Monstar: Episode 3
This show continues to deliver as our story unfolds and this ragtag group unexpectedly finds solidarity in a secret that they’ll take to the grave. We learn more about some of our side characters and our beloved idol does his best to keep his growing jealousy at bay. But what can you do when you pit adorable anger against sexy brains? With imaginations running wild left and right, I may not be the only one seeing things.
SONG OF THE DAY
Ha Yeon-soo & Kang Ha-neul – 아틀란티스 소녀 “Atlantis Princess” [ Download ]
EPISODE 3: “Returned Idol Seol-chan Causes a Huge Accident”
At the sight of Sun-woo and Se-yi’s duet performance, Seol-chan silently fumes in the back of the music room. He’s just about to walk out the door when Joon-hee loudly announces his arrival.
He pointedly shoots daggers with his eyes at Se-yi (who looks genuinely sorry for this turn of events) before apologizing for his tardiness. Teacher Dokko asks what he plans to do now since his teammates have just concluded their performance.
Refusing Sun-woo’s offer of help, he answers that he’ll play the piano. With the stern warning that he can’t perform a MIB song, Seol-chan announces this untitled original number is written by an unknown songwriter. He smirks at Se-yi before he begins.
The song starts off with a soft melody and then quickly changes to an upbeat tempo. Seol-chan keeps his eyes on Se-yi as he raps and sings to a thoroughly entertained crowd. Although we know that the lyrics were written with Se-yi in mind, I love that they’re as equally pertinent in this situation, even if it’s a somewhat sarcastic apology/confession.
Impressed, Sun-woo can’t help but acknowledge the idol boy’s creative improvisation. But it’s a completely story for Se-yi, who whispers: “Thief.” She storms out, infuriated.
As Seol-chan’s voice cheerily sings in the background, Se-yi breaks into a run as she dashes through the hallways. Then we transition to the Adam ajusshi, who falls asleep listening to the original acoustic arrangement.
Now outside, Se-yi struggles to catch her breath and stops Nana (who has finally turned up for school) in her tracks. She’s heard of Nana’s infamous reputation as a fighter, so she asks her for a favor—can she beat someone up for her?
“What will give me?” Nana returns. She doesn’t need the money but lays out her terms: “Just kill someone for me. Two of them.”
Taken aback, Se-yi suggests that they forget the issue. Nana warns her: “If you ask me for this kind of favor again, you’re dead meat.” Before she leaves, she advises Se-yi to handle the situation “like you did last time.”
Sun-woo calls Seol-chan out on his cowardice back in the music room when the boys cross paths in the stairwell—if he had something to say to Se-yi, he should have just said it. Seol-chan places his hand on Sun-woo’s shoulder and asks, “Why do you keep interfering? Don’t butt in.”
Sun-woo laughs, and then frames his retort like a grammar lesson: “You’re using the incorrect personal pronoun. First person pronouns are ‘I,’ ‘me,’ ‘we,’ and ‘us.’ Second person pronouns are ‘you,’ ‘your,’ and ‘yours.’ So in this case you shouldn’t use a second person pronoun but a first person pronoun. I’ll put it a bit more simply—it shouldn’t be, ‘Why do you keep interfering?’ but ‘Why do I keep interfering?’ And then I would ask you the same question.”
Omg, it’s a nerd smackdown. Epic. Now it’s Sun-woo turn to pat Seol-chan’s shoulder and tell him that he’ll be happy to tutor the idol in grammar anytime.
Seol-chan is left both puzzled and annoyed and looks up to see Se-yi smirk back at him. As he walks past, she mouths an indiscernible word to his face.
Back at the classroom, Seol-chan happily distributes autographed pictures to his adoring fans. That is, until the girls reel in shock at the back… and show him the set of erotic manhwa sketches. Hahaha.
They collectively cry: “Pervert!” HA—so that’s what Se-yi mouthed earlier.
Teacher Dokko starts to pitch her alternative idea for the concert to the Vice Principal when Gym Teacher Choi chimes in to back her up. His enthusiastic support makes her job that much more difficult, and she ends up having to assemble an orchestra for the event.
As expected, not one of her students are willing to participate, and they all rally for Kyu-dong to perform solo. Aw, it’s terrible how his musical talent is a subject of ridicule.
