Discussing The Queen’s Classroom (Ep 7-12) with TenLotus

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What has went down in Teacher Ma’s classroom during the middle episodes may seem like something out of a story book, but in one way or another it manifests itself in schools all over the world. We had a kid attempting arson, another bullying the weak even going as far to inflict punishment with a bat (good thing he was stopped), and students coming close to kissing death. The Queen’s Classroom does well in getting around to each character’s story, and it doesn’t totally let the students who are not part of the main cast not have their moment to shine. Teacher Ma continues to bring me to tears because she is really there for the benefit of the children. As we learn more about her, it seems her background will be very empowering. TenLotus and I have yet again taken the challenge of delving into the savory goodness The Queen’s Classroom has to offer. If you will, don’t be shy to lend us your thoughts as well 🙂

Visit Tidal Kpop where TenLotus posted her version of this discussion 🙂

TenLotus: I think it’s fair to say that a lot has happened since our last conversation. Overall, I was pretty happy with where some of the stories went in these 6 episodes. We got some life-ending decisions and some life-saving choices, all in a day’s work for these 6th graders. It has been such a pleasure watching the child actors carry out their characters roles perfectly. For me, the interesting developments were learning about Seo Hyeon and Teacher Ma’s story. What about you?

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Analogueblues: This drama has a way of bringing out all my feels. I usually don’t cry, but during these past few episodes I found myself tearing up a bit. It’s amazing to me that these kiddies are experiencing such challenging life lessons, but i’m assured with Teacher Ma on board that she is helping them along the way. It’s a pleasure to see that even though the class still acts up from time to time, they are still humane. For example, when Do Jin came along and enticed his so called friends to start a gang, they explained to him that in their class, no one succumbs to that level. I was actually moved when they told him that…it means they aren’t completely heartless.

TenLotus: I did have reservations at first when the whole class called out for their freedom, but am happy that at least for the moment, they are coming together to make it a better experience for everyone. The re-introduction of Kim Do Jin had me laughing a little bit since the last we saw of him, he was kissing Ha Na and after learning of his transgressions with another girl, Ha Na had wished for him to get struck by lightning in Canada.

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 In terms of the purpose it serves and the intrigue it brings, I am on board with the writers bringing him back. It gives the class a new dynamic and also the love-line it lacked (even though I am a Dong Goo Ha Na shipper), which I for one am not wishy-washy about but seeing how it hasn’t done that well ratings wise, it might give it a boost. Regarding his character, I was ready to forgive him when he explained his situation to Ha Na but then he started infuriating me by taking advantage Son In Bo.

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Analogueblues: Isn’t that something. Why does love have to become a factor in order for ratings to rise. This is a perfect drama without any romance, but like you, Dong Goo X Ha Na forever 😀 I definitely agree that bringing back Kim Do Jin was a smart move on the writers part. Now i know why they first showed us that scene, should’ve known that we would run into him again. I think even more importantly than him and Ha Na’s relationship is what he means to Teacher Ma. The Principal went to go talk to her numerous times to make sure that he wasn’t causing problems like the last kid that turned out sour with her. Wait. What other kid? Well, this is a secret that is still waiting to be revealed. To Teacher Ma, Do Jin is her second chance to make things right, just as he is getting a second chance to turn his life around. I was completely moved when she held him before he attempted suicide, and basically told him that if he wanted to die, he needed to pull her down and die with her.

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 He also serves as a foil for Dong Goo who is also an orphan but chose to embrace the idea that you should live life to its fullest even if there’s a dark cloud looming over you. I am also happy that they ended Do Jin’s situation in 2 episodes. They kept it short and sweet, we don’t really need to drag it out. And the class happily welcomed him back! I laughed when Na Ri was tearing up telling him that they also have done worse things. YEA GIRL, YOU TRIED TO BURN DOWN THE SCHOOL. Crazy.

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TenLotus: Watching the episodes, I couldn’t help but feel like kicking off Na Ri’s mom from the Tribe of Mothers because of her manipulative ways. It was such a nice sight seeing her smile from the glass of her car after Na Ri’s ceremonial welcome back from the kids and just when I thought she had changed for good. I didn’t like how she tried to conspire and make Do Jin a device in trying to get Teacher Ma in trouble. It was indeed a clean wrap up, and the class kids are so good at welcoming people back, not so much at making them feel welcomed in the first place.

