Recap: Sungkyunkwan Scandal Ep. 12

As Sungkyunkwan readies itself for its annual Open House and hockey tournament, we find our fair heroes struggling with enough wayward feelings and angst to make an hour-long emo music video. Yes, Seon-joon, we’re talking about you.

Lesson 12

Yoon-hee’s anger evaporates under the rain and together, she and Seon-joon trudge back to the tent, a massive anvil of awkwardness hanging over their heads. And then he starts to sneeze, looking adorably miserable and stoic in his sopping wet robes. Reacting quickly, she grabs his wrist (ha! Take that K-drama cliché) and they run to the tent, which has unfortunately toppled over in the rain. Thankfully, Seon-joon’s immune system hasn’t given up on him yet and he reminds us once again why he’s Ga Rang material by showing us how good he is with his hands setting it up, which makes Yoon-hee feel even worse for losing her temper with him.

Over on dry land, Yong-ha’s conscience is showing signs of stirring from its coma. He listens as a stricken Hyo-eun blames herself for causing her Beloved to be stuck on the island. It’s her fault for wanting to be with him so badly.

It hadn’t occurred to him that she’d be this upset about Seon-joon and as he presses a spoon into her shaking hands, a flicker of something flits across his face. Maybe he shouldn’t have taken this so far…

Island. Proving that there’s a little boy just waiting to be mothered in even the biggest fuddy duddy, Seon-joon finally succumbs to his fever. Seeing him shiver in his wet clothes, Yoon-hee takes off her outer robe and lays it on top of him and then goes out to the woods to gather wood for a fire. However, Seon-joon continues to shiver, forcing Yoon-hee to reluctantly earn the ire of Yoochun’s fanbase.

Yoon-hee, you’re doing it all wrong! You’re supposed to take off his clothes and then lay on top of him! I mean, how else are they going to dry properly?

Meanwhile, we find poor Jae-shin fighting a losing battle with the weather. It’s so bad that no one’s willing to budge even with him offering them the Joseon equivalent of a blank cheque. He returns to the dock only to find Pepe Le Pew Yong-ha waiting for him.

Bloody lip obviously forgotten, he baits his friend again. Why so worried, Geol Oh? You’re not scared that something is going to happen between them, are you? Two healthy men, alone on an island together, what could possibly go wrong? I think we can assume that Yong-ha, like Yoon-hee, also saved a country and attained nirvana in his previous life because there’s no way any other guy would have been able to get away manhandling and tormenting Jae-shin like this. Anyway, Yong-ha tells him that though he’s annoyed that he was deceived, he’ll enquire about a boat to the island for his sake.

Island. Seon-joon wakes up to find Yoon-hee lying down on the ground beside him. Cue: inner turmoil. Somewhere, a boyband is singing: “I wish that I could hold you/ Touch you, feel you/ My heart is bleeding / Can’t you see?”

Yoon-hee wakes up, relieved to find that his fever has subsided. And because Seon-joon can’t express his feelings without sounding like a 60-year old curmudgeon, he proceeds to chide her for getting scratches and dirt all over herself. Why’s she so hopeless? Was she trying to set the island on fire? What if she had slipped while she was alone? (Translation: If anything had happened to her, he would have set the island on fire in grief.) But all this goes over Yoon-hee’s head. She’s just happy to know that he’s feeling better.

Over in Sungkyunkwan, Jae-shin is finding out that having the room all to himself isn’t quite what it used to be.

Island. Yoon-hee observes the cardinal rule that every Cosmo reader knows: thou shalt not diss another woman in front of the man you like. She tells him that Hyo-eun looks like she’d make him a good wife. Seon-joon half-heartedly agrees but damn if he knows what he likes about her. He’s never thought about such things before.

Yoon-hee proceeds to enlighten him about the affairs of the heart: You know you like someone when your heartbeat quickens and you can’t get him/her out of your mind. One minute you’re happy and the next you’re feeling really low but despite this, you can’t help but want to see that person again.

Realization dawns on Seon-joon. So that explains why his heart has been having PMS lately. But wait…if she knows so much about this, does it mean she has someone that she likes too? Please say no, please say no, please say no…

Yoon-hee doesn’t give him the satisfaction of a straight answer. Weren’t they talking about him getting engaged?

