Is It Romance?
Backstreet Rookie returns for episode 14 which finally answers our big question over whether Saet-Byul and Dae-Hyun will get together or not. With a surprisingly strong amount of humour and some decent plotting, Backstreet Rookie manages to pull off a second wind and improve slightly ahead of next week’s finale.
Yeon-Joo just won’t give up. While driving, she decides to head back to the convenience store and win Dae-Hyun back. As she steps out the car, she notices him in the process of handing flowers over to Saet-Byul. This is enough for her to change her mind and leave for good. Jealous and determined to win her ex back, Yeon-Joo instead turns to her Mother Hye-Ja and throws Seung-Joo under the bus. She admits the truth about what happened at GS25 and confirms that she’s going back to Dae-Hyun no matter what.
Back at the store, Dae-Hyun gives Saet-Byul the red tulips but it turns out the flowers are actually just a friendly gesture. He has no idea what red tulips actually symbolize, believing it’s significant to Netherlands rather than romance.
In the morning, Dae-Hyun gets ready for his new job but is clearly feeling under the weather. He brushes aside Saet-Byul’s concerns about seeing his ex and heads to GS25. While he does, Saet-Byul receives a surprise visitor in Ms Yoo, looking for Eun-Byul. When her sister shows up, her agent tells her to prepare as she’s invited back with open arms into Fancy Girls.
At work, Seung-Joo throws Dae-Hyun right in the deep end. As he heads to one of the stores, Yeon-Joo happens to show in Seung-Joo’s place and the duo immediately hit a brick wall with the first store they visit. This brick wall comes in the form of Dae-Hyun slipping and hurting his wrist.
Meanwhile Yong-Pil heads off to the airport, preparing to fly out with his friends. Only, when he gets there he realizes he’s at the wrong airport. Bemoaning his luck, he heads home and wallows in self-pity. Only, Jang-Mi rings and requests to meet him.
Back home, Boon-Hee teases Yong-Pil over his old friend before Hye-Ja calls and asks to meet Boon-Hee the following day. In the morning, Yong-Pil tries to act calm and collected, meeting Yong-Pil and admitting that he has everything a man could want.
It turns out though that she wanted to see him in order to repay the money she stole from the past. Given she’s paid it back with interest, it works out to a total of 10 million won. She also wants to meet Boon-Hee though, given she used to be her best friend. However, she also seemingly doesn’t know that Boon-Hee is his wife… until they bump into each other there.
Thankfully things don’t end in tragddy for Yong-Pil but for Boon-Hee they most definitely do. Hye-Ja breaks off her annuity contract worth 10 million won as Boon-Hee tries to remain calm.
Meanwhile, Saet-Byul runs into problems at the store regarding Daesoon, who happens to be stealing money. For now though she tries to focus on her studies. She phones Dae-Hyun that evening and the two discuss her upcoming exam, practicing questions. Never one to say no, Dae-Hyun is unable to see her though as he’s agreed to take over the night shift for the old man in the convenience store.
Dal-Sik runs out of ideas on his latest story thanks to his love-sickness over Geum-Bi. Seeing her everywhere, he eventually does run into her in the street. With his deadline coming up, they talk plainly and she agrees to help him out with a new story. Back at his apartment, Geum-Bi comes up with a brand new inspirational tale involving a nightclub. It’s a simple scene but one that works really well here to build up their foundations together.
Dae-Hyun returns to the store after his night out and greets Saet-Byul, who sprays him down with “ex-girlfriend” spray. While Saet-Byul leaves, Dae-Hyun immediately falls asleep at the counter thanks to the way he’s been overworking himself. This causes him to be rushed into hospital. Boon-Hee heads there too and contemplates whether they should take the company’s advice and shut the store down.
Dae-Hyun rings Saet-Byul from his bed on the eve of her exam and gives the girl some sound advice – if you don’t know the answer, just pick option C.
As we skip forward to the following day, Saet-Byul excitedly finishes her exam and charges through the streets to meet Dae-Hyun in hospital. When she gets there, Yeon-Joo and Boon-Hee happen to be talking in the hallway. Despite their differences, Yeon-Joo wishes Saet-Byul luck with her results.
It turns out Yeon-Joo has an ulterior motive to being there rather than hoping Dae-Hyun is okay. She intends on switching the Shinseong branch over to being a company-run store. However, the store is everything to Dae-Hyun and this will almost certainly break his heart. As Yeon-Joo asks her to think about what’s best for Dae-Hyun, when he awakens and finds out, he’s completely against the idea.
That evening, Saet-Byul and Dae-Hyun head out together and have dinner. There, he admits that head office want him to quit being a store owner to focus on being a consultant. Instead, Dae-Hyun intends to resign from being a consultant and, with an agreement seemingly in place with the store, they’ll relinquish ownership and hand it back over to him. (If I’ve misinterpreted the meaning of this from the dialogue, please do correct me in the comments below!)
Only, there’s obviously ramifications in store and despite Saet-Byul being promoted to assistant manager, Yeon-Joo has plans to get her fired no matter what.
As the episode closes out, Dae-Hyun takes Saet-Byul up to the rooftop and admits his true feelings for her. It turns out he does know the real meaning of red tulips and admits that she’s special to him. As the scene ends, he asks her to accept his red tulips.
The Episode Review
I still stand by the opinion that this show should have ended several weeks ago. Having said that, there’s a nice array of jokes peppered throughout the series that helps keep things light and breezy. The love triangles are finally over now and all that’s left is to wrap up this main romance and see what Dae-Hyun has planned with GS25.
Surprisingly, the best storyline comes from the blossoming romance between Dal-Sik and Geum-Bi. This has actually been one of the more refreshing plot lines these past few weeks. There’s some great work done to show the two finally on the same page and the scenes in Dal-Sik’s apartment were certainly humorous. Hopefully we get a happily-ever-after for these two.
Meanwhile, Yeon-Joo continues to lurk in the shadows like a bad smell. While I understand this drama is playing out as close to a slice of life series as possible, it also brings about so many uninteresting character dynamics – she’s one of them. Her arc is all but done and much like Ji-Wook, she doesn’t have an awful lot left to do here.
With the final set of episodes coming up next week, all eyes now turn to see how this one will finish. Will we get a happily ever after at the end?