Monstar: Episode 4
Ah, that moment when your feelings finally hit and you realize that you’re not the only one who harbors them. We learn more about Se-yi’s past in this episode as our group of misfits end up on a stranger’s doorstep in the rain. And yet with all the clues that we’re given, we’re still looking at a puzzle that has yet to be solved. Now that we’re all caught up, I think I’d like to take that catnap now.
SONG OF THE DAY
J-Rabbit – 선잠 (나 그대의 사랑이 되리) “Catnap (I’ll Be Your Love)” [ Download ]
EPISODE 4: “I like her… Min Se-yi!”
Due to the thunderstorm raging outside, the ajusshi reluctantly lets the group in temporarily to stay dry in the cellar. At the gruff warning that they’re not to touch anything, cocky Seol-chan can’t help make a sarcastic jab about whether the man has something to hide.
Once he leaves, Seol-chan tears into Se-yi for leading them to an Adam’s doorstep when she’s the flasher’s target. The other kids look at her wide-eyed as Seol-chan explains that he’s caught that man following her twice, no three times now.
When Se-yi protests that it’s not true, he drives his suspicious ajusshi theory home, saying that there’s no such thing as a dead zone in Seoul. Then a flash of lighting spooks Kyu-dong, who briefly spots a piano in the deadened courtyard.
Do-nam uncovers a few band instruments in his exploration and pushes against a locked door to no avail, snarling at Kyu-dong at the reminder that they’re not to go poking around. Are we looking for literal skeletons in the closet?
Out in the rain, Sun-woo confronts Seol-chan about his theory about their host. What does he plan to do if he’s wrong? So they strike a deal: If Seol-chan is wrong, then he’ll apologize to Se-yi properly on his knees; but if he’s right, Sun-woo will have to apologize to him—on his knees.
Then Sun-woo takes a call from his mother, explaining that he’s with Seol-chan. (Along with the mention of Seol-chan’s prestigious lineage in the last episode, this gives us more clues to suggest that the boys’ families are/were family friends.)
Seol-chan rejoins the group, but upon realization that Se-yi’s missing, he runs out again to find her.
That’s because Se-yi has gone up to the house to ask the ajusshi herself about whether he’s a pervy stalker. Her sudden appearance makes the man sit up in his chair and both of their eyes look in the direction of Se-yi’s father’s crooning voice.
The ajusshi hurries to stash the CD away, but when Se-yi snatches it, he momentarily grabs her by the wrists before he lets her go. But Se-yi isn’t willing to return it without an answer of where it came from, and he scuffles with her to get the disc back.
Seol-chan barges in on what looks like a most compromising position. Assuming the worst, he clocks the man in the jaw, and Se-yi yells at him to stop before he pummels the man. The ajusshi barks at the kiddos to get out, but tells Se-yi to stay behind.
He asks after Se-yi’s name and pauses at her surname. At the mention of her father’s name (Min Kwang-ho), she lights up and asks if the two men may have been on friendly terms. He answers resignedly, “We… were. But it’s been awhile since we’ve lost touch.'” She deflates.
Her voice breaking, she fights her tears as she admits that her father had told her he didn’t have any friends besides Se-yi and music. Wiping the tears away, she explains why her father hasn’t been in touch: “It’s because… he died.”
At that, he turns to face her as she explains that she couldn’t cry back then because she was so shocked by his death even though she so wanted to. She sobs.
Eun-ha approaches Seol-chan outside to speak to him as a fangirl. (She’s been speaking jondae to him all this time, and he tells her to stop calling him “Oppa” when they’re of the same age.) He’s aware of the outlandish fanfics written about him, to which Eun-ha explains that the thought of their idols oppa dating each other is less crushing to the fans than another girl.
She tells him that stars like him are high up in the sky because they don’t act like normal folk. If they did, they’d just be regular people. Seol-chan tells her that stars are people too, and though Eun-ha already knows it, the thought saddens her.
So he promises her that he won’t date, and she thanks him.
