An emotional rollercoaster of an episode which drives home the ensemble’s growing maturity, as well as their developing feelings.
This recap of the K-Drama Netflix series Twenty-Five Twenty-One season 1, episode 13 contains spoilers.
Twenty-Five Twenty-One season 1, episode 13 recap
As Yi-jin and Hee-do pull away from their moment of intimacy, the two stare at each other, and softly talk. The journalist quickly deflects from the situation to discuss the fencer’s bruise though, before walking her home. As they stand outside Hee-do’s house, she asks if this kind of love is unacceptable, evidently upset that her friend doesn’t appear to be reciprocating the romantic feelings. “I worry more about whether the bruise on your toe has healed, and things like that,” Yi-jin replies, later allowing Hee-do to cry as she turns and scurries up to her door unopposed.
In the present, reading about this upsets Min-chae, who questions the audacity of Yi-jin. Then, we’re thrust back into the past, witnessing a distraught Hee-do tearily, and loudly, ask “why didn’t the world come to an end?” When the camera moves towards Yi-jin, we see he too is sulking, consoling himself while slumped on some steps.
Reflecting on the start of the new year, and how the Y2K fears soon ended up laughed off, Hee-do narrates how while she can laugh off the “millennium bug” of an extortionate late fee for an unreturned book, she can’t approach her own personal one in the same vein. She’s referring to the kiss, but solemnity is soon traded for a chance at youthful exuberance when Ji-woong calls to request that the group have a party (his mother is leaving the house for a while).
As such, the group gather outside of the school. But Seung-wan notices something off with Hee-do, pointing out that she seems down. Fortunately, Yu-rim provides some nice comfort about the fact that the fencer achieved her target score in the CSAT exam, something which does appear to somewhat help. Before long though, Ji-woong arrives, struggling to unwind the window of the car as he instructs his friends to hop in. If the window incident was bad though, the driving is worse, proven by the fact that Seung-wan and Hee-do rush to fasten their seatbelts tightly upon hearing the news that it’s not an automatic car.
While the girls of the group all share a good laugh, Ji-woong continues to drive slowly. It irritates other drivers, and before long the student confesses that he’s terrified, and wishes to head back to his house. When they do arrive back, an issue arises, as another car has parked in Ji-woong’s mother’s spot, which would in turn make it obvious that the vehicle was taken out for a spin when she returns home. So, the musician accepts Yu-rim’s suggestion that they all wait together until the car is moved, and Ji-woong is able to absolve himself of any potential wrongdoing. However, that plan doesn’t appeal to Hee-do or Seung-wan, who immediately agree to head off. That is until the departing fencer is guilt-tripped, leaving the entire group hunched inside a stationary car playing games, waiting for another to be moved.
In between some woeful attempts at parking, the group decipher that Hee-do had shared a kiss with Yi-jin, with the fact being obvious when she gets hesitant to call him for help. Attempting to hide the truth, Hee-do does eventually phone her friend for help, only for the awkward conversation to end when it’s established that the journalist cannot help, and is going on air soon. The hoodwinking does work, though, as Ji-woong soon retreats in his opinion that the pairing had shared a kiss.
When some hand members arrive in Ji-woong’s area, an ambitious plan is hatched for everyone to park the car by hand. So the group gather around and lift, quickly succeeding in their aim, before basking in their happiness over doing something that felt silly at first. Elsewhere, coach Yang is talking to Jae-kyung about college scholarships at UBS, settling on the most prestigious of the three institutions as the destination she wishes her daughter to attend. There’s still a tension in the air between the two in spite of the helpfulness, with the instructor evidently still annoyed at the past. When spotting Yi-jin, Yang does soften though, enquiring as to whether he and Hee-do had fought based on his questions about whether she has chosen a colleague, and whether she will compete in an upcoming tournament, while offering him an exclusive too.
It turns out here that coach Yang is returning to the national team in March, but Yi-jin does not seem bothered, even when a contextual explanation comes. The two do soon talk openly, and the journalist pokes around for information on the history between coach Yang and her former friend. Ergo, we get a flashback which shows the two and their blossoming relationship, as well as the details of the story that saw the two break away. There’s a warning in here, that a strong bond between a reporter and athlete is not a good idea, and Yang asks whether Yi-jin knows what he’d do if something like that has to happen with Hee-do. “You’ll be hurt and lose each other,” a statement said previously by Jae-kyung which strikes Yi-jin as he contemplatively walks home.
A chance to be alone is ill-afforded here though, as Hee-do is waiting for Yi-jin to confront him about their definition of love, and because she missed him. It’s evident that their relationship has changed here though, with the energy between the two slightly diminished, and the chemistry not as defined. The two then try to talk about things, but Yi-jin stuffs his mouth when he believes Hee-do has gone to kiss him, turning away in shock. It leads to Hee-do anxiously explaining herself (she wanted to remove a thread on his coat), then running away, ignoring the journalist’s muffled shouts.
