Episode 3 of Monstar is so good I literally got chills down my spine after watching it. Just the right amounts of everything that has made this drama so addicting from the get go, but then taking all the characters and their intertwining stories and moving it forward decisively. The music was exquisite once again, and the characters try to open the channels of communication, sometimes successfully but mostly giant pits of failure. Thankfully there are tons of great adult figures hanging around this drama to add some hard knocks and give some perspective. While the kids are crushing and/or hating on each other, the teachers and manager and one very weird trench coat dude is looking on wondering how best to get everyone back on track. Turns out all it takes is a little Poop, and honestly that might be the most innovative and gut-bustingly hilarious blackmail attempt in the history of musical extortion. I love watching Monstar because the story just feels very charming and fun, with Seol Chan’s growing fascination with Se Yi absolutely hitting every one of my happy buttons.
I don’t think Yong Jun Hyung is good looking (maybe cute in a funny looking way), but his Seol Chan is absolutely the star of this show for me in terms of how his emotional growth really underscores what this drama is all about. He’s a Star, and never fails to remind everyone of that, but he doesn’t act like one and instead is really just trying to lead his chosen path in life but finding himself constantly off-kilter because of Se Yi. No one here is really all that dysfunctional or broken, but everyone is hurt and trying to soldier on. In between there are laughter and tears, and lots and lots of singing from the heart. All of Seol Chan’s little gestures around Se Yi make me love him more, because he’s just this little boy doing things subconsciously hoping to get the attention of the girl he likes. It’s so juvenile, and so apropos of his personality and what little we know about his childhood. When he pulled her into the van, that might be all sorts of wrong on a boundary and respect perspective, but it was so stirring and sexy I gasped out loud and started to hyperventilate quite like poor Manager Hong. And when she cried on his face, that was one of the most perfect OTP moments ever in a drama, and one that isn’t even inherently romantic but is instead utterly raw and from the heart. That’s just what this drama feels like.
Episode 3 recap:
Seol Chan rushes into the music room just in time to catch Se Yi and Sun Woo’s rather intimate duet. His face freezes and he visibly seethes at this, muttering to himself why Se Yi even needed to apologize if she was going to do this without him.
The duet finishes and Se Yi and Sun Woo exchanged relieved smiles, while the rest of the class claps enthusiastically. Seol Chen turns to storm out when Joon Hee catches sight of him and tells Teacher Dokko that Yoon Seol Chan has arrived.
Seol Chan goes to apologize for being late and Teacher Dokko says Se Yi and Sun Woo have already performed. Sun Woo offers to help Seol Chan but he cuts him off and says no need, he’ll do the evaluation performance by himself. Teacher Dokko says it can’t be one of Seol Chan’s own songs so you can see the wheels in his head turning and he shoots Se Yi a look.
Seol Chan announces that he’ll be performing a No Name song written and composed by anonymous. Oh Seol Chan, please don’t do this, you’re gonna regret it. Seol Chan sits down at the piano and starts to play. Se Yi’s eyes widen to hear that it’s the song she sang on her guitar that night in the park.
Seol Chan’s rendition turns from soulful to a playful rousing ditty and he performs it to new lyrics that is all a barbed and hurtful way to talk to Se Yi, which Sun Woo catches on but the rest of the class just enjoys the fun song.
Se Yi listens until finally she can’t take it anymore and she runs out of the room. She rushes through the school as Seol Chan keeps on performing his bastardized version of her father’s song. Elsewhere trench coat guy is listening to a CD of this very song. The performance ends to rousing applause and some grumble that Yoon Seol Chan really is a music prodigy.
Se Yi runs into Kim Na Na in the courtyard and asks Na Na if she can beat someone up for Se Yi, to within an inch of his life. Na Na says sure, if Se Yi pays her by offing two people. Se Yi is not ready to commit murder so Na Na tells Se Yi to just handle it her way. And to never ask Na Na anything like this again.
As Seol Chan walks down the stairs, he walks past Sun Woo who derides him for being a bastard. If he has something to say to Se Yi, he should say it to her face rather than make a mockery through song. Seol Chan is annoyed Sun Woo keeps getting involved in his business.
Sun Woo smirks and corrects Seol Chan’s grammar, giving him a fast and furious grammar smack down in the way Seol Chan just spoke. Poor Seol Chan is flummoxed and has no response while Sun Woo wins this round and walks away.
Seol Chan goes back to class where his fangirls want autographs. He takes out his pictures to sign for them, and the girls are initially happy until they turn the pictures around and on the back are X-rated girly manhwa characters doodled on there. Everyone gasps and calls their oppa a pervert while camera phones are whipped out for this latest round of Seol Chan scandal.
