Backstreet Rookie episode 9 is thoroughly rage-inducing in its class commentary, but at least the show’s most awful relationship came to an end.
This recap of Backstreet Rookie season 1, episode 9 contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
And we’re back, folks, for Backstreet Rookie episode 9, which opens with Yeon-joo and Saet-byul forced by Boon-hee to sit and eat with Dae-hyun. Awkward! That’s becoming this show’s central theme at this point, but you can’t help but feel Yeon-joo’s deserving of it. I took great pleasure in watching her squirm while being regaled about Saet-byul’s brilliance and new living situation.
An on-going theme persists here since Yeon-joo is fuming that Dae-hyun didn’t suddenly become a mind reader, despite the fact she literally just cheated on him, and he’s still determined to talk to her and make amends despite not actually having done anything. Saet-byul, in fairness to her, doesn’t take much pleasure in any of this, although I don’t think it’d be unreasonable to suggest she should.
In case you were wondering how Dal-sik and Geum-bi’s blossoming romance is going – what do you mean you weren’t? – Backstreet Rookie episode 9 has the answers. Last week, she donated $1000 dollars under her Aphrodite pseudonym in order to support his webtoons, and he gave her his number in return. Let the communications commence! Neither knows who the other is at this point, and we’re obviously supposed to care, but it’s just… easier not to, I guess.
Besides, there’s plenty else going on here after Dae-hyun naively visits Yeon-joo’s mother and not-so-subtly suggests she keep her nose out of their business. Next thing you know, both Boon-hee and Yong-pil have seemingly been suckered, so you can see where this is going. It amounts to a lot of really on-the-nose discussion about class when Boon-hee, none the wiser really, shows up at Yeon-joo’s home and starts desperately going on about lower-class men and such. Ugh.
As if things weren’t going poorly enough for Dae-hyun, he’s caught up in a scam at the store when a customer tries to blag a settlement fee after being sold a supposedly expired sausage. He wasn’t, obviously, but since Dal-sik is brainless there’s no proof to corroborate this, which leads to Saet-byul confronting him. He better pay up or he’s getting a wheel kick.
Meanwhile, Yeon-joo’s mother torments Yong-pil, while a very happy Boon-hee gets given expensive beef by her boss as a sales reward. This is contingent on Yeon-joo’s mother actually finalizing the policy sale, of course, which isn’t going to happen, and it’s going to be pretty crushing when it doesn’t.
I struggle to recall the last time I detested a character as much as I detest Yeon-joo – and her mother, obviously, and Seung-joon by extension. He berates her at work and demands that she formally reprimand Dae-hyun, and it’s just so petty. But at least Saet-byul is there for him, and she demands that Dal-sik be there too, his date be damned.
Ji-wook briefly checks in with Saet-byul, having tracked Eun-byul to her entertainment agency, where things aren’t going well for her. He gets snapped by the paparazzi on his way out. Saet-byul and Dal-sik, meanwhile, head to the hospital to intimidate the “poisoned” customer into lowering his settlement demand, which he does. This seems like good news for Dae-hyun, but when he tells Saet-byul not to worry about his business she considers him ungrateful, and when Ji-wook comes to the store looking for her and Dae-hyun has to admit that he doesn’t know where she’s living now, he gets chewed up for that as well.
When Ji-wook eventually finds Saet-byul and invites her back to his place, the paparazzi once again snap him.
Yeon-joo, her family, and associates continue to terrorize everyone, much to this critic’s dismay. Yong-pil turns up to chauffeur Yeon-joo around. Seung-joon insists to Saet-byul’s old manager that she can never be hired again. That, and Dae-hyun, obviously suspecting how she went about reducing Mr. Sausage’s settlement, has complicated matters with his “righteousness”. Quite right. Yeon-joo texts Dae-hyun and invites him to dinner, which of course doesn’t bode well.
It’s basically a break-up to close out Backstreet Rookie episode 9, which on balance has been pretty rage-inducing. I admire that the show is so eager to vilify the rich, though; that’s always a good message, and it plays into how likable the leads are. Quite how much suffering can be piled atop both of them remains a mystery, but one has to assume it’s a lot. I’m happy that Yeon-joo and Dae-hyun aren’t together anymore, but I’d have been much happier had he realized what she’s like and told her to get lost. As things stand he still has to suffer, despite having done nothing but try and make their relationship work despite absolutely egregious treatment. Will he get with Saet-byul now? Will it feel right if he does? I have no idea, but tomorrow’s episode will give us a better idea.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.