Monstar: Episode 6
Ooh, so much to glean from this episode where strong emotions threaten to act as a wedge to drive our new band apart. We finally learn more about the mysterious Nana, showing us that there’s more to the girl than meets the gangster eye. The show continues to drop hints about the past that leave me wanting more, and yet watching what happens in the present keeps my eyes glued to the screen.
EPISODE 6: “Jealousy Incarnate, Danger of Team Breakup?”
Se-yi confides in the ajusshi with the secret that her mother harbored feelings for another man. Then we see how she had overheard her mother blame herself for her husband and Se-yi’s father’s death—if only she hadn’t met “him” that night. Sobbing, she had confessed that her husband had seen them together and had subsequently died when he chased after her.
Soon afterwards, Se-yi confronted her mother about it and convinced herself into believing that that was why her father was so angry, why he ran out and died that night. She earned a slap for her accusations, and she called her mother an adulteress and a murderer.
The ajusshi is shocked, and he’s still shaking as Se-yi notes how strange it is that she can share her secret with a stranger. After she leaves for practice, he takes out an old high school photo of a trio of friends. Hm, is this him with Se-yi’s parents?
Se-yi sits in her room later that night, miffed to hear that her mother has called yet again. She contemplates whether to return the call before deciding against it, saying this is a part of her mother’s punishment.
She thinks back to happier times with her father, who told her that the “Catnap” song was written for her. He’d gotten the inspiration when she was an infant and the melody lulled her back to sleep. Then we see young Se-yi and her father sing the song together, a sweet yet sad memory that still brings tears to her eyes.
She picks up the fallen note on the ground and finds herself laughing over Seol-chan’s heodang tendencies. As she tucks it in a drawer, we see that she’s kept his school uniform button as well.
At school, Seol-chan and Sun-woo overhear the girls muse about how the weather is too nice to be cooped up to practice underground. So when Sun-woo offers up his place, Seol-chan balks in protest but he’s quickly overruled.
Not only that, he’s without a ride since his manager is off on an errand, which means he has to carpool. He sits between Se-yi and Sun-woo and he brushes her off when she complains that it’s cramped. Ha.
They stop to pick up Nana, who initially refuses but changes her mind when a mysterious black car passes by them in the other direction.
Seol-chan’s attempt to make small talk with Nana to break the awkward silence doesn’t work. Then Se-yi remarks that it must be nice for Sun-woo to be driven to and from school, saying how it reminds her of another student she once knew from grade school.
He was smart, handsome, and popular, and although he was in a different class, he visited hers when her father came to play for her class. His singing ability had impressed her father and he wanted to meet the man outside of class, but unfortunately, she wasn’t able to meet him at their appointed time.
When Se-yi struggles to recall the name of the song they sang in class, Sun-woo surprises everyone by answering for her: “Atlantis Princess.”
Se-yi’s eyes grow wide once she makes the connection, and Sun-woo nervously responds that he was worried that she may have never remembered even though he gave her plenty of hints. After all, she didn’t recall who he was at their first meeting.
He cautiously asks why she didn’t show up that night, wondering if he was actually rejected. Her face darkens, and Seol-chan asks to be dropped off.
Although both Seol-chan and Nana appear to be affected by this conversation, Nana doesn’t answer him when he asks why she also got out of the car.
However, it does trigger an earlier memory for Seol-chan when young Sun-woo had tried to persuade his buddy to meet the man together. Little Seol-chan was sharp enough to guess that Sun-woo liked the musician’s daughter and Sun-woo pouted: “Is it that obvious?” Cute.
But like a good friend, he waited outside in the cold with Sun-woo on Christmas night. It cracks me up that little Seol-chan is just as cocky as his older self, and a couple of hours later, he tells his friend that he’s been stood up.
In the present, Seol-chan scoffs, wondering if their childhood connection is the reason why Sun-woo is so confident about his feelings for Se-yi.
