The Cursed Piggyback Ride
Backstreet Rookie returns this week and despite the previous set of episodes feeling like the show has been spinning wheels, it’s taken episode 5 to really start to flesh out exactly what direction this Korean drama wants to go.
Combining slice of life shenanigans with a mixture of romance and drama, Backstreet Rookie may just turn things around and produce something that shakes off the controversial and narratively disappointing start it’s been plagued with.
Episode 5 of Backstreet Rookie begins with Yeon-Joo arriving in the convenience store and Dae-Hyun immediately trying to explain himself. Yeon-Joo remains calm and collected though. going so far as to invite Saet-Byul along to their dinner date while Dal-Sik looks after the store.
It’s quite the awkward affair too, as Yeon-Joo shows her up and the two end up mentally sparring over their differences. In the wake of this, Dae-Hyun ends up receiving a call regarding a delivery issue at the store and it prompts him to head off with Saet-Byul to resolve it.
While he does, Seung-Joon arrives and Yeon-Joo immediately asks him for a ride home. Despite his best intentions though, Yeon-Joo simply heads home without getting up to any mischief with her work-mate.
Meanwhile, Dae-Hyun leaves Saet-Byul in charge of the store where she scoffs at the different wines on display. Not long after, she rings her sister Eun-Byul to make sure she’s okay. Only, she’s obviously at the karaoke bar working for the shady bullies and does her best to put on a brave face.
Dae-Hyun tries to hide his sadness too when Yeon-Joo doesn’t reply to his texts. Instead, he heads to her house in the morning to try and cheer her up. Driving her to work, it seems to do the trick too and she sneaks across a smile for him which certainly puts Dae-Hyun in high spirits.
That’s just as well too given today is the day of the big interview. While he prepares for this taking place, Saet-Byul heads home and finds her situation going from bad to worse thanks to her sister taking clothes and generally causing a nuisance.
After buying a new outfit from the shop, she heads to the store just in time for the interviewers to arrive. Despite Dae-Hyun’s entire family showing up, the interview for Saet-Byul begins. What follows is a hilarious game as Dae-Hyun feeds the answers to Saet-Byut before being forced to give her a piggyback ride for the picture ahead.
Convinced Yeon-Joo will never see it, in the wake of their picture Dae-Hyun heads back to the store and ends up in a heated discussion with Saet-Byut about her celebrity friend Ji-Wook. However, she receives a call not long after regarding Eun-Byul and how she didn’t show up to school on time.
Instead, she’s at the auditions and learns she’s got through the preliminary stages and has been invited back for the second part. Saet-Byut chases her through the streets when she finds out though but pauses when the two come face to face, bringing back painful memories of the past where she and her sister were overworked by their guardian.
At the convenience store later that evening, Ji-Wook arrives and Dae-Hyun is immediately beside himself. As the group head out for dinner, Dal-Sik runs into the editor in the store who tells him to start drawing erotica better. What follows is a scene that feels ripped right from 70’s comedy and could go either way with audiences. A Nigerian man arrives, clearly in love with Jamaican culture, and the two begin dancing around the store together.
Unfortunately, the interviewer gets in touch with Dae-Hyun and confirms the picture of him giving Saet-Byul a piggyback is going to be a massive PR hit and all over the company’s website. This causes Dae-Hyun to rush over and try to find Yeon-Joo, desperate to explain himself.
When he arrives near her house though, he spies Seung-Woon giving Yeon-Joo a piggyback and he suddenly realizes exactly how she must have felt with the roles reversed.
Saet-Byul heads back to the store but a masked figure (presumably one of the bullies from the girl gang) sneaks up behind her and knocks her out with a block of wood, which is where the episode ends.
Poor Dae-Hyun, he can’t seem to catch a break. Despite being completely against the piggyback ride, it’s been used against him again to get our male protagonist into hot water with Yeon-Joo.
Alongside this, the chemistry between Dae-Hyun and Saet-Byul feels much better now, establishing the line of friendship while allowing everyone else to believe there’s something romantic going on. This feels like a much better angle for the Korean drama to take and it’ll be interesting to see how this develops over time.
Quite what the resolution will be to Saet-Byul being smacked over the head with the wood block remains to be seen but thankfully we haven’t got to wait too long to find out!