“The Midnight Romance in Hagwon” Episodes 3 and 4 Recap

A teacher and her former student sallying forth together might sound effective in attracting new students and getting our leads closer. But it also means more competition and hardships set up by those who intend to get our star instructor heroine.

Still, with her dear former student by her side, there is nothing our leading lady can’t pull through.

Bunny S watches The Midnight Romance in Hagwon on Viu

Episode Recaps: 01 & 02 |

The Midnight Romance in Hagwon Episodes 3 and 4 Highlights

“We can mark up a new era with this.”

Instead of competing with the other teachers on a limited amount of pie, Joon-ho suggests attracting new students through a joint promotion campaign featuring Hye-jin and him. But to do this, he needs Hye-jin on board. The catch: Hye-jin doesn’t seem supportive of this idea. And to convince her, Joon-ho needs to come up with a way that would benefit both of them within a day.

Having done his homework, Joon-ho learns that Hye-jin has tried in the past to expand her territory and attract students from another school. But there was a gatekeeper who got in the way, the director of a rival academy, a.k.a white-haired witch.

Using a joint lecture theme, the story of a teacher and her former student sallying forth together can be quite moving for the students. This way, Hye-jin will achieve her goal and Joon-ho will make a glorious debut and get the attention he wants. It is a win-win situation.

“Would it be a nuisance to Ms. Seo if I taught Chanyoung High kids”?

Originally, Hye-jin suggested using Miracle Student Joon-ho as the academy’s promotional face as a tactic to keep her current students. But good thing she changed her mind as Witch Director (Seo Jung-Yeon) plans to snatch Hye-jin’s students, targeting the same day and time slot at that.

Actually, it isn’t only Witch Director who is after Hye-jin. It seems like the drama is setting up new Korean instructor, Nam Chung-mi (Soo Joo-yeon), as Hye-jin’s competitor. Getting upset about Joon-ho meeting the director separately is one thing but how Chung-mi brought up teaching students from the same school as Hye-jin and still pushed for it even after getting initially turned down has me thinking Chung-mi isn’t as innocent as she seems. Interesting!

“I am going through with it. He came here to learn from us.”

Unfortunately, after pulling several all-nighters preparing for their joint lecture, things take a bad turn for Hye-jin and Joon-ho. No thanks to Witch Director organizing a last-minute special lecture, not a single student shows up for the joint lecture. Well. One student drops by later. But he is a spy sent by the rival academy.

Not only does this turn of events hinder Hye-jin’s plans to attract new students, but it also puts her at risk of losing her current ones. She is understandably shaken up, not knowing what to do. At first, Hye-jin wants to cancel the lecture. But after Joon-ho consoles her for a bit, Hye-jin pulls herself together and starts the lecture. After all, one-on-one tutoring is her specialty.

“I might switch. It was pretty good.”

Giving us a parallel between the current lecture and Hye-jin tutoring an 18-year-old Jun-ho is surely fascinating. Add to this the admiration look in Joon-ho’s eyes while watching Hye-jin. What started as a messy situation ended up being an unforgettable experience for the three of them, including Spy Student.

It isn’t all lost though, as Hye-jin and Joon-ho’s lecture managed to capture Spy Student’s attention and touch his heart. Which might be enough to sway him to jump ships. And as it so happens, hearing that Spy Student, the top of the class, is switching academies, other students are starting to come around too.

The Midnight Romance in Hagwon Episodes 3 and 4 Musings

More than watching our leads do actual work, it is more delightful to see how working at the same place affects their dynamics. Be it Joon-ho’s plans to move into Hye-jin’s neighborhood so they can carpool or text each other through the night.

The smile on Hye-jin’s face while messaging Joon-ho says a lot about how at ease she is around him. It might be nothing romantic yet. But it feels like Hye-jin can be herself only with Joon-ho.

Hye-jin might be yet to develop feelings for Joon-ho. But there are some little snippets of how Joon-ho is starting to grow feelings for her. Be it when they are forced into close proximity to hide away from Chung-mi, or back in their teacher/student days when Joon-ho stole glimpses at Hye-jin and he shyly moved away from her when they accidentally brushed shoulders.

Romance aside, I appreciate the realistic approach the drama is taking regarding the characterization. Instead of painting characters in black and white, everyone is multi-layered. Take Chung-mi, for example. She might come across as pushy for turning down Hye-jin’s offer to do joint lectures together and opting to compete with Hye-jin instead. Still, learning about what happened, Chung-mi felt sorry for Hye-jin and bought her food to comfort her.

Likewise, we have Hye-jin whose teaching approach has completely changed over the years. From teaching students how to think and get curious to focusing on what the students want to learn to secure more sales.

If anything, I feel like Hye-jin and Joon-ho complement each other. When Hye-jin gets swept into the cutthroat world, Joon-ho reminds her of the old days when she was more relaxed in her teaching methods. Which is ironically how she won over Spy Student. And knowing how scary the academies world is, it won’t hurt Joon-ho to follow some of Hye-jin’s comments. Though I wish Hye-jin would compliment Joon-ho to his face like she does behind his back.

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Photos and Videos: tvN Drama