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Itaewon Class: Park Sae-Royi and Chairman Jang both suffer a ‘Pyrrhic Victory’ in their latest battle

Jang Dae-Hee (Yoo Jae-Myung) and Park Sae-Royi (Park Seo-Joon) go face-to-face
Park Sae-Royi and Jang Dae-Hee face each other at the end of the 10th episode. Pic credit: Joongang Tongyang Broadcasting Company (JTBC)

A couple of weeks ago, Itaewon Class — the popular K-drama starring Park Seo-Joon and Kim Da-Mi airing on the Joongang Tongyang Broadcasting Company (JTBC) — passed its mid-series point.

At that time, Jo Yi-Seo (Kim Da-Mi) had a very personal choice: choosing to do things the way the love of her life, Park Sae-Royi (Park Seo-Joon) wants to, or to succeed using her cold, sociopathic tendencies.

Eventually, Jo Yi-Seo chose her newfound love to protect it, nurture it, and do things the way Park Sae-Royi would. However, that doesn’t mean she will not use her cold, sociopathic tendencies to her advantage too.

This seems to be the case in the first two episodes in the second half of Itaewon Class. It resulted in both Park Sae-Royi and Chairman Jang (Yoo Jae-Myung) suffering a “Pyrrhic Victory” in the pursuit of their goals.

Park Sae-Royi and Chairman Jang both lose and gain in their latest battle

The origin of a Pyrrhic Victory comes from King Pyrrhus of Epirus defeating the Romans at the Battle of Heraclea in 280 BCE and the Battle of Asculum in 279 BCE.

Though victorious, the loss of his top commanders and generals left more of a negative impact on him compared to the tantamount number of soldiers the Romans lost.

This is because the Romans had the numbers and resources to replace their soldiers, while King Pyrrhus did not.

In short, a Pyrrhic Victory is when someone wins at something, but loses far more in the process compared to their opponent. In the ninth and tenth episodes of Itaewon Class, both Park Sae-Royi and Chairman Jang achieved some form of a Pyrrhic Victory in their latest battle.

It started with Jo Yi-Seo appearing at Jangga Group, showing interest in working for them. After meeting with her, Chairman Jang sees potential Yi-Seo and tasks his son, Jang Geun-Won (Ahn Bo-Hyun), to recruit her for Jangga Group.

Later during dinner together, Jo Yi-Seo and Jang Geun-Won discuss the possibility of the former working with Jangga Group.

During the discussion, Geun-Won gets too comfortable with Yi-Seo. He confesses to the hit-and-run of Park Sung-Yeol (Son Hyun-Joo) — Park Sae-Royi’s father.

She acts as if she’s amazed at Geun-Won’s ability and resources to not take responsibility for his crimes.

Jo Yi-Seo and Jang Geun-Woo dinner
Jo Yi-Seo and Jang Geun-Woo discuss the former working for Jangga Group over dinner. Pic credit: Joongang Tongyang Broadcasting Company (JTBC)

Unbeknownst to Jang Geun-Woo, Jo Yi-Seo was recording his confession on her phone. She uploaded the confession online and used her social media skills and connections to make it go viral.

Needless to say, the confession resulted in a backlash against the Jangga Group as people boycotted their products, and the company’s stock fell.

This was the first part of Park Sae-Royi and Jo Yi-Seo’s plan to have Chairman Jang removed from Jangga Group.

Jang Geun-Woo’s confession would be followed up by Detective Oh, the former detective in charge of Geun-Woo’s hit-and-run case, confessing to covering up the crime.

With both Jang Geun-Woo and Detective Oh revealing the truth about the hit-and-run of Park Sung-Yeol, it would be expected for Geun-Woo to be dismissed as his current and past scandals hurt Jangga Group’s image.

Chairman Jang has Geun-Woo trained to be his heir, so he would protect him. However, Chairman Jang protecting his son would be seen as a poor business decision for Jangga Group.

The executive director of Jangga Group, Kang Min-Jung (Kim Hye-Eun), partnered with Park Sae-Royi to take over Jangga Group once Chairman Jang is gone.

He leads the Board of Directors in a vote to remove Chairman Jang from the company.

Park Sae-Royi and Jo Yi-Seo’s plan would have worked but they did not expect Chairman Jang to choose Jangga Group over his son.

In an emergency press conference, Chairman Jang reveals that his son confessed to him about the hit-and-run of Park Sung-Yeol. Chairman Jang felt remorse and shame for his son’s actions and being a bad father.

He also promised to make things right, which includes bringing his son to the proper authorities so he would pay for his crimes.

Chairman Jang's press meeting
Chairman Jang holds a press meeting in which he reveals his son’s coverup of the hit-and-run and apologizes on his behalf. Pic credit: Joongang Tongyang Broadcasting Company (JTBC)

Chairman Jang’s apology to the public on behalf of his son shows the Board of Directors that even though he loves his family, he will always put responsibility first — especially when it comes to Jangga Group.

No matter what Kang Min-Jung did, she could not get the Board of Directors to dismiss Chairman Jang.

A battle of small gains and major losses

This latest battle between Park Sae Royi and Chairman Jang had small gains and significant losses for both of them.

Starting with what both gained, Park Sae-Royi was able to partially avenge his father’s death and the wrong that was done to him as Jang Geun-Woo finally takes responsibility for his crimes.

Geun-Woo is sentenced to seven years in prison for the hit-and-run as well as covering up his crimes, which includes having someone else take the blame for the hit-and-run.

Chairman Jang’s gain is a lot smaller than Park Sae-Royi as he only dodges being dismissed from Jangga Group.

As for losses, Park Sae-Royi lost his business partner, Kang Min-Jung. Chairman Jang knew about Min-Jung’s partnership with Sae-Royi. He didn’t see it as much of a threat until now.

After the Board of Director’s meeting to have him dismissed failed, Min-Jung was transferred to the Pajin office.

Chairman Jang loses his son. Even though he sent Jang Geun-Woo to the proper authorities so to pay for his crimes, he did not want to.

It was an end to a means to protect Jangga Group, and deep inside, he is extremely angry he had to do it. He now sees Park Sae-Royi as a threat, as someone significant who needs to be destroyed.

Before this, he took him lightly.

The second half of Itaewon Class is sure to be interesting as the battle between Park Sae-Royi and Chairman Jang becomes more aggressive.

Itaewon Class will air subsequent episodes on Fridays and Saturdays at 11 p.m. KST on JTBC. For international viewers, Itaewon Class is an original on Netflix.

Take note viewers will need a subscription to the video streaming service to watch the K-drama.

War Omega is an entertainment news writer and painter more

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