Hi! It’s Annie!
Last week I started seeing some hope in this show, even if it was a little small. At least things started picking up with some characters and we started getting a little development for the main characters specifically. Somehow, this episode managed to screech completely to a halt even after all of that. Part of it was because any attempt that they made at going forward with the plot this episode, ended up being so confusing that it almost didn’t matter. And that was when they even attempted to move forwards with the plot. Once again, this won’t be a rave review, but I’ll get into it anyways. As always, SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!
The Acting- I’m always going to put this category in the good. Everyone’s acting gets better by the episode. People who aren’t as experienced at acting seem to be more calm with it as it goes on as well. It’s just really good!
Shax- Definitely my favorite part of this episode was anything involving Shax. Where the show fails at showing the bond between other characters, it completely succeeds at showing the bond between the members of Shax. We got more of the leader of Shax this episode having to step up and deal with the situations involving Ryok. And, more importantly, we got Dojin and Hyuk going to hilarious lengths to try and figure out what’s going on between Maha and Ryok. This included a hilarious moment where they had to hide in Ryok’s bed and pretend to be Ryok sleeping. Every time we get more of the members of Shax, I enjoy my experience watching the show more as a whole.
Jongho as Hyuk- I think in the last two episodes Hyuk has become my favorite character. He has such a bright and funny energy to him that makes it difficult to look away from him. And with having such limited acting experience, Jongho blows his portrayal of Hyuk out of the water. Jongho has never once looked awkward playing this role. In fact, he plays it so well it almost feels like it was written specifically for him. Hyuk is a sweet and understanding character who is also incredibly observant. He’s often the smartest character on the show. Sometimes there’s so much going on, that it’s just a giant relief when Hyuk appears on screen. I can say with confidence that Hyuk is the scene-stealer of this show.
Yunho as Yoojin- We got a little more character development for him this episode. And also, Yunho looked the most comfortable playing Yoojin this episode than he has in any episode before this. There might have been a couple brief awkward moments in past episodes, but there was not one in sight in this one. And I actually liked that they’re moving forward with the Yoojin auditioning for movies plot line. It seems like one of the only plot points this episode actually moved forward with. Even though Yoojin did get cast as some kind of mafia member who tries to beat up Ryok in a movie, and I don’t think anyone would ever cast Yunho as anything mafia related. He may be tall, but he is definitely not intimidating. He’s too sweet for that. Yoojin is very similar, but I digress. Yoojin now also knows that Maha is with Ryok and that Hyunoh has a girlfriend that he’s hiding from the team. With this new information, it makes me wonder if we’ll see more of a flawed side of Yoojin. It’s at least a set up for that, but this show does have some issues with carrying storylines out, so we’ll really have to see how that goes.
Realism- The main thing this show was praised for this episode was actually a scene with Sparkling that was brutally honest about the lives of idols. In the scene their manager makes each member weigh themselves and then yells at several members for weighing 2kg more than they had the last time he weighed them. For those of us who live in the US (who stupidly decided that we were going to have different units of measurement for everything unlike the rest of the world), that’s about a four pound difference. That’s absolutely insane and very sadly accurate. It was nice to see the show tackle this problem in such a real way. Though the show only throws scenes like this in every once in a while, they still are addressing things like this very well.
Maha- I never know what’s going on with Maha, and I feel like that only increases by the episode. Maha, especially in this episode, felt like a robot to me. She would play a specific role in the scene that she was in and then she would shut down after her purpose in the scene was over. Most of her actions this episode were decided by other characters. I don’t think she had one moment of true agency. There is a moment where Yoojin goes to see her to celebrate because he’s been cast in a movie, and this is around the time where Ryok is going to pick up Maha. Of course, Yoojin doesn’t know this and Maha doesn’t tell him. So while he’s excitedly trying to tell her the news that he’s been cast, Ryok gets out of the car and tries to drag Maha with him to the car in a fit of jealousy. Maha acts like she has no choice in the situation, practically ignores Yoojin without even really apologizing to him, and then leaves with Ryok. In a separate scene where Maha should have had agency, Riah drags her away from Ryok and then convinces Maha to change her phone number so that Ryok can’t call her again. Maha does all of this without question. She feels like a puppet that can be easily yanked around by other characters. Does she have a personality at this point? I’m honestly not sure.
