If you loved ‘Penthouse’ or ‘Sky Castle’ or you are a fan of dramas revolving around the rich and their world full of deceit and lies, then ‘High Class’ is definitely for you. The drama has been a source of much intrigue ever since it was revealed that actress Cho Yeo Jeong, who starred in the Oscar-winning movie ‘Parasite,’ would play the lead.
Plot and Cast
A tvN drama that airs every Monday and Tuesday, the series is about the lies, secret, mystery, suspense and hypocrisy hidden behind the perfect lives of South Korea’s top 0.1% women. Cho Yeo-Jeong plays Song Yeo Wool, Kim Ji Soo plays Nam Ji Sun, Ha Joon appears as Danny Oh, Park Se Jin as Hwang Na Yoon and Kong Hyun Joo as Cha Do Young.
Cha Do Young, Kwak Si Woo’s mother, shows off constantly and cannot hold her anger. Nam Ji-Sun, the mother of Lee Joon-Hee, always shows a side of her that everyone wants to see – the perfect CEO and mother who cares for her children’s well being but there seems to be a darker side to her that we are yet to see. Yoon In Jo and Kang Yeon Jung, mothers of No A and Yoo Bin respectively, are also a part of Ji Sun’s group. These four love to tease others, and this habit of theirs is taken up by their kids also. The kids love to tease Yi Chan and ignore him. Danny Oh’s introduction is quite pleasant. He gives off a carefree, fun-loving vibe and looks like a nice guy. But we can’t be sure because every character seems to have a dark side to them.
The plot starts with a bang, with An Ji Yong’s alleged suicide-or-suspected-murder-scene. As the drama progresses, we realise that Song Yeo Wool had been framed for her husband’s ‘murder’, which leads to her losing her fame as a successful lawyer. This also leads to her son getting bullied at school. So, Yeo Wool decides to transfer her son to another school.
Fortunately (or not) she received an invitation from a high-class international school, ‘HSC’, in Jeju Island. This is how she and her son, An Yi Chan, arrive for the test and interviews held at the school. From the first moment that she meets the other mothers, it is clear that they are different from her.
HSC International – A Nightmare Dressed Like a Daydream?
We loved how Yeo Wool stood up for Yi Chan back in his previous school in Gangnam. Not only did she put the bully’s mother in place, she also made sure to put the teacher in place for letting a child bully Yi Chan. The way the drama shows the role that the teachers play, especially when it comes to bullying, is amazing. Regardless of the social standing of a child’s background, they deserve to be protected from any negative experiences. Though we were glad that Yeo Wool got an invite from HSC right when she needed it the most, we also expected HSC to be equally as bad or even worse than his previous school.
At first glance, it seems like the perfect school with high-end amenities, the best teachers, and world-class education. After all, not all schools offer orchestra, ballet, horse riding, etc. as classes. But it turns out that the school is as superficial as the upper-class society and serves as another chip to keep up appearances. Not only are the mothers very shallow, but the kids are also exactly like their mothers in how they treat people they perceive to be of lower status.
We are also quite intrigued about the foundation’s chairwoman, Do Jin Sul’s interest in An Yi Chan. The fact that Yeol Woo’s husband was important enough to the foundation for Yi Chan to get chosen before all other kids who seem to be of a higher status, definitely sounds shady. The fact that Jin Sul wants to keep Yi Chan around so she can keep an eye on him doesn’t help her case.
The first two episodes of the drama revolve around the chemistry between all the mothers and their children. We can see how the kids take after their mothers, from how they perceive the world right down to how they act.
Yeo Wool and Yi Chan
It is really heartwarming to see how much Yeo Wool cares about her child. She tries to make sure that Yi Chan has a comfortable childhood and tries to shield him from the negativity and cruelty of the real world. She wants him to experience the world and the little joys of life, like spending time with his mother and playing with kids his age.
Yeo Wool is also a great mother because we see how maturely she treats her child and believes in his words. When her son is accused of doing something, she asks him if he did it and when he tells her the truth, believes him. We can see glimpses of his mother in Yi Chan, especially when he takes the blame to save his only friend in the school.
The relationship between the other mothers and their kids
Ji Sun and Do Young’s kids are very much like them. They take on the same prejudiced belief of their mothers that Yi Chan doesn’t deserve to be part of the school as he isn’t as affluent as their families. It seems like the mothers who are a part of Ji Sun’s group see their kids as another thing to show off to the world. They look like they dote on their kids but all they really care about is their status. In fact, Ji Sun’s son, Lee Jun Mo stands up to his mother’s pettiness. He seems to realise how much his mother loves her position and bragging rights that she gets from her kids being a part of HSC.
