Playful Kiss Episode 5 Recap

This is a long recap, so hold on to your horses, people. A lot happens in this episode, but it’s not earth-tilting or mind-blowing revelations like your daddy killed my mommy, your best friend is in love with me, or I’ve got incurable prostate cancer so I must run away and can’t be with you.

Playful Kiss (Mischievous Kiss) continues to be all about the ordinary yet important things that can happen in the real life of high school seniors. Like college exams and interviews, and figuring out what goals you have in life. It doesn’t make for garnering nearly 50% ratings, but it does make for some satisfyingly charming viewing for yours truly.

Episode 5 Recap:

Seung Jo has Ha Ni in bed, and tells her he’s just a hot-blooded 19 year old like Joon Gu said he was, and leans over for what appears like an impending kiss. Ha Ni tells him that they should date in a healthy way first, which makes Seung Jo highly amused. Alas, he was just tormenting Ha Ni, and she leaves his room all red-faced and heart-thumping. Oh, Seung Jo, you are such a tease. Little brother Eun Jo comes home to see Ha Ni doing the pseudo-walk-of-shame from Seung Jo’s room, and is a mite perturbed.

Ha Ni ends up leaving her school book with the Seung Jo doodles in his room when she high tails it out of there, and Seung Jo picks it up to read it (and is highly entertained). Back in her room, Ha Ni grumbles that Seung Jo is a bad guy, always toying with her. She looks at her love letter which Seung Jo marked up and graded a D –, and remarks that her heart just doesn’t listen to her, and she clearly still had feelings for Seung Jo even after the way he treats her (oh honey, he treats you about a billion times better than he treats any other female on the planet, ‘cept for Mom, so please don’t despair).

At school, Ha Ni has a meeting with her teacher to determine her college options. With limited prospects due to her low scores, her teacher suggests looking for ways to emphasize her other attributes, like her potential or family connections. Alas, Ha Ni’s grandfather is NOT a patriot, her father is NOT a special government agent, Ha Ni is NOT a teen parent (at this point Ha Ni’s dad suggests that he run away from home to make her one), and her family is NOT a multi-cultural one.

Her teacher finds out that Ha Ni can attempt to apply for Parang University’s Social Affairs major – since Ha Ni donates blood twice a month, which is equivalent to doing 100 hours of community service. Ha Ni is having a meal with a fast food restaurant with her friends when they see Seung Jo meeting with a recruiter, and looking both bored and annoyed. Poor Seung Jo, it sucks to be a genius, everyone wants you.

In the self-study classroom, all the students are hunkered down to cram for the big college entrance exam, but Seung Jo remains listless and curiously unfocused. He walks out and goes to sit in the dark outside and think. Ha Ni’s teacher is filling out an application for Ha Ni, and Seung Jo’s teacher comes by and gives her a vitamin C tablet (aww, now that is a sign of true wuv, sharing vitamins!).

At home, Ha Ni is working on her Parang University application essay on her computer when suddenly it crashes and she loses all her work! She is mighty distraught, and of course Seung Jo comes to the rescue, with mini-me Eun Jo tagging along and smirking in the background, and Mom genuinely worried. Seung Jo yells at Ha Ni for opening so many windows while she was working. He yells at her to stop wailing as she is distracting him, and Ha Ni holds her lips shut and mopes.

As if there was any doubt, Seung Jo reboots the computer and retrieves Ha Ni’s file. Mom drags Eun Jo out, and Eun Jo is reluctant and stares at Ha Ni on his way out. Seung Jo asks Ha Ni about her applying to Parang University. He asks her why she wants to go to college since she sucks at studying and doesn’t seem to like it. They have a discussion about when you like something, it makes your heart beat faster, and Ha Ni wants to go to college to find what she likes and what she is good at. Seung Jo says he’s never had that sensation, and would like to experience it.

In the pouring rain, Ha Ni goes to an interview for Parang. A very strict interviewer (who refuses to delay the interviews even though some students can’t make it due to the inclement weather) tells Ha Ni that with her poor performance (scoring in the top 50 only once) and lackluster community service (blood donation), how did she even get an interview. Another interviewer mentioned that Ha Ni scored quite high on her personal essay for confidence and creativity.

However, before she exits, she makes a sincere declaration to the interviewers that is rather persuasive. She says that even though she’s not good anything, she tries her best. The college can pick more accomplished students, some of which won’t put in the effort to make it to an interview because of pouring rain. Ha Ni says that she is slower than most people, but she never gives up and always finishes. She tells the interviewers that her nickname is Noah’s Snail, and asks Parang to please raise a snail this one time? (Okay, someone better make a snail stuffed animal for this show).