Seon-joon tells her that the whole thing is his father’s idea. He has no intention of getting married, not to Hyo-eun anyway.

Yoon-hee: THANK YOU, GOD!

Chez Minister of War. Trust Yong-ha to make a grand entrance. He arrives on his noble steed and literally sweeps Hyo-eun off her feet to take her to the dock so she can get to her Beloved.

Fyi, if you’re looking for a fairytale romance, Hyo-eun, you’re getting on the wrong boat.

Island. Yoon-hee is exhausted from staying up all night to look after Seon-joon and as she drifts off to sleep, she misses out on what is essentially another big confession. He apologizes for bringing her to the island. Because of his feelings for her, she’s had to put up with a ton of crap from him.

Pretty soon, Seon-joon finds said feelings getting the better of him again:

No…must…RESIST! Bad feelings! Bad feelings! Seon-joon flees to the river and tries to beat his wayward heart into behaving itself. Poor baby.

It’s okay, just try to hang in there for another three episodes. Everything will be better, I promise.

Hyo-eun arrives just in time to interrupt his session of self-loathing. As she fusses over him, guess who wakes up and sees them together?

Predictably, Yoon-hee’s mood takes a dive and Yong-ha observes the love triangle before him with a smirk.

Sungkyunkwan. Everyone’s gearing up for the university’s Ib Chung Jae (Open Day) and jangchigi tournament. The latter, in particular, is of concern to the Chancellor because every year, it degenerates into a brawl between the Norons and Sorons.

Since our fair heroes have been winning nothing but praise – and from the King, no less – everyone speculates that the Eastern dorm, which is where their rooms are located, will take the honours this year. Who wants to bet that In-soo is going to allow this to happen?

We cut to see Seon-joon walking Hyo-eun back to her house. She broaches the subject of the Open House and tells him that she won’t go if he doesn’t want her to. Seon-joon, being the fair-minded fool that he is, tells her that since it is open to the public, there’s no reason why she can’t go. It’s not like it’s against the rules.

OMG Seon-joon, why why WHY do you keep doing this to yourself? Do you really like being this miserable? How difficult is it to say no?

Naturally, Hyo-eun interprets this to mean that he’ll be waiting for her though even Beo Deul knows better. *sigh*

Sungkyunkwan. Yong-ha is telling Yoon-hee that he doesn’t care for the hockey tournament at all. It’s too violent for his taste. The Open House, on the other hand, is an entirely different matter. It’s the one thing he lives for in Sungkyunkwan because it’s the one day that women are allowed into the university.

He baits her by asking her who she’s going to invite, adding that he’s sure Seon-joon will be inviting Hyo-eun. However, he assures her that he knows there’s someone who’s waiting for her…

And because this episode is one extended emo music video, we cut to find Jae-shin dealing with his feelings as well. Only unlike Seon-joon, instead of letting them ferment, he’s finding an outlet for his tangled frustrations (granted, the fact that he knows Yoon-hee is a girl helps too.) Several flashbacks later, he throws his stick to the ground. Fuck it. He’s not going to fight them anymore.

On a side note, Jae-shin, I hope you’re going to do your laundry after this because I’m pretty sure you can make kimchi out of those robes already.

Yong-ha pops by just as he is done whacking the life out of the ball and guesses that he must have stayed up all night worrying about Yoon-hee. Naturally, being the alpha male that he is, Jae-shin feigns disinterest. Worried? I’m not worried. Who says I’m worr—What do you mean you couldn’t find her on the island?!

As he sprints off, he hears Yoon-hee calling out his name. Turns out that it’s another one of Yong-ha’s pranks but Jae-shin is too relieved to kick his friend’s ass. She apologizes to him for making him worry and he tells her to get some rest—she must be tired from the trip. And then just as they are walking away, something occurs to him. What if…? Turning back to her, he tells her: “From now on, stay in my sight at all times, wherever you go, whatever you do, always stay where I can see you…because I thought I was going crazy.” Awww…

Mission accomplished. Yong-ha returns to his room, only to find Seon-joon waiting for him. Turns out that he has come to the master for, uh, advice.

He wants to know if it is an absolute rule that all men have to like women. Yong-ha corrects him. It’s not a rule but a natural male instinct. Seon-joon swallows nervously. Well, what if instead of liking a woman, you find yourself more comfortable with a friend? We’ll all grow old before Seon-joon gets around to spitting out what he wants to say so Yong-ha does it for him: you’re saying you prefer being with men?

