Hi! It’s Annie!
We are to the more than halfway mark in the show and this episode seemed to pick up. But the way it picked up only left me more confused. Every week I try to be positive about what happened in this week’s episode, and I’m not saying everything is awful. But I probably will say some similar things to what I have been saying. I was honestly worried that there would be nothing new to write about this week, but there were a few things. And this episode was better than some of the others. So let’s just get into it! As always, SPOILERS AHEAD!!!
Hyuk and Dojin- I’ve said it before and I will say it again; these two are by far the best part of this show. I enjoy every moment that they’re on screen. Wherever Hyuk goes, Dojin is generally also there. They are the cutest comedy duo I have ever seen in a K-Drama and they both also have a lot of depth. Especially Hyuk. While Dojin is generally a little clueless, Hyuk has a lot of playful wisdom to him. And Jongho plays him absolutely perfectly. There was even a shot in this episode of Jongho leaning against a pole with wind blowing through his hair and it was the most beautiful thing in the entire episode. Jongho’s amazing abilities and general cuteness are making me rethink my entire ATEEZ bias list now. Again. Thanks a lot, Jongho. I would seriously watch a spin-off drama that was purely about Hyuk and Dojin.
The Acting- It gets better by the episode. I always have to give them all props, especially when some of them don’t act regularly and are just venturing into this for the first time.
The Emotion- I think this episode is the most that we’ve actually stopped in with the main characters. We see Maha get upset when Ryok is hospitalized. We see her go through every single emotion of that, from the sadness and doubt to the relief to the gratefulness she feels at him being alive. We also actually get to see how she feels towards Ryok. Throughout the entire episode they’re texting, which could have been boring and could have brought the story completely to a stand-still. Surprisingly, they were able to do the texting part of this episode really well. They used it entirely to single out both Maha and Ryok individually and give the audience a glimpse of how they’re feeling towards each other. We see how Maha is barely able to put her phone down but is worried about them being seen together. We also see how desperate Ryok is to have her in his life. More and more we see that Ryok has very little else to hold onto. This was a great first step in their relationship. I’ll get back to that later.
The Jun-Pyo Scene- I officially call all of these scenes the Jun-Pyo scene because that’s probably what popularized the use of scenes like this. On the off chance that you haven’t seen ‘Boys Over Flowers’, there’s a scene where Jun Pyo, the main male lead, pretends to be in a coma so that Jan Di, the main female lead, will profess her love for him. The prank works and everyone laughs at her afterwards. While Ryok was not exactly faking his injury here by any means; he does pretend to be asleep when Maha comes in and ends up hearing Maha profess her love for him and then reveals that he is, in fact, awake. However, the circumstances of the scene were very different in ways that I absolutely loved. For one, Ryok pretended to be asleep not to get Maha’s love confession, but because he had been practicing what to say to her and when she came in he was caught so off guard that he didn’t know what else to do. There are a couple times where we see Ryok struggle as he wonders what the right time to reveal to her that he’s awake is, and he looks very apologetic when he eventually has to reveal himself. It was a super cute and a bit less manipulative take on the trope. (No offense to ‘Boys Over Flowers’ which has become one of my favorite shows of all time.)
Sub-Plot Romance Development- It wasn’t with the romance that I though it would be, but I’ll take literally any plot development in this show. In two short scenes they’ve been able to set up the potential romance between Riah and Leehyun better than the potential romance between Yujin and Hyunji. Riah is not my favorite right now, which is unfortunate, but I love how much more we’re seeing of Leehyun. And I feel like there’s potentially hope here. I loved the way Leehyun was being teased about her too!
Shax- I always love seeing the bond between the members of Shax. There was a particularly funny scene in this episode where Ryok and Leehyun were attempting to awkwardly compare romantic stories. It was brief but amazing!
Sparkling- I am no longer sure what exactly the purpose of Sparkling as a group is. At this point Yujin could just be a solo artist and the story wouldn’t change at all. Even Hyunoh did nothing this episode. And from the trailer we got of next episode we’re probably barely going to see any of them again. We also barely got any Yujin this episode in general. His character has not moved forward at all and neither has Sparkling as a group.
Riah- I said in my review of the last episode that Riah had been mostly reduced to the status of the trope-y protective friend. In this episode she gets angry at the mere mention of Shax for reasons that I apparently missed. Riah just suddenly started hating Shax out of the blue, and it seems like the catalyst for this is the fact that Maha likes Ryok. But now she even seems to hate all the other members in the group too. I’m so confused. Riah used to be one of my favorite characters, but she’s been nothing but angry for the last three episodes and I can’t seem to enjoy her presence on screen much anymore. I hope that giving her more screen time as a part of the sub-plot romance might help with that. But it should never take a romance plot line for a character to be good.
Hyunji- She is absolutely suffering from her sub-plot romance and I can’t stand her anymore. She has no agency, she makes no decisions of her own, and she’s had no character development. And to add salt to the wound, the writers have decided that she wants to start acting more like Maha so that Yujin will like her. While this could lead to a teaching moment if done well, this show does not have a track record of doing this super well. And I’m also kind of tired of the ‘changing for your man’ storylines even if they are done to teach. Not only that, but we don’t even know who she is as a person yet because the show has focused so little on her. Her acting like Maha is only going to make that situation worse.
Dramatic Jealousy Scene- This was hilarious. My sister was actually watching this episode with me and we were both so absolutely baffled by the scene that we were almost speechless. Ryok confronts Yujin finally because apparently he just recognized who he was on set, for some reason, and questions him about the nature of his relationship with Maha. Yujin is respectful of Maha’s choices and tells Ryok that he used to like Maha (which isn’t entirely true) and that they’re only friends. He tells Ryok to watch his back, but still clarifies that he’s a friend. Throughout this scene there’s super dramatic music playing and Ryok looks close to tears. They also make a point of Ryok looking super angry after Yujin walks away. It was so ridiculous and so much more dramatic then it had to be for the subject matter. You would think that Yujin was telling Ryok that he was planning on killing Maha. It was that dramatic. This might be one of the most ridiculous scenes I’ve seen in a K-Drama.
The Romance- It’s moving much too fast. I feel like we should have gotten this texting thing a couple episodes ago to lead up to the kiss in this one. I’m not saying that episode seven was too soon for the kiss, because it’s definitely not. I’m saying that they dragged their feet forever to set up this relationship and then jumped in way too fast without much build up. Build up that they could have been doing before.
The Plot- It’s still all over the place and it still makes my head hurt thinking about it. If you’re expecting anything plot related with the K-Pop storyline in this, just don’t. The romance, for better or for worse, is now the only consistent thing about the entire show plot-wise. Everything else has come to a screeching halt and I’m not sure they’ll do anything with it anymore. It almost makes you wonder if there will be a season two because they are so far off from wrapping up any storylines. It feels like they haven’t even begun any of them. But then you look at how quickly the romance is moving and it doesn’t feel like they’re setting up for another season. Either way, I don’t think I’d watch a season two.
La Lima (Rima?)- Definitely a useless character. I have no idea what she’s doing here, but it feels like the show would be better off without her. She serves no purpose and is barely in the show. I still can’t wrap my head around the presence of this character.
Once again I will say, if you haven’t started watching this series I wouldn’t recommend it. If you want to give up on this series, I’m considering doing the same. Jongho is probably the only thing keeping me going at this point. There’s always something cute and enjoyable about each episode, but in the end I can’t help feeling like it’s a waste of time. At this rate, I’m not sure I care how it ends. I’m just getting my weekly dose of ATEEZ.
See you across the pond!