That night during dinner, Ha Ni is depressed thinking she bombed her interview, and then Seung Jo drops a bomb that he’s not intending to attend college and wants to go work. Ha Ni brings Seung Jo a midnight snack, with a gift of a fork (a Korean symbol to stick it, i.e. to succeed and do well), and encourages him to sit for tomorrow’s exam.

Seung Jo looks at her gift, reads her card, and smiles. In the morning, Seung Jo does head to the exam, but he has a cough, and everyone is worried. Ha Ni gives him some cold medicine, which he takes, and then she discovers it actually makes one drowsy.

She follows him to the exam site, and he tells her she’s supposed to be headed in the other direction. She screams a “fighting” and cheers him on, and Seung Jo looks back at her, and then waves a goodbye as he enters to take the exam. Gah, it’s these little teeny tiny moments between them which make me savor the slow but completely believable development of their relationship.

During the exam, Seung Jo’s vision gets blurry and he nods off. A girl classmate sitting near Seung Jo notices in distress the situation. A trio of mean girls led by head bitch Jang Mi goes and confronts Ha Ni about Seung Jo falling asleep during the exam, and says that its all Ha Ni’s fault and she has no right to continue to like Seung Jo.

Ha Ni is clearly distressed. At school, Seung Jo gets his score and it’s so high he remarks that it’s the first time he actually feels like he could be a genius. Ha Ni gets accepted to Parang University off the alternate list, and the entire family celebrates (and Seung Jo lurks outside smiling at the news, oh he’s such a softie). Mom gives tickets to Ha Ni to attend a stage musical production (of Goong! OMG, I was lurking to try to see Yunho as Prince Shin) as a treat, and tells her she will meet Ha Ni on Saturday. On the day of the musical, Mom lies that she’s stuck in traffic and can’t make it, so Ha Ni goes in alone.

During the performance, Seung Jo comes and sits down in the seat next to her. Ha Ni is startled upon seeing him, and he flicks his finger at the stage for her to stop staring at him and pay attention to the performance. When she keeps staring at him, he actually physically turns her head back to the stage. Mom is at home self-congratulating her successful plan to set up her beloved kids on a date, and Eun Jo is perturbed yet again. Oh, Eun Jo, you’re a mite young to understand the vagaries of young love.

After the show, they are walking home and Ha Ni pinches herself in happiness (she seriously is the sweetest, cutest little thing ever). Ha Ni asks whether Seung Jo will go to take a specific top university’s entrance exam, and Seung Jo is annoyed that college is all anyone wants to ask of him. Ha Ni tells Seung Jo he’s got such talent and smarts, and should have a goal in life, so that he can be happy living his life. Ha Ni tells Seung Jo that if he attends Parang University, she can make him happy.

Seung Jo picks a little stuffed animal for Ha Ni from a game machine as his celebratory present for her getting accepted to college, and she shrieks in giddiness. Of course, who happens to be nearby other than Joon Gu and his Bye Bye Sea posse. Joon Gu, Ha Ni, and Seung Jo sit down for a drink. Ha Ni tells Joon Gu she attended a musical with Seung Jo, and that he was the one who picked that stuffed animal for her.

Joon Gu disses the stuffed animal – telling Ha Ni it’s a cheap gift for her getting into college, and that’s it’s easy for someone to grab a stuffed animal from the machine. Seung Jo remains silent but looks annoyed. He finishes his drink, balls up the cup and accurately tosses it into the nearby trash can. Ha Ni is impressed, and Joon Gu one-ups Seung Jo by tossing his empty paper cup backwards into the same trash can. Seung Jo gets up, takes an empty can from a nearby table, heaves it into the air and the drop-kicks it into the same trash can! Joon Gu tries a backward drop-kick and ends up falling on his head. Heh, male posturing, always good for a laugh. And coming from Seung Jo, is absolutely drop-dead hilarious to watch.

Ha Ni sees the gamesmanship, which leads to another daydream where she is an European lady of the manor, Joon Gu her ardent admirer who is coming to possess her, and Seung Jo her beloved who comes to save her. First off, I swear this daydream scene was filmed in the same garden the You’re Beautiful scene was filmed (at the end of episode 1, where Mi Nam descends like a fairy and the A.N.Gell boys look at her as she walks through a garden of statutes). Second off, this is my fave daydream scene so far, bar none.