At home, Hee-do angrily writes about the dodge in her diary, stating that “you don’t even avoid insects like that.” “I hate him,” she adds, before stumbling, and correcting the statement to read “I like him.” Crying once more, the fencer puts her head on the desk, and kicks her feet. Meanwhile, Yi-jin drinks away his sorrows, wondering what to do as he collapses onto a pillow. Making a decision, he calls Hee-do, and explains that they can’t do a relationship as he feels he would end up hurting her, but that he keeps wavering, and wishes to continue to waver. It turns out he had called the wrong person though, as it’s a smug Ji-woong on the other end of the line, who revels in the revelation that it was indeed the fencer and journalist who shared a kiss.
The next morning, Yi-jin appears shocked by what he sees on his phone, but wonders whether he should feel relieved. “Damn you, alcohol,” he shouts, vowing to never drink again prior to bumping into the student who now holds one over on him. The musician taunts the journalist about the sentimental words used, and appears perplexed by everything.
Noticing her lack of focus, coach Yang shouts at Hee-do, saying she needs to shape up with the competition just a week away. Later on, Hee-do and Yu-rim talk candidly together, the former detailing how she is afraid of losing her crush, and how she regrets telling him how she felt. The friends continue to discuss the situation, with Yu-rim’s maturity a comfort to her friend, before they discover a shared scar that forms a cheer that the pairing can share going forward.
While Yu-rim and her mother listen to her father sing, and the fencer confessed to having a boyfriend, Yi-jin opens up with his former mentor about his sticky situation only to be dually warned not to think about pursuing a relationship between a subject. Again though, he isn’t allowed a moment to think, as Hee-do is waiting to confront him again. She further opens up about learning about herself during this situation, but Yi-jin says that he doesn’t understand her, but rather accepts her. Then, when failing at abruptly ending their conversation, Hee-do pushes herself to gamble, wanting to risk it all, and not wanting to depart until boundaries have been set. It fails, though, as Yi-jin patronisingly brushes her face and leaves regardless of her words.
When returning home, Yi-jin looks upon his desk, observing the picture of Hee-do, as well as the pencil case they won together. As such, he turns, shoes on, but only calls the police to warn them of a suspicious man. Elsewhere, Hee-do walks, wondering to herself why love is so hard.
At the Presidential Cup, both Hee-do and Yu-rim exit at the round of 32, embarrassing an angry coach Yang. It appears to lead to cockiness for another fencer too, who berates Hee-do after her victory, taunting her over an apparent lack of skill. Her plan to get under the athlete’s skin doesn’t work, as she’s given a polite dressing down by someone evidently confident in who she is. As this unfolds, Yi-jin observes, smiling as he sees her reflect.
Such pride is short lived, as Yi-jin soon finds himself angered by a man called Jun-ho, who warmly speaks to Hee-do, and successfully asks her out for a drink. Thus, he leaves a juvenile note on his friend’s glove, finding himself unable to correct the damage when he returns to find that she has already stumbled upon it. “Is he jealous?” she asks after an awkward phone call with the culprit, before getting annoyed over Yi-jin’s theorised jealousy.
At the fencing team finals, Yu-rim and Hee-do play a key part in Tae Yang High’s victory, concluding their final game as teammates with a marked triumph. They celebrate energetically, and Yi-jin observes the success happily from the crowd. Elsewhere though, Seung-wan gets frustrated with Ji-woong over his continued disturbance, but quickly turns into a comforter when realising that he and Yu-rim are yet to hold hands. He vows to correct that when they meet that night, yet fails when his girlfriend hands him gloves to ensure his hands stay warm. That is until he eventually succeeds in “leaving” his gloves at the arcade, allowing him to seize the moment and hold hands with Yu-rim for the first time.
After Hee-do watches the news report of her fencing match back, we see Yi-jin warned by his boss over his poetic script, with the elder explaining that while it’s good to care, he’s a reporter, and shouldn’t forget that. Yi-jin then fails in a request to switch sports, with the grey-haired superior stating that he shouldn’t dump a mistake on someone else, but correct it himself.
Then, Yi-jin walks back home solemnly, his disappointment heightened by what appears to be an absence of Hee-do. She is still there, though, and thanks the journalist for expressing her match “so beautifully.” Yi-jin explains how the sentence she loved got him in trouble, and that he failed in how he continued to waver in his feelings. “Let’s put a distance between us,” he adds, wishing for them to see whether they are capable of that. The fencer immediately questions whether this was triggered by the kiss, and says that she will stop “this kind of love” if he just asks. “I just wanted to be in the snow with you today,” Hee-do says, hoping that they could have shared a new experience together. But, without a proper answer, Yi-jin turns and walks away, only saying “bye.” So Hee-do opens up, detailing how she’s crying, and that no matter what, she doesn’t wish to lose her friend.
Immediately, the gate reopens, and Yi-jin rushes to passionately kiss Hee-do in the snow. “You drive me crazy,” he says, before definitively saying “let’s try this kind of love.” As he underlines his intentions, Hee-do continues to stare, Twenty-Five Twenty-One season 1, episode 13 ends with the beginning of another kiss.
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