Settling down and maintaining a more consistent rhythm this week, Itaewon Class returns for a more character-driven hour, as Sae-Ro-Yi learns life on Itaewon street is no walk in the park with DanBam struggling to attract customers. At the same time, a new player enters the fray in Yi-Seo and her energy is the perfect catalyst to counter-act Soo-A’s true colours that come to light this episode.
Episode 3 of Itaewon Class begins with Sae-Ro-Yi back in Itaewon and running his business. Alongside his two colleagues, they open their shop called DanBam and prepare to enter the cut-throat culinary world.
Meanwhile at high school, Yi-Seo soars in popularity after a video capturing a fellow student bullying goes viral. A montage segment then shows her transferring to New York in the Summer and seemingly unstoppable in everything she pursues, thanks in part to a high IQ of 162. Alongside her best friend Geun-Soo she takes down the bully’s mother, showing a pretty sinister side to her persona. This brings us in line with Sae-Ro-Yi in the present,who witnesses the act and tries to confront her, only to see Yi-Seo leave him high and dry.
While Sae-Ro-Yi stews over this development, Geun-Won falls out with Soo-A at work, with the two disagreeing over a new development property, leaving it up to the Chairman to decide what to do. He asks outright what the average age of the customers are, prompting him to literally throw out Geun-Won’s idea, calling it trash and slapping him, before turning the project over to Soo-A. After the meeting, she throws more petrol on the fire by asking him whether he’s sure that Geun-Won will be the one to inherit the company in the future.
Sae-Ro-Yi goes to drastic measures to try and spark interest in DanBam, heading out in a character costume to attract customers in… until he’s forced to catch Yi-Seo as she falls off her motorbike and flies through the air. Despite saving her life, he also passes out in the process and is taken to the hospital. When he awakens, Yi-Seo stands over him.
Back at the office, Soo-A is asked outright by the Chairman whether she’d pick him or Sae-Ro-Yi. After a slight pause she tells him she’ll always be loyal to the company and it’s here we finally start to see her true colours come to light. Greed and money can corrupt and this appears to be the case with Soo-A.
We then cut back 10 years ago to see Yi-Seo’s journey through the years, a girl obsessed with winning and doing anything to get her own way. As she dances away at the club, she narrates over the club music to explain how she’ll use her looks and energy to her advantage going forward.
Back in the present, Sae-Ro-Yi gets his first customers – Yi-Seo and her group. After taking a trip down the street to see how the other businesses are getting on, the words of the Chairman echoes in his mind as he sticks to business basics. However, he runs into Soo-A who walks with him and asks to check his account. After blowing her off, she gets her revenge by calling the police after a fight breaks out inside. Only, she actually called them regarding a minor being inside the property. Those minors being Yi-Seo and Geun-Soo.
Down at the police station Geun-Won shows up and antagonizes Sae-Ro-Yi when he sees him. Despite initially deciding to try and settle with the officer, Geun-Won’s appearance rattles our protagonist and forces him to leave. Yi-Seo chases after him though and pleads with him to stop being so stubborn. Outside the station, Geun-Won stands tall and arrogantly mocks his old rival, knowing he can’t do anything without the police seeing. Sae-Ro-Yi looks him square in the eye though and tells him he has a 15 year plan, where the episode ends.
With a slower episode this week, Itaewon continues to impress with a deeper examination of our characters. In particular, Yi-Seo is the perfect wild-card to add to this recipe and seeing Soo-A’s persona change abandons the potential of a love triangle and instead, focuses on a bitter capitalist company doing everything it can to crush the competition. It’s a nice angle too and seeing Soo-A turn into the Chairman’s lap-dog is tough to watch but also something that potentially sets up some serious tensions to come between our central cast of characters.
The poetic irony of Sae-Ro-Yi using the chairman’s book and advice for setting up a business is a really nice touch and something that adds a little more depth to this one as the deeply personal and bitter rivalry will undoubtedly rise to fever pitch before they confront one another in the future. For now though, Itaewon Class is shaping up to be another strong Korean drama this year and it’ll be interesting to see what tomorrow’s episode has in store for us.
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