Elsewhere, Se-yi explains to Sun-woo why she couldn’t meet him that night: Her father had died the previous night, on Christmas Eve. You lost your dad during the holiday season? That’s just awful.
She slaps on a brave smile, saying that though she’s doing okay now, there are times when she still misses her father. In order to uplift her spirits, Sun-woo suggests they go on a date to make up for that night they missed. Gah, why are you so awesome?
We see Sun-woo and Se-yi enjoy their date, laughing and walking around town while the MIB boys practice their upcoming single about first love.
Afterward, Seol-chan gets called in to see CEO Go, who’s spent some time overseas for the past few episodes. He belatedly lectures Seol-chan about the upcoming music battle, but Seol-chan tells him that it’s too late—it’ll happen anyway.
Outside, Seol-chan talks out loud to himself and finally admits that he’s jealous. He prides himself in being able to put that pesky emotion aside, but sighs in defeat.
As Sun-woo and Se-yi decide what to eat (she hilariously names a slew of foods which momentarily throws him off), they fail to notice Nana emerge from the same alleyway a few steps behind them.
Over dessert, Se-yi quickly changes the subject when Sun-woo asks why she moved to New Zealand. She asks about his strained, hot-and-cold relationship with Seol-chan instead, adding that it’s like they’re having a lovers spat.
Then she pauses in realization and asks: “Is the person you like… Seol-chan?” Puhahaha. Oh, there are times I wish it were.
Sun-woo blubbers that it’s not true, and at Se-yi’s usual indiscernible expression, he quickly adds that he likes girls, really. She deadpans in response: “It’s… just a joke.”
He lets out a relieved sigh and clarifies that although they were once close, there was a misunderstanding their friendship never recovered from. Neither Se-yi nor we are privy to the details, and he feeds a bite to Se-yi… a sight that Nana sees from just outside the cafe. She looks heartbroken.
Nana walks in a daze back to the club, unaware that Do-nam has spotted and followed her here. He stays outside as he overhears a few waiters talk about her.
Inside, Nana storms through the club until she finds the a mysterious waiter in the last room. As he begins to play on his electric guitar, she lifts up the mic and sings. And she’s fantastic.
Ah, so it appears that Nana does like Sun-woo after all as she calls the day she first took notice of him. He’d been standing by the window (as the curtains billowed in the wind, ha) and “Atlantis Princess” was playing when she entered the classroom.
She continues to sing (Jo Kwan-woo’s “Swamp“) as we see the other times she saw him at school, like at orchestra practice or when she saw him shirtless. Girl, I do not blame you.
As we move to the present, we see that she kept her feelings under wraps time and time again, but his date with Se-yi drove the final painful nail in the coffin.
Tears stream down her face as she sings her heart out through the pain. Oof, my heart breaks for you. Overwhelmed by her emotions, her voice breaks until she’s unable to continue singing the words. She finally gives into her tears and sobs with only the guitar riff to comfort her.
Once the song ends, the waiter volunteers to go kick that guy’s ass for her, whoever he is. He suggests that she turn to the boss, her mother, for help, to which Nana threatens him not to say a word.
The group gathers at Sun-woo’s place that evening where a gourmet food spread has been set for them. Seol-chan sends him death glares. HA, I have to laugh over how the boys’ dick-waving contest is expressed through food. It’s these little details that make me giggle.
Nana still hasn’t arrived, so Sun-woo takes the opportunity to pull Seol-chan aside to talk. Once they’re alone, Seol-chan accuses him of being a backstabber like always. Why didn’t he say that Se-yi was the same girl they were waiting for when they were kids?
Sun-woo asks why he should; it’s not like they’re friends anymore, are they? Seol-chan fires back that they aren’t, and you can see the hurt in their eyes as they both swallow that statement. Ack, stop fighting and just hug it out!
Sun-woo continues to provoke him, asking why he should tell Seol-chan anything at all. It works, and Seol-chan yells back: “Because I like her too!” Oh god, finally.
