White Christmas Episode 1

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Welcome to Susin High, a private boarding school nestled in the middle of the mountains, which houses the top 0.1% of students and is non-affectionately referred to as "Alcatraz." Its year-round rigorous study program only allows one eight-day break each year, beginning on Christmas Eve.

This is where we begin our story, in a glass prison and architectural maze that takes its inspiration from the famous Louvre Museum, as buses filled with overjoyed students file out of the gate, leaving our protagonist PARK MOO-YUL (Baek Sung-hyun) looking over a snow-covered, yet empty campus.

In voiceover we hear him say, "The story I'm about to tell is about my fight with a monster, and how I had to become a monster myself for eight days to fight it."

Cameras placed all throughout the school, even in the dorm rooms, follow his every move. He's a fastidious student without a hair or pencil out of place, but he's haunted by a black letter he's kept hidden in his drawer. We find out why when we hear him read the troubling contents:

You tainted me, made me pitiful.
You made me a monster in the corner.
You silenced me.
You ridiculed my false hopes.
You took the only thing I had and put it around your neck.
I held out my hand to you and let you go.
You deleted me from your eyes.
Finally, you overtook me.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
After eight days, walk up the path by the Zelkova tree.
Under the clock tower, you will see someone dead.
The night that Jesus was born, I curse you.

Moo-yul isn't the only student staying behind, since he and six others are called over the PA system to meet in the cafeteria, where two other students are already waiting. One is YOON EUN-SUNG (Esom), a girl whom Moo-yul curiously passes by without acknowledgment, and LEE JAE-KYU (Hong Jong-hyun) who seems nervous and shy as he prepares the dinner table.

They're each being filmed and introduced by a smiling boy with a hearing aid, YANG KANG-MO (Kwak Jung-wook), who calls Eun-sung the "prettiest girl in Susin High" and tries to get Jae-kyu to introduce himself, which just ends in Jae-kyu looking around awkwardly, waiting for an exit.

So Kang-mo keeps the scene lively by spinning the camera toward the tall and lanky YOON-SOO (Lee Soo-hyuk), the "Angel Gabriel of Susin High", with earbuds and an indifferent expression firmly in place. When asked for an introduction, he flips the bird. Ha.

Next up is the impeccably dressed, stone-faced CHOI JI-HOON (Sung Joon), of whom Kang-mo notes: "Isn't he really something?"

The last student to arrive is one Kang-mo doesn't even want to film, the smirking bully and class jjang, JO YOUNG-JAE (Kim Young-kwang). That brings the grand total to seven students, plus the one teacher that's stayed behind to watch over them, the family-less YOON JONG-IL (Jung Suk-won). Phew, that's a lot of characters at once.

Teach serves wine for the minors on account of the holiday, wondering why the group of seven have stayed behind. Young-jae makes a joke that he didn't go home because his stepfather will walk in on him while he's showering, and no one else – especially Eun-sung – thinks it's funny.

Everyone mostly keeps to themselves during dinner except for Yoon-soo, who arranges beans into a piece of art on Jae-kyu's plate, making the nervous kid even more nervous when he explains, "It's my heart." Yoon-soo's a bit kooky, but this moment seems somewhat genuine, and hints at some homosexual overtones for his character – or he might just be using everyone else's fear of homosexuality to deflect attention away from himself.

Teach then tells the kids the school's ghost story, claiming it's a true event from eleven years ago about a lone female student who stayed during the Christmas break. It's telling that the kid who acts the toughest, Young-jae, is the one most scared from the story, and is the first to jump out of his seat when the campus-wide alarm suddenly starts ringing.

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