When Kyu-dong tries to speak to her after class, she interjects and lets him off the hook—she understands that the class was just goading him. However, his disappointed expression suggests that he may have actually wanted to do it.
Before Nana leaves, Teacher Dokko reminds her that she promised to do whatever it takes to graduate. If her tardiness continues, she won’t be able to.
As Seol-chan leaves school, he tsks to find the Adam ajusshi hanging around the school entrance. Dealing with his tainted idol image is a more pressing matter at present, and he publicly pins his manager as the culprit for the graphic sketches.
Hee, I love that Seol-chan is still so bitter about the insulting smackdown that he asks his manager to looks into language tutors. Then Manager Hong hilariously exclaims: “To study?! You’re not going to school to study!”
Seol-chan instructs his manager to pull over when he notices Se-yi on the sidewalk. She refuses the ride as per usual, and remains stubbornly persistent until Seol-chan has had enough and pulls her into the car… and she lands on top of him. Well now.
Sun-woo has caught the latter part of the exchange from his car and he instructs his driver to tail them.
Seol-chan and Se-yi continue to argue in that position in the minivan (to Manager Hong’s continuous protests for them to break apart, ha) as Seol-chan demands an apology—thanks to her little prank, his public image is even more distorted than before.
Manager Hong gapes to hear that an innocent-looking high school girl was behind it, and he asks what her intention was. Looking straight into Seol-chan’s eyes, Se-yi answers: “To get revenge. He stole my song.”
Seol-chan starts to protest that it wasn’t hers, but she interrupts him, yelling: “It was my Dad’s song! It’s not an untitled song by an unknown writer! It’s not a song that you can just butcher like that, you thief!”
Seol-chan falls silent for a moment before he takes offense: “Thief?!” He shouts back that fine, Se-yi can go tell her father that he’s super sorry for plagiarizing his work. Better yet, he’ll call to apologize himself. DUDE.
Which is when he feels something hot fall on his face—Se-yi’s tears. His eyes grow wide and it takes a few more tears before he finally lets go of her.
Wiping away her tears, she asks to be dropped off. She wrenches her guitar out of Seol-chan’s hand before marching down the street. Sun-woo’s car pulls up just as the minivan drives away, and he asks in concern: “Did you cry?”
In the car, Seol-chan can’t wrap his head around why Se-yi started crying: “What did I do wrong? It makes me look like the bad guy!” Oh, honey.
Manager Hong tells him that it could have been worse: “If you two stayed in that position any longer, she would have thrown up!” Hahaha. Then he asks why Seol-chan pinned him as the culprit if he already knew who the real perpetrator was.
Seol-chan’s answer is telling of his concern for her: “If the other kids found out, do you think they’ll leave her alone?”
Up to this point, Seol-chan has been oddly defensive and resistant of the idea of home. We only begin to understand why when he steps inside and is warmly greeted by a woman he calls “Mother.”
Though he’s noticeably awkward around her and speaks to her in halted jondaemal, we have yet to know the reasons why. He instinctively draws away when she approaches—a reaction she doesn’t miss.
As Seol-chan lies down on his bed, he recalls how Se-yi had started to cry in front of him. (Or is it on top of him?) He’d wondered: “Why are you crying? Why?” The next thing we know, we see Se-yi lying on top of him. Ha, now he’s imagining her? He gulps.
Then he starts talking to Se-yi’s apparition as if it was her and calls her crazy for showing up here. O-kay, Mr. I’m-having-hallucinations-of-my-crush-but-she’s-the-one-who’s-nuts.
He tells her to go away, adding that she’ll get in trouble for being here. She doesn’t answer.
Just then, another voice cuts in—Sun-woo’s—and Seol-chan turns to see Sun-woo lying beside him. Lordy, someone’s having multiple hallucinations today. When Sun-woo’s manifestation gives him yet another grammar lesson, he tells it to leave.
He sends off Se-yi’s apparition as well, and she starts to disappear. But at the last second, he summons her back and she reappears.
He asks: “Why did you cry before?” Phantom Se-yi silently blinks her eyes at him until he tells her to scram too.
