Note: A bit of spoilers from 9 & 10 as well, as I just browsed through them.
It’s been a while since I last watched a high school drama. Was it four years ago? I don’t really remember but I had been avoiding this genre like a plague because I watched too much of them during my high school days to the point of getting sick of the setting and I honestly feel too old to be watching these dramas. The characters are getting harder to relate as well; I feel like one of those parents (even though I’m not one) who can’t seem to understand the behaviours of their children. Hahaha. I’m also not into slice of life stories unless it’s a movie or wacky comedy. I need something more to keep me committed to the story. So, why am I suddenly tuning in to Who Are You: School 2015, the sixth and latest of the KBS School franchise which is famous for taking a realistic approach on the social issues in high school? Well, it’s because of the mystery.
A set of identical twins is separated at childhood. Lee Eun Bi (Kim So Hyun) is an orphan growing up in Love House in Tongyeong. School life is a nightmare as she is an outcast and the target of relentless torments from bullies that she finally decides to end her life. Meanwhile, Go Eun Byul (also Kim So Hyun) is happily adopted by a family in Seoul and seems to be living the life as she excels academically, captures the attention of Han Yi An (Nam Joo Hyuk), a swimming star, and is part of the popular kids. Whilst on a class trip in Tongyeong, she receives a threatening text from someone named Jung Soo In and mysteriously disappears.
Ten days later, the authorities have located the girl in the missing poster but she has lost all her memories, much less remember her own name. Her mother, who has been worried sick, is just glad that her daughter, Go Eun Byul, has returned. They pack their bags and head back home. With help from her friends, she tries to adjust herself in the unfamiliar environment and to piece together on who she was prior to amnesia. An incident occurs causing a flood of memories to rush back and she realises her name is not Go Eun Byul, but Lee Eun Bi.
The plot of the drama reminds me of the first season of Pretty Little Liars with the situation experienced by popular girl, Go Eun Byul being similar to Queen Bee, Alison DiLaurentis. Prior to her disappearance, she is harassed by a text messenger claiming to be Jung Soo In. However, the real Jung Soo In is claimed to have died a year ago. The forth episode later reveals that Eun Byul is dead, though her body is mistaken to be Eun Bi’s. Her death is a curious case because she supposedly died while saving Eun Bi (who decides to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge) but how is it possible that Eun Bi is holding onto Eun Byul’s scarf? Also, her dead body is only found a few days after Eun Bi is saved, so there is a possibility of her surviving during the rescue mission. Maybe I’m thinking too much. I doubt that they would go the Alison-is-actually-alive route since that would be too makjang and they found a body. People of the Love House would have confirmed her body, right? (Update: OMG Is that her???) Also, even before her death, why did she decide to disappear? Was it just to find her sister? Or did she finally know the identity of the “Jung Soo In”, so she was running away from him/her?
Except for the first episode, we learn about the character Go Eun Byul through flashback scenes and from snippets of information given by her friends. For now, all we know is that she’s smart, has quite a temper and is described as rude. Not all her classmates like her, especially the gossipy pair. They always talk bad stuff about a person even if they know that the subject of their gossip can clearly hear them; these are characters that I always fail to understand as to why they’re so mean. Was I like that at that age? Nah, I was more of 80% Min Joon without the hounding mother. I believe Eun Byul is a certain percentage Min Joon as well because Song Joo mentioned she was the type to go to the library whenever there is a ruckus in class in the form of Kwon Gi Tae and Gong Tae Kwang (Yook Sung Jae) fighting. Ah, now I understand why she is never friends with Tae Kwang.
Eun Bi’s potrayal of Eun Byul when confronting her past-bully, Kang So Young is definitely near-perfect. It’s exactly how I would picture her, except with less smiling and more rage in her eyes. Of course, this assumption is based on the flashback of her confrontation with Seo Yeong Eun (the girl labelled as the class wallet). What we know for sure is that Eun Byul is a sweet sister, with her giving matching clothes using her mother’s name as alias, her imagining what school would be like with her twin, she even goes seeking for her while in Tongyeong and well, hello, she saves Eun Bi’s life. Despite the many differences between the twins, I appreciate that there are a few character traits they share like their habit of folding their arms across their chests and how they both refuse to share their biggest troubles (i.e. the bullying, Jung Soo In).
We can’t delve into the Go Eun Byul’s character without looking into her relationship with yet another mysterious person, Jung Soo In. According to both mothers, they were close during their elementary years that Eun Byul used to frequent Soo In’s home. But there must have been a fallout of some sort because according Yeon Mi Joo, another victim of the text message, that Eun Byul hated Soo In. There is also that bookmark Eun Bi found on which Soo In wrote that she still regards Eun Byul as her friend even though she is being ignored. It’s also very curious how her mother keeps shielding her, even after knowing she is Eun Bi, from Soo In’s mother. Leading me to think that the possibility of the parents being involved. Like for example, Eun Byul’s father having an affair with Soo In’s mother. It is strange that we are never shown the father in the story, and we don’t even his pictures in the house. But when Eun Byul’s mother mentioned the father, she didn’t sound resentful and the meeting between the mothers never turns into a catfight. If there was an affair involved, the other mothers would have been gossipy so that theory is probably off. But hey, speculating is part of the mystery game.
Mi Joo says she doesn’t know how Soo In died and I’m thinking it’s because that the school is hush-hush about it, that they’re afraid it might affect the school’s reputation. Considering the character of the school chairman, I might be right on this. Next up on the mystery list is the identity of text messenger. The most obvious suspect is the new student teacher, Jung Min Young, Soo In’s big sister (this is confirmed in episode 9). It would explained how she has Soo In’s phone and she has a good motive to boot. To be honest, I was disappointed that it is just the sister because it took away the fun of the early guessing around, only to find out it’s actually done by a newly introduced character. That’s why I want there to be an accomplice, preferably the characters who are always in the background ala Nobuta wo Produce, hidden within the classroom because the reveal would have a greater effect.
“Jung Soo In” really needs to up him/her game though because for now, she feels harmless to me compared to Bully Kang So Young. No wonder Eun Bi is not that active in finding out about about Soo In (really, she could have just asked Yi An, after all he has known Eun Byul for 10 years) because she is too busy juggling school life and dealing with So Young. I know “Jung Soo In”‘s modus operandi is the psychological kind by using her victim’s guilt but to Eun Bi, they’re just text messages that have nothing to do with her. I find it weird that she was stalking and scaring Eun Byul driving her to the point of misery, but he/she stopped when Eun Bi took Eun Byul’s place. Also, does “Soo In” know about Eun Bi? Because she took the pages of Eun Byul’s diary, so I’m wondering whether he/she saw pages about her twin.
I want Eun Bi just come clean to the whole class about her identity, so they can close So Young’s arc. She’s too hateful and her attacks on Eun Bi is tiresome to watch. The same goes to the love triangles. It’s not like I don’t enjoy it. Sure, they’re cute to watch and all that (I’m on the Yi An x Eun Bi ship) but the romance isn’t actually why I came to watch the story in the first place. With the drama already at its second half, I want them to shift the focus on the main mystery. After all, there are still many questions that need to be answered. Compiling all the answers in the last episode is okay but you gotta keep feeding me with enough clues. With that said, I’m really anticipating the episodes to come by, especially with the return of our mysterious character.