K-Drama Couch Recap: “The Penthouse: War In Life 2” Episodes 3 & 4

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Wrapped in maddening plot flow and intriguing mysteries, The Penthouse 2 further heightens the already tension-filled narrative.

Episodes 3 and 4 gave us a seesaw of powerplay between Oh Yoon Hee (Eugene) and Cheon Seo Jin (Kim So Yeon). As Seo Jin gradually loses grip of her status, how will she fare against the relentless Yoon Hee who is now brave enough to go head to head with her?

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Episode Recaps: 01 & 02 | 03 & 04 | 05 & 06 | 07 & 08 | 09 & 10 | 11 & 12

Episodes 3 & 4 Recap

Oh Yoon Hee Gets The Upper Hand

Episode 3 opens with the continuation of Seo Jin and Yoon Hee’s confrontation. Seo Jin is extremely flabbergasted as Yoon Hee reveals herself as her ghost singer in the concert. It shocks her to the core after learning that Yoon Hee’s vocal cords have been fixed through a surgery.

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Yoon Hee then mockingly tells Seo Jin the ironic truth that the voice she destroyed years ago now saved her for such a grand event she can’t afford to mess up. It’s all thanks to Logan Lee (Park Eun Seok) who helped her with the surgery in the US.

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Just then, reporters flock at Seo Jin’s dressing room where they found Yoon Hee hugging Seo Jin. Smirking at the taste of victory that evening, Yoon Hee promises that things are just about to begin between the two of them.

After the event, Yoon Hee heads straight to Shim Su Ryeon’s (Lee Ji Ah) grave. To atone her sins, she promises to go after Su Ryeon’s tormentors. Meanwhile, the elite members of Hera Club celebrate the successful concert of their queen bee. Everyone expresses their awe with the soprano’s flawless performance, with emphasis on her perfect hitting of the “high F” note.

The festive ambience, however, instantly turns awkward at the mention of Oh Yoon Hee’s name. Mrs. Kang and the others insist that they have seen Yoon Hee at the event. This makes the stone-cold Seo Jin snaps out of the celebration.

Bae Ro Na Returns To Cheong A Arts High School

The scene flashes back to when Yoon Hee was still living with her daughter, Bae Ro Na (Kim Hyun Soo), in America. She then confesses to her about killing Min Seol A (Jo Su Min). Yoon Hee’s brave revelation, as expected, ruined Ro Na as the latter could not bring herself to accept the fact that her mother has killed someone.

To fulfill her promise to Logan, Yoon Hee plans to return to Korea. There was one thing she asked of him though, it’s to take care of Ro Na as his own sister and to never let her return to Korea.

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But Ro Na, now getting rebellious, comes back at her own will and decides to re-enroll at Cheong A Arts High School. To have her allowed for re-enrollment, she presents Seo Jin, the school directress, her certificate of winning a prestigious international singing competition. That makes Ro Na eligible for re-enrolment under the school’s guidelines.

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Believing that it’s Yoon Hee’s ploy to trap her, Seo Jin has no choice but to take Ro Na as a returning student. It was revealed though that Yoon Hee was clueless about her daughter’s return to Korea until Seo Jin infuriatingly calls her about Ro Na’s re-enrollment.

Now re-admitted at the school, Ro Na comes to Yoo Jenny’s (Jin Ji Hee) rescue after seeing how the Little Hera Club bully her. But Ro Na’s defiant stance against the bullies once again puts her in trouble. She is accused of hurting Lee Min Hyuk (Lee Tae Vin) as the latter slipped on a can of soda and broke his arm. She is immediately subjected to disciplinary action which will jeopardize her re-enrollment.

Not heeding her mother’s advice, Ro Na, on her knees, pleads to Seo Jin to let this slide, notwithstanding the fact that she had nothing to do with Min Hyuk’s injury. Seeing Ro Na desperately asking for her approval, Seo Jin takes this as her chance to use the girl against her mother.

Seo Jin tells Ro Na that she is willing to go into a compromise with her, that is if she signs a written agreement that her mother, Yoon Hee, won’t cause any conflicts with her again. Ro Na agrees with Seo Jin’s condition.

Joo Dan Tae’s Suspicion

Yoon Cheol sneaks into Seo Jin’s hotel suite and attempts to kiss her. Just then, Chairman Joo arrives at the room. Seo Jin immediately hides Yoon Cheol inside the closet.

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Surprising his fiancée, Chairman Joo Dan Tae (Uhm Ki Joon) gifts her with luxurious dresses kept inside the closet. Yoon Cheol, somehow, manages to hide beneath the clothes. Seo Jin then excuses herself for the night and tells Chairman Joo that something came up with her mother and she has to see her.

But few minutes after the two set off for their respective ways, Seo Jin returns to the hotel where she confronts Yoon Cheol. He sneeringly tells her to not take his advances seriously as he just finds satisfaction seeing things shake up between her and Chairman Joo.

The following day, Chairman Joo summons Seo Jin to his office. Scandalous photos began circulating which show Seo Jin and another man being intimate with each other. He confronts Seo Jin about the rumor which she straightforwardly denies.

This, however, serves a double blow against the chairman as aside from the humiliation he faces, his business stock plunges in a record low.

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Storming into Yoon Cheol’ office, Seo Jin surprises herself after seeing Chairman Joo in the same room. This further raises the chairman’s suspicion that the former couple are sneaking behind his back to rekindle their relationship.

The chairman took the trouble to personally ask Yoon Cheol if he was the man in the scandalous photo with Seo Jin. But Yoon Cheol gives him an outright denial about the issue.

