The Long Road To Nowhere
Backstreet Rookie is one of those Korean dramas that can’t quite decide what sort of show it wants to be. On the one hand we’ve got a bubbling love triangle while at the same time we’ve got a slice of life melodrama revolving around the convenience store. Around these two ideas are various half-baked subplots that fail to really capitalize on the ideas this show tries so hard to portray. The result then is something that feels frustratingly thin and fails to capitalize on the talent within this drama.
Episode 6 of Backstreet Rookie begins with the gang scurrying away from the scene as Dae-Hyun arrives and greets Saet-Byul. Grabbing her stomach, it turns out she has appendicitis and is taken to hospital. While she receives medical attention, Dae-Hyun works with the police and shows them the CCTV footage from the previous night that shows the masked kids outside the store.
After giving his statement, Dae-Hyun’s Mum informs him the surgery was a success and he heads to hospital where he winds up having a nightmare about piggyback rides. When he awakens, Saet-Byul happens to be feeling much better.
Dae-Hyun does his best to try and explain the situation to Yeon-Joo but despite reading his messages, she fails to reply. Instead, he heads to her office but unfortunately she’s cold toward him and leaves. Just before she drives off, Dae-Hyun overhears two workers discussing the piggyback ride picture and he realizes this is what the source of the drama relates to. Deciding enough is enough, he heads to the hospital intent on letting Saet-Byul down gently and stopping her from working at the store.
After an awkwardly hilarious encounter with a random woman in hospital, Dae-Hyun thinks twice about his decision. Yeon-Joo meanwhile thinks twice about her decision too, turning down Seung-Joo from his romantic advances and reminding him that they’re just friends.
Back at the hospital, Dae-Hyun’s Mum fusses over Saet-Byul and offers to wash her hair. Given what we know about her past, this act of kindness is something that’s pretty alien to Saet-Byut and she begins tearing up. As the two sit and discuss their lives, Dae-Hyun’s Mum admits she used to have a best friend in the past who disappeared. This will almost certainly become more relevant further down the line but for now it’s left open.
Meanwhile, Yeon-Joo’s Mother orders several crates of wine from the shop which Dae-Hyun nervously delivers. When Yeon-Joo returns, the two exchange awkward glances before Dae-Hyun quickly leaves. As he does, Yeon-Joo’s Mother suddenly changes her tone and tells her maid to get rid of the wine immediately. It turns out this was all a ploy to meet Dae-Hyun.
Yeon-Joo heads to the hospital and speaks to Saet-Byul, admitting that they’re fighting a lot because of her. She asks her to stop working at the convenience store as she’s causing trouble for their relationship. Thankfully, Ji-Wook turns up just before things get heated and he admits that he and Saet-Byul are close.
Eun-Byul has her second audition and manages to get through to the next round. Afterward, she checks her messages and immediately learns Saet-Byul is in hospital. Geum-Bi immediately sends the picture of the bullies across to her though and she decides to confront the bullies herself.
Thankfully Saet-Byul shows up just in time and saves the day. In the aftermath of this, she heads back to the hospital and makes her decision, deciding to quit the convenience store, which is where the episode ends.
With the exception of the incident involving the hospital bed which was pretty funny, Backstreet Rookie’s pockets of brilliance are undermined by many half-baked sub-plots and a story that lacks some serious direction. It seems to be flitting between different ideas and states every episode and this inconsistency really hurts the overall integrity of the show.
Hopefully things pick up next week but unfortunately it appears Backstreet Rookie is going to remain one of the rookie contenders of biggest disappointments this year if it keeps this up.