The Netflix Korean drama Twenty-Five Twenty-One has global audiences glued to their screens. The coming-of-age comedy romance K-drama centers on a fencer named Na Hee-do and her growing relationship with Baek Yi-jin. While fans are in it for the life journey, Twenty-Five Twenty-One Episode 9 and 10 reignited fan discussions over the age-gap relationship.
[Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for Twenty-Five Twenty-One.]
Baek Yi-jin reveals his feelings to Na Hee-do in ‘Twenty-Five Twenty-One’ Episode 9
Fans can agree episode nine of the K-drama changed the tide of the storyline. When Hee-do goes to finally meet her online chat room pal, she is led to believe it is Yi-jin. In reality, it is Yoo-rim who can’t bear to face Hee-do after treating her badly. Yoo-rim gives Yi-jin her yellow flower and makes his promise not to tell Hee-do.
As the episode goes on, Yoo-rim feels guilty having treated Hee-do horribly since day one. After Hee-do beats up bullies who were speaking ill of Yoo-rim, she learns the truth. Fans finally see the two characters embark on their friendship. Meanwhile, Yi-jin is making a documentary about Hee-do, Yoo-rim, and the events at the Asian Games.
Fans notice a shift in Yi-jin. He looks at Hee-do more fondly and with adoration. At the end of Twenty-Five Twenty-One Episode 9, Hee-do and Yi-jin stop by the side of the road to look at a rainbow. Hee-do admits she is trying to figure out her feelings for Yi-jin and describes it like a rainbow. But Yi-jin reveals the rainbow means love.
Fans gasped as Yi-jin reveals, “Love. It’s love. I love you, Hee Do. I don’t need a rainbow.” The confession sparks the inklings of an age-gap romance in Twenty-Five Twenty-One that has fans divided once again.
Fans were unsure if they wanted to see an age-gap romance in ‘Twenty-Five Twenty-One’
The K-drama synopsis and trailer elude that a romance could happen between Yi-jin and Hee-do. But fans were initially not keen on the idea. They felt it was bizarre to see Hee-do, 19, possibly date Yi-jin, 23. Many fans love the drama for its life lessons. In Twenty-Five Twenty-One Episodes 9 and 10, the age-gap relationship is further hinted at.
Yi-jin becomes cuter with his actions toward Hee-do. According to Koreaboo, fans are not pleased with the shift in story and romance. Fans’ comments talk about the age difference that seems inappropriate for most Korean audiences.
“I think by Episode 10, the plot should’ve fast-forwarded so Hee Do is an adult. When Yi Jin started talking about love at the end of Episode 9, I assumed they’d move on to adulthood. But nope, she’s still a minor,” said one fan.
While the age gap is not extreme by most American standards, foreign audiences see it differently. Looking at Hee-do, she is still young with an innocent mindset. While Yi-jin is a working man after his family becomes bankrupt. A fan also pointed out that viewers could see the relationship as a justification like the romance in Guardian: The Lonely and Great God.
Could the K-drama storyline take another turn?
Yi-jin’s confession was received with mixed reactions. Some fans theorize a romance does not take place until a few years later as the trailer implied. In the trailer, Hee-do narrates they fell in love when she was 21 and he was 25. Some fans believe Yi-jin’s words have a double meaning.
“You see, this has nothing to do with what you think of me. Whatever you do, or no matter what you look like, I’m in love with you for who you are,” said Yi-jin to Hee-do. It could be that Yi-jin loves Hee-do not as a love interest but for what they have gone through together emotionally. A fan on Reddit believes Yi-jin is not looking for a romance yet.
“Really loved how Yi-jin responded too about how his love isn’t really dependent on whether she loves him back too. And it’s perfect as she is obviously not there yet in terms of how she sees the world and feels things. So nothing is pushed. No relationship is defined. It’s her discovering what she feels for him and him being certain of what he feels for her,” said the fan.
By the present-day scenes, fans speculate something happened between Hee-do, Yi-jin, and her friends as they grew older. Fans will have to see how Yi-jin and Hee-do’s relationship changes.