Seon-joon: *chokecoughsplutter* Well no, not when you put it like that. But hypothetically speaking, let’s just assume you know…?

Yong-ha grins and tells him he’s been in his shoes before. He knows what it feels like to want to get close to a guy and touch him because he often feels this way with Jae-shin, so much so that it’s made him question his own sexuality.

Thank God then for Joseon’s equivalent of Penthouse. He tells Seon-joon to look at it only when he’s alone. He neglects to tell him to keep a few spare towels around but I’m sure Seon-joon is smart enough to figure this out on his own.

And just before the latter leaves, Yong-ha offers him another sagely piece of advice: Since it’s a sin to hate, how can it be a sin to love—whoever that person may be?

Needless to say, Seon-joon finds out that this book is very different from the ones that he’s had his head buried in.

It looks like our boy is going to have his hands full studying *cough*

We cut to find that there’s a change of plans for this year’s hockey tournament. Instead of pitting the Norons against the Sorons, the students will be split up randomly into the two teams. Turns out that this is In-soo’s way of separating the Jalgeum Quartet under the ruse of political harmony. Seon-joon, Yong-ha and In-soo end up being on the same team while Yoon-hee and Jae-shin find themselves on the other side.

Yong-ha knows In-soo better than anyone else and promptly goes to call him out on his BS. This is obviously his way of getting Seon-joon on his side and pitting him against Jae-shin, who he has never liked. Bravo, smirks In-soo. But there’s still one thing that puzzles Yong-ha: why is he on In-soo’s team? The latter replies that it’s because he is one of his men.

Ooh…wrong answer. With uncharacteristic seriousness, Yong-ha makes it clear to In-soo that he has no intention of being anyone’s lackey—not now and certainly not in the future. And just as quickly, the mask is back on again. If he wants him to be on his team, fine, but he’ll have to keep him entertained. Right now, he’s just a bore.

Hockey field. Jae-shin is yelling at teaching Yoon-hee how to play hockey and by the looks of it, he’s not succeeding very well, mainly because he’s trying to correct her grip without touching her.

However, because he is a big softy at heart and no match for those big Bambi eyes, he gives up on trying to be so principled and takes her hand in his, showing her how to hold the hockey stick properly.

Right on cue, Seon-joon appears to see them being all chummy and touchy-feely. He too is DYING for Yoon-hee to give him a high five, laugh with him, and make Bambi eyes at him but alas! They are on opposing teams and he’s still wrestling with doubts about his sexuality.

Poor Seon-joon hits ball after ball into the net in the hopes that someone will look his way. Sadly, the script says he has to stew in misery for a good while longer and he falls into the throes of despair as he hears Yoon-hee chattering away to Jae-shin. Dammit, what does Jae-shin have that I don’t? I’m good-looking and smart and I have 800,000 fan girls who buy me red underwear. Why won’t you look at me the way you look at him?

Unable to contain his jealousy any longer, Seon-joon throws his hockey stick onto the ground and stalks away.

But of course, it’s all in his mind because Yoon-hee is very well aware of his presence and immediately goes looking for him. He, however, turns into a 14-year-old girl and hides because his treacherous heart…oh how it pains.

We cut to find the masked avenger doing what he does best—kicking ass. But wait, when did he start killing people? Professor Jung and the King suspect that it’s an imposter but the latter says they can’t just let this matter go uninvestigated since a murder has been committed after all. He orders Hung Byuk Seo to be arrested.

We find out that the fake Hong Byuk Seo is all part of Minister Ha’s plan to capture the real one. Minister Lee, however, doesn’t share his confidence and advises caution because something always goes wrong when you have complicated schemes like these. Minister Ha laughs it off, telling him that he is worrying for nothing. After all, doesn’t he trust him? No, not really. The Left Prime Minister tells him that trust is something that needs to be earned. If he thinks he is going to close an eye just because they are in-laws, he is sorely mistaken. He tells the minister that they’ll talk marriage after Hong Byuk Seo is caught.

The day that Yong-ha has been waiting for has finally arrived and we see drama mirroring life (yeah, as if you wouldn’t do the same if you saw Song Joong-ki in person) as all the women abandon their campus guides to fangirl him. Ha ha.