Anyways, daydream Joon Gu and Seung Jo unsheathe their swords (heh, sorry as I giggle for a extra minute here) and prepare to duel for Ha Ni’s honor. Seung Jo declares that if he dies in defense of Ha Ni, then he died for love (man, the dialogue in Ha Ni’s daydreams are…..engrossing). Might I say both Kim Hyun Joong and Lee Tae Sung look mighty fine dressed as European swordsman. Ha Ni cries for both men to stop, and she snaps out of her reverie to see Joon Gu and Seung Jo staring at her like she’s a mite crazy in the head.

The next day, Ha Ni follows Seung Jo out of the house to make sure he goes to take the university exam. She loses her new stuffed animal on the crosswalk, and runs back to retrieve it. A car runs into Ha Ni and she ends up at the hospital with some scratches and a broken leg. The family comes to visit her. Ha Ni immediately asks about Seung Jo, and is told that Seung Jo admitted her to the hospital, and then left to take the exam. Ha Ni is relieved, but then Seung Jo shows up to everyone’s surprise.

Thoughts of Mine:

First of all, another great episode. No filler, all forward momentum on the plot. At this point, there is actually quite a lot of plot. Too bad the plot is very mundane. I say too bad because even though I love PK, I know some folks will grouch that the very everydayness of its occurrences equals no interesting plot.

I find the very relatable matters like getting into college, giddiness of first dates, having things go wrong that seem so utterly important to you (like failing an interview, losing the data on your computer, giving the man you love cold medicine that causes him to fall asleep during an important exam), all very significant and meaningful in the context of PK, which is a realistic construct of their world.

So, simply throwaway scenes like Seung Jo chatting with Ha Ni about having something move your heart to beat faster, Ha Ni bringing Seung Jo a snack and some encouragement for his upcoming exam, etc., all very interesting to watch. In the world of PK, what is happening in the lives of Seung Jo and Ha Ni are indeed quite significant changes and plot movements. It just so happens that compared to other slightly similar dramas (like Boys Over Flowers or Goong), what happens in PK is grounded in reality.

That makes PK’s story less dramatic, but also conversely easier to enjoy on its face value. It’s a trade-off. I cannot wish BOF was less ridiculously over-the-top, since that made it so cracktastically entertaining. Similarly, I cannot wish PK was more heightened with tension, since it would negate the source material about two kids growing into adulthood together and finding lasting love with each other in everyday ways.

Lastly – Kim Hyun Joong was a tad flat in his delivery and performance in this episode, but redeemed himself by not busting out laughing when he filmed the daydream sword fighting sequences. In all seriousness, it’s clear that he can’t do quiet introspection without his portrayal coming off morose and stiff, but he can do angry, sly, witty, and teasing all very well. I think the problem is that it’s actually harder to act cold, aloof, stiff but present a world of emotions, however tightly wound those emotions are, through only the window of your eyes and little else. Overall, I like Kim Hyun Joong’s performance in PK, but it’s becoming clear he’s likely never going to be an consummate actor able to tackle any role.

Jung So Min continues to be perfection as Ha Ni. If Seung Jo doesn’t want her, I bet a million boys will be lined up around the block for her. But of course, Joon Gu gets the first position. Unless he’s been slayed by Seung Jo’s “sword.” 😛

[credit: screencaps from, news articles, and from MBC stills].


Playful Kiss Episode 5 Recap — 18 Comments

  1. Just wondered onto your website in my search for PK recaps!! Am I so glad to have found you! Well written recap that satisfies my PK craving. thanks! You are absolutely right on about how PK doesn’t have any earth shattering or dramatic themes but it’s poignant with it’s day-to-day stuff as one journeys on their first love. Despite the lack of a gripping script, I’m still clamoring to watch the next and it makes me giggle no end with it’s many funny moments. (I’ve added your blog onto my favourites!)

  2. you know what they say about good things are even better when they’re brief? it doesn’t apply to good recaps – they’re better looooooooooong. gives me more to enjoy!

    However, this episode absolutely cements why I Hani’s version of the character most! She’s a little on the dim side, but here, not only does she know it, she tries hard to make the best of her life anyways, by giving it her all – even to declaring to her audience that she is Noah’s snail, but asking, nay… almost demanding.. that we like her anyway! and we DO!