Meanwhile, Se-yi is so lost in her own thoughts that she doesn’t notice a pole in front of her until it’s too late. Sun-woo has been walking her home all the time, and as he leans in to inspect her wound, he teases,”You hit it just hard enough to get your head on straight.”
It’s then he notices how physically close he is and he draws back awkwardly. He returns the smile when Se-yi says goodbye, thanking him for everything today.
After she leaves, their duet reminds Sun-woo of a time when he was still a young boy and a father-daughter pair performed the song “Atlantis Princess” in front of his class on their guitars.
This is the same song that Sun-woo sings in the present, and a young girl’s voice joins in song. He happily sits next to the apparition of the young girl on the steps, and as they continue their duet, the voice gradually changes into one much stronger and more mature.
Sun-woo turns his face in surprise to find an image of Se-yi in the young girl’s place. They sing together on the steps until the apparition disappears, and Sun-woo finishes the song by himself.
The real Se-yi is inside and she’s reminded of the Adam in the park when Teacher Dokko asks why she hasn’t been going to the park to practice lately. Then we get peek inside the strange ajusshi’s unkempt home with his barren refrigerator which only contains spoiled foods.
The class gathers the next day to do volunteer work at a historical palace. Seol-chan is irritated when he catches Se-yi smile at Sun-woo, and takes out his annoyance on his manager.
Newly-returned badass Teacher Dokko sternly warns her class not to break anything. Ha, it cracks me up that googly-eyed Manager Hong is the only one who answers her.
They get to work and it’s adorable how Seol-chan attempts to grab Se-yi’s attention, only for Sun-woo to cut in between them. So he walks backwards with his broom to overhear their conversation when Sun-woo loudly announces that they’ll need people to clean the bathrooms, too. Seol-chan silently retreats. HA.
He is annoyed, however, when he sees the same strange ajusshi standing nearby. So he confronts the man to get lost and explains the only reason why he hasn’t filed a police report is because he doesn’t want his name associated with a flasher’s name.
Now it’s the ajusshi’s turn to say something and he sarcastically counters that he can tell that Seol-chan is fearless. He warns the idol that the world is a scary place: “Just as much as there is a passion to shine brightly, the passion to ruin someone is just as strong.”
Kyu-dong cautiously approaches Do-nam in an empty courtyard and bucks up the courage to ask him in a stuttered if he wants to participate in the charity concert together “like old times.”
That last phrase gets a charged reaction out of Do-nam, and he grabs Kyu-dong by the shirtfront. Do-nam shoves Kyu-dong into the wall and a shingle falls to the ground with him.
Do-nam gets a few punches in before Se-yi appears, and he pushes her away when she tries to break it up. The noise momentarily grabs Nana’s attention, but she ignores the situation until Sun-woo appears.
He’s quickly followed by Eun-ha and Seol-chan and you can see the Oh crap expression settle on all of their faces as they assess the situation. It’s only when Seol-chan holds up the broken shingle that Eun-ha yells in alarm at the damage and warns: “Run for it!”
One by one, they flee the crime scene. Little do they know that their getaway is caught on surveillance tape which also captures another mysterious man in red.
At school, Teacher Dokko confirms that they are all indeed her homeroom students, but she doesn’t consider the photos as sufficient evidence to name them as culprits. But this has already become a grave issue as she’s told that the media and school board may become involved.
It’s not long before Sun-woo calls the group out to the counseling room to see Teacher Dokko, and Eun-ha wonders if the all-perfect student threw them under the bus.
Teacher Dokko isn’t the least surprised when none of the students admit fault. She reminds them how serious the situation is, but she’s confused when they shrug their shoulders over “a few broken tiles.”
Baffled, she asks: “That was you guys?” Then a moment later, they all exclaim: “Poop?!” Hahaha.
They burst out laughing at the ridiculous thought that someone defecated at the palace. Their smiles quickly fade when Teacher Dokko adds that if the school doesn’t find out who was behind it, the case will be turned over to the police.
What follows is a hilarious montage of the students who all deny the offense and reel in disgust at the photographic evidence. Seol-chan gives an exasperated sigh as if the truth was totally obvious: “Teach, I’m a star!”
