Monday, December 30, 2013

The Monologue [Ep 12-16]: The Queen's Classroom

There were many things I wanted to write about after watching The Queen’s Classroom till the end but lazily putting off the post about the final five episodes has made my memory weak. I’m literally skipping fragments of the episodes while writing this and some of what I wanted to say are fortunately coming back. ...Something about character development, social issues, adolescence anxiety and farewells.

My appetite for dramas has dwindled quite a bit, even though I wasn’t exactly an avid watcher before, I used to keep up with the network releases and checked a lot of them out. I’ve only watched a few till the end this year along with this one, Good Doctor, I Hear Your Voice, That Winter, The Wind Blows and the wishy-washy Heirs... Actually, that’s quite a lot!! I underestimated quite a bit, haha. Anyways, currently watching You From Another Star, and just loving Jeon Ji-hyun’s character and acting.

Back to the awesomeness that was The Queen’s Classroom.

Lyn’s “My Destiny” - a guide for the journey.

I won’t drag it for long this time around. It’s my fault that Analogueblues is not here for the ride, she was ready right after the drama had ended but since I hadn’t completed the drama, we weren’t able to complete the post. And then a lot of time passed… It’s unfortunate that I wasn’t able to get past my procrastination to give the drama the proper notice and credit it deserved. For the first time in forever, I felt that a drama properly went about exploring some neglected social issues and actually resolved the issues it presented with stellar writing and consistent trajectory.

It was an honor getting the chance to watch Go Hyun-jung in action.

There were some critical events that took place in the last five episodes, starting with Kim Do Jin bullying Son In Bo leading to a near suicide and the handling of the whole case by Teacher Ma, the children schooling their parents with their passion and showing the rainbow opposite Ma Sonsaengnim’s black hole. Then we learned that the teacher had for a long time been trying to knock some sense into Oh Dong Goo’s mother and persuading her to come back.  It was all good and peace was detectable in the classroom but then the dismissal happened by the hands of Na Ri’s mom and everything got turned upside down once again.

It was actually quite painful seeing Ma Sonsaengnim struggling after her dismissal because we could literally see how far her affection for the students had grown. I had from the beginning been quite skeptical of her character because I wasn’t totally sold on her intentions. That all changed after she collapsed at the end of Episode 15 due to exhaustion and stress from a lack of sleep, nutritional imbalance and overwork. Her apartment was also subsequently shown and it was not surprising finding out that it was filled tons of books, school materials and student memorabilias, like the playing cards she had confiscated the day before. I can imagine that the physical weakening of the stiff teacher figure did quite a lot in changing viewers’ minds about her character. Not that we would want a character in harm’s way but it showed that she was human.

I’ll try and talk a little about each of the episodes for the sake of providing some clear structure.

Episode 12

We started seeing the effects of Ma Sonsaengnim’s teaching more clearly beginning this episode. After seeing Kim Do Jin bullying Son In Bo at the school gym, the leader of the former pack, Jung Soo and Han Kook, stood up for their fallen friend. That was a glorious moment because it showed how the whole class had now moved on from their spoiled ways and begun seeing each other as a person with the same desires and feelings. That lead into Do Jin standing in front of the railway platform ready to jump to his death, which was a nerve-wracking moment because even though we’ve all at one point or another felt down, we feel extra hard for those that make the choice of ending their precious life. Ma Sonsaengnim then came and saved the day.

With Do Jin, I felt that he had a very serious problem with separation anxiety, which was a result of abandonment and dismissive feelings left behind after suffering through numerous rejections at the hands of foster parents. Those bottled up feelings was impacting his relationship with his current mother, leading to him texting her almost every second and scaring her in the process. The conflict was given a proper rest and all the class kids were very generous in accepting Do Jin’s apology right away.

Episode 13

The episode where we learned the extent of Ma Sonsaengnim’s knowledge of each one of her students. We learned that she had a folder for each one of the students in her laptop, which was a bit like the NSA showing off. This was the episode where Ha Na’s breakdown started and to relieve her pressures, she convinced her academy friends in ditching the class and had some fun, which resulted in her coming head-to-head with her mother. Dong Goo’s mother got introduced as well and it was sad seeing her peeking from outside the classroom and crying after hearing Dong Goo talk.

Episode 14

The kids themselves knew that what they were saying to the board member would have negative effects on Ma Sonsaengnim but they had not yet understood their own thoughts about her teaching methods and all its real intended meanings. I felt after watching the investigator observe the class and hearing them talk and openly question everything that the dismissal would be out of the question but even then, the man only took out what he wanted and totally didn’t get the whole meaning of the debate he witnessed.

Episode 15

I’ll just leave the speech Ma Sonsaengnim gave at the end here.

Stop acting like little kids that only ask their teachers for answers. Until when are you going to keep looking for me, saying teacher, teacher? The answers are already within you. It's natural to be fearful of the unknown tomorrow. But, wasting today because of that fear, is the most foolish thing. Should I tell you what's going to happen tomorrow to kids like you? You will be living every day in fear. As you go on living, whispering unrest, planting and fear and terror into you, you'll be meeting many people who do that. "If you don't graduate from a good college, you'll be a failure.", "If you don't get a cosmetic surgery and become pretty, everyone will hate you.". You'll be afraid. "You have to sacrifice today for tomorrow.". But, remember this. You are not living in yesterday or tomorrow. It's only today. That's the time you have right now. Whenever you feel uneasy, feel how alive you are. If you close your eyes, the wind blowing in, if you put your hand on your chest, your heart beat, and if you listen, you'll hear your friends' laughter. Because of fear for the future, don't do a foolish thing like giving up the precious things given to you today.

…Interrupted by the pitiful vice-principal. But Teacher Ma braves on to resume her speech.

You don't have a dream. You don't know what you'll be? Then just live doing what you can, and what you want like a 13-year-old. Do the best in what you can. It's okay to make mistakes. It's okay to fail. If you do your best today, you will find yourself, and you'll begin to see tomorrow's dreams.

Don't run away what you to do as sixth graders, and find the happiness you're entitled to, and live life fully enjoying that happiness, and, as I need to be happy, my friends also need to be happy, don't forget that. Consider myself precious, and with that same heart, consider my friends precious, do the best you can, so that with your friends, you can live happily today.

Quote made possible by the subbers at Viki. Watch the drama here.

Episode 16

Finally, it was graduation day for the kids we had seen grow so much since the beginning.

Thanks everyone and hope you had a have a great upcoming year!!

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