Yoon-hee’s mother, who is also in Sungkyunkwan, meets someone from her husband’s past—Professor Jung. She is shocked to find out that he knows Yoon-hee is a girl and immediately offers to take her out of the university. However, the professor tells her that Yoon-hee won’t be talked into leaving so easily. He admits he doesn’t want to see her leave either. She is far too intelligent and who knows? One day, equality between men and women might even be possible in Joseon.

However, Yoon-hee’s mother, scarred from memories of what happened to her husband, is adamant that her daughter not follow the same path. But wasn’t this why her husband sacrificed his life, counters Professor Jung, so his daughter could live in a better world where her talent would be recognized and even respected?

Meanwhile, Cho-sun has also arrived in Sungkyunkwan and is making plans to be with Yoon-hee. First, however, she has to go see what In-soo wants. Like Seon-joon, he too is hopeless with women but in his case, he has the added disadvantage of being arrogant and humourless. He tries to impress her with the view, telling her that it is the best in Sungkyunkwan but only succeeds in earning more of her disdain.

As she tries to leave, he stops her, telling that he is “trying” to win her heart even though she is but a “mere girl.” Shouldn’t she be pleased that the great Ha In-soo is trying? Evidently not. Maybe he should take a couple of lessons from Gu Jun-pyo, go out on a few commoner dates and eat chicken intestines.

Cho-sun coolly emasculates his ego again, telling him she pities him for thinking he can possess anything he wants. That may be true for everything else but could he at least leave her be?

And then we find out the reason for In-soo’s obsession with her—he’s known her since she was ten (and I assume she’s been spurning him through the years.) He recalls almost wistfully that she was wearing the same colored blouse when she ran into his house. Narrowing his eyes, he tells the rest of his groupies that he needs to get Byung-choon back.

Library. Yoon-hee, who is mulling over her mother’s words, comes across Jae-shin. He teases her and tells her that he is not living up to her nickname.

Well, neither is he, she retorts. Whoever thought that he’d be in here of all places? He replies that he’s read every single book in the library, which might sound surprising for someone who’s had to repeat the year three times in a row but, as Yoon-hee soon finds out, it’s true.

They go off to eat and Yoon-hee asks him why he has no visitors. Doesn’t he have a girl he likes? He gives her a look and tells her that’s the reason why he’s having dinner with her.

Noooo! Don’t you know that the Second Lead should never speak to the crossdressing character in code? She’ll never get your underlying message. It is, like, the Law.

As Yoon-hee looks around, she spots a miserable-looking Seon-joon sitting with Hyo-eun. Jae-shin notices the two of them looking at each other and whew can you feel the pheromones churning the air?

The girls sitting with Hyo-eun also figure out who Jae-shin is—the second son of the Minister of Justice and a total Ga Rang in his own right—and proceed to glomp him, sending him fleeing to the refuge of his tree.

While Jae-shin hides from his admirers, Yoon-hee and Seon-joon enter Round Two of their cold war. Unable to keep his roiling jealousy in check, he gives her the cold shoulder, telling Hyo-eun that if Yoon-hee wants to leave, so be it. One shouldn’t plead excessively—it’s not right. Yoon-hee of course has no idea why he is having PMS and just then Cho-sun appears. The latter senses the tension in the air but Yoon-hee assures her that she’s been waiting for her. And then because there’s no such thing as too much awkwardness, the four of them proceed to have dinner together.

Wanna guess what’s going on inside Seon-joon’s head?

Frankly, I’m surprised no one is having indigestion. Hyo-eun babbles on about the island fiasco, unaware of the smouldering tension between Yoon-hee and her fiancé. Cho-sun, on the other hand, immediately figures out what is going on as she listens to them engage in verbal foreplay snipe at each other. Because Hyo-eun’s female intuition is still woefully undeveloped, she assumes that Cho-sun is looking at Seon-joon because she has the hots for him.

If it were up to me, I’d have made up an excuse and left but the four of them are dead set on waiting it out to see how this train wreck of a dinner is going to self-destruct.

Seon-joon starts the ball rolling by telling them he now knows why Yoon-hee said she wasn’t interested in women when she was on the island. It’s because she’s been waiting for Cho-sun all this while. Seon-joon, you really like stewing in misery, don’t you?