When Sun-woo emerges from the cellar, it’s Seol-chan’s turn to confront him about the real reason why he’s here—it’s out of character for him to get involved in something he doesn’t actually care about. To this, Sun-woo honestly answers: “Because I like her. I like her… Min Se-yi.”
Seol-chan stammers at this, and asks why he likes her. Sun-woo: “Because I’m a guy. And she’s a girl. Is there a reason to like someone?”
He tells Seol-chan that he overheard his promise to Eun-ha to remain as a star in her fangirl night sky, adding that everyone has their place.
Back inside, Se-yi asks after the CD again, and this time the ajusshi admits that her father had given to him. She’s delighted since this must mean that her father considered him as a special friend to share a song only she and her mother knew of.
He sends her on his way, but before she leaves, she asks if she can come visit again tomorrow. He doesn’t answer.
Seol-chan is ready to tear into Se-yi again when she emerges, but his concern trumps his ire at the sight of her post-crying face. She tells him to apologize to the ajusshi and marches off.
Sun-woo meets up with Nana nearby, who has shown up because of his incessant texts. He tells her that it’s unlike her to run away from a situation. Sure she could leave the others high and dry to do the grunt work, but that wouldn’t be the Nana he knows. She scoffs: “Since when were you so concerned about me?”
He answers that it’s not concern but simply an observation. Then he notices her injured hand, but Nana brushes him off and counters that he doesn’t know a single thing about her or her infamous reputation. Sun-woo acknowledges it: “I only believe what I can see.”
Seol-chan arrives back just as Se-yi finishes the tail-end of her explanation about their so-called pervy ajusshi. Which means that Seol-chan has lost their bet, and will therefore have to apologize. At this, Sun-woo smirks: “Your knees are fine, right?” HA.
The others are surprised to see Nana join them, and Kyu-dong smiles, saying everyone is finally here now. Aw.
So the group starts to practice their medley. They cast looks at each other as they play and sing, like how Seol-chan shoots daggers at Sun-woo, who gazes at Se-yi before he glances at Nana. Then there’s Kyu-dong, who looks at Do-nam, who looks away. As for the ajusshi, he stands outside the cellar.
The group performs their rehearsed number to Gym Teacher Choi, who gives them an enthusiastic round of applause. When he asks whose idea it was, Se-yi honestly admits that Sun-woo helped them out (Seol-chan seethes, heh).
Having caught their impressive performance just outside the door, Teacher Dokko breathes a sigh of relief. However, she’s told that the group won’t be able to impress the higher ups who will be in attendance—they want to see a visually appealing group playing actual instruments.
Sun-woo gets called outside by Seol-chan during break, and tells him to cut to the chase. So he asks Sun-woo if he meant what he said about liking Se-yi. Sun-woo readily answers that he did, and his feelings are sincere.
When Sun-woo turns to leave, Seol-chan calls out: “What do you do from now on?” As in, how is Sun-woo going to express his feelings for her? Sun-woo: “I’m going to do whatever I want. And I won’t hold back.”
He stresses the last part, which leaves Seol-chan to stammer again, calling after him asking what that is.
Collective faces fall at the news that they’ll have less than two weeks to play actual instruments at the concert, seeing as some of them can’t play any. Hilariously, Seol-chan offers: “Isn’t that still better than the tambourine?” and gets no response.
He gripes to see Sun-woo join them, who’s here on Gym Teacher Choi’s request, hoping that Sun-woo might be of some help like last time. Then Seol-chan snaps his fingers with an idea—how about AR? (Derived from “automated replacement.” Think lip-sync or dubbing)
Eun-ha immediately rises to her idol oppa’s defense when Do-nam mutters under his breath that the idol would know a thing or two about lip-syncing. In any case, Gym Teacher Choi thinks it’s a reasonable idea given their circumstances, and Seol-chan outlines their “concept.”
