An episode that briskly advances the plot while delivering plenty of emotion and talking points.
This recap of the K-Drama Netflix series Twenty-Five Twenty-One season 1, episode 4 contains spoilers.
Twenty-Five Twenty-One season 1, episode 4 recap
In a change of pace, we begin with a refresher of last episode’s reveal, and then head straight into the following day. There, Hee-do finds the slippers Yi-jin bought for her in front of her house, before she goes to school, continues to be prickly towards Yu-rim, and eagerly asks if Ji-woong can teach her to dance. The request is rejected at first, with the musician wanting to keep his “rock-and-roll” reputation, but when Hee-do states she will do anything, it appears to entice the man who had allegedly given up dancing. As such, Hee-do is invited into a private hangout, which Seung-wan created, and will soon be the place to practice choreography. Here, we also find out that the deal for Ji-woong’s lessons is that a pine-flavoured drink will be deposited in Yu-rim’s locker every day, a hard compromise for Hee-do, but one that she obliges with.
Next, we cut to Yi-jin, who is leaving a visit to his aunt’s to attend a job interview. Whilst there, he’s asked to collect his car, the same luxury open-top red model seen in flashbacks. There’s a nice bit of brotherly camaraderie too, mostly based around the money given to the Aunt, which Yi-hyun astutely realises is the older of the two “playing politics.”
When the interview arrives, Yi-jin tells the panel that he only believes in gravity, as it’s a guaranteed constant, and to believe in anything else would set expectations. Elsewhere, Hee-do is confronted by coach Yang about her actions involving Da-seul and late-night training, with the youngster’s bullishness exposed. “It’s now up to you to figure out what to do,” the coach says, after explaining that the trick is to think strategically, as opposed to recklessly.
Back at the interview, Yi-jin is subtly teased for his family’s situation by an acquaintance, who smugly mentions that dreams of working for NASA have turned into applying for a job at a trading company. The man does have some form of sympathy for the former university student, though, giving him a cheque so he can take a taxi home. It’s little comfort to Yi-jin, however, who drowns his sorrows and walks home ploddingly, eventually settling down to slump at the door. Fortunately, the dancing Hee-do isn’t too far away, cheering up the depressed applicant even though she initially attempts to ignore him. “You put a smile on my face,” Yi-jin says, before the two open up about their current misfortunes. It’s clear the two are closer than ever at this point, with a mutual care present whenever either opens their mouth, and healthy room for banter (Hee-do dons a blanket with a witty do not disturb sign over the outdoor-sleeping Yi-jin) still left.
The next day, the whole neighbourhood knows about Yi-jin’s failures, attempting to comfort him to varying degrees. When he heads home, Seung-wan is waiting, and politely tries to win his favour to a hyperbolic degree. It jokingly fails though, thanks to her association with Hee-do, who Yi-jin is semi-upset with over the deed committed when he was drunk.
At the fencing gym, Hee-do bursts through the doors ready to confront her elders, but shockingly ends up dramatically apologising in front of everyone. There is a reason for this, as it means that the former prodigy can request for everyone to train at night, something that predictably leads to a granting of Hee-do’s initial wish to have nighttime gym access. In the background, a smiling coach Yang is happy with how things played out.
After Ji-woong and Yu-rim innocently flirt on a bus, we end up back with Hee-do, who is confronted by the thugs from the gang fight she intervened in. For obvious reasons, she runs away, and we see here the fruits of the weight training labour, as the fencer is far too quick for them. To add to her flee, Yi-jin appears with his luxury car, pulling over and allowing for his friend to enter should she apologise. She doesn’t, though, and jumps into the vehicle so the pair can speed off. At a red light, Yi-jin confronts Hee-do, wishing to hear her say that she’s sorry, but the two end up joking back-and-forth. Again, the duo bond over the thought of turning tragedies into comedies, a mindset that Yi-jin can now understand following his job interview failure.
In the pouring rain, we see both Ji-woong and Yu-rim, as well as Hee-do and Yi-jin, enjoying life, using the climate to be completely free. In due time, and by pure coincidence, everyone ends up meeting up outside Seung-wan’s house, with a palpable awkwardness then lingering in the air. Fortunately, the tension is broken by the quintet needing to catch escaped loaches, a scene which is both frantic and funny. When the group then get a meal prepared for them, some slow-moving bonding between all parties occurs amidst bickering, which is quelled by an unexpected picture that is taken by Seung-wan’s mother.
At that moment, we end up back in the present, with Min-chae’s grandmother marvelling at the photo captioned “our first group picture” given Yi-jin’s young looks. We do find out here that Min-chae doesn’t know who Yi-jin is, but also that Hee-do’s mother had met him just a month ago.
In the past, Yu-rim catches Hee-do putting the drink in her locker, and confronts her over an apparent “two-faced” approach. The culprit doesn’t expose Ji-woong, though, and instead asks him to clear it up himself after their dance practice. That night, Yu-rim is allowed a rare chance for some father-daughter time, and it appears that some of the pressure the teenager bears over her achievements lessens.
The next day, Ji-woong helpfully clears up any confusion with Yu-rim, handing her a pine drink and explaining himself. There’s some awkward flirting here too, but it’s nicely established that both would technically be open to dating each other. Elsewhere, Hee-do explains what the choreography helped with to coach Yang, with the aim being that her perspective would’ve been broadened. Then, the coach turns into a sparring partner in a bid to help with Hee-do’s national team tryout prospects.
We don’t quite find out who won the practice match, as instead we head towards UBS, where Hee-do’s mother is trying to convince the network head that High School graduates should be allowed to apply for reporter roles. When we do end up back at the fencing gym, we find out that coach Yang had won the practice contest 15-9, but is proud of Hee-do, who she congratulates for her good work. They then shake hands, exchanging pleasantries and smiles.
That night, Yi-jin appears at the fencing gym, surprising Hee-do with banana milk. They talk together, mostly about the uniform, before Yi-jin tries it on for himself and turns into a sparring partner. A unique match is then set in motion, as all Yi-jin needs to do is hit Hee-do once within three minutes to win, and the loser must grant the victor a wish.
As expected, Yi-jin fails at first, until he shocks Hee-do by lying about the release of Full House. It allows for him to land a hit, exploiting her lack of concentration, and he proceeds to tease his friend about his impending wish that needs to be granted. Concurrently, the national team coach discusses Hee-do’s potential rise in front of Yu-rim, explaining that athletes don’t necessarily develop steadily, and that their skills can suddenly appear.
When we cut back to the gym, Hee-do discusses her mental fortitude, as well has her dreams to make the national team. It impresses Yi-jin, who says he wishes he could take her strong-minded will from her, and that it’s this quality that makes him miss her when he’s weak. In that moment, the lights go out, and when Yi-jin makes room for a flash of green light, a moving pep talk is delivered. “Why do you root for me?,” Hee-do then asks. “Because you give me hope, and I want more for you” is the response, a succinct statement which draws the episode to a neat close.
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