Backstreet Rookie episode 13 begins to tie off some subplots as it looks very much like the show’s central romance is about to come to fruition.
This recap of Backstreet Rookie season 1, episode 13 contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
It’s always a pleasure to see Yeon-joo get rebuffed and embarrassed, which is how Backstreet Rookie episode 13 opens. Dae-hyun doesn’t fall for his ex’s promises of turning things around and sorting out his career and all the usual empty promises, and good for him, frankly.
Saet-byul’s a bit unavoidably stressed, though. She isn’t totally sure about what’s going on between Dae-hyun and Saet-byul, and she’s fretting over Eun-byul’s predicament too. When she goes to the entertainment agency to help her sister out, though, Eun-byul throws her to the wolves and Saet-byul takes a hellacious beating on Eun-byul’s behalf – not that the self-serving little sister will appreciate it, obviously. Saet-byul’s left battered, snapped by the photographer who has been sneakily following this situation and forced to turn to Eun-jo for rescue. Dae-hyun is fuming when he gets involved, but she won’t go to the police. The two instead enjoy a rather sweet exchange in which Saet-byul thanks him for everything and lays out how she feels about her guardianship of the undeserving Eun-byul.
Anyway, as annoying as it is, let’s check in on Yeon-yoo. Her latest plan, which she requests in her official capacity as PR Manager to both Seung-joon and his father Chairman Jo, is to follow up the Ji-wook promotional stunt by personally thanking an employee who performed CPR on a customer a couple of years ago. Seung-joon’s dead against this, but she insists, and despatches Manager Bae to liaise with Dae-hyun, who is fittingly suspicious and more than a little bit disgusted at the idea of being invited to dinner with Chairman Jo. Nevertheless, he’s forced to agree (this is before he’s nursing a bruised Saet-byul.)
Backstreet Rookie episode 13 also annoying spares some time for Dal-sik and Geum-bi, as if anyone cares, and they have a testy battle of Dance Dance Revolution before going out for drinks and having a back-to-back chat which is mainly just crying and rambling – fitting for this particular subplot, I suppose. The next morning they wake up next to each other.
It’s lunchtime. And it’s predictably awkward since Yeon-joo is also present and is trying to prove a point by laughing at Dae-hyun’s jokes and suggesting he be made a special advisor, much to Seung-joon’s displeasure. These characters all deserve displeasure, obviously, but it’s taking a long time for them to receive some real comeuppance. Dae-hyun is given a golden key for his efforts, which he palms off to Boon-hee, and passes the sniff test from Saet-byul, proving he wasn’t trying to win Yeon-joo back with fancy cologne. They come close to having a moment but it’s predictably interrupted and ruined.
But Yeon-joo hasn’t finished quite yet. She turns up at the store the next day with an offer from Chairman Jo for Dae-hyun to assume that special advisor job, a position he doesn’t feel he has the necessary experience for. She says outright that this is her way of atoning, and Dae-hyun is still having none of it, so good for him. Yeon-joo’s insistent, though, and even goes through his mother, making a big point of how much money he’d be making if he took the position.
Things take a terrible turn for Eun-byul, meanwhile. Due to a misunderstanding at the store, the girls bullying her believe Saet-byul has called the cops on them, so they release all of their blackmail materials online, and a pretty major controversy is stirred up. It’s Ji-wook who suffers more than anyone, being labeled as Eun-byul’s boyfriend and then, when the roaming reporter shares even more candid snaps, as Saet-byul’s boyfriend. Things aren’t looking great for him, anyway, and they’re not great for Saet-byul, either, whose history of violence resurfaces and causes customers in the convenience store to back away from her, all terrified.
Naturally, Dae-hyun is there for her again, encouraging her that honesty is the best policy and doling out hugs. She takes his words to heart but wants to do things her way, which she lets him know about, prompting him to panic and abandon the store to find her. She fights the girls, takes one of their phones, and hands it over to the reporter so that she can stop people getting the wrong idea about her sister, friend, and boss. She’s less concerned about her own fate. When she finally catches up with Eun-byul, the younger sister finally takes some kind of responsibility, and both cry in each other’s arms before going to Dae-hyun’s house to be fussed over by Boon-hee.
When the reporter goes through the pilfered phone, she puts everything together and writes an article that thrills Saet-byul and Eun-byul, and also allows Dae-hyun to put the pieces together about her father, who he knew – he also recalls saving her as a child. These two have an increasingly strong and understanding relationship, but it’s somewhat complicated by Dae-hyun working more closely with Yeon-joo. Not that anyone in their right mind would choose Yeon-joo over Saet-byul, obviously.
Saet-byul, for that matter, shares a touching, friendly farewell with Ji-wook, closing that subplot off right before a cliffhanger: Are Saet-byul and Dae-hyun going to kiss?
We’ll see. I’m curious with a few episodes left what’s going to crop up to thwart these two next, since how else do we fill the time? Then again these two have worked pretty hard to get to this point, so maybe the endgame is just to enjoy a couple hours’ of slice-of-life drama with them happy together.
Okay, yeah, there’s virtually no chance of that.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.