The Big Encounter
The penultimate episode of Backstreet Rookie is here and there’s definitely a feel of everything coming together at the end now. With more details around Boon-hee and Jang-Mi’s past, all of this capitulates into quite the dramatic confrontation.
Episode 15 of Backstreet Rookie picks up right where we left off, as Saet-Byul decides not to answer Dae-Hyun’s question and do so after she passes her GED. Dae-Hyun smiles warmly, telling her that he’ll wait for her given how long she’s waited for him. As they sit together, they eat.
Jang-Mi shows up at the convenience store as Yong-Pil is working. She’s leaving for China but before she goes she’s desperate to meet Boon-Hee. Only, he tells her he hasn’t seen the woman for 40 years…just as Dae-Hyun arrives.
Outside, Yong-Pil reveals the truth about this complicated love triangle to his son. There’s some serious issues between them all but for now, it’s left unresolved.
Dae-Hyun and Saet-Byul return home where Saet-Byul witnesses her son being attentive toward Boon-Hee. In seeing this, she realizes how special a son he is. That evening, she deliberates over Dae-Hyun’s proposition and her reaction. As they keep texting, the duo exchange different signs to one another and mention “grapes” as their key word.
The next day Dae-Hyun goes over the new contract with Boon-Hee at the branch. However, when he’s called away for work, Yeon-Joo presents an expensive present to her in the form of a crocodile purse. This is obviously her way of buying back into the relationship.
Saet-Byul is called into the police station with good news. It turns out they’ve caught Kim Man-Bok from the Real Estate firm. Saet-Byul and two other residents also learn they’ll be able to get their deposits back.
After a busy day at work, Saet-Byul greets Dae-Hyun and they sit and eat together. While they do, Geum-Bi and Dal-Sik decide to make their relationship official and head in to tell them. Love hearts float around them and the pair just can’t take their eyes off each other. On the back of this, Dal-Sik tries to convince them all to go out for a party.
The next day, Dae-Hyun arrives with buckets and mops to clean the shop before the company officially take over. As Boon-Hee finds any excuse to leave, Jang-Mi arrives and hands over a letter to Yong-Pil. It turns out she actually wrote to her before leaving for Busan but obviously she never got the letter.
It’s well worn too, proving that she’s had it for ages. Just before she hands it over, Boon-Hee comes charging back to the store. Realizing this is going to cause serious issues, Jang-Mi and Yong-Pil hide in the backroom while Boon-Hee returns to clean. Eventually, they come face to face.
Instead of her exploding with rage however, Boon-Hee struggles to hold back tears and she walks away defeated. However, not before telling Jang-Mi that she never saw her.
Boon-Hee drowns her sorrows in alcohol but when Yeon-Joo phones, she moves in and decides to join her. This inevitably breaks up Saet-Byul and Dae-Hyun’s nice meal when Boon-Hee returns blind drunk. Only, she calls Saet-Byul by Yeon-Joo’s name and thanks her before passing out.
In the morning, things are obviously awkward between them all. Saet-Byul remains cool though and backs up Boon-Hee when she suggests Dae-Hyun thank Yeon-Joo with a nice meal. As he heads out with her, he immediately rejects Yeon-Joo and tells her he just wants to be friends. Good.
Meanwhile, Boon-Hee eventually meets Jang-Mi and they talk plainly. She hands over the letter and tells her to read it as she walks away. Within the letter is a heartfelt apology for rushing off without saying anything all those years ago. Alongside that is also a picture of them both as kids.
After his meal, Dae-Hyun returns home and listens to Boon-Hee as she continues on about Yeon-Joo and how amazing she is. Dae-Hyun however has had enough and the pair wind up arguing over his love life. This causes quite the issue as Saet-Byul uncomfortably listens to them shouting.
With the company taking over, Saet-Byul tries to remain calm in the wake of big changes coming to the store. As she heads home, she has a heart to heart with Boon-Hee before heading out for a meal with Dae-Hyun.
It winds up being a last supper of sorts too, as Saet-Byul packs her stuff up. In the middle of the night, she bids her farewells and leaves.
The Episode Review
With some nice bits of melodrama dotted throughout, Backstreet Rookie manages to play the slow-burn with this Jang-Mi situation right up until this penultimate episode. The big reveal and the awkwardness afterwards is a definite highlight here. Surprisingly though, it’s Boon-Hee’s reaction afterwards that’s most telling.
Alongside that are the usual bits of humour, in particular with Dal-Sik finally embracing Geum-Bi and the pair allowing themselves to be an item. Saet-Byul and Dae-Hyun’s reaction to this is pretty funny too.
However, this drama has certainly run its course now and the series feels like it’s running on empty. With the finale up next, all eyes turn to whether Backstreet Rookie ends with a happily ever after or not.