Teacher Dokko is just about ready to give up when Gym Teacher Choi offers to help her out, saying that this is a fortuitous opportunity.
She’s impressed with how firm he is with the students and muses to herself: “They say that even dog poop can be used as medicine.” Or in other words, all things have its use.
Inside, the students are horrified at the thought of the school collecting their stool samples and witness statements in order to clear their names. Gym Teacher Choi continues to work his reverse psychology tactics on the kiddos, like how they’ll still carry the embarrassing stigma even if one of them is proven innocent.
“It’ll follow you until you graduate.” he stings. But of course, all is not hopeless, Gym Teacher Choi adds.
They all cast furtive looks at each other when they return to class. Gym Teacher Choi’s voice continues to haunt them, saying how unfair the situation is to have the culprit hiding amongst them, unwilling to repent of their sins. “But all of you carry the sin of your friend pooping.”
So he offers them a deal: In exchange to carry this secret to their graves, they’ll comply with his demands. Then we see all of them hold various instruments in the classroom. Ha, looks like we have our replacement for the charity concert.
Nearly everyone whines over the situation, and they get up to leave one by one until only Kyu-dong is left with his lonely recorder. He surveys the empty classroom and heaves a great sigh until we hear a voice start to beatbox and invite Kyu-dong to join him.
Then we’re transported to one of Kyu-dong’s memories as his younger self performs a Kpop medley in front of his classmates, who enthusiastically cheer him on. Their chants of “Park Kyu-dong!” gradually fade away as we’re brought back to the present, and Kyu-dong catches his breath.
A clapping sound startles him—it’s Se-yi, who compliments him on his performance. Kyu-dong runs for it when Sun-woo walks in behind her. When Se-yi asks why Sun-woo allows Kyu-dong to be humiliated in front of the rest of the class, he can’t give her an answer.
Later that night, Teacher Dokko quickly changes the subject when Se-yi asks if the real culprit is among them. Now we learn that the school had received new evidence on the situation with new two screen captures. Teacher Dokko had gasped at the second: an image of Gym Teacher Choi. She tears up the photo.
With the ajusshi’s question about the song still nagging at her, Se-yi ventures to the park again. At first she doesn’t see anyone by the bench, but quickly crouches down to hide when she sees the Adam ajusshi again.
Se-yi tries to convince herself that his question meant nothing, but she recalls that he mouthed the lyrics to the song that night. As she watches him exit the park, she muses that her father once told her that she was the only person who knew about the song.
So she follows the man at a distance as he walks back home, snapping photos along the way so that she doesn’t get lost. She’s at the door when she’s suddenly whipped around and Se-yi finds herself face-to-face with the straggly ajusshi.
He growls at her, demanding to know what she’s doing here. Se-yi frees her wrist from his grasp and tries to run away, but she trips and scrapes her knee.
The ajusshi returns a short while later to gently treat her wound. His voice is still gruff but softer now, and stop Se-yi to tell her that one of her guitar strings is broken.
He leads her down the stairs to a long-abandoned cellar whose cobwebbed shelves house records and tapes. As he re-strings her guitar, he’s surprised to hear that she doesn’t like to sing in public. She explains that she has no choice since she can’t play at home, so she imagines everyone at the park to be sheep.
Once the guitar is tuned, the ajusshi starts to play a few chords, then a few melodies… He abruptly stops and after he places the guitar back in its case, he sends Se-yi away before she gets the chance to ask him anything.
At the practice room, Seol-chan whines over his minor role in the impromptu group as tambourine player. But the more he thinks about it, he can’t help but wonder: “Will they need me?”
When Manager Hong suggests that he perform a duet instead, Seol-chan imagines himself in Sun-woo’s place, singing with Se-yi on her guitar. Your wild daydreams are absolutely hilarious.
Seol-chan shoots down the idea and while he practices, he stares at his reflection and declares: “I’m a star.”
Then he’s genuinely shocked when Se-yi refuses. He balks: “Why not?!” Hahaha, I’m dying. Her reason? “Your voice doesn’t compliment with mine.”
Seol-chan gets all huffy, declaring that he’s a star and magic happens whenever he steps on stage. But Se-yi remains resolute, and Seol-chan leaves just as Sun-woo approaches.
