Behind Every Star: Episodes 9-10
This week our agents are pitted against the Big Bad Businessman as they set out to prove that their experience with talent management is superior to his profit-driven strategies. But does anyone really care about Method Entertainment’s internal drama when we have some of our most internationally recognized Hallyu cameos to date?
EPISODES 9-10 WEECAP
After Myung-ae’s departure from Method Entertainment (and seemingly the drama), life and business move forward at the company. Only Hyun-joo dwells on the senior agent’s absence for longer than 15 seconds — but guilt will do that to a person. She feels responsible for Myung-ae’s forced retirement, so when the time comes for the staff to let Myung-ae’s clients know that they are terminating their contracts, Hyun-joo volunteers to deliver the bad news.
It’s a task no one else wants to take on, but Hyun-joo does it to take responsibility for the role she played in Myung-ae’s termination. There might also be some self-imposed punishment going on, too, because it’s not easy for her to look into the eyes of Myung-ae’s former clients and tell them that they are no longer wanted. It’s so difficult, in fact, that when she reaches the last actor on her list, she makes one last ditch effort to see if she can sign him as her personal client, but Sunny quickly rejects the idea. He doesn’t make them money.
And money is at the forefront of everyone’s minds this week because Hae-jun is slashing budgets in areas that emphasize his complete lack of experience in the entertainment industry. The senior agents gather to convince him he should leave the management decisions to them, but Hae-jun rebuts by issuing a challenge. If Tae-oh, Je-in, and Joong-don can bring him a significant win within the next week, he will turn the day-to-day management over to them. Otherwise, they will be seeing more budget cuts — starting with contract terminations for the actors who haven’t been securing gigs. (Insert meaningful camera shot of Hee-sun here.)
Luckily, all three of them are already in the early stages of securing a major deal for Method Entertainment. Tae-oh has proposed a joint production to the president of SY Pictures, Je-in has been courting model-turned-actress JOO AH-HYUN (Kim Ah-hyun), and Joong-don’s client KIM JOO-RYUNG (as herself) is on the verge of being cast for an extremely popular reality television show produced by NA PD (as himself). Unfortunately, nothing goes according to plan for our senior agents.
The biggest challenge Tae-oh faces is keeping his deal with SY Pictures on the down-low until it’s finalized so he can later shove it in Hae-jun’s face. Seems simple, but — as usual — his personal life is imploding. Hyun-joo’s mom SO JEONG-HEE (Kim Young-ah) is in town, and she insists on having lunch with Hyun-joo and Tae-oh. The situation gets more complicated when Eun-ha shows up at Method Entertainment, looking for Tae-oh while he’s out of the office at said lunch.
It’s unclear just how far things escalated between Tae-oh and Eun-soo after last week’s off camera kiss, but Eun-soo freaks out when she’s faced with Tae-oh’s wife. Normally, her level of panic would indicate that she slept with Tae-oh, but Eun-soo is also the type of person to make a mountain out of a molehill, especially in affairs pertaining to Tae-oh. So maybe they stopped at kissing? Regardless of the extent of Tae-oh’s “on-a-break” infidelity, Eun-soo tries to avoid Eun-ha by claiming she’s running late for her lunch date with Hyun-joo and her mother — oblivious to the fact that Eun-ha would be very interested in meeting Jeong-hee.
As you can imagine, this leads to a very awkward lunch between Tae-oh and all the women in his life — minus Eun-soo who was shooed away. Eun-ha and Jeong-hee are extremely civil to one another, so much so that it makes Tae-oh uncomfortable when Jeong-hee willingly gives her phone number to Eun-ha. Afterwards, though, Eun-ha and Tae-oh have another fight, and she formally asks for a divorce.
Meanwhile, our remaining two agents have hit professional roadblocks. It turns out that Joo-ryung developed a bad case of acrophobia after her widely popular role in Squid Game. This poses a problem because the one tidbit Na PD divulged about his upcoming top-secret project is that it will involve putting some substantial distance between Joo-ryung and the ground. Joong-don tries to help her overcome her fear with therapy and virtual reality video games, but aside from pinpointing the root of her phobia — a fear of professional failure that she subconsciously associates with her iconic Squid Game death — they don’t make a lot of progress.
At the same time, Je-in’s dogged pursuit of Ah-hyun meets a wall when Ah-hyun loses interest in breaking into the Korean film industry. If that wasn’t frustrating enough, Hae-jun is, like, total besties with Ah-hyun, and he’s more than willing to put in a good word for Je-in. Not only would his help negate her ability to win the challenge Hae-jun issued, but it’s also a matter of pride for Je-in to sign Ah-hyun to Method Entertainment using her own abilities. She doesn’t need Hae-jun to swoop in, like a knight in shining armor, to fight her battles for her in order to gain her attention — and affection. Because, yeah, he totally hasn’t outgrown his boyhood crush on her.
When Je-in calls him out on his immaturity, he reacts about as well as any egomaniac who has his flaws pointed out to him. He feels the immediate need to assert his dominance and flex his power by announcing that he will be having an inauguration ceremony. He claims the party is optional, so all the faithful Method Entertainment employees band together and vow to boycott the ceremony.
Yeaaaaaah that doesn’t go as planned because the inauguration ceremony is a big networking event, and all of our agents end up having a reason to be there. Tae-oh makes an appearance when he finds out that the president of SY Pictures is in attendance, but before he can finalize the deal himself, Hae-jun makes his speech and announces that Method Entertainment and SY Pictures have teamed up to co-produce a film.
