K-Pop and K-Dramas: ‘Imitation’ Episode 3

Screenshot of Jeong Yunho from ‘Imitation’. Copyright goes to KBS2 and Viki.

Hi! It’s Annie!

I feel absolutely awful that I had to take a break from streaming ‘Butter’, but of course I had to review the new episode of ‘Imitation’ as well. Trust me, I’m back to streaming ‘Butter’ now, I am listening to it as I write this. For anyone who doesn’t live in South Korea and doesn’t have access to cable there, this was the first week you had to pay for the new episode of ‘Imitation’ (or else find someplace else to watch it), so I completely understand if you haven’t watched this episode. Still, as I accidentally forgot to mention last time, this review will have SPOILERS. I know my reviews for the last two episodes weren’t necessarily glowing. I can’t say that my opinion has changed too much, but I finally felt some sort of potential for this show. This was definitely my favorite episode so far, but I can’t say I completely enjoyed it either. With those initial comments out of the way, let’s get into it! SPOILERS AHEAD!

The Good:

More Shax- I’m just going to come right out with this one; I love how involved the members of Shax are as side characters. And, again, I’m a little biased because the show is focusing so much on Jongho. He’s seriously in so much more of it than I originally anticipated and he’s absolutely amazing in it. The more Shax we get, the more I really feel connected to the group and it’s members, especially because they’re not only giving us character moments with Ryok. So, I’m really excited to see more of them!

More Sparkling (Kind Of)- So, we barely got to see more of Sparkling in this episode. And I was worried that we wouldn’t get anything at all throughout the entire episode because, except for the appearance of Yoojin in a couple of other scenes earlier, we didn’t see them until the very end. We saw a little more of the rivalry between Yoojin and Hyunoh and that’s definitely picking up a little bit. When performing their new song in front of people from their company they requested that Yoojin become the center instead of Hyunoh who had been center before. Uh oh. We got a little bit more of Seyoung and Minsoo too, but we really haven’t seen as much of those two. The other members of Sparkling other than Yoojin also suddenly disappeared in the last shot of the episode which was strange. But at least we know we’ll finally see the long awaited performance of ‘Diamond’ on the next episode. Finally!

The Side Characters- As always, the side characters absolutely steal this show. Yunho was absolutely adorable as Yoojin in this episode. But more than that, his character was intriguing. We saw his rivalry with Hyunoh as well as the intensity of his training and his character just sucked me in. There’s a depth there that only seems to be explored more as the episodes go on. Yunho or not, this character is the most interesting to me so far. And the epilogue showed his earnest sweetness even more. Second lead syndrome is strong in this show. I also, as always, love Hyunji and Riah. Listening to Riah sing during the recording portion of this episode was amazing. Her voice is great and her sassy relatable nature makes her easily one of the most likable characters in the show. Hyunji is a great support to all of them and I love her cuteness. I did notice that look between Hyunji and Yoojin in this episode though. Foreshadowing anyone?

The Acting- Always amazing and I always have to give all the actors credit for stepping out of their comfort zone with this one. Many of the idols have never acted before and many of these actors have never performed in this way before. And they are all doing excellently!

Ryok- I don’t know what it was about this episode that actually made me warm to this character. He shows an incredible amount of both kindness and responsibility. He said a couple of mean things to Maha at the very end of the episode, but it was all to make her determined to sing her song rather than afraid. This scene seemed to be the equivalent of the acting scene from the comic, and I definitely preferred this by a lot. Ryok did get in trouble with Maha for posting an apology instead of letting her speak, but I really didn’t get Maha’s take on this. Ryok was appealing to his fans because he has the voice to do that. I just didn’t understand why she got so angry. But Ryok won me over this episode from the moment he started dancing with Maha.

The Bad:

Maha- I don’t know what it is but I still find it incredibly difficult to relate to this character or connect to her much. And it has absolutely nothing to do with the actress who is adorable and absolutely doing her best. I think the reason she’s not relatable is because the writing tried to make her too relatable. Instead of making Maha her own character, she starts to feel more and more like a self-insert character for the audience. I feel like this barely works for any kind of media that isn’t books (it sometimes doesn’t work for those either), but there are certain shows and movies that are able to pull it off (rarely). Maha barely has any identifiable personality traits in an effort to make her a blank slate for audiences. And this often just results in her being….a blank slate. It’s even worse seeing this character contrasted with Riah and Hyunji who she’s always with. Both of those characters have so much personality, and it makes Maha as a character feel almost faceless sometimes.

Pacing- Once again, I have to get on the show’s case for the pacing. Everything important in this episode happened in the last half and I sat through the first half of this episode pretty bored. Even when things started to pick up and happen, the episode still had a slow feeling to it. No plot points are made to feel that exciting, it’s just a similar pace for everything. Sometimes it’s difficult to pay attention when you’re kind of zoning out due to the pacing. I like the more slice of life feel and the less over-sensationalized drama. That’s one of the reasons why I liked this episode better. But even when they were using a lot of drama, it still didn’t feel dramatic because of the pacing. They really need to figure out how to give the show a sense of urgency.

La Lima- She’s barely used so far and I’m honestly not sure what her purpose even is at this point. I know Maha’s supposed to look like her, but Maha doesn’t and so far this is actually a very small plot point. Maha dresses to look like her, but she could have dressed to look like anyone with how much this is actually affecting the plot. She could have dressed to look like Ryok and the same things would be happening. I’m just not sure where this is going or what the purpose of this character is among these three groups that we’re already following. I feel like this show would be just as effective without her.

So, there you have it! Some parts of the show are growing on me and there’s enough that I want to keep watching. But, again, most of that has to do with ATEEZ. The plot of this show is moving very slowly and I find it very difficult to connect to the main character. I just hope that maybe it gets a bit better. But there are only nine episodes left so I guess we’ll have to see what happens! Who knows? Maybe all of it will grow on me.

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

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