Then we see Se-yi crouch in the bushes nearby, having overheard the confession. She slips away before she’s discovered, and then it’s her turn to talk to Seol-chan alone.
Se-yi starts off with an apology for eavesdropping on their conversation. Seol-chan realizes that this means his secret’s out, and he admits to his feelings. (It’s noteworthy to mention that both the previous conversation and this one don’t contain gender-specific pronouns. Therefore Seol-chan’s confession can refer to a he or a she.)
Thus what follows is a hilarious misunderstanding as Se-yi offers a word of sympathy to Seol-chan’s unrequited love, telling him that Sun-woo feels the same way he does. It doesn’t matter what other people think—just that they care for each other.
Not only do I love that she’s fully supportive of the possibility that the boys are gay, but that their feelings are mutual. It’s pretty awesome of her, albeit the wrong conclusion here. So I feel sorta embarrassed for her when she tells him: “Sun-woo’s one-sided love… that’s you.” Seol-chan’s bewildered What?! expression is priceless since it’s so far from the truth.
Se-yi belatedly realizes her mistake and asks who it is he likes then. Oh honey, it doesn’t take rocket science to figure that one out.
Frustrated, Seol-chan angrily stalks off before turning back to face her again. He marches towards her, asking if she still doesn’t see him as a man. He pushes her against her wall and tells her to stay quiet and pay attention—he’ll prove it to her. He leans in.
Their lips mere inches from each other, he whispers that this is her fault and leans in even closer. Argh, I’m conflicted—a part of me wants them to kiss and the other hates the idea of “proving” one’s sexuality or feelings.
They’re barely a breath apart now as Seol-chan hangs there for a few more seconds… and then pulls back and teases her about her parted lips.
Sun-woo and Eun-ha arrive just after he steps away. Noting the tension-filled atmosphere, Eun-ha wonders if the two fought again.
The almost-kiss leaves Se-yi distracted during practice and she nervously glances at Seol-chan—something that Sun-woo doesn’t miss. Still frustrated, Seol-chan calls off practice early.
Once everyone leaves, a flashback teaches us that Sun-woo had seen their tense exchange from just around the corner.
But before he can think about it any further, Nana finally turns up. She reminds him that he had once told her that he only believes what he sees. So she asks what he sees in her now. When he doesn’t reply right away, she leaves.
As Se-yi recalls the almost-kiss again, her heart begins to race. She clasps her hands over her ears to try to drown out the noise, to no avail.
A montage shows our love square brooding over the day’s events, like how Seol-chan muses over how he should have gotten rid of his feelings for Se-yi. Or Nana, who contemplates in silence as she assembles a fashion design portfolio.
Needless to say things are awkward between Seol-chan and Se-yi the next day at school. I love that Sun-woo takes it upon himself to sit Se-yi next to her seat partner when he finds her loitering outside the classroom.
Seol-chan speaks first and tells her to forget about what happened last night because he was only kidding around. Argh, don’t be that guy. But Se-ri doesn’t shrink back and instead fires back that he should be apologizing to her right now since she found his actions thoroughly unpleasant. She storms out.
Seol-chan follows her outside and asks if she didn’t like their almost-kiss the teensiest bit. He then falls back to his usual spiel about how he has to maintain his idol star image, and she ignores him.
He tries to pull her back to grab her attention, but she wrenches out of his grip and runs ahead of him. Then he’s subsequently surrounded by a throng of fangirls when he calls out to her. Just then Sun-woo appears to take Se-yi back to class.
In gym class, the boys look like they’re two seconds away from a full-on brawl every time they foul each other in basketball and Seol-chan calls Sun-woo out on it once they’re outside. But Sun-woo nods towards some nearby fangirls and asks if he’s willing to give their love up to take Se-yi’s hand.
After a round of stares between the band members during class, Eun-ha remarks about she feels that things are getting increasingly tense within the band, and blames Nana as the cause.