Which means another one of Seol-chan’s daydream. In this scenario, he and Se-yi are front and center singing while the others (including Sun-woo, hee) stand behind a curtain with their instruments. HA, I’ll never get tired of these; they’re just too hilarious.
His idea is met with general approval until Nana and Do-nam pipe up that they won’t participate in something like that. Which is when Sun-woo offers a more practical solution to have those who can’t play instruments instead. And with a snap of his fingers, we see the imagery of his idea.
This time, it’s Se-yi and Sun-woo standing at the center (Seol-chan is cast aside as a part of the chorus) as the others play their instruments. It cracks me up that Sun-woo can still dish it out using an imaginary scenario.
Gym Teacher Choi approves of this idea too, and when Seol-chan points out that Sun-woo won’t join them because it was just an example, Sun-woo returns: “We can always use a different instrument other than cello.” Ooh.
So they put it to a vote between Seol-chan and Sun-woo’s ideas, and the group is tied 3:3 with Do-nam as the deciding vote. To everyone’s frustration, Do-nam shoots down both ideas, sticking to their original one.
Eun-ha pesters him about it afterward, hurling insults at his back until he stalks off. Aw, that was mean, even for Eun-ha. Kyu-dong just hangs his head.
They run into the All for One crew and Hyo-rin drawls her thinly-veiled insults at the colorful group of misfits. They’re like a rainbow, she sneers. Then she throws Se-yi’s words back in her face, asking if that makes them “colorful poop.”
Addressing Seol-chan Joon-hee thanks him in that same irritating politeness for taking over the charity concert for them. How wonderful that their little group will be able to uphold the school’s honor. Seol-chan balls up his fist.
Sun-woo has witnessed the entire exchange nearby, and is just about to leave when Se-yi’s voice rings out: “Hey, school president!”
Se-yi walks up to Joon-hee and tells him not to worry—they’ll uphold the school’s honor, all right. She tells him that Seol-chan is a star and “magic happens every time he stands on stage.” Ha, that sounds familiar.
Seol-chan smirks at the realization that Se-yi was listening to him after all. She then turns to Jae-rok and Hyorin in turn, saying that Seol-chan is a pro—he saw what happened at the music evaluations. And Hyo-rin should be grateful that she didn’t have to play a lullaby on her violin. Awesome.
That rouses Hyo-rin’s temper but she clams up at one word from Nana, and they leave.
As Se-yi leaves school, she spots Nana get approached by a few burly men, who lead her to a car. She recalls that Eun-ha had once told her that there was another mystery about Nana that no one knows and watches the car drive away.
The All for One members are still reeling from Se-yi’s throwdown when they run into Sun-woo. Joon-hee points out that he’s been missing practice more often these days, to which Sun-woo answers that he doesn’t feel like joining them lately.
Seol-chan wakes up his sleeping manager in the van and brightens to see that a fan has sent him a pair of sneakers in his size. He looks up to see Sun-woo’s car driving away, and decides to follow it.
In the car, Seol-chan cuts off his manager’s musings and instructs him to say the first thing that comes to mind. What does it mean if a guy says she likes a girl and says that he’ll do whatever he wants—without holding back?
Manager Hong laughs and makes kissing noises, as in he wants to kiss her. And yunno, and then some, but he can’t really share that with a minor. Pfft. Seol-chan barks back at his manager’s dirty thoughts, and argues that it could be a whole slew of things—like video games or exercise. Manager Hong tells him, Yeah, right.
Seol-chan sits up in his seat when he sees Se-yi get in Sun-woo’s car at the bus stop. So he instructs Manager Hong to cut in front of them, and walks up with a lame excuse to hitch a ride, making sure to scoot in. Ha.
Then he acts all surprised to see Se-yi sitting between them. She gives him this look. Love. It.
So Seol-chan suggests to Sun-woo that they resume their earlier conversation. With Se-yi’s back to them, he starts off, “Did you say ‘sincere’?” and looks at Se-yi “Does sheknow that?” He busts a gut, laughing that he thought he’d never see the day to see Sun-woo suffer from one-sided love.
