In last week’s episodes of Like Flowers in Sand, we learned that Coach Yeon had been found dead through suicide. The team doesn’t know about it yet, and they’re mostly focused on figuring out who their new coach will be after Yeon abruptly quit on them during peak match season. Yu-Gyeong makes it seem like Baek-Du is interested in being the coach when really she just wants him to keep playing the sport. Du-Sik left the city back in the day because of some huge scandal, but we’re yet to find out the details about what happened back then. Episodes 5 and 6 definitely point us in the right direction on this subject.
What Happens In Episode 5?
When Du-Sik and Baek-Du were young, something had the whole town turn against Du-Sik. To bring everyone to Du-Sik’s side, Baek-Du hurt her nose during a game of dodgeball to have all the kids take her side and blame him (aww). In episodes 5 and 6 of Like Flowers in Sand, we learn that Baek-Du’s always been the kind of guy who puts his friends and family before himself. He wanted Du-Sik to be treated well, so he took all the blame for hurting her. In the present day, Baek-Du learns of Du-Sik’s profession and tells her that he’ll do anything to help her. This also means returning to the “ssireum” ring as a player, with Jin-Su as his coach. The whole town finds it odd that Baek-Du wants to return after making a fool of himself. Technically, he didn’t lose the whole game; he was simply taken away for interrogation.
Jin-Su is really harsh on Baek-Du in the ring. He insults him in front of all the younger players and doesn’t hesitate to call him out for not knowing the basics. Baek-Du has a habit of letting go of the “satba” (the fabric that is tied around the player’s waist and legs) earlier than most players, which irks Jin-Su. Baek-Du can’t go to Jin-Su’s mother’s restaurant because he’s embarrassed after “stealing” money from her. Jin-Su’s mother refuses to take the money back and reminds him that he used to take money for ice cream as a kid and he should continue to act the same way (no, but her floral apron dress has my whole heart). At this point, the whole team learns that they all lent money to Coach Yeon (Baek-Du the most) without realizing how much he was borrowing for his gambling. In the meanwhile, Hyeon-Uk goes looking for the deceased’s phone. He meets Mi-Ran, the cafe owner, again, and she tells him about the kid named Du-Sik, making him extra curious again.
Why Did Yeon Kill Himself?
News about Coach Yeon finally breaks lose, and the team is shocked, realizing they will never get their money back (whoops). Everyone knows Yeon was involved in gambling, but this means he was also doing a bit of a match fix for the extra bucks. We also learn that Choi was involved in match-fixing, which could be the reason why he ended up dead in the reservoir. The town finds the whole situation eerily similar to one that happened many years ago involving Du-Sik’s father. Now things start to add up a little, making it clear why Du-Sik was getting shunned as a kid and why she had to go away to Seoul eventually.
Yu-Gyeong decides to take a little trip to meet Dong-Seok, the player who was part of the Geosan team but switched to a better team. To her surprise, Baek-Du decides to join her too, making it like a fun field trip for them that they missed out on as kids. With the news about Yeon breaking out, Dong-Seok is getting the outcast treatment on his new team. It’s a much fancier place compared to Geosan’s meager facilities. Again, it’s Baek-Du to the rescue, and he uses his words to comfort Dong-Seok in front of his teammates. Baek-Du reminds Dong-Seok that even if Yeon was match-fixing, it would never be the player’s fault, meaning both he and Dong-Seok are innocent in all this, despite what the crowd has to say. Dong-Seok later tells Baek-Du that, in fact, Baek-Du did win the match. Dong-Seok ultimately refused to follow Yeon’s instructions, and so Baek-Du won fair and square. On the other hand, Seok-Hui learns that there’s something strange near the reservoir that hasn’t been found yet. His evidence is the town dog Snowball barking in the location, despite being a dog who never barks and has the nickname Gandhi. At the end of the episode, Hyeon-Uk makes it to Ran’s cafe and learns from Mi-Ran that Du-Sik was Baek-Du’s first love. Nobody else in the town really cares for this detail, but she knows for certain. Apparently, whatever happened back in the day is known only by three people: Du-Sik, Du-Sik’s father, and her father’s friend.
What Happens In Episode 6?
Baek-Du obviously has feelings for Du-Sik still, but he pretends he’s simply helping her in her investigation. On the other hand, Hyeon-Uk can tell that they’ve been close for a long time and can sense that something is going on between them. Seok-Hui starts to put out flyers asking witnesses to come forward if they saw something at the reservoir on the day of Choi’s death. Back at home, Hyeon-Uk and Yu-Gyeong try to connect the dots, but things aren’t adding up because the match between Dong-Seok and Baek-Du was held after Choi’s death. So he couldn’t have been the one pressuring Yeon that day. Who was Yeon arguing with?
Baek-Du learns by accident that his brother recorded over four hours of match day for his social media. This is exactly what Yu-Gyeong, aka Du-Sik, needs to search through for evidence in the case. Baek-Du runs to Du-Sik with the footage without realizing he’s worn his footwear the wrong way, even hurting himself at the speed of it all. The next day, the draw for the matches reveals that Baek-Du’s facing a former weightlifter who could throw him to the floor with one hand. Jin-Su decides that Baek-Du isn’t ready and should withdraw from the match. Despite getting hurt by this treatment, Baek-Du never says no to his coach and friend Jin-Su (not sure what kind of friendship this is, but okay). On the other hand, Yu-Gyeong can’t stand this treatment for Baek-Du and refuses to sign the paper as the team’s manager.
What Advice Does Du-Sik Give Baek-Du?
Du-Sik knows that Baek-Du is simply being selfless and wants Jin-Su to feel comfortable as the coach. What she doesn’t appreciate is having someone look down on Baek-Du’s skill without allowing him to try the match. Du-Sik reminds Baek-Du that he needs to stand up for himself and stop thinking of others. She reminds Baek-Du of an incident when they were children when Jin-Su and he both wanted to be the team captain in school. Seeing Jin-Su raise his hand, Baek-Du decided to step back to make his friend happy. He’s still focused on making sure things don’t get awkward between them because they’re some sort of strange best friends. Du-Sik pushes him to step out of his bubble and stop being a pushover.
After her conversation with Baek-Du, Yu-Gyeong hands over the withdrawal papers to Jin-Su; however, she tells him that Baek-Du may be letting go of the “satba” early not because he’s weak, but he may be doing it on purpose so he can use his hands more freely. This leaves Jin-Su gobsmacked, not only because he never thought of that but also because Yu-Gyoeng knows about “ssireum.” Jin-Su may come to realize she’s Du-Sik real soon.
In a conversation with Ran, Jin-Su admits that Baek-Du is the strongest “ssireum” player he knows but doesn’t know how to use his skill, which is why he pushes him to withdraw, not because he doesn’t have the skills. At the end of episode 6 of Like Flowers in Sand, Baek-Du takes Du-Sik’s advice and runs to Jin-Su to tell him that he takes the sport seriously and always has. He admits that he wanted to be captain all those years ago and simply wanted to tell him about it. At the same time, Hyeon-Uk has joined the dots, concluding that Yu-Gyeong is Du-Sik. He wants answers about what happened all those years ago when a player was possibly murdered because of match-fixing claims. Ultimately, Baek-Du tells Jin-Su to let him compete because he has always loved the sport, win or lose.