Let Me Be Your Knight: Episodes 1-12 (Series review)
Our latest idol romance has wrapped up, and the ratings are in. It’s not pretty, folks, but surely no one is surprised that a reverse harem drama about a woman posing as a doctor in an idol house would flop, right?
I knew I was going to have mixed feelings about this drama the moment IN YOON-JOO (Jung In-sun) assumed her twin sister’s identity and pretended to be a doctor. I’ve never enjoyed romance stories that begin under false pretenses, but this drama takes it an extra cringey step further by having the leading lady pose as an expert on sleepwalking. Although the lie begins due to mistaken identity rather than a malicious plot, to pass as a medical professional and infiltrate the idol house it still doesn’t sit right with me. Also, in a way, the inadvertent message of this drama is that an untrained Candy can replace a skilled professional with the right amount of self-edification and Google-fu.
So what kept me watching this drama despite my distaste for a primary plot device? Mmmmm… masochism? Just kidding. But I legitimately think it was sheer stubbornness — and the K-pop bromance — that kept me coming back each week. Sadly, like many K-pop-themed dramas, Let Me Be Your Knight was another disappointment packaged in a catchy OST, and I found myself looking forward to the end of each episode so I could hear “Beautiful Breakup” (the outro and my favorite song from the soundtrack).
Plus, it seemed like all the interesting stuff was saved for the last fifteen minutes of each episode, which made Let Me Be Your Knight feel like a webdrama that had been stretched too thin. The additional stories about LUNA’s band members felt thrown in like side quests in a dating simulator. Each idol has his own story arc, and you get to pick your bias based on which troubled backstory pulls at your heartstrings the most!
WOO GA-ON (Kim Dong-hyun) is the maknae of the group who was bullied in high school but found a sense of belonging after joining LUNA. KIM YOO-CHAN (Yoon Ji-sung) may be the oldest member of the band, but he’s immature and struggles to put his helicopter mother in her place. LEE SHIN (JR) is caught up in an illicit noona romance with a struggling divorced actress ten years his senior, and SEO WOO-YEON (Jang Dong-joo) — in typical nice guy fashion — falls for the leading lady but respectfully steps back when he realizes she and his best friend have fallen for each other.
No matter which idol you pick, though, all roads lead to YOON TAE-IN (Jun), the leader of the LUNA, because — at the end of the day — this drama is about his love story with Yoon-joo. Unfortunately, it’s not a very convincing romance because Tae-in’s attraction to Yoon-joo is rooted in the idea that she’s his muse: the cure for his writer’s block and sleepwalking. It’s a superficial reason to fall in love with someone, a notion that is only heightened by the fact that he literally has no clue about her real identity.
Admittedly, the two of them did spend some meaningful time together and shared some heartfelt conversations, which would presumably lead to an emotional connection and romance. And yet… their walk along the beach and poetic talk about sunsets felt downright platonic.
I think a large part of this is due to the fact that Yoon-joo is consistently portrayed as a caretaker. When she isn’t pretending to be Tae-in’s doctor, she’s dishing out advice to the other young band members and breaking up their internal squabbles. She acts as their unofficial den mother, which only emphasizes the fact that she’s older than all of them, including Tae-in.
I don’t normally have an issue with age gaps so long as the couple has matched maturity levels and life experiences, but Tae-in often feels like an angsty teenager. He’s moody, out of touch with his feelings, focused on his own problems, and unnecessarily carrying the weight of the band’s success on his shoulders because he doesn’t know how to communicate and share responsibility. He’s put up so many walls between him and the rest of his bandmates that he’s oblivious to the individual struggles they’re each going through until they are exposed by the media.
To be fair, Tae-in’s not the only one to blame for their estrangement. They’ve all inadvertently drifted apart now that they’ve found success and moved into a huge McMansion. The space in the house has become a metaphor for the emotional distance that has grown between them, and I actually love the plot line of a super famous idol group that has lost sight of their roots — and each other — trying to reclaim the magic of their early days. Too bad the drama does a shit job of telling it.
Very little is revealed about the formation of LUNA, and we aren’t given a strong reason to believe that the boys had a closer relationship when they were rookies. So the idea that they have since grown apart doesn’t really get acknowledged until Shin’s noona romance is exposed to the public. The boys had no clue Shin was dating, and they joke that the lack of privacy in their old, smaller accommodations would have made it impossible for Shin to hide a secret girlfriend. They’re also genuinely sad that Shin didn’t confide in them.
The internal dynamics of the band are never satisfactorily explored in a way that ties everything together organically, so their eventual reconciliation is brief and contrived. I mean, as fun as it was watching them Scooby Doo-ing Tae-in’s rescue after he was kidnapped by a sasaeng, it really glossed over their newfound camaraderie and put the focus back on Tae-in’s subpar romance with Yoon-joo.
In my opinion, this would have been a much better drama if Yoon-joo and the sleepwalking plot device had not been included. Without her character, the story could have focused on Tae-in as he learned to be a better leader and reunited the members of LUNA. One by one, the drama could have explored the other members’ backstories and wove them together to reveal how they drifted apart. And instead of Yoon-joo being Tae-in’s muse, he could have slowly broken through his writer’s block as he reconnected with each of his fellow band members and remembered why he fell in love with music and being an idol.
Can we get a do-over with more idol bromance, please?