    Eun jo however, I’m waiting for the drama itself to make any judgment. I can see how on paper he might not be that cute, but in the original Japanese version, I ADORED this little chap. He actually looked a little like a high school friend’s brother (when I watched it, I was actually still in high school).

    but I’m not worried about the lack of plot at all. the charm of this story was never in the plot but the relationships that the characters have that reflect our own and make us feel for them and for ourselves. if they want plot, tell them naysayers to go watch BOF then. Or Autumn Tale. If they tried to insert a faux-incest storyline in here, I’d just switch off the tv. pick it up. and aim it at that trashcan myself!

    ps. when u say u were lurking to see Uknow as Shin… pls elaborate…. as in near the theatre? in Korea? oh god I wanna WATCH IT. i’m sorry to the makjang-baker fans out there but I’d give up the finale of my Bread, Love and Dreams to watch that musical on DVD, with subtitles.

    pps. tqtqtqtq for the amazing and amazingly FAST recaps!

  3. thanks for the recap. I like the pace of the drama and the fact that it isn’t too dramatic with all the so called twists and plots.

  4. ockoala,
    Loving your view & reviews of “Playful Kiss”.
    I was looking for this after reading the one you did for Thundie. 🙂

    “Fork” as “stick to it” is a much better explanation than what I thought. i.e. “pig” —> “wealth” —> success. 🙂

    “Noah’s Snail”‘s impassioned plea even got through to the lime-sucking interviewer… who started to look like she switched to tangerine-sucking by mistake. 😀

    … cough cough … So who’s sword was bigger & longer? LOL

    Oh Ha Ni is seriously cute in this episode.
    Director Hwang In Roe seems to be allowing Jung So Min to use her own expressions instead of directing her to emulate Yoon Eun Hye as Shin Chae Kyung.

    I liked the development of the sub-plot of Hwang Geum Hee wanting Ha Ni as a member of her family. Not only a million boys are lined up around the block for her, with Joon Gu in the first position… but this old man is in that line too. All the girls in my family are fully adult and married… It’d be great to have an adorable teenage girl again. 🙂

  5. Hi everyone! – wow, lots of comments already, thank you all so much for taking the time to let me know your thoughts on PK the drama, and on my PK recaps. My goal is really speed over quality. I know how many people are dying to watch PK with subs, which are usually not available for quite some time. So I wanted the recaps to help sate everyone’s love for PK until you can watch it. I usually have lots of after-thoughts after the post goes up, but I leave that for the next recap. I’m glad in my haste to get the recaps up it’s not an incoherent gibbering mess. I’m more organized and prepared when I write reviews for Thundie’s. At AKP, it’s all fun and games, so please keep commenting. I love to meet new drama friends and share drama thoughts.

  6. I’m a KHJ fan ..and even I nodded reluctantly at your analysis of his acting skill. Well, he’s a musician first. If he wants to be excellent in the acting world, I think he needs to enroll in some acting workshops. But I’m currently enjoying any emotions he’s feeding us via this drama. It’s so rare to see KHJ looking anything but even-tempered and calm in his public appearances.. so I’m not gonna complain about our (us fans) good fortune.. hehe

    I love Hani, this drama works mostly coz of her.. nuff said. Thanks for the recap and the explanations on some cultural stuff like the fork. Was wondering ’bout that.

    Love to see KHJ in the european prince get-up. That’s one too many screencaps that’ll end up in way too many screensavers.. 😛

  7. I really am enjoying your recaps. Your thoughts and opinions pretty much mirror my own. Well except for one but I won’t get into the Hyun Joong acting debate because I am enjoying every single second of his performance and that is enough for me. What I will say is that when you give your opinion, whether it be positive or negative, you at least try to give a little insight as to why you have that opinion. I greatly appreciate and respect that.

  8. Thanks so much for this recap. I love it that your goal is to be fast, and I don’t think that somethings lacking in the quality area either. ^-^
    I can’t wait for your recap of the next episode.

  9. Congratulations, koalasplayground. Your summation of the interplay within this episode is excellent and absolutely spot on. I wonder what you might have to say about the “Boys Over Flowers” series. I’m sure it would be well worth reading.

    Personally, I have found over half a dozen classic plot lines in that manga-based show, much to its credit. Again, how nice to see such an articulate appraisal by you of “Playful Kiss”.

    Feel free to contact me if you wish. I would look forward to collaborating with you on critiques of other Korean dramas like “Iris”, “Athena” and “The Woman Who Still Wants To Marry”.

    Again, yours is a commendably accurate appraisal of what I consider to be some truly welcome and refreshing Korean drama productions. Please keep up the good work.


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