Ha Eun Byeol & Joo Seok Kyung’s Bullying Schemes

At school, Ha Eun Byeol (Choi Ye Bin) and Joo Seok Kyung (Han Ji Hyun) agree to connive against Ro Na. Seok Kyung still believes that Yoon Hee murdered her mother, Su Ryeon, despite the court ruling declaring her innocence.

Eun Byeol, on the other hand, envies Ro Na as she knows that Joo Seok Hoon (Kim Dae Young) still has feelings for the latter.

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Their teacher sets the students in groups to prepare them for their audition for the prestigious Cheong A singing competition. Eun Byeol will face Ro Na in a showdown format, while Seok Kyung will go up against Jenny.

But just few hours before the audition, Seok Kyung throws a pale of red paint on Ro Na as she passes the hallway. Jenny is kind enough to offer Ro Na some help, at least for that instance.

With just few minutes before the audition, the two, however, are stuck inside the restroom as Ro Na tries to clean herself. Both Seok Kyung and Eun Byul lock them up inside.

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Jenny reveals that she knew this scheme all along and blames Ro Na  for being bullied too. But just in the nick of time, someone smashes the glass door, and both girls manage to break out. It was later revealed that Seok Hoon was the one who secretly helped them.

Running late at the audition, Ro Na, all messy with paint all over her uniform, demands for a chance to deliver her piece. Seo Jin firmly declines her request and emphasizes the importance of punctuality.

Ro Na confesses that she and Jenny had been locked up by Eun Byeol and Seok Kyung inside the restroom. Unfortunately, Jenny disproves her claim and instead pins Ro Na as the bully.

Yoo Jenny’s Confession

With no one believing her side of the story, Ro Na breaks down thinking she blew her chances by failing to participate at the audition. Yoon Hee, who have seen everything, watches her daughter from afar. She comes to comfort Ro Na and promises to fix things for her that she can still compete in the prestigious contest.

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For the meantime, Yoon Hee and Ro Na have to sit before the school board where everyone is already showing partiality against the poor girl. Unable to hold her anger, Mrs. Kang violently attacks Ro Na and accuses her of bullying her daughter, Jenny.

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Jenny suddenly burst onto the scene confessing that Ro Na’s claims  are true. She then details how Seok Kyung, Eun Byeol and Min Hyuk made her do things against her will. To support the allegations, she hands Seo Jin the recorded videos of the school violence orchestrated by Little Hera Club, sans Seok Hoon. Yoon Hee firmly tells everyone that she will report these incidents to the Education Board.

The scandal puts Seok Kyung in big trouble which also means she might take the fall alone. She will then be stripped off her chances of participating in the Cheong A Arts Festival.

Thanks to her mother, Eun Byeol has high chances of getting away with her misdeeds. But Seok Kyung knows how to play the dirty game against Seo Jin. She accidentally saw the video of Seo Jin pushing her father down the stairs which killed him outright. And it’s something she will use to trump Seo Jin with the latter’s plan of incriminating her in the school scandal.

Episodes 3 & 4 Afterthoughts

The Penthouse 2’s second week rolled with intensified thrill as protagonists and villains move to closer proximities, albeit still in different circles. Cheon Seo Jin lost her absolute grasp of power the moment she learned that Oh Yoon Hee was her ghost singer.

That’s a secret she can’t afford to let out, which in that case, gave Yoon Hee the upper hand against her. I was loving the shift of power as Yoon Hee got to turn Seo Jin into a lapdog. Unfortunately, it was short-lived as Bae Ro Na returns to the scene.

Ro Na’s presence brought 180-degree change in the course of powerplay. Desperate to get into Cheong A Arts School again, I disliked her rebellious attitude towards her mother. I understand that learning about her mother’s killing of Seol A stripped off the image of a perfect mother she had about Yoon Hee. But to rather kiss Seo Jin’s hands and not heed her mother’s words infuriated me.

I think it was so selfish of Ro Na to let her mother yield into Seo Jin’s whims, not especially when things are working in Yoon Hee’s favor. At the end of episode 4 though, it was good to see her fully trusting her mother again. After all, no one else would unconditionally save her but her mother.

In every series I watch, I am always for justice to be served regardless if the protagonist unintentionally perpetrated the crime. That said, I still hope for a major twist that Yoon Hee isn’t Seol A’s killer. It would be saddening to see her serve a sentence in prison.

The woman has suffered enough to endure yet another hardship. Evading prosecution, on the other hand, being the drama’s protagonist, would be a big loophole in the story’s main points about the concept of justice.

Another great highlight for this week was Jenny’s redemption of her flawed character. All throughout the first season, she displayed an appalling attitude towards Ro Na, until she became sympathetic to her in the first episode of Season 2.

But becoming friends with Ro Na made her an object of bullying herself. This somehow gave her a taste of her own medicine. But having the courage to stand up against her oppressors is laudable.

Meanwhile, the identity of the student who gruesomely fell from the  stone stairs at the night of the grand competition is still a mystery. The escalating conflict between Seo Jin and Chairman Joo’s daughter, Seok Kyung makes me think that the young lady is Seok Kyung. But I can only speculate so much for now.

The series is becoming even more engrossing as the story progresses. Catch The Penthouse: War In Life 2 at SBS channel every Fridays and Saturday. It’s also available for streaming through Viu app.

Watch Episodes 3 & 4 Highlights:

Images & Video: SBS

Streaming Platform: Viu

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