Backstreet Rookie episode 4 continues to put drama first as its love triangle gets even more complex, and blessedly it’s all starting to come together much better.
This recap of Backstreet Rookie episode 4 contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
We pick up right where we left off, with Saet-Byul, Yeon-Joo and Dae-Hyun in the bathroom. Naturally, Dae-Hyun thinks Saet-Byul was beating on Yeon-Joo, and she does nothing to make him think otherwise. We’re still playing the same game as before, I see.
After all this, Yeon-Joo berates Dae-Hyun for hiring someone so lowly, especially someone who also fights better than a man and looks at him funny. The problem, it seems, is that Dae-Hyun is too nice and thinks of others too much, which only makes Yeon-Joo even more unlikable.
Saet-Byul, meanwhile, gets blind drunk with her mates, and is approached by Kang Ji-Wook, a celebrity who used to be trained by her father. She drunkenly squeezes his face and states how much he’s grown, which is odd considering how young she looks. Outside the convenience store, the girl gang Saet-Byul fought with swear revenge on her and mug off Dal-Sik.
Speaking of Dal-Sik, he finally plucks up the courage to tell Dae-Hyun about witnessing Saet-Byul’s fighting prowess first hand, and shows him the video evidence. He also makes a big song and dance about being terrified of her, which is pretty on-brand for him. “I thought she was a UFC champion,” he breathlessly claims, “I thought she was Conor McGregor.”
Saet-Byul is on everyone’s minds in Backstreet Rookie episode 4 — Yeon-Joo is distracted by her, Dal-Sik is terrified of her, and Dae-Hyun’s parents berate him for mistreating her since her presence means a sharp uptick in sales. Saet-Byul is too hungover to be thinking about anyone, until the memory of her heated exchange with Dae-Hyun pops into her head and she takes all her frustrations out on her giant sloth teddy. And that’s before she has further recollections about embarrassing Ji-Wook — even though he has her number and wants them to hang out more.
We catch up with Ji-Wook, and he’s currently working with — you’ll never guess — Yeon-Joo. The romances in this show are rapidly becoming much more complicated. Even more so when Saet-Byul, the “queen of sales”, turns up too by invite of her promotion manager. She and Yeon-joo are forced to shake hands, and when they do a crackling storm cloud appears above them. Subtle! When Saet-Byul gives a speech immediately afterwards, she addresses it pretty directly at Yeon-Joo.
The pettiness continues in Backstreet Rookie episode 4. Seat-Byul gets a call from Dae-Hyun and is very noisy about him wanting to meet with her. But Yeon-Joo is perfectly happy about this since he told her he was going to fire the part-timer later that day — she assumes that’s what the meeting will be about. Saet-Byul, meanwhile, uses a tense dinner as an opportunity for a sales pitch.
Back at the convenience store, the thieves arrive with apology letters and promise to be on their best behaviour, as well as sharing some rumours about Saet-Byul, who is apparently known for her loyalty and schooling troublemakers. This changes Dae-Hyun’s opinion of her somewhat, since he just assumed she was a violent thug. Further complicating matters, in Saet-Byul’s work gear Dae-Hyun finds comprehensive notes about working in the convenience store, confirming that she really is after a full-time position rather than having an ulterior motive. Her friends also arrive to tell him that the day before was the anniversary of her late father’s death, and that Yeon-Joo is lying about what happened in the bathroom.
When Saet-Byul arrives for her shift at the convenience store, she’s disappointed that Dae-Hyun isn’t there. Of course, he’s gone to see Yeon-Joo, who’s working out, as ever. He explains to her that he isn’t going to fire Saet-Byul — not without knowing the facts, anyway. He does say, though, that ultimately he cares about her more than anything, and he’ll do what she says just so long as she thinks about it first. As they hug it out, Yeon-Joo’s mother drives past and sees them together, which sends Dae-Hyun into a tizzy. And then the police call.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Saet-Byul has had another disagreement, but with a man who sexually harassed her. Dae-Hyun takes her side and demands that the man apologise. After, Saet-Byul opens up about being an orphan, being expelled from school, and nobody believing her — Dae-Hyun says he’ll be there for her, but he also gives her a scolding. Getting a bit full of himself, he says that if she’s so tough she should try and hit him, so she side-kicks him halfway across the street.
The scolding gives Saet-Byul flashbacks of her late father, since nobody has scolded her since then. So, what, she’s starting to see Dae-Hyun as a father figure now? This is very confusing.
But good news: Sales at the store have increased threefold and Saet-Byul has been given the coveted “best employee of the month” title. Saet-Byul isn’t too thrilled about it, but it’s a good opportunity for another heart to heart. Saet-Byul thinks the best employee deserves more of a reward; she suggests a piggyback ride, but Dae-Hyun has other ideas — a bouquet of her favorite flowers. And he agrees to give her the piggyback ride anyway.
Guess who walks in while this is going on? Yep, Yeon-Joo. See you next week!
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.