“The Midnight Romance in Hagwon” Episodes 9 and 10 Recap

Things get a bit tense this week as our star instructor heroine gets hit by surprising news that makes her rethink everything she has done so far.

Is getting good results the only thing that matters, or is the process leading to it just as important?

Bunny S watches The Midnight Romance in Hagwon on Viu

Episode Recaps: 01 & 02 | 03 & 04 | 05 & 06 | 07 & 08 |

The Midnight Romance in Hagwon Episodes 9 and 10 Highlights

“If you aren’t too busy, could I have a 1-on-1 meeting with you for a bit?”

Though we wouldn’t mind watching our leads being head over heels for each other and dating secretly at work for the rest of the drama run, we are hit by a reality check in the form of Witch Director’s next move.

It was obvious Witch Director had a card up her sleeve. Thus, staying quiet all this time. Still, I have to give it to her for surprising us and scouting Problematic Teacher, Pyo Sang-seob (Kim Song-II) as Hye-jin’s replacement. In other words, in return for snatching Si-woo and his friends, Witch Director plans to snatch Hye-jin’s students by hiring their former teacher as the vice director.

“Ever since the day you paid a visit to my school, I became a mess.”

For someone as astute as Witch Director, she wouldn’t have made such a move without weighing things up. Still, there is no telling what exactly she saw in Sang-seob, who had it in for academy instructors and even called them parasites, which made her deem him a trump card.

Anyway, as his first move, Sang-seob meets Hye-jin and sprinkles the news on her. Given the shocked look on Hye-jin’s face, I guess Witch Director managed to shake Hye-jin up and stir things up at the academy. Also, seeing how relaxed Witch Director was when Hye-jin went to confront her about making Sang-seob quit his job makes me believe she has a foolproof plan in mind. But what exactly is she plotting?

“She summed up what kind of person I was and made it very clear for me to understand it.”

More than the risk of getting her students snatched away, what distresses Hye-jin is the fact that Witch Director saw right through her, calling Hye-jin a wrecker fighting vigorously when she finds herself at a disadvantage yet acting righteous when everything is over.

Instead of denying the truth and blaming it all on Witch Director, Hye-jin admits to having had ulterior motives while barging into Sang-seob’s office, asking for a re-exam. Though she knew Sang-seob would be put in a tight spot, Hye-jin only cared about using the situation to her advantage and getting more students. Now, Hye-jin wonders if her actions caused Sang-seob to quit the job that he always took pride in.

“We are not on the same page.”

Initially, Joon-ho and Hye-jin had different viewpoints regarding Sang-seob. Hye-jin was shocked at his decision. Yet Joon-ho was more about how much of a threat Sang-seob actually was and what to do to beat him. Thus, getting Hye-jin mad. Luckily, Joon-ho realized his mistake before it was too late. Instead of plans and tactics, he should have listened to what happened between Hye-jin and Sang-seob first.

But why does it feel like this argument has more to it than that? Though we hope that won’t be the case, our leads’ relationship won’t always be sunshine and rainbows. Naturally, there will come a time when they clash over their personality differences.

While Hye-jin is the cautious type, thinking things over before acting, Joon-ho’s attitude is more like I-can-do-anything-I-set-my-mind-to. And while neither perspective is entirely wrong, I hope our leads can work around their differences instead of splitting apart because of those differences.

The Midnight Romance in Hagwon Episodes 9 and 10 Musings

Instead of walking the same path as its predecessors and using the educational backdrop to surge tension, the drama stands out through its thought-provoking social commentary on the education system. For instance, Si-woo questioning if he should just feel satisfied that he got a perfect score, even though he wouldn’t have been able to solve those questions on his own had he not memorized the answers beforehand.

On the other hand, we have Sang-seob, who started that whole thing because of his grudge against the academies’ instructors, yet also wanted to help students understand their lessons better and not just focus on their grades.

I might not agree with Sang-seob’s unilateral decision to change the exam style without convincing the other teachers or explaining the reason behind that. Yet I am also not okay with the other teacher crossing the line and telling Sang-seob he does whatever he wants without being scared, as he is a full-time employee. Having different opinions doesn’t mean it is okay to hurt other people.

Typically, we get the main leads portrayed as justice warriors wanting to do right by others, yet having to fight against wicked villains trying to take them down. But that isn’t the case here. There is no one who is purely good or evil. Instead, we get characters who are flawed and humane.

Granted, Witch Director is cunning. But she isn’t a typical evil mastermind wreaking havoc on those who aren’t on her side. She is just trying to protect what she has achieved so far and add more accomplishments to it. Which interestingly is the same Hye-jin is trying to do.

Photos and Videos: tvN Drama