He continues his petty, childish revenge—they haven’t known each other for THAT long; how can he be sure of his feelings?—thoroughly amused to watch Sun-woo shift uncomfortably by the subject.
He keeps going, asking why he hasn’t confessed to that girl yet which is when Se-yi interjects to say that she’ll get off.
Se-yi claws into Seol-chan after they’re dropped off, telling him not to go publicly divulging other people’s’ private lives. He misconstrues this as her concern for Sun-woo because she likes him and asks if she’s jealous of Sun-woo’s mystery lady.
She whips around to turn the question back on him—what did it feel like when his own private life was exposed to the world? Did he like it? Is that why he’s doing it to someone else?
She levels at him: “You’re. Still. Like. A. Kid.” Seol-chan just stares as she stalks off… and he follows her. Like a puppy. HEE.
He trails behind her, rattling on about what could possibly make him seem childish, until he realizes that they’re outside the ajusshi’s house. His attempts to dissuade her are met with her stern glare.
So he acts like he’s doing her the favor for tagging along, to which Se-yi threatens that he better not follow her, lest she yell.
The ajusshi opens his door to be greeted by Se-yi, who then sharply nudges the person next to her. Seol-chan murmurs: “I’m sorry.”
Seol-chan remains outside as the two talk. Se-yi cheerily asks how long the ajusshi had been friends with her father. They were in the same band together in high school, he answers, and Se-yi grows increasingly excited since her father didn’t like to talk about “that time” of his life.
That would mean he also knew her mother, the band’s manager. It takes a few moments before he acknowledges it, and he changes the subject to ask how her father died. The air grows tense and awkward, but Se-yi answers: “They say he died in a car accident.”
She explains that she had also been in the car at the time, and the trauma caused her to lose her memory. Her father’s funeral had already finished by the time she awoke at the hospital. She slaps on a brave smile as she confesses:
Se-yi: “They say that you’re so shocked, you can’t speak. I was like that. There were so many things I wanted to ask and say, but the words wouldn’t come out. So I couldn’t even cry properly. Because I kept being like that, my mom took me to New Zealand. My uncle lives there alone, raising sheep. People… don’t believe me when I tell them I only talked to sheep. I really only talked to sheep. With my heart.”
But she tells him that it’s a good thing she can speak again. The ajusshi stands there, shocked. Then the camera pans over to reveal Seol-chan, who has overheard her confession. Bet you feel like an ass now, don’tcha?
Seol-chan walks home in a daze. He recalls how he’d insulted Se-yi’s father with his words and song. In voiceover, he wonders: “Is that why you cried? You’re really too much. Why do you keep making me into the bad guy?”
Meanwhile, Sun-woo is reminded of Seol-chan’s question about why he hasn’t confessed his feelings to his one-sided love yet. He answers aloud: “Because it really hurts to be rejected over and over again… you punk.”
Seol-chan arrives at home and notices a pile of boxes gathered in the living room. When he asks what they’re for, he’s told that they’re donations to be sent to the orphanage. There’s a reaction that briefly flashes across Seol-chan’s face, but it quickly disappears and he excuses himself.
Seol-chan looks at his family photo and sighs at the text that the group has yet to secure a location. So he haltingly asks if it’s okay to invite some friends over to practice.
The request is met with surprise since he’s never had any friends over before, so he quickly backpedals on the issue, saying that he doesn’t want to “trouble” anyone. An awkward pause follows and Seol-chan gives a frustrated sigh. It’s like he’s acting like a guest in his own home. Seriously, what gives?
The woman he calls “Mother” (since we don’t know why he addresses her formally, yet) stands outside, clutching her chest.
We see a quiet montage of the students which gives us a peek on how they each spend the night: Do-nam is playing a computer game, Eun-ha continues to write her fanfic, and Nana briefly stops at a store window before walking past.
