Backstreet Rookie: Episodes 13-14 Open Thread
Will our heroine be able to solve her problems without using her fists? This week there’s a sister and a dear friend to protect, and we see our heroine pushed to her limits. But that’s when support comes in, and thanks to our hero and his family, our heroine now has the support she needs to overcome.
EPISODES 13-14 WEECAP
It’s our penultimate week of Backstreet Rookie, and we get one plot line wrapped up (Eun-byul, Ji-wook, and the iljin gang), and another ongoing (Yeon-joo making her move on Dae-hyun yet again). What we don’t have, though, until the very end, is the confession that I feel like I’ve been waiting several weeks for at this point. We’ve been teased and baited and tricked, but even though I’m getting antsy with the promise of it happening, I think the choice to wait until our final week to bring Dae-hyun and Saet-byul together was a smart one.
My other main observation with this week’s episodes is that Episode 13 was fantastic, and Episode 14 was a bit of a drag. Is it just me? I loved our storyline in Episode 13 — thanks to our iljin girls, the gossip around Ji-wook, Eun-byul “the nosebleed idol,” and Saet-byul took off, and took over. Saet-byul is faced with a true dilemma, and is forced to find a way to protect two people she cares deeply about.
It’s a good thing Dae-hyun is around. He supports Saet-byul in so many ways, and I love how their relationship has grown. His advice to Saet-byul to use honesty is golden — but before we talk about how that plays out, let’s talk about Dae-hyun for a second. His storyline has always been a bit more reactive (to Saet-byul, Yeon-joo, and the conflicts around him), but we need a moment to appreciate his quality of character.
He’s goofy and often proud of himself, but the guy is so grounded and kind. We’ve seen it again and again. He’s generous and understanding and always willing to help the people around him. I love seeing these qualities in a male lead for a change. Throw in some goofy dancing, movie reenactments, and Ji Chang-wook bouncing off Kim Yoo-jung’s manhwa-esque energy, and we have quite a sweet character.
But back to business — it’s Dae-hyun’s advice to use honesty instead of violence that helps Saet-byul find her solution. Of course, some awesome fight scenes are required (I still love her side kicks), but they are a means to an end (in fact, she even lets herself take a lot of hits this week). The fights don’t end in Saet-byul wiping the floor with people to win — instead, she uses the truth (and some tai chi) to solve her problems. And in this instance that means our lead iljin’s cellphone.
Said cellphone is full of videos that show the truth behind the leaked photos — namely, that Eun-byul was the bullied one, and that Ji-wook and Saet-byul were trying to protect her, and that neither pair is dating. It’s a fun, quick ride watching everything get set to rights. We even get closure with our puppy Ji-wook. He’s finally come to terms with the fact that Saet-byul will only ever see him as a friend; he also accepts that his status/career make it impossible for him to be much more for her. It’s quite a bittersweet moment, and nicely captured. Saet-byul engulfs him in a hug, and I think I felt this just as strongly as Ji-wook did. I liked it so much that I wanted to linger in the plot that was Episode 13, but our drama saved up some time for more conflict with Dae-hyun in the shape of Yeon-joo.
Like many an ex-girlfriend of dramaland, a strong rebuff is not enough. Yeon-joo realizes what a good man Dae-hyun is, and is determined to win (read: lure) him back to her. She uses what she’s got in her toolkit, obviously: rank and social position. At her suggestion, Dae-hyun starts working as a consultant for the head office, representing the store owners. Yeon-joo claims it’s his dream and again uses it as leverage to get Saet-byul to back off… but is that really the truth?
We have another week for our final arc to play out, but I have a hunch that Dae-hyun knows what’s in his heart better than Yeon-joo does, and he’s ready to act on it. This week’s episodes have been filled with teases of a confession between Dae-hyun and Saet-byul — each moment might get interrupted or derailed (that Episode 13 end really got me!), but by the end, it’s pretty clear that Dae-hyun is ready to tell Saet-byul his feelings.
He turns up for a second attempt armed with red tulips, which they both know are the flowers of a first love confession. Saet-byul looks like she’s about to pass out while Dae-hyun explains that his views on love have changed. He used to think it was love at first sight or nothing, but now he realizes that feelings can grow over time. (As a side note, Ji Chang-wook does confession scenes so well that he has me convinced every single time.)
It’s a great confession because it’s exactly what we’ve witnessed: the slow, fluid and almost organic way that Dae-hyun and Saet-byul began to get close, closer, and then develop deeply-rooted feelings for each other. For Dae-hyun, he needed time to see Saet-byul as a woman; for Saet-byul, she needed to learn who the real Dae-hyun was, instead of relying on memories and fantasy. It’s a well-timed confession for both characters, and now I’m ready to stop being teased, and have these two chase their dreams as the goofy team that they have already become.