The topic of Na Ri trying to burn down the school feels like the elephant in the room. The whole scene was intense! It had me at the edge of my seat. If there’s one thing I can give credit to in regards to Teacher Ma’s character, it has to be her way of handling emergency situations involving the kids, but she sure was lucky with the lighter turning off on its own at that crucial moment. It has indeed been a crazy ride witnessing two grade schoolers have close brushes with death, and it was really crazy when Na Ri said, “I said go. Before I start the fire.”

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Analogueblues: But I’ve been putting a negative connotation to the Tribe of Mothers, so i’m not sure I want to kick off Na Ri’s mom. They love their children yes, but too much to the point where they want to decide what they do with their lives. It’s expected from Na Ri’s mom that she’s trying to ruin Teacher Ma. She was totally humiliated that time when she managed to isolate Na Ri and her friends from the other kids during the volunteer service. She’s a determined character, and it sucks to see that she is willing to put to shame the very person who has helped change her daughter for the better. If anything you should be focusing on your child and not on some teacher who even though is secretive, has set out to provide the best educational experience for your child. I’m not expecting her to stop digging into Ma’s life, I myself want to know more about Ma…but they way she is going about it is a bit dirty.Screen Shot 2013-08-04 at 3.24.57 PM

Because of this controlling nature of hers and her desire to remain as the top mom around, Na Ri hit rock bottom in ep 7+8. But of course the mighty Teacher Ma was there to give her some vital words, “Real self-respect is the courage to assertively admit that you are wrong.” This is still a lesson that Na Ri’s mom herself has not learned but thank goodness her daughter has. Not only her daughter, but the rest of the class was present to hear these wise words. Bo Mi also came to repentance and i’m happy to see her and Ha Na as bffl’s.

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TenLotus: That was great quote. I don’t particularly like the mothers’ ways but they are at the end of the day, still trying. Also, did I misunderstand or is Na Ri’s mother having an affair with the vice-principal? She did say that their relationship wasn’t simply a teacher parent one, but beyond that. That was a really strange development, one I don’t have much interest in, but it would still be devastating nonetheless for Na Ri. It was particularly at the museum after the stairs talk and eavesdrop session that I knew a turning point wouldn’t be far off in terms of Na Ri’s character developments. It was good seeing Na Ri apologize and Ha Na heading the movement to bring her back to school, I shed a tear or two along with Na Ri when she was watching the video the class send pleading for her to come back and not go study abroad.

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The drama did a great job with the story of Bo Mi. She has come a long way and I am enjoying watching her smile and have a good time at school. In one of the only instances of exposure of her subconscious, she had an interesting thought on teachers, “Why don’t we accept help? Because it doesn’t help.” During her worst conflicted times, she clutched hard onto her drawing book and drew, showing her streams of conscious, putting into action what she held back. Even though I am satisfied, I wouldn’t mind seeing her be more forthcoming. The reconciliation scene between her and Ha Na after the torment of the loan sharks on Bo Mi’s mother was really heartwarming.

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Analogueblues: Since i’m writing this when i’ve already seen ep 13 and a bit of 14, I can voucher for the fact that Na Ri’s omma is definitely not in a relationship with the Vice Principal. Oh dear God no. She’s so high and mighty, I don’t think she would settle for him. I think it’s more along the lines that she probably helped the Vice Principal get to where he is. You know in dramaland, once you help someone out, you are basically selling your soul to them.

Yessss I love what they did with Bo Mi’s character and how she has finally been enlightened in terms of who her real friends are. It’s funny that she said that because it’s right on the mark, especially concerning the other 6th grade teachers who fail to sincerely help their kids. Time and time again, Teacher Ma is always calling them out on trying to take the shortcut because it is in fact the easy way out.

I’m glad that finally her conscious convicted her to follow her heart and do the right thing. She has now become a character who supports Ha Na, but quietly sits on the sidelines and watches over her. And what I love about her is that she intrudes when she has to, but also lays back and listens out for others. I can’t believe I feel completely different about her than when I first did…I knew I was going to change my mind about her, but it’s funny to look back and see that with the simplest things, people can change. Speaking about relationships…we have a little buddy-buddy thing brewing up between Dong Goo and Seo Hyeon. Gosh, they are so alike I just can’t get enough of them. Oh Dong Goo may not be as smart with books like Seo Hyeon, but when it comes to the heart, he is a scholar.

