The Phantom Of The Opera
As we fast approach the halfway point of the series, Backstreet Rookie leans in hard on its melodrama for episode 7. Across the episode we see a lot more characterisation for Saet-Byul while the comedy does well to complement some of the heavier drama at the heart of this.
Having said all that though, this Korean drama continues to have issues with its romance, teasing that strange love triangle that’s ever-present in the shadows but it feels like the writers are too afraid to pull the trigger and actually follow through with their intent.
The episode itself picks up where we left off as Saet-Byul pushes Dae-Hyun out her room after telling him she’s not going to be working at the convenience store anymore. As he leaves, Eun-Byul arrives and breaks some awful news to her – they’ve been scammed and are on the verge of being made homeless.
As we soon find out, there are numerous other people who have also been scammed and Saet-Byul immediately rushes down to the station to try and rectify this issue.
With the scammer still on the loose, Eun-Byul and Saet-Byul make the most of what little possessions they have left. Unsure what to do next, Saet-Byul heads up to the roof for air where she receives a text from Dae-Hyun thanking her for the hard work and paying her over how much he owes for the month.
In the morning Eun-Byul leaves for school and tells her sister to work hard and find them another house. In order to do so, she takes up her old job again and starts going round the different restaurants trying to sell gear. Meanwhile, Dae-Hyun’s Mother refuses to believe Saet-Byul isn’t coming back and stubbornly tells her son not to let sales drop in her absence.
Having left her notebook in the convenience store, Saet-Byul heads in to try and find it and winds up playing a stealthy game of hide and seek without him knowing. Unfortunately she comes away none the wiser while Dae-Hyun becomes convinced ghosts are haunting the convenience store.
Outside, Saet-Byul receives a call from her sister who happens to be at Geum-Bi’s house. Having told her everything, Saet-Byul’s friend allows them to stay there for the time being.
That night, Saet-Byul dances around the real reason she quit the store and as she lies in bed, she flashes back to moments of her and Eun-Byul sleeping rough in the past. Suddenly she receives a message from Dae-Hyun telling her she left something at the store and he’ll be right over to give it her.
Outside her old Unit, Saet-Byul lies and tells Dae-Hyun that she quit because she needed more money and intentionally avoids bringing Yeon-Joo up. Just before he leaves, Dae-Hyun hands over her notebook and a present; knee and elbow pads for her upcoming job.
Meanwhile at GS25, Yeon-Joo attends a meeting with her Father who introduces her to a fellow CEO called Edward, someone her parents clearly want her getting closer to. It’s an awkward moment for Yeon-Joo and one that’s made all the more challenging by Dae-Hyun presenting her two tickets for Phantom Of The Opera to celebrate their time together.
Unfortunately Yeon-Joo runs into trouble back home with her Mother who disapproves of the way she hid Dae-Hyun from her all this time. Her work commitments get in the way of Dae-Hyun’s romantic plans though but he does a pretty good job hiding it while talking to her on the phone.
While Saet-Byul tries to drum up extra money by doing deliveries, when she returns home she overhears Geum-Bi’s Father berating his daughter for hanging around with Saet-Byul and calls her a bad influence. Upon seeing this, she leaves her a message in the morning telling Geum-Bi she’s found somewhere else to live.
Unfortunately en-route to her delivery she crashes the bike and hurts herself. The owner is less than impressed though and decides to deduct this from her wages. Down and out, she finds solace in an unlikely place – Eun-Byul. Only, Eun-Byul has her own motive and reasoning behind being nice and that comes from needing a guardian to co-sign her statement.
Unfortunately when Saet-Byul awakens she finds her sister gone and a note in her place, informing her she’s gone. Even worse, all of her money is missing too.
Using someone else to pose as her mother, Saet-Byul is completely down and out and finds herself weeping by the lockers. However, Boon-Hee happens to be there and sits with the girl, admitting how Dae-Hyul always talks about her.
Meanwhile, Dae-Hyun attends the Phantom Of The Opera play alone while Yeon-Joo happens to be at the exact same play with Seung-Joo. Given this was supposed to be their 1000th day together, this rejection hits Dae-Hyun harder than it otherwise would.
Heading home, Dae-Hyun ends up passing out on the sofa but has a bad dream about Saet-Byul. Only, as he holds his hands out and grabs her cheeks, it appears he’s not actually dreaming, which is where the episode ends.
Yeon Joo and Dae-Hyun’s relationship is definitely starting to hit some rocky waters now and at every turn Saet-Byul seems to be there. Quite what this means from a narrative perspective remains to be seen but for now Backstreet Rookie does well to drum up some good melodrama this week.
Seeing more of Saet-Byul’s issues and the estranged relationship with her sister is good while her Motherly relationship with Dae-Hyun’s mother is a nice touch too and something that I’m sure will be developed more over time.
For now though, Backstreet Rookie bows out with a pretty good episode.