The boys engage in a game of basketball in gym class the next day and Sun-woo fouls in reaction to Seol-chan’s persistent jabs. So he makes it a point to speak to Se-yi in front of Seol-chan before he leaves.
Do-nam takes off as usual, and the group sweats over trying to find a place to practice since almost anywhere they go is bound to attract unwanted attention (for Seol-chan, that is). All they need is a piano… which is when Kyu-dong recalls that there’s one at the ajusshi’s place.
The crew once again shows up on the ajusshi’s doorstep, and Se-yi apologetically adds that they’ll impose on his kindness just until the concert. Seol-chan offers to tune the old piano himself, and he surprises everyone by thanking the man. His tone is still rough around the edges but it’s polite, so I take that as progress.
Seol-chan asks the others for song suggestions, and Kyu-dong is the only one who has any. Aw, his list fills up an entire page. He tells them to pick a couple they all know.
Then Se-yi lifts up her phone to show her a text from the ajusshi, to which Seol-chan asks, irritated: “You gave him your number too?!”
Sun-woo helps out a street musician whose performance spurs him to call Se-yi. Seol-chan objects when he hears her invite Sun-woo over, which is what prompts Sun-woo to swing by.
When he arrives, he comments that although Seol-chan has finally learned how to tune a piano, a few notes are out of tune. Sun-woo reminds him that he progressed faster than Seol-chan, but he changed to cello.
That begs the question of how the boys previously know each other. Sun-woo admits that they once took piano lessons together and Seol-chan kept playing because of his natural talent.
He tests the piano and invites Seol-chan to play with him “like old times.” When Seol-chan denies that those days didn’t exist, Sun-woo says that he must have forgotten.
As for himself: “Even though I try to forget… my hands seem to remember.” Do it. Accept the bromance invitation!
Seol-chan shuffles onto the piano bench text to him, as Sun-woo announces that Seol-chan once wrote a piano duet arrangement. It’s Canon in D and they play the composition together. That is some muscle memory they’ve got going there.
The others watch, impressed. As they play, whimsical notes float into the air and breathe life into the deadened flora around them. With it, their imagination comes alive and we see the boys’ younger selves play the same song.
Seol-chan bolts up as soon as they finish to a hearty round of applause. But then they’re all shocked to see Nana applaud the performance. She tells them to knock it off but the girls continue laughing, and the boys break into a smile.
A quiet and idyllic ending to a most heartwarming episode that started off rather grim and horror-filled. In a way it doesn’t feel much like a cliffhanger at all, but a suspended moment in time with a group of teenagers who share in a newly formed friendship. It’s these complicated relationships within that group that I’m invested in as new threads appear to connect the unlikeliest of characters.
The relationship between Seol-chan and Sun-woo took a large step forward this episode as the show drops more hints on their strained relationship and their shared history. We still have yet to know what the turning point in their friendship was, but I love that it’s Sun-woo who takes the first step to relive their once happier days, rooted in a love for music. Gah, just accept the bromance, Seol-chan! Their relationship is far from healed but we’re taking baby steps to mend that broken relationship, which is now threatened since they’ve both fallen for the same girl.
Which brings us to Se-yi, whose heartbreaking confession about her past marks a huge change for a shepherd girl who started off this series as someone who barely spoke unless spoken to. Her past is tragic, and for someone who bottled her feelings for so long, it was a matter of time before they came spilling out. For a girl who is so curious to know about her father and her family, you can’t blame her to cling to the one person who’s still alive and might be willing to talk about it. And at the same time, there’s Seol-chan’s question that hangs over our heads: “Is your Dad’s friend your dad?”
The music continues to be stellar in this show and I love how we’re getting a slew of pop and music industry references in each episode. They’re mere nuggets when you compare them to the meat and potatoes of the growing relationships between our characters, and they serve to make this series all the more enjoyable.
The wild imaginations continue to tickle my funny bone, but as our band begins to emerge and the characters learn more about each other and themselves, maybe their dreams won’t remain in fantasy and soon become reality.