Recap: What's Up Episode 19

This is it. The penultimate episode.

Episode 19

Someone is at the hospital, paying Sun a visit. He lets himself in and detangles Sun’s IV drip which wakes him up. It’s Jae-hun (yippee!) and he asks in that jokey attitude of his, what Sun is doing here. Despite his weakened body, Sun manages a witty comeback: “A man lying sick on a hospital bed – just like a hero from a melo movie…Aren’t I cool?” Jokes aside, Sun is concerned about Jae-hun, who had made his supposedly “cool” departure. Did he attack the policeman and run? Ah…you faithless teacher J Jae-hun explains how his jail sentence has been waived, and he’s to attend school until further sentence. Sun comments how it’d be a waste of the taxpayers’ money to support rascals like him in jail. J

It kind of breaks Jae-hun’s heart to notice how weak Sun has become. In an attempt to cheer him up, he tells Sun to come back to school so that they’ll have a one-day only booze-binge. Sun remarks that Jae-hun knows him so well and Jae-hun retorts that he’s easy to figure out. Aww…these two.

Sun then asks him if he’d met Tae-hee. Jae-hun says no, he’s too afraid, afraid to ask for her forgiveness. Sun advises him to practice saying ‘forgive me’ 100X until it is meaningless to him. Hah. On a more serious note, Sun tells Jae-hun to see Tae-hee, because he knows how much Jae-hun wants to. And…he grabs him close…and reminds Jae-hun that he’s the director of the musical. Jae-hun tries to wriggle out from that but he wields his trump card again, marveling to himself how effective it is – it’s his final wish to see Jae-hun’s musical. L As if you can turn down a dying person’s wish…

Jae-hun leaves the room to find Doo-ri right outside. He tells her that Sun slept and that he’s just like Sun of the old times. Then he asks if she’s alright….and it’s this simple question that undoes her. Jae-hun offers his shoulder for the crying Doo-ri… Sigh…poor poor Doo-ri.

Chae-young is unhappy at Secretary Oh because their Fame musical is facing some financial difficulties, and reminds him ominously of the consequence of failure over the phone. Unbeknownst to her, the pesky reporter is right on her heels…clearly up to no good. He wants to strike a deal but Chae-young is not interested ….until he mentions the power struggle between Director Kang and a Chae-young backed Secretary Oh. Uh-oh. The bait thus dangled, there’s no way Chae-young is going to be able to refuse him now…

In the practice room, the students are doing nothing of the sort. Chae-young is unhappy and takes issue with Chang-jin. But it’s hardly his fault when the so-called teachers have been missing for 5 days. They’ve been cooperating with the teachers…because it’s Eun Chae-young’s wishes…and it’s Eun Chae-young wishes which brought them here. Still, Chae-young blames him for not making the students practice. Annoyed now, Chang-jin in a loud voice meant also for Prof Yang who’s at the door, echoes Yang’s previous sentiments on how the students are so much more inferior than the so-called professionals, that they could do nothing in their absence.

Taking in the atmosphere in the practice room, Prof Yang signals to Chang-jin and Chae-young to follow her. They relocate to somewhere quieter. Prof Yang tells Ms. Secretary to leave them alone and…to bring assistant An with her – he who has been busy with his exposé on the online bulletin. Ms. Secretary pretends to drag An out, but the both of them creep back in, eager for more gossips. Hah.

Chang-jin is calling it quits. He finds it embarrassing and pointless to be credited as director when in truth he wields no such authority at all. Yang asks about the missing teachers which Chae-young explains have not been coming because they haven’t receive their pays. Chang-jin takes another swipe at Yang, highlighting the difference between passionate hard-working amateurs and money-minded ‘professionals’ who offer no more than what they’re paid for. The musical score for the musical is not out yet, so the choreography has stalled and with it the practice too. Chae-young looks troubled…

…and we’re back to her encounter with the pesky reporter who produces shots of Do-sung and Hades. He insists that they’re one and the same, which Chae-young scoffs at. But he goes on to recount his experience of being bribed and threatened and Chae-young looks less skeptical. He’s convinced there’s more than meets the eye but Chae-young is still disinterested….until she remembers hearing Do-sung sing on the audition day.

Her expression does not escape him and he could tell she’s starting to believe him. Alas, he has no physical evidence – the photos are not strong evidence as they could’ve been doctored. So he wants an exclusive interview with her, in which she’d admit to have clued in on Do-sung’s identity the moment she heard him sing but chose to keep mum because they’re friends. Urgh… In return, he will give up reporting on her. Especially since her 10 year contract is about to expire, after which she’ll find it hard to sign for another company if a scandal related to her breaks out…

…Chae-young snaps out of her reverie as Prof Yang asks if they could count on her company to make good on their promise to sponsor their musical. Chae-young admits they should not place much hope on that account, to the surprise of Chang-jin and Prof Yang.