Ryok- After all the good character development with Ryok last episode, I was not expecting this. Especially because there was absolutely no build up to whatever happened in this episode. I’m still not quite sure what that was. Ryok randomly shows up at Maha’s place and at first I thought it was because he found the defaced picture of himself amongst Maha’s gifts in her gift bag. But he shows up with this really cheesy smile on his face with no purpose, they talk about nothing, they get caught, and then Ryok just leaves. His manager gets so mad at this little interaction that he tells him that Maha can’t be his girlfriend and then forces him to go on this nature show without his phone for a while. I thought that this was going to mean that Ryok would be out for most of the episode and there would be some drama involving Maha trying to get a hold of him and thinking that he doesn’t care about her. But there was literally no plot relevance that I could see for him being stranded there. He was probably there for five minutes of the episode and then he was back as usual and still trying to date Maha. And he was also really mean to Yoojin and then pretended like it never happened when Yoojin showed up to set. Ryok had no character development in this episode and nothing that he did made any sense. Everything was so choppy with this character.
Main Romance- I don’t understand this at all. By the end of this episode the show acts like Maha and Ryok are dating now, but there is absolutely no build up to this. We know that Ryok has feelings for Maha, but he’s never been able to properly express his feelings to her. And the show never stops to tell you how Maha feels so I’m not even one hundred percent sure that she likes him back at this point. Trying to wrap my head around the timeline of this relationship is giving me a headache.
Sparkling- Besides the really heartbreaking scene of them getting weighed, nothing really happened with Sparkling this episode. Again. San and Seonghwa basically got nothing once again this episode. I don’t think they ever will at this point. Hyunoh has also been a little weird. The past few episodes his only function is to insult Yunho and then go in the corner and tell his girlfriend to stop being upset at him and also to stop calling him. I’m sure she’s thrilled. He’s been doing the exact same thing for about three episodes now and there has been no development with that. I can only hope that Yunho overhearing Hyunoh’s latest conversation will end in something plot relevant. But unfortunately, that still leaves San and Seonghwa with nothing to do.
The Evil Manager- Shax has an evil manager that we know is evil because he’s always just a couple seconds away from evil-y twirling his evil mustache. This character has no plot relevance, he does nothing, and seeing him always just confuses me. It makes me feel like there’s another plot going on in the background that the viewers are completely missing.
La Lima- She’s had about one scene per episode and no character development. This episode she pulls Maha aside and tells her to stay away from Ryok because Ryok is hers. I honestly didn’t even know she was friends with Ryok never mind romantically interested in him because she’s been in so little of the series. She’s supposed to be a main character, but I always wonder what her function in the plot is.
Hyunji and Riah- Riah has officially been relegated to the overprotective friend. I worried that this would happen in my last post and this episode officially confirmed my fears. And Hyunji’s only function this episode was to have a line once again confirming that she has a crush on Yoojin. We know, guys. Can you actually develop that sub-plot romance since the show is half way over instead of just mentioning it?
The Pacing- Every episode except for maybe two has felt like a filler episode. And there’s only twelve episodes in the series. I’m fairly certain that there’s not much plot in this show to begin with. Nothing is concise and I always find myself confused as to what the show is trying to be.
As you can probably tell, this was one of my least favorite episodes of this show. That doesn’t mean that there wasn’t some good in it, but I feel like I’m finding less and less to defend about it. I’ve already said this, but it’s not a show I would necessarily recommend. At this point I’m just watching it for ATEEZ and my sister already gave up on it. It doesn’t help that the series is only twelve episodes long and it feels like nothing has happened even though we’re officially half way through everything. Maybe the last few episodes will have some urgency, but I’m not super hopeful about that. I don’t hate watching this show by any means! But I do wish that it was so much better than it is.
See you across the pond!