Not to be outdone, Yoon-hee reveals that he doesn’t really want to get married and that he’s only following his parents’ wishes. He even told her he’s only getting married after he’s done with the civil examination…okay, I know you’re hurt and all but that was really low, Yoon-hee.

However, upon seeing how upset Hyo-eun is, she adds that she can see her beauty and kindness must have caused him to change his mind about marrying.

Finally, Cho-sun, being the only adult at this table, decides that she’s seen and heard enough. She tells Yoon-hee that she knows they’re not meant to be and that she can guess who she likes. And with that, she gracefully crosses over to where Seon-joon is sitting and kisses him on the cheek.

Oh yes, this is going to end well.


Okay, I swore I wasn’t going to read any spoilers concerning Episodes 15 & 16 but I am weak, okay? Bad Milk, as I’m sure all of you know by now, has done a fab job posting recaps of those episodes.

On another note, I want to know how In-soo was so confident that Seon-joon and Yong-ha were going to end up on his team. How did he rig those strings?

And about Jae-shin: It’s obvious he likes Yoon-hee but does he know that she and Seon-joon like each other? I get the feeling from the wordless exchange at the end of the episode that he does, and that he’s dealing with it in a very adult way. He’ll continue looking out and being there for her, and if she ever changes her mind about Seon-joon, great but if not, he’s happy to be a part of her life either way. If this is the case, his heartbreak might not be that severe, which is a good thing because I don’t really want to see him becoming Edward Cullen. I could be wrong though – there are four more episodes to go. What do you think?


  1. Thanks for the snarklarious recap, Ellely. Dunno how In-soo rigged those strings either. The same way Yoon-hee pulled that gisang outfit out of thin air? :p

  2. Gosh elley, another epic post on my obsession SKKS! I swear I read it 3x & still laughed at the same lines, esp the Yoon Hee on top of Soon Joon scene. How did Pepe Le Phew get in there, haven’t watched cartoons since middle school!I don’t really have any personal thoughts on each episode, I just go with the flow of the story as churned out by the PD nim & scriptwriters and enjoy the series. According to spoilers Jae Shin, in the second book on SKK will have a 14 yr old bride. Geol oh didn’t really care much for girly looking scholar Yoon Shik until he found out he was a girl, then Jae Shin started getting protective and chivalrous. If he never found out the true sex of Yoon Shik ,their relationship would probably just be that of roommates with out benefits. I like how YongHa in this episode kinda swept Hyo Eun off her feet. In some ways this pair would make a really interesting OTP, flirty, bored, street smart ass scholar & chatty, clueless, clingy noble girl.As for Lee Soon Joon & Yoon Hee , I like how finally their feelings for each other are actually bubbling to the surface, though both are still in denial. Anticipating your next recaps with bated breath.

    1. Hmm…14-year-old bride, huh? I’ve been trying not to spoil myself too much, which is why I haven’t been to Soompi or any of the other sites. I will go read all the spoilers once this drama is over!

      I’m okay with Yong-ha and Hyo-eun getting together. I just wish they hadn’t left this so late into the show, though. I’d like to see their relationship develop organically instead of having them get together in a rush because the show’s down to its last four episodes and we need to tie up all the loose ends, you know what I mean?

  3. “I’m good-looking and smart and I have 800,000 fan girls who buy me red underwear. Why won’t you look at me the way you look at him?”

    LMFBO!!!!!! I swear I need to wear a diaper when I read your recaps!!!! You are too funny!!!!!!!

    Love it! Love it! :D Thanks!

    1. Glad you enjoyed it! You know you’re in too deep when you start searching YouTube for videos of Micky speaking Chunglish.

      Damn you, Sungkyunkwan Scandal!

  4. hi elley, you’re way, way too funny!!! love all your comments and teases. love all the main actors and also the wonderful supporting cast, all so talented and hilarious, from seon-joon’s fat manservant to the devious war minister with the shifty eyes.

    was watching Daemul, the new series and realised that the prosecutor chief is none other than the war minister. he looks totally different in modern day clothes and boy, is he absolutely funny too!

    1. Aw, thank you! Yeah, I love Soon-dol too. He cracks me up.

      I haven’t been able to watch anything else apart from Sungkyunkwan Scandal because I’ve been crazy busy but I might give Daemul a go if I have the time though.

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