Nayoon- Yeo wool interaction
Hwang Na Yoon, mom of Hwang Jae In, and Yeo Wool’s buddy mother met accidentally after the latter lost her car keys in haste to find Yi Chan, who had gone missing. Later they met as “Buddy Mothers.” Na Yoon comes to Yeo Wool’s rescue on the day Yi Chan wanted to hang out with the kids from his class but couldn’t, as they kept leaving him out of their plans to hang out and play. The two mothers form a friendship, and it seems that they will get along well.
Was Na Yoon having a secret affair with Yeo Wool’s late husband, An Ji Yong?
It is quite possible. The look of recognition on Na Yoon’s face when she saw the lock screen of the phone Yeo Wool found in her home. The picture was of Ji Yong, and Na Yoon’s facial expression indicates that she knew him. They might have been lovers as we have no information about Na Yoon’s husband.
We might be wrong about this, and maybe Ji Yong was having an affair with someone else altogether. But we know for a fact that someone thinks that Yeo Wool murdered her husband and is trying to hurt Yeo Wool and her son. The fact that she received flowers at the end of the episode with a note which says You’re not alone on the front, and I’m watching you on the back.
Was it really Cha Do Young who locked Yi Chan in the locker?
As much as the drama wants us to believe it was Do Young who locked Yi Chan because he found out about her affair, it just seems fishy. We haven’t seen a close-up shot of the person who did it, we just saw the person’s hands, and we know that it is a woman who did it.
Now, we have two theories about this. One, it was either Ji Sun who ordered someone (namely Rachel Cho, the teacher) to lock him in. Or…
It was Na Yoon. The nail paint worn by the person who locked Yi Chan matched Na Yoon’s. The person’s nails were off white, while Do Young’s nails were more on the side of pink than white. Also, Do Young’s lipstick was more on the pink side, while the lipstick with which the perpetrator wrote ‘WELCOME’ on the glass was red.
Of course, we could be wrong about this, and it could really be Do Young considering that she’s petty enough to do it.
Why did An Ji Yong die? Is he really dead?
Now, you’ll be like, “whaaaaaaaaat?” but hear us out. Even if Ji Yong had scammed many people out of thousands of dollars as an equity investor, we don’t think he’d kill himself. Especially because he loved his family. Was it out of guilt? Was he worried that his family would get caught in the crossfire? Or was he worried that the investigation would lead to his affair getting exposed? Yeo Wool doesn’t seem like a person who would kill her husband, and so far, we don’t have any motive for her to take such a drastic step (or maybe she knew about her husband’s affair all along and hence pushed him?)
But is he even dead? His body was never found, and for all we know he might be hiding somewhere. Yeo Wool didn’t know about the property on Jeju Island, so who is to say he doesn’t have another hideout that no one knows about. Maybe he’s just hiding and waiting for the right moment to make an appearance? What do you think?
Moments that Stay
The beginning of the drama was full of love and pain. Yeo Wool and Ji Yong were so devoted to each other, but in the next scene, their night of passion turned into the most painful night for Yeo Wool because her husband jumped off the yacht.
Remembering the memories that can not be lived again and the dreams that can never be true anymore is cruel. Yeo Wool went to the beach with Yi Chan, and she dreamt of a reality where her husband was still alive and with them, having fun at the beach. She thinks back to when Ji Yong was still with them, and their life was comfortable and full of love.
Seeing a child in pain gives goosebumps to any mother, and at that time, she couldn’t think of anything other than her child. When Yi Chan was locked in the locker, Yeo Wool searched the whole school for her son. She did her best to take him out of the locker. She was in pain that no one could understand.
‘High Class’ definitely has us hooked. Everything about it is intriguing, and though it seems slightly slow right now, it will pick up pace in the next few episodes if the preview is anything to go by. The cinematography is also beautiful and will catch your attention right from the opening scene. We wonder how the drama will progress and what secrets will be revealed as it goes on. We are also anticipating how Danny Oh will fit in the whole fabric of the drama.
Well, that’s it for episodes 1 & 2. Are you watching this drama? What do you think about it? Let us know in the comments or tweet to us. We’ll see you next week with episodes 3 & 4!
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By Ileeka Pal & Kanan Agarwal