“Backstreet Rookie” Careens To Shallow Plot & Character Development


Will Backstreet Rookie bounce back with a second half spree full of romance and comedy just like what it initially promised?

Eight episodes after, Ji Chang Wook and Kim Yoo Jung are still in a bleak romance run in Backstreet Rookie. While there are apparent comical moments preventing the narrative to become dry, the stagnant love conflict is taking away the drama’s merits.

backstreet rookie

Backstreet Rookie Episode Recaps: 1&2 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 |

In the latest episodes of Backstreet Rookie, Kim Yoo Jung’s character Saet Byul faces series of setback after her hospitalization. Meanwhile, Dae Hyun (Ji Chang Wook) seems going to be in a brokenhearted direction.

Achieving the the series’ highest rating so far scoring 8.7% nationwide viewership rating on the second half of episode 8, viewers are expecting a monumental shift in the story.

Episodes 7 & 8 Quick Recap

Before getting discharged from the hospital, Saet Byul relays to Dae Hyun her plans to leave her job. Perplexed, Dae Hyun accepts her decision. However, another problem arises for Saet Byul when the house she has been staying with Eun Byul appears to have been involved in a scam. The real estate agent took off with their prized money leaving them homeless.

Adding to Saet Byul’s woes, her sister stubbornly pursues her idol dreams and even used Saet Byul’s hard-earned money to pay for a guardian who posed as her mother so she can sign her contract as a trainee. After living in a bath house, Saet Byul is rescued by Dae Hyun’s mom and lets her live with them in their house.

The line of romance not to be crossed

Meanwhile, Dae Hyun secures musical tickets for Phantom of the Opera, but Yeon Joo opted to join Seung Joon in the first show. Dae Hyun gets another pair of tickets and watch it together with Yeon Joo. However, the celebration of their 1000 days is not as joyous as he hoped it to be with Yeon Joo capping off the night early because of headache.

Finally getting in the loop of Saet Byul’s misfortune, Dae Hyun and Saet Byul run to catch the real estate agent who showed himself in the neighborhood. But he sneakily slips the two’s chasing. Feeling stuck with her thoughts, Yeon Joo goes for a drink with Seung Joon and exchange kisses with him ignoring the phone call from her boyfriend.

A brewing romance that might likely turn riot is in the horizon between Geum Bi and Dal Shik. The former is apparently an avid fan of the erotic webtoon created by Dal Shik, Seeking hope to trace her sister, Saet Byul meets Ji Wook and voices her fear that Eun Byul might land an unfair contract. Unable to contain her emotion, her friend comforts her while the sister she’s worried about is being slaved by the older members of the group she’s training with to do house chores.

A woman worthy of Dae Hyun

Trying to catch real estate scammer, Dae Hyun forms a team to do some stake out and research, He even bumps with Saet Byul who is also trying to do the same. Honestly telling how his actions is confusing her, Dae Hyun responds that he’s just born to be so compassionate.

For her remarkable performance, Saet Byul receives a call that she will be getting a prize from the head office. When Seung Joon hands the free musical tickets award, she learned that Yeon Joo watched the first show with Seung Joon cancelling the planned 1000 days celebration with Dae Hyun. Complaining of Yeon Joo’s actions seemingly different to what they previously reconciled when she visited her in the hospital, Saet Byul warns her not to hurt Dae Hyun.

Bothered by Saet Byul’s words, Yeon Joo ponders on her mindless action and rushes to see Dae Hyun. She ends up going to his house and was let in by Dae Hyun’s mother. Unaware that Dae Hyun did not go home, Dal Shik hurriedly inform him that Yeon Joo is in their house. Realizing a looming disaster if Yeon Joo finds out about Saet Byul’s situation, he rushes to their house. Just as they are about to leave, Saet Byul emerges from the door.

Backstreet Rookie Mid-Series Afterthoughts

If a viewer reaches a point of wanting to make the decisions for the characters moving in the story, it means the direction is in the brink of either chaos or impasse. From its onset, the series has really a strong tendency to move in a languid tone. I mentioned before how there’s not much room for plot development, so the narrative should invest effort on the romance element.

Sadly though, in the first half of the series, it keeps drawing annoyance to Dae Hyun’s love blindness and Yeon Joo’s indecisiveness. There’s a glaring “make up your mind” banner because it’s about time for the main love pairing to propel the romance. Saet Byul is aware of that as well.

Backstreet Rookie

At least though, someone in the fictional world of this series gets the you-and-me-against-my-rich-status predicament of Yeon Joo. Thankfully, Seung Joon at last made his move to push the mercurial mind of Yeon Joo that there is really no hope for her relationship with Dae Hyun.

But his short-lived bravery came futile, and his love quest is again put on hold because Yeon Joo’s crazy state of fickleness. Whether there’s a hope for him to really hold his rein tight, we have the second part of the series to hope for it to come true.

Backstreet Rookie

Backstreet Rookie

What we hope to see…

On the bright side, Geum Bi consistently hosts the party of hilarious moments in the series. Her addiction to the erotic romance authored by Dal Shik, her mortal enemy, we know would really draw a sweet dilemma when both of them realize their secret connection. The moments of Saet Byul with her besties remain to be one of the best moments of the show.

As much as we want to empathize on Eun Byul’s actions, when we think of Saet Byul’s sacrifices, it gets washed away easily. Will Eun Byul’s character redeem herself and prove that her effort is really sign of gratefulness for her sister? That, let’s wish to materialize.

Kim Min Gyu as Kang Ji Wook friend-zoned by Saet Byul is honestly a pity. Especially since her one-sided romance is unrequited and true for Dae Hyun, who is on a nonsense love loop with Yeon Joo. As I can’t be choosy with how the story is flowing for Backstreet Rookie, I hope Ji Wook would spur jealousy and increase screen time with Saet Byul if they can’t resolve on how much more episodes Yeon Joo and Dae Hyun can call it quits.

Lastly, I signed up for the romance and comedy. While not falling short of the comic highs, the romantic treats definitely needs improvement.

Photos: SBS | Screenshots from iQIYI

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