Running On Empty
Backstreet Rookie is a Korean drama running on empty. It’s something I’ve said before but this week only further accentuates the problems. The show continuously jumps between ideas each week, and now it looks like we’re settling back on the familiar trappings of another love triangle.
Episode 12 of Backstreet Rookie begins with the convenience store prepping, ready for their big day. Dae-Hyun applies some make-up and prepares infront of the mirror while Ji-Wook takes to the cameras. Screaming fans rush into the store, desperate to speak to Ji-Wook, while Dae-Hyun finds himself shunned in favour of the celebrity. As the girls follow Ji-Wook outside screaming, Saet-Byul and Dae-Hyun are left behind to discuss the make-up he’s put on his face.
While he heads to the back to clean up, Saet-Byul berates Ji-Wook and tells him that Dae-Hyun is getting old. He needs to sort his wrinkles out begs Ji-Wook to go easy on him. While Dae-Hyun hears all of this and stews from the doorway Ji-Wook and Saet-Byul head out and share ice-creams.
Eventually the shoot goes ahead but things quickly go awry when Dae-Hyun shares tips, prompting the producer to stop the shoot and call Yeon-Joo to the scene. Once there, Yeon-Joo apologises but just as Dae-Hyun looks to exchange the favour, Saet-Byul stops him and encourages her friend to stick up for himself.
After an incident involving a young boy earlier in the episode, Saet-Byul makes a big decision. She wants to give up her dream of being a florist and instead work toward being a manager in the store. After ending their conversation, Dae-Hyun heads outside where he finds Ji-Wook. The two get into a verbal spar, with Dae-Hyun jealous that Ji-Wook is going to head into the convenience store without him. Instead, they compromise and head in together. However, this gives Saet-Byul just the opportunity she needs to head off and have a nap.
In the morning, the shoot wraps up and the GS25 crew leave the store. It’s just the opportunity Ji-Wook needs to pull his crush away from Dae-Hyun. Although she agrees to head with him to Eun-Byul’s showcase, unfortunately the movie crew pull him away to dub a movie, leaving her to go alone.
Only, Saet-Byul becomes too nervous to watch her dancing. Her friend sends a video to Saet-Byul of the performance, complete with Eun-Byul’s nose bleeding and the clip going viral online.
Despite things going well for Eun-Byul, the bullies return to collect their funds. However, she hasn’t been paid yet which causes a big problem. Unsure where else to turn, Eun-Byul phones Ji-Wook and asks for help. Only, this backfires when Ji-Wook comforts her and the bullies snap photos that could be deemed as incriminating.
Dae-Hyun finds Dal-Sik in a bad state. In order to revive him and bring the man back from the brink, he tries feeding him some food. Dal-Sik is still heartbroken over what happened to Geum-Bi and as we cut across and see, she’s feeling the same way. Eventually Dal-Sik comes around but he clearly still holds a big grudge over Saet-Byul.
Meanwhile, Saet-Byul learns about the bullies and photos, just as Eun-Byul is blackmailed to hand over some money. She refuses to let her sister help though and Eun-Byul walks away.
In the morning, Dae-Hyun shows Saet-Byul the back of the convenience store which has been renovated with a new desk to allow her to study. As she leans forward to hug him, the two seem to be continuing their will they/won’t they relationship.
At the same time, Yeon-Joo learns the truth about what happened with Dae-Hyun in the past. It turns out there was a scheme which was originally under Yeon-Joo’s name but Dae-Hyun took over and sacrificed himself for his love. Seung-Joo used that as ammo to force Dae-Hyun to quit.
On the back of this, Yeon-Joo comes running back and hugs Dae-Hyun, telling him she’s sorry and promises to turn everything back to normal. Dae-Hyun however, is less than impressed.
The Episode Review
With Backstreet Rookie reverting back to its simplistic slice-of-life drama, the show feels like it’s run its course now. There’s definitely some highlights but the humour has been hit and miss at best (green clouds and farts. Really?)
It also doesn’t help that the romance feels so tired and cliched. Given this is the drama following on from Eternal Monarch, Rookie is definitely one of the bigger disappointments this year.
As the episode closes, the recycled ideas continue as Yeon-Joo returns. It looks like there’s another love triangle on the horizon…