Joong-don also reluctantly attends the inauguration so that Joo-ryung can network and meet with Na PD, and he promises to do his best to help her avoid any mention of Squid Game while she’s there. It proves to be impossible, though, because her breakout role in the immensely popular drama is all anyone wants to talk about when they meet her. And it probably doesn’t help matters that the new president of Method Entertainment looks suspiciously like her co-star Heo Sung-tae. (LOL).
When Joong-don leaves Joo-ryung she gets drunk and climbs a tree to rescue a cat (that may or may not have really been there). She’s stuck in the tree long enough to sober up and remember her fear of heights. She dangles there until Joong-don convinces her to let go — literally and figuratively — and trust him to catch her.
Although the landing isn’t as graceful in reality as it is in the CGI interpretation of her mental breakthrough, she does find the courage to open up to Joong-don about her insecurities. Prior to Squid Game, she was on the verge of quitting because she hadn’t caught her big break, and she worries that she will fade back into obscurity once she’s finished riding her recent wave of fame. Not to mention, there’s the added pressure of living up to the quality of her previous performance. Joong-don, as always, says the right words to comfort her and alleviate her fears.
Joo-ryung isn’t the only one who drank excessively the night of the inauguration party. After Je-in recruited Ah-Hyun to Method Entertainment all by herself, she immediately sought out Hae-jun to rub the news in his face. This, of course, leads to a competitive drinking match, and Je-in gets so sloppy drunk that she mistakes Hae-jun for Sang-wook — talk about some extra strong beer goggles. And she kisses him.
Hae-jun is so happy after the smooch that he tells Tae-oh to head up the project with SY Pictures, but Je-in is far from thrilled about her drunken mistake. Thankfully, despite her hangover, she remembers the kiss — and (more importantly) who she kissed, which usually isn’t the case in K-dramas. I have to applaud this drama for avoiding the usual trope of having her forget the real identity of the man she lip-locked. The cliche would have undermined the legitimate emotional journey she’s going through, and I like these brief glimpses at her softer side. But of course, there’s another conflict just around the corner to provide her with a distraction from her heartbreak.
That distraction’s name is DANIEL HENNEY (as his delectable animal-loving self), and Je-in thinks he’s perfect for the leading role in the film that SY Pictures has agreed to co-produce with Method Entertainment. Tae-oh, however, is suspiciously reluctant to get Daniel involved with the project. When a persistent Je-in goes around Tae-oh to try and connect Daniel with Director YE MIN-SU (Ryu Hyun-kyung), Tae-oh confesses to Hyun-joo that he’s the reason Min-su doesn’t want to work with Daniel.
Caught in the middle between Je-in (her boss) and her father, Hyun-joo sides with Tae-oh and helps run interference so Daniel and Min-su never meet. Because if they do, it will come out that Tae-oh deleted Min-su’s script from Daniel’s email inbox four years ago — back when Min-su was an unknown director writing stories that were basically fangirl love letters to her idol Daniel. At the time, Tae-oh thought he was protecting Daniel from a creepy fan, but his actions did not age well and will be detrimental to the already floundering Method Entertainment if they’re exposed.
Try as they might, though, Tae-oh and Hyun-joo are no match for Je-in’s tenacity. She successfully schedules a time for Daniel to audition in front of Min-su, and once they’re in the same room, it quickly comes out that there has been a giant misunderstanding between them. To dispel the arguing — and save Tae-oh from being on the receiving end of everyone’s ire — Hyun-joo confesses that she was the one who deleted the script.
Although Daniel and Min-su fall for the lie — and refuse to work with Method Entertainment as a result — everyone else knows Hyun-joo wasn’t an employee four years ago. When Tae-oh admits she was covering for him, the question then becomes, “Why is she so loyal to Tae-oh, who is not her boss?” And that’s when Tae-oh admits to the other senior agents that Hyun-joo is his illegitimate daughter.
With each new episode, Tae-oh continues to grow on me. He’s still not a good person in my book, but of all the characters in this drama, I find him to be the most interesting. We’re seeing a lot of facets to his personality that make him appear more humanized than most of the other characters. Would I pick him as my agent? Hell, no — I’d pick Joong-don because he’s a genuinely caring agent who doesn’t lie to his clients.
Sadly, being the boring Nice
Guy AgentTM is pretty much Joong-don’s only defining characteristic, and it’s so ingrained in how I perceive him that I can’t figure out if he has feelings for Hee-sun, or if he’s just doing his job. For instance, when Joong-don found out that Director OH HUN (Noh Min-woo) has a reputation of sleeping with his leading actresses, he steps up to run interference and be a third wheel whenever the two meet. His actions could be perceived as jealousy — especially now that he knows she lied about being in a relationship. But, he’s also so nice that I wouldn’t question it if he was just being a platonic agent-friend going above and beyond to take care of his actress, which we’ve seen him do time and time again.
With only one week left, I have absolutely no clue as to what direction our story will take in the final two episodes. It doesn’t feel like our characters have enough time to rescue Method Entertainment from the Big Bad Businessman, so I’m half expecting this drama to end with everyone else bailing and leaving Hae-jun alone with his newly acquired sinking ship. On the other hand, it feels like the drama reached its peak level with the cameos this week, so maybe that’s a sign that next week’s episodes will dial it back on the guest appearances to give our main characters a proper sendoff.
- Premiere Watch: Behind Every Star, Revenge of Others, The First Responders
- Chaos and hard work are Behind Every Star in new stills for tvN comedy
- The unglamorous life of a celebrity manager in new teaser for tvN’s Call My Agent
- First look at tvN’s Call My Agent with Lee Seo-jin and Kwak Sun-young
- Lee Seo-jin, Kwak Sun-young being courted for Korean remake of Call My Agent!
- News bites: October 19, 2022
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