CY: It’s always been this way in this field. Once they re-evaluate their interest, they might just leave us in the lurch at any point. Just be thankful they didn’t add insult to injury…which sometimes happens. Sense of obligation? You know that’s all fictitious right? […] With that in mind, you’re putting me in an uncomfortable position if you still insist on trust.

Yikes. In short, you can’t blame me for this….it’s how the world spins. That’s like the crappiest excuse ever. They’re screwed and Prof Yang knows it.

On the other hand, What’s Up the musical is progressing, but slowly. Doo-ri and Soo-bin are having an “artistic disagreement” over the merit of including a rap segment in a song.

Byung-gun is having trouble convincing a female student to follow his choreography. She doesn’t trust him enough to perform a lift-jump. The rap-boy (can’t remember his name) and Seung-jae scoffs at Byung-gun’s childish choreography. They easily come up with more polished moves. Hah.  

At the piano, Soo-bin is none too pleased when Doo-ri is unable to sing properly to the tune. In her defense, she’s no soprano, she’s an alto. She’s saved by the appearance of Ji-eun, who’s definitely a soprano.

Everyone crowds around the piano eagerly, joining in on the song. Jae-hun chips in suddenly…alerting everyone of his presence. Byung-gun is the first to react, jumping Jae-hun for a hug. The others crowd around him happily, chiding him for leaving unannounced, unaware of the real story. Soo-bin smiles and Doo-ri gives Jae-hun a mock high-five. Me? I can’t stop smiling!!!!

Jae-hun waits outside, presumably for Tae-hee while the others continue practicing. The rap-boy notices the verse Soo-bin and Doo-ri are fighting over and explains he meant it as a rap (he was the original writer of that verse), to the delight of Doo-ri who has had no success in convincing Soo-bin. Soo-bin concedes for him to rap it out and he does, with much aplomb.

Director Kang sends Tae-hee back, but Tae-hee is reluctant to leave the car. Director Kang approaches Jae-hun and offers some advice – he thinks the two fought because he’s uneasy about her being more successful. He wants Jae-hun to support her unconditionally because she’s pretty and talented and he’s keen to mold her into a star.

Jae-hun asks impatiently and nonchalantly if he’s done with the advice. Hah. Still cocky as ever. Director Kang opens the door for Tae-hee again, and she finally alights from the car. He reminds her to pack and leaves. What? She’s leaving?

Tae-hee tries to walk past him but pauses. Jae-hun catches up with her and calls her name softly. He thanks her for her petition and asks if she’s leaving. She’s quitting school and moving out on the morrow. He knows it’s difficult for her and offers to disappear from her sight. But it’s no use. She sees him everywhere in the school, memories of them so strong and when she thinks of him, she’d think of Dad…She knows he’s not at fault, she knows what kind of person he is…but she still can’t forgive him. Right now, she’d rather he stays in school and fulfill Sun’s final wish.

Tae-hee leaves but once more Jae-hun stops her.

JH: Does this mean that I won’t be able to see you again?

TH: Sorry…

JH: What should I do? I am willing to do anything. I will compensate you with my life…until I die. Can’t I be with you…again? I don’t know if I can…not see you again for the rest of my life. I’m not confident I can do that…

TH: I would like to meet you again too…someday…that’ll be nice.

Tae-hee leaves. Without a word to Doo-ri. And she’s not too happy about it, grumbling to Sun. Doo-ri brings him his clothes (including boxers. Hah) because he wants to leave the hospital. She’s concerned, thinking he might be lying about getting the doctor’s permission. He tells her to leave the room, so he could change. But she’s content to stay and watch him. LMAO.

Doo-ri does leave (too bad imo J) and confronts the lady doctor, wanting to know if it’s alright for Sun to be discharged. Since she’s his guardian and all. Doctor smiles at her petty jealousy and asks if she knows what a guardian does. Doo-ri thinks she’s belittling her capacity because she’s young.

Doctor sighs and explains that there’s nothing more the hospital can offer other than painkillers to alleviate his pain. So it’s the guardian’s responsibility to ensure the patient lives to the fullest in the limited time he has left. The truth hurts and Doo-ri is speechless to learn of this harsh truth. L

Sun returns to the school to a big welcome. He browses the papers with the students’ scribbles and scans their expectant faces, amazed that the original 5-member musical has grown so much in numbers. One by one, hands are raised – all claiming to be consultant of some sort: Ka-young (dance), Ji-eun (costume), Rap-boy (rap), Seong-jae (production), etc. Sun asks for an update and Jae-hun obliges.

Their musical is titled What’s Up, which is a question asked in greeting. And so in reply, the musical will include events of the past year, through the eyes of the first year musical students. All these are summarized in the script (by Doo-ri). The musical score is done (by Soo-bin) and the dance choreography also nearing completion (Ka-young, Seong-jae and rap-boy). All that’s left is costume, props and lightings – which they’re still deliberating over in order to attract the judges’ attention.

Sun wants none of that. With much difficulty, he writes “SHOW STOPPER” on the board which our musical walking encyclopedia, Byung-gun helpfully defines as the moment when the show is disrupted due to continuous applause from the audience.

