he is Tae Yang High alumnus, greeting him politely and energetically. As such, there’s a power switch between the two acquaintances.

Next, coach Yang discusses her disappointment over the fact none of her cohort (outside of Yu-rim) can attempt to qualify for the national team, and then dismisses the class so they can meet their minimum attendance requirements. Here, we see just how much of a celebrity Yu-rim is, as well as Ji-woong’s ambitions in getting closer to her by way of giving away a textbook so he can get punished alongside the gold medalist. It allows for him and his crush to grow closer as they kneel, and then stand, outside of the classroom, while inside Seung-wan invites Hee-do to eat lunch with her. They bond too, at first over the class president’s aim to do “something amazing,” and then their mutual acquaintance, Yi-jin.

Elsewhere, Yi-jin and his brother share lunch together, and we witness the way his bullies speak to him. Of course, the older sibling swiftly confronts the teasing trio, memorising their names and threatening to kill them should any more bruises appear on Yi-hyun. It’s a thankless act though, as the young boy gets upset that he was stood up for, blaming puberty. Yi-hyun then confesses to missing his parents, a statement which brings about a fair degree of sobriety.

Back at the fencing gym, Hee-do and Ye-ji talk about the power structure within the group, before the conversation is cut short by the announcement that volume 12 of Full House is going to be available that day. So, both Yu-rim and Hee-do leave to run to the rental store, forgetting their training in the hopes that they can snag a copy. However, all copies have already been rented by the time the latter of the two arrives, and not even an offer of the allegedly popular Dragon Raja can quell the disappointment. That is until it turns out Yi-jin was already hiding a copy for Yu-rim, which leads to the upset turning into anger, and in turn, a shouting contest between the teenage girls. Fortunately for Hee-do, she ends up with the final copy, which allows her to strut out of the shop triumphantly and leave her fencing rival disappointed.

After that, Yu-rim tries to tell Yi-jin not to get close to Hee-do, childishly trying to use the fact that he was her first love as the reason why he should obey her. “Your first love wasn’t me, but my sports car,” Yi-jin says back, exposing the immaturity, but also the excitement that the gold medalist hasn’t yet found romance. To add to Yu-rim’s building bitterness, the following day Hee-do finds out that she has an opportunity to compete for a spot on the national team, and achieve her goal.

That night, Hee-do attempts to shield Yi-jin from who she thinks is a creditor, but it turns out to be his father. It means the man leaves without seeing his son, and even in spite of his ignorance over the identity of the “creditor,” Yi-jin gets solemn, believing he is now irrefutably an adult. Yet, he does soon get his spirits lifted when finding out Hee-do’s good news, only to then be further let down upon discovering, via a letter, that it was his in fact his father who had come looking for him. It all seems to lead to a fruitless pursuit initially, but the two do end up reunited, emotionally reconvening in front of a stalling bus. When Yi-jin’s dad does go to depart, there’s a promise made. “I will reunite our family,” the firstborn son says, with the sort of conviction that is imbued with both optimism and doubt.

When travelling back home, Yi-jin spots Hee-do, exiting his bus to chase after her. He then scolds her over the fact that she may have gotten hurt, but when things calm down, and the fact that she didn’t prevent a father-son reunion is established, they talk openly, their own relationship strengthening little by little. They even go home together interlaced, literally, with Hee-do’s shoeless foot complemented by one tied together with one of Yi-jin’s. Evidently enthused, the fencing upstart goes straight to her chat room buddy with the story, before the two discuss meeting up in person again.

After revealing her dream to coach Yang, Hee-do gets her wish of more training, which does, in turn, seem to be extremely intense. It includes learning music choreography, running with weights attached, and practicing 1000 fentes, with the final rule one that means nothing can be questioned. Such a routine does lead to more jealousy, though, with some of the gym creating rumors of bias between mentor and mentee. Such hearsay is trashed in quick time, however, with Yang stating that as long as people ask, she’ll always help.

The ending

When Hee-do attempts to stick up for Yu-rim after she’s antagonized, it only leads to more hostility between the pairing, and here the gold medalist comes across as both sheltered and egotistical. As such, the “average fencer” Hee-do abandons her colleague, leaving Yu-rim to clean the floor by herself. When walking home, Hee-do recalls the prior idolization she had for her rival, and then tries to avoid conversation with Yi-jin when returning the copy of Full House. Even when the former university student has a replacement pair of slippers for her there is some level of upset present, thanks to his reluctance to partake in repeating the statement “Yu-rim was in the wrong.” When the regurgitation does come, there’s no effect, with Hee-do favoring some introspection instead, believing that she is not a good fencer because she cannot control the distance between her and her opponent and that she expected too much from both Yu-rim and Yi-jin.

When arriving home, Hee-do gets rid of the collection of Yu-rim’s achievements she has hanging from her wall and inside a neatly collected book, before settling down to open up to her chat room friend about her day. “She was in the wrong,” Injeolmi says, prior to the surprising revelation that this online profile and friend is, in fact, Yu-rim. In that moment, the episode abruptly ends.

What did you think of the K-Drama Netflix series Twenty-Five Twenty-One season 1, episode 3? Comment below!

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