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TenLotus: Thank Goodness! I didn’t want any more of the makjang elements incorporated. Whew! Little Bo Mi looked so adorable with her bangs tied up in an apple hairstyle the first day of the 2nd semester. Me too, now I can’t even believe I once didn’t like her when she turned her back on Ha Na during the dance performance. Seems like the whole class flinches at the slightest things except for the trio consisting of Shim Ha Na, Kim Seo Hyeon and Oh Dong Goo. They switch their alliances at lightspeed. I guess that’s the beauty of being a child, their principles are still going through a period of growth. Yes, Oh Dong Goo was like a philosopher, all the scenes shot during Madam Oh’s stay at the hospital were beautiful. Is it just me or has the cinematography improved?

We have to talk about Madam Oh. I can’t believe she is going to die. Oh Dong Goo seriously has to be one tough cookie, the drama keeps throwing curve balls at him. I also have to give the director props for handling Madam Oh’s character the way they have, as a viewer, I felt a slight sting when Ha Na called her grandfather instead of grandmother as she likes to be known. It was good seeing them tackle gender dysphoria, especially in a drama currently airing in South Korea. And let me say, Madam Oh looked dashing in the colorful suits. I’ve talked for far too long, would you take the lead on Seo Hyeon’s development so far?

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Analogueblues: I don’t feel the cinematography changed too much since the beginning. They have always focused on creating a mysterious tone and making sure they fully capture the emotions of characters. I don’t think they have really  changed in that aspect.

As I previously mentioned, I feel that Oh Dong Goo and Kim Seo Hyeon are very similar, in that they both have a person in their life they are close to and will eventually have to let them go. Who would think that Seo Hyeon, a girl who on the outside looks like her life is perfectly normal is going through such a troubling time. She had to come to face with letting her father go, and the guilt she has carried all this time has been keeping her in misery. Even though she is so young, she has already learned from her mistake. She made sure to tell Dong Goo about Madame Oh’s sickness so that he doesn’t go through what she did. Both of them now know that spending their youth hating someone is a waste of time, they have learned to embrace any happiness they can share with that person before it’s too late. I think this is a lesson that a lot of people learn when it’s all over, so to see both of them taking this on at a tender age is very courageous.

As for Dong Goo taking all the hits, I believe it’s because he is probably the strongest character in that entire drama. I commend Ha Na for being the way she is even without having the circumstances that Dong Goo has. But he has been able to survive without much adult supervision and is still such an amazing boy. Teacher Ma needs to harsh on him because even though he is the strongest, he can be the most vulnerable. Using excuses like he doesn’t have a mom, so he shouldn’t care. Teacher Ma said, “All problems can’t be solved with a sincere heart” and again she is totally on the mark. I love that he has a heart of pure gold, but I wish he would make something out of himself in terms of school work. Now that Madame Oh is on the verge of departing from us, it is important that he learns that having fun with friends isn’t the only thing to life.

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TenLotus: Then, it must have been the scenery change. In the beginning, it had too much of a dry summer feel. I really want both Eun Bo Mi and Oh Dong Goo to do well in their studies. The episodes made me feel teary a lot of times, especially when Oh Dong Goo was giving Seo Hyeon heads up on her cold behavior towards her mother [the SHUT YOUR MOUTH! line from Seo Hyeon forever ringing]. I wholeheartedly agree on Oh Dong Goo being the strongest character, even though his indifference towards education has to be frustrating for Teacher Ma, who has used all kinds of tactics against him. Education can go a long way in making one a rational person, which means being less ignorant about the world.

Am I selfish for wanting Oh Dong Goo to be adopted by Seo Hyeon’s mom? Seo Hyeon was right in her assessment of their relationship, “You guys fit well together.”

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Analogueblues: I am so glad that you brought that up because I was thinking the exact.same.thing. while I was watching those episodes. Seo Hyeon’s mom likes him so much…I hoped she would be able take on that responsibility. But if you keep watching, you’ll see what happens 🙂 And i’ll leave that at that.

On another note, our lovely Ha Na continues to grow into a fine young lady!

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TenLotus: Indeed! Ha Na had a big hand in most of the character developments, during the turmoil with Na Ri, she was always an understanding friend, almost to a fault. After Na Ri went missing before her near arson incident, it was so uplifting seeing Ha Na stick by her friend’s side, even taking the lead on the search saying, “Are you going to make Na Ri an outcast like me?” Ha Na was herself as always, almost a typecast, meaning in a good way, at this point. Her pizza date with her mom made me happy. Though her episodes weren’t without their share of injuries, it was a nice change seeing the kids reflect more after seeing her being flinged across the glass window facing the hallway.

With that, how about making our way into the deep ocean and examining Teacher Ma. We talked in our last post so much about her. I liked her much better in these episodes, her power much restricted due to the autonomy demand from the class. I did however scratch my head seeing her trying to recruit Bo Mi again as a spy. Overall, the revelation of her time in jail did surprise me and her little kid dying? That must have been painful to deal with, seeing as how she was smiling in her photo with her child displayed outside his memorial.

