If anyone was concerned about the show slowly down in pace and taking its time to build up to something dramatic, episode 9 of Itaewon Class shatters those doubts with a thrilling hour of drama. With some strong ideas around blood being thicker than money and an intense final scene that’ll almost certainly have fans talking excitedly until tomorrow’s episode, Itaewon Class kicks things into high gear as we cross the halfway point of the show.
We begin the episode with Yi-Seo trying to drum up support for DanBam in their new location. At the same time, the Chairman gives a speech about companies going out of business, something that brings a question from Yi-Seo who happens to be in attendance. She goes on to tell him she’s impressed by what he’s achieved and asks him whether another pub could rise up and outdo what he’s managed to achieve with Jangga.
After the meeting, the Chairman requests her presence in his office, which is where the scene from the previous episode is finally given some context. She tells him she’s confident she can grow DanBam with Sae-Ro-Yi and as he laughs off her proposal, we cut to see Sae-Ro-Yi preparing for the upcoming tax season by coming up with a new name for his pub franchise, “Itaewon Class” or IC for short.
Outside, Sae-Ro-Yi’s supplier manages to tackle down the photographer following Min-Jung around. Back at Itaewon they reconvene and discuss the pictures he’s taken, learning the Chairman is working against them again.
Meanwhile, the Chairman tracks down DanBam’s supplier and tasks his employees to get to work in making life difficult for Sae-Ro-Yi. Given the energy he’s been putting into crushing sAE-rO-yI, Soo-A questions this while Geun-Won heads off to see Yi-Seo, believing this is his opportunity to win his Father’s affection.
Business at DanBam’s continues to struggle but Seok-Cheon comes to visit them, giving suggestions and encouraging Sae-Ro-Yi to hang in there. As night turns to day, Soo-A and Yi-Seo watch in wonder as Sae-Ro-Yi starts doing odd-jobs for different businesses around Itaewon. At DanBam, Sae-Ro-Yi tells Yi-Seo they need to focus on the entire neighbourhood if they want to survive, especially given how much DanBam is suffering. Yi-Seo takes offence to this though and leaves, cursing Sae-Ro-Yi for being a dreamer.
After she leaves, Soo-A and Sae-Ro-Yi head out for dinner where they discuss Yi-Seo and relationships. The next day, Yi-Seo returns to DanBam and confronts him over his night out, threatening to leave as manager permanently if he dates her.
The Chairman meets with the ex-Detective, the man acting as Sae-Ro-Yi’s supplier, and asks him to sign an exclusive contract. After looking it over, he admits the terms are good but turns it down, going on to reveal he was the cop in charge of the Geun-Won hit and run case all those years ago. It’s a big blow to the Chairman as he realizes one wrong move here could expose his son, business and everything else he’s built over the years. Holding his honour, the ex-detective leaves the Chairman contemplating what to do next.
Geun-Won shows up at Itaewon and hands Yi-Seo his card, who tells Sae-Ro-Yi she’s going to talk to him and see what he has to say. The rest of the group resent him for letting her go but he has faith in her, believing it’s her choice and her decision over whether she joins or not. Away from the pub and in a nearby coffee shop, she tells Geun-Won if he can offer 200 million won then she might be tempted. Instead, he adds another 50 to it.
As Yi-Seo looks set to join, she suddenly throws a curveball and asks what happened to Sae-Ro-Yi’s Father. It’s here he admits to being above the law and boasts that it’s something in place to punish the poor. After telling her what happened with Sae-Ro-Yi’s Father, she makes her decision and tells him to stop – going on to show she’s recorded the entire conversation they’ve just had.
After splashing his face with hot coffee, she tells him she’s going to crush him and everyone else at Jangga where the episode ends.
What a dramatic end to the episode! Seeing Yi-Seo as this loose cannon and unpredictable female lead makes her a really endearing character and one of the stand-outs of the show. Her meeting with Geun-Won at the end is a big moment too and not only does it solidify her position as being loyal to Sae-Ro-Yi, it also shows off the Chairman’s son’s biggest flaws in the process. It’s an interesting dynamic for sure and with Yi-Seo now in possession of his voice recording, Jangga are in a very difficult position going forward
All eyes now turn to tomorrow’s episode and if this one is anything to go by, we could be in for a very interesting showdown indeed!