Another drama has ended! I am seriously floored by the amount of suspense family dramas that we watched this 2021. I’m pretty sure it’s still the Sky Castle effect, and as a big fan of this genre, I am not complaining!
High Class – they call it Sky Castle but make it elementary school. Well, I can see the resemblance: members of the 1% “force” their offspring into a school system with ridiculous international standards, mommies who kill time by gossiping about others and boasting off their child, and the goodie two shoes protagonist who will trample down the existing animosity. But what sets High Class apart from other mystery thrillers? To be honest, I’m not quite sure as well. We still have the typical cheating husband who swindles other people, and the rich villain who uses power and money for just about everything. Its main strength was the decent execution of the main character’s pain and journey to survival.
This character-driven narrative revolved around Song Yeo-wool (Cho Yeo-jeong), a top lawyer whose life turned upside down after her husband suddenly went missing while they were together on a yacht. The admirable, award-winning attorney became a murder suspect overnight. Her husband Ahn Ji-yong (Kim Nam-hee), is an investment agent who apparently is on the brink of bankruptcy and faces lawsuit after lawsuit from his clients. Ji-yong is considered good as dead but his body was never found. I find it odd too, but it’s perfect for laying the ground for the biggest scam of this drama – the dead becomes the true villain.
There are a lot of players in this series – many of which can be disregarded as the main plot can stand without them – the rich moms of Jejudo, druggie teachers, and shady second-class husbands. They add color but no depth.
Song Yeo-wool and her Christian Louboutins
It’s hilarious that our main character runs around Jeju Island in her classic Louboutin pumps. She reminds me of the dinosaur chase in Jurassic World – running for dear life but in style! Okay, kidding aside… The story basically revolved around a cat-and-mouse chase between Yeo-wool and her husband. Everyone thinks he’s dead, but in reality, he directs the puppets for a full display of manipulation.
First up, Yeo-wool meets Danny Oh (Ha Joon). A low-life who disguises himself as a PE teacher and ice hockey coach from Canada. He is planted by the school chairman to watch over Yeo-wool. While all this is happening, Danny also got recruited by the clueless Yeo-wool as her private investigator. Their unique connection brought them together, and honestly, I rooted for them to become a couple throughout the series.
Now we’ll go to the end game couple (heh) in the drama. Hwang Na-yoon (Park Se-jin) was first introduced as another shady mom who intentionally approaches Yeo-wool for revenge. She is Ji-yong’s other wife, whom he managed to hide from Yeo-wool because they’re based in Hong Kong. Na-yoon had a tough life. No wonder she is so willing to do everything to protect her little family. She got blinded by her belief that Ji-yong loved her, and because her daughter Jae-in (Park So-yi) is older than Yeo-wool’s son Yi-chan (Jang Sun-yool), she firmly believed they’re the first family.
A school full of mascots
The story progression was a bit slow, though. It’s obvious from the start that Ji-yong is the main antagonist here, but they dragged it until the last few episodes for the grand reveal. That’s why when we finally saw Ji-yong in the flesh, planning his next move, I couldn’t care less. I got so invested with the chemistry of the two wives whose bizarre relationship made this drama worthwhile. Their reluctance and disbelief that the one person they’ve entrusted their respective lives with – and the father of their child – could do such horrible things for the love of money.
My favorite twist would have to be Na-yoon’s return from the grave. I was hesitant to call this a makjang, but it’s just hard to ignore the elements when they’re slapping you in the face. I was ready to grieve with poor Jae-in, who just turned orphan, but no – Yeo-wool got plans. What a satisfying character development of two scorned women!
The downfall of the rich and powerful was a bit lackluster, though. Nam Ji-sun (Kim Ji-soo) took the brunt of her husband’s homicide case. Her redemption was a bit late in the story, so it was hard for me to feel bad for her. Her children, however, are a different breed. I wonder what happened to the little bitch Joon-hee (Kim Ji-yu)? We never saw her after that fiasco with the homicide case.
Overall, the story could have been wrapped up better, but I have no complaints about the actors/actresses’ portrayal of their respective characters. I’m just happy that Yeo-wool and her son Yi-chan got the peaceful ending that they deserve. It’s stressful watching them navigate the harsh Jeju life by themselves, but they came through. I’m at peace knowing that half-siblings Yi-chan and Jae-in may grow up without their dad, but at least they have their moms who love them unconditionally.