Analogueblues: Teacher Ma rocks!

TenLotus: Is that a collection of rocks? One that displays no emotions and appears everywhere?

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Analogueblues: On the contrary, Teacher Ma’s emotions have been slipping out quite a lot these past episodes. We have started to see even more sly smiles, watery eyes, and a look of concern hinting that there is actually a human heart beating inside of her. So she seems to be a teacher with a very interesting background. Fair enough. Na Ri’s mom has targeted her, and slowly we have come to learn about the whole jail secret, and her having a child, and her husband dying. This lady has some serious scars, and not just the one that is on her neck. The drama has continued to do well in keeping everything about her shady. I was so happy to see that the kids attempted to follow her, but they failed which is expected.

Teacher Ma keeps moving me to tears with all her lessons. I believe that even if Na Ri’s mom tries to take her down, the kids will stand up for her. I’m not sure if Ma Force has just put up a facade to hide all the hurt she might be feeling, but i’m counting on the fact that her class has slowly impacted her in ways that are unknown to them. I especially give credit to the principal for carefully watching over her. She knows Teacher Ma just wants the best for her kiddies, but she warns Ma that a balance is needed, and someday they will have to learn for themselves. “If you only think about the results and go too far and hurt the children’s hearts, then I wonder if it really is medicine.” Such a lovely saying from the principal!

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TenLotus: Well, I am in agreement with you regarding all your points about her. She would make an even more amazing teacher after she finds a balance. I mean, which teacher holds special school sessions free of charge during the summer? At this point, I won’t even try to argue about her intentions, they seem to be set in the right directions, all for improving the students’ lives. As Oh Dong Goo the philosopher says, “She might be watching us through a satellite.”

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Analogueblues: It has been an ultimate pleasure seeing these kids go through their struggles but in the end overcoming them. As we draw even closer to the end of The Queen’s Classroom, I am looking forward to the rebellious quad to ultimately prove to Teacher Ma that it was worth fighting against her. Actually, they probably don’t need to prove anything to her, she knows that they need to go against her in order for her lessons to work. Teacher Ma reminded her class, “When people gain freedom they are so ecstatic at the moment together, but soon after they forget what they fought for.” We know that even if the class loses their fighting momentum in the end(which they most likely won’t), Shim Ha Na, Oh Gong Doo, Kim Seo Hyeon, and Eun Bo Mi will stick it out till the end.

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I get this really warm feeling inside that once this class graduates, they will go onto middle school becoming the Ha Na wherever they end up. I’m expecting that off in middle school, they will run into kids even worst than some in their elementary school class, but because of what Teacher Ma has taught them, they will be willing to listen to their heart and stand up for what they believe in. Unfortunately Ma Force won’t be there to hold their hand until they become adults, which is why she is hitting them hard now. Learn now, before it’s too late. What are you expecting at the end of this TenLotus? You might have to help me pick up the bajillion pieces this drama will shatter my heart into. I get a wee bit emotional when it comes to thinking about how awesome Teacher Ma is.

TenLotus: As always, the ultimate Ma fan. I will of course as an unnie be there to comfort you. But first, I would need to keep my own emotions in check. This one class has offered tons of dynamics that I am afraid I am not yet ready to let them fly free yet. Can I wish for a second season? If other dramas less interesting can have one, why not for this as well? But there is the issue of a storyline, anyways, it has been a wondrous ride and I will be watching the next final four episodes with a newfound drive.

When the kids go off on their journey to middle school, I imagine they will have outlived their lives as caterpillars and will now be assuming as a butterfly in their next steps, stronger and wiser. Just like the butterfly that in the beginning of the drama was always following Teacher Ma, I imagine that she will be the one always with them in spirit. I expect that they will look back with nostalgia on their experiences and smile at the flip-flops and gangster behaviors, all while living out their current situation with dignity and compassion. I can’t thank you, Analogueblues enough for enduring all my schedule changes and my own flip-flops. It has been quite the ride so far [one last post on Ep. 13-16 to go] and an amazing experience talking about a drama I’ve come to deeply cherish. Till then, see you next time!

Analogueblues: Teacher Ma…SARANGHAEYO! ❤ Till next time!

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The Queen’s Classroom has already taken a permanent vacation, but for those who are finishing up its last run like TenLotus and I, I hope we all get a really awesome ending. And for those who already finished it, shhh..No spoilers 😉 

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