SWY: Yes…that’s it. After a moving show, the audience automatically applauds. That’s our target. Everyone, place a hand over your heart. Can you feel that? It should be there – a black hole. Everyone has a hole in their heart…Because that hole enlarges so much it’s cold, people try very hard to fill it up. Some do it by working hard to earn money. Some thinks love is the answer – they fall in love and gets hurt, and so the hole enlarges even more. And then there are some who’s so afraid of the hole, they turn to drinks and drugs.

But what of us, who stands on the stage? How do we fill this hole? This is where ‘show stopper’ comes in. When the audience rises and claps enthusiastically in acknowledgement of our singing or acting, that’s when the hole disappears. The moment may be brief, but the hole will be filled. Trust me…only then will the fire in my heart really heats up. That is our target. If you make such a musical, I will surely be there to witness it. So, make me give you a standing ovation. I would like to clap and brag to the person next to me, that you guys are my disciples. If you are aiming for that, just the spirit is not enough. You have to go all out – truly crazy. In life, there will be at least one moment you’d have to be really crazy. Isn’t that so? […] Let’s get crazy together!

The class shouts “yes” in unison. Chae-young turns away from the door and finds herself face-to-face with Prof Yang. They look at each other, Prof Yang sensing what she’s not saying. She signals for her to follow but they’re approached by Secretary Oh, who’s finally decided to show up. He reassures them about the funding – but Prof Yang interrupts him this time and informs him that she plans to disband the musical team. The students are free to join other performances.

Chae-young asks if she plans to combine their musical with Sun’s. Prof Yang balks at that notion – no way she’s joining forces with an irresponsible drunk who’s not fit to be a professor. It’s an insult to suggest otherwise. Awww…you softie.

Secretary Oh reminds Prof Yang of their previous investments but Prof Yang dares him to sue if he so wishes. Oh yeah! Been waiting for this a longggg time. Secretary Oh trails Prof Yang and Chae-young is left alone. Not for long. Sun has managed to sneak out of the class to take his medicine. She sees him struggling and helps fill up a cup of water for him. She asks if he’s in pain and he admits as much, warning her not tell Doo-ri or else she’d whisk him to the hospital again. It’s kind of cute how he’s afraid of Doo-ri.

Chae-young asks if Sun has hated her from the very beginning – she who’s the opposite of naïve, not particularly talented but resorting to petty tricks. In other words, she’s not a kind person. Sun asks if she’s such a person. She asks what he hated most about her. But he’s more curious about the reason she’s asking. Does she want to be kind now? Can’t she? He tells her not to – it’s no fun. The worse thing in the world is to live a life devoid of pleasure.

What does he mean – so she should just continue to live as thus, resorting to petty tricks, a B-grade actress, even though no one in the world sincerely likes her? He tells her so what, there are many people in the world who don’t know any tricks, not even a B-grade and can’t even tell if others like them or not. Chae-young thinks he’s toying with her even though she’s asking him all this earnestly. He assures her she’s fine the way she is, and tells her to live well, the most important thing being she likes the way she is.

He’s been struggling to get the words out…and finally loses consciousness. Alarmed, Chae-young tries to rouse him which alerts Doo-ri and the rest of the gang….

Extra footage:
Chae-young watches as Jae-hun struggles in dance class but creeps right back in when the instructor is not noticing.


I love that Chang-jin finally mans up to Chae-young. Prof Yang finally making her stand. Oh so satisfying. And towards the end, even Chae-young deserves much sympathy. The girl is so lost. I actually think it’s refreshing that the writer didn’t make her character become “kind”. Chae-young has never been cruel-evil. She’s just a bitch…and truth is bitches exist whether we like it or not. That said, I’m still voting for her to be an “awesome” bitch, err…does that make sense? Well, she’s never going to be like Tae-hee, but why can’t she be awesome and a bitch? Sort of like Doo-ri. Only…bitchier?? Gawd, I’m making no sense. LOL.

OMG. Watching the preview? Made me cry. It’s gonna be so heartbreakingly awesome. I just know it!  We’ve only got Tae-hee’s issue and Do-sung’s alter-ego to deal with next episode as the kids prepare for the musical in a fight against time. And yeah, Sun dying. I’m choked up in tears just typing this.

Plus .... Soo-bin begging for a favor??? Daebak!


  1. Much love for you recapping What's Up!!!

    I'm so gonna miss this show; all the characters and the awesome music/performances. I just love everything about it. I haven't been moved by a youth-oriented show for the longest time, and this just set the bar high for musical dramas for me.

    Again, thank you, xie xie nie, kamsahamnida for sharing your insights as you recap this awesome100x show :)

  2. Totally awesome! Great show, great story! Going to miss it :(

  3. My dear, another fine recap! Thanks so much for doing them! I've recommended this site to many people.

    I love the Im Joo's. So fabulous! I'm going to write a little blurb inspired by Manzzang's last speech to his class. It totally hit my inner musician square in the heart.