Se-yi is too lost in her own thoughts to notice a group of gossiping girls sneak up from behind to prank her. Thankfully Nana has kept a watchful eye out and she calls out to Se-yi, causing the dirty water to spill onto the girls instead.
Meanwhile, the ajusshi walks out into the deadened courtyard and smiles at the same flower Se-yi noticed before. He runs into Seol-chan outside, who is now armed with an answer to their previous confrontation.
Seol-chan defends that he’s not the type to bode ill on anyone, especially on someone who he considers contributes nothing to the world, like the ajusshi. Ooh.
Then he explains that parents taught him to become someone who does something useful for the world. So he made something of himself, and there are people who thank him for being born. It’s the way that he says this in a somewhat halting voice that suggests there’s more that lies beneath the surface.
When the group reconvenes to practice, the once jovial atmosphere gives way to the mounting tension between the members. I love that we need no dialogue to understand their frustrations at each other and by nightfall, they break into arguments over the littlest things. Unable to stand it any longer, Seol-chan stalks off outside.
At least Eun-ha realizes that they all need a break, and she asks Sun-woo to play something soothing for them. He complies and plays a soft acoustic melody (Zoo’s “I’ll Love You“) which brings Seol-chan back inside.
Neither Seol-chan nor Nana miss how Sun-woo glances at Se-yi as he sings about how he’ll love her more than anyone else in the world.
There’s something about these quiet endings that always leaves me wanting more even though the show hits an average 80 minutes each week. Each episode leaves me with a feeling that lingers long afterwards, as if we left off in a moment that still continues after the director yells “Cut!” It’s a mark of how these richly developed characters carry enough heart where their experiences feel real and genuine to the audience, a quality I appreciate and find thoroughly enjoyable.
Nana’s character has remained much of an enigma ever since the beginning of this show, and I love that we got to learn more about her in this episode, though I’m sure it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Her vocal talent is simply amazing, and I’m left in awe of how talented these students are as the show teaches us yet again that you can’t judge a book by its gangster cover. Her unrequited crush for Sun-woo and subsequent heartbreaking ballad is something so many can relate to. Who can blame her for falling for the nice guy who pays her the attention that no one else will care to give? And the abs? Well, that’s just a plus.
The portrayal of our side characters’ backstories makes me think of the boys in Shut Up Flower Boy Band where even the tiniest clues were enough to breathe life into them so that they wouldn’t feel like two-dimensional cardboard cut-outs. There’s always so much more that I can wish to learn about Nana (like her passion in fashion design or her relationship with her mother) and our other side characters that I fear we may never come to know. So I’m preparing myself to be satisfied with these small tidbits just as long as you provide answers to my other burning questions, Show. Like what shattered two cherished bromantic friendships or the history behind Seol-chan and his family.
I love how the glimpse into Seol-chan and Sun-woo’s childhood friendship shows us a peek into how close they once were. Their hot-and-cold relationship with their tension-filled interactions really do resemble a lovers’ quarrel, which of course leads to Se-yi’s misunderstanding about the boys’s sexual orientation. If we went down that road, we’d all be watching a different kind of drama, but who hasn’t wished for a bromance to turn real sometimes?
We see that all it takes is one jealous boy to start a domino effect to spark frustration and reveal underlying problems within the group. Then we were able to see how quickly constructed teamwork can fall apart over the course of a few short days in one episode. The newly-formed band already stands on a delicate balance, and what started off with one cohesive group working together ended up with seven differences sniping at each other. This group was bound to encounter conflict at some point, and yet I’m biting my nails over the idea that they only have a matter of days to resolve the situation or overcome their differences so that they’re a united front to face All for One.
It makes me wonder if jealousy was the reason behind the parents’ rift and complicated past. Even with Mom’s confession that clued us into how her husband and Se-yi’s father died, we’re still left without a full picture of what happened between the once happy trio we saw in the old photo. Will history repeat itself or will the group be able to find a new resolution for themselves?