He wonders: “That punk didn’t hear, right?” Then when he overhears Sun-woo mention it, he cringes: “He did.”
Just like yesterday, the others leave without getting together to practice, and Eun-ha narrows her eyes at Sun-woo and Se-yi before she leaves.
Se-yi walks into the classroom and asks Kyu-dong if he genuinely wants to play in the concert. He nods.
When Se-yi asks why he pulled Do-nam aside to play together at the palace that day, Kyu-dong rises from his seat. But she stops him from running away (“If you keep running away, it’ll become a habit.”) and he slumps back into his chair, his head bowed meekly.
Kyu-dong admits that he doesn’t know what to do, and Se-yi says that she doesn’t either—she’s also running away because she doesn’t know what to do. But Kyu-dong makes a run for it anyway when Sun-woo walks in.
Gym Teacher Choi is displeased to hear that the group hasn’t met to practice once for a week now. When Eun-ha chirps that they could meet the day before to scrounge something together, he puts his students’ “talents” to the test.
So he lines them up to perform “You Were Born To Be Loved,” complete with tambourine, xylophone, and triangle. Gym Teacher Choi deems their performance as pathetic, but he does grant them one last chance to redeem themselves tomorrow.
They hang their heads in defeat.
Seol-chan has already left school by the time Sun-woo calls, telling him to come back. Only at his mention of “Poop Idol” does Seol-chan head back. When he returns, he pulls Se-yi aside and whispers: “Who told?” Se-yi raises her hand. Ha, figures.
She cheerily informs Seol-chan that Sun-woo has happily agreed to help them, and can even perform a duet if need be. Seol-chan scowls and tells her that Sun-woo isn’t part of their original group.
But Se-yi ignores him and asks the group where they should practice tonight. Their options are limited since they’re minors, and Seol-chan’s practice room is unavailable tonight. Then Sun-woo pipes: “What about the park?”
Next thing we know, the group gathers at Se-yi’s usual park bench, and Seol-chan grumbles in his shades. It starts to rain and a few of them run to take cover.
We cut away to the sleeping ajusshi, having fallen asleep listening to the old CD again. We get a glimpse into his nightmarish dream: his bloody hands hover over a dead woman’s face… whose eyes flash open. Woah.
He jolts awake in his chair. At the sound of someone knocking furiously outside, he gets up opens the front door… to find the students standing on his stoop.
Once Seol-chan realizes whose door they’ve just knocked on, he shouts at Se-yi: “Are you nuts?!”
Well, hello to you too. Our mysterious ajusshi who remains unnamed in this episode surely didn’t expect this. Truthfully, I welcome any return of Ahn Nae-sang whose stage presence is able to bring heart and necessary gravity to a series. Thankfully, that’s something we don’t have to worry about, since the series already breathes life into its characters. His sad and frightening backstory presents another mystery to solve, but I have no doubt that his character will be able to handle seven very different personalities.
With a solidly built world that feels lived-in and enriched by a cast who carries their own story to tell, it feels like we’re in a twisty maze with so many different plot threads to explore. Do we know what happened between Do-nam and Kyu-dong back in the day? Or what is the deal with Nana? And because we’re still so early in the game, it’s difficult to draw definite conclusions from the subtle (or sometimes not so subtle) hints we’ve gleaned so far. But with a strong production team churning out one strong episode after another, perhaps it’s better that we sit back to enjoy the ride.
If our episode title and the exchange between Seol-chan and Se-yi are any indication, I’d like to guess that it really was our flawless idol who defecated at the palace that day. And if that is true, then the idol boy didst protest too much when he was accused as the poop culprit. “Teach, I’m a star!” There, there—celebrities poop too.
Seol-chan continues to be an enjoyable and entertaining watch in this series. His hallucinations of his classmates are downright hilarious and I love watching his elephant-sized ego get popped by Se-yi’s one-liners time and time again. His jealousy is just plain adorable as he tries to figure out why the shepherd girl won’t smile for him. The tension between them is palpable from their heated words to their accidental physical proximity. Though they’ve both been affected by it at one time or another, neither of them are willing to admit it and let’s face it, it’s more fun that way anyway. For now, that is.