Teacher Dokko has no one to perform for the charity event so she asks her class to volunteer. The class volunteers Kyu Dong. After class is dismissed, Teacher Dokko tells Kyu Dong she knows the class was mocking him so he needn’t perform. But Kyu Dong actually looks disappointed.
Seol Chan collects all the autographs and walks out to his van. He notices Se Yi walking ahead, and then spots trench coat guy lurking by a tree. He mutters about why that guy is still harassing Se Yi. Seol Chan goes up to Manager Hong and asks why he’s doodling X-rated manhwa girls on his autographs? The fangirls capture this exchange so Seol Chan has effectively pawned off the sexy doodles on poor Manager Hong.
As they drive off, Manager Hong asks why Seol Chan falsely blamed him and Seol Chan correctly points out that Manager Hong’s livelihood is tied to Seol Chan’s career so he needs to take one for the team. He also tells Manager Hong to get him a grammar tutor. LOL. Seol Chan wonders why the big van has been swapped for a smaller mini-van and is told the company president is punishing Seol Chan for getting into one scandal after another.
As they are driving Seol Chan spots Se Yi and tells Manager Hong to pick her up because he needs to talk with her. Se Yi refuses to talk with Seol Chan, so he opens the car door and pulls her in. She lands right on top of him as he’s laying down to avoid getting seen through the window. Sun Woo arrives just in time to see this abduction and orders his taxi to follow the car.
Se Yi angrily demands that Seol Chan let her go but he holds tight to her wrists. Manager Hong is also freaking out and telling him to let Se Yi go, especially since their position is so…..unusual.
Seol Chan yells for Se Yi to calm down and tells Manager Hong that he’s doing this to avoid scandal. Plus he needs to talk to Se Yi because he wants to know why she doodled those X-rated girls on his autographs. He yells at her to apologize.
Manager Hong is stunned that Se Yi is the culprit, and that she has such perverted tastes. Se Yi says that’s not true, and she did it for revenge. How dare Seol Chan sing that song in mockery, it’s not a No Name song by an anonymous composer, it’s her dad’s song! Seol Chan yells back that he didn’t know, plus all he needs to do is call her dad and pay him royalties for singing the song.
Se Yi starts to cry and her tears land on his face because she’s laying on top of him. Seol Chan looks totally floored and blinks a few times as the tears land on him.
Se Yi finally struggles out of Seol Chan’s grasp and sits up, wiping her tears away and telling Manager Hong to pull over. The car pulls over and she gets out, but Seol Chan gets out and hands her the guitar. She grabs it and leaves without a second glance. Sun Woo’s taxi pulls up and he gets out to ask if Se Yi is fine? He can tell she just cried but she says she’s fine.
Back in Seol Chan’s van, he’s totally stunned still about why Se Yi cried. Manager Hong says she must’ve cried because she was in the laying on top of him in that position for so long. LOL. Seol Chan should be thankful that she only cried and didn’t throw up all over him. Seol Chan would prefer her throwing up on him, since her crying makes him fell like he did something wrong. Manager Hong asked why Seol Chan blamed the X-rated doodles on him if he knew Se Yi did it? Seol Chan says if he told the truth the fangirls at school would hurt Se Yi, and he says this in such a matter-of-fact way like “duh.” Awwwww.
Seol Chan sits outside his family apartment and reluctantly goes in because he’s been kicked out of the company dorm. Once inside, he and his mother greet each other very courteously, but something is off because when Mom takes a step towards him, Seol Chan instinctively takes a step back. He realizes what he did and steps forward again before bowing and saying that he’s home. Mom asks if he’s still thankful, because she’s very thankful for what happened.
Seol Chan goes to his room and lays down in bed. He thinks about Se Yi and why she cried, when suddenly Se Yi appears and lays on top of him just like in the car. He asks Se Yi what she’s doing and tells her to get off because his self-control is limited.
Suddenly Sun Woo appears as well laying beside Seol Chan and gives him yet another grammar lesson. Seol Chan makes fantasy Sun Woo vanish, and then he makes fantasy Se Yi disappear.
He suddenly summons back fantasy Se Yi and asks why she cried, but she doesn’t answer so he wills her away again.
Se Yi wanders home lost in thought and bumps into a phone pole. Turns out Sun Woo was following her to make sure she was alright.
After Se Yi goes inside, Sun Woo flashes back to when he was a kid learning the guitar and watching a young Se Yi perform in class. He remembers the song she sang and suddenly little Se Yi shows up next to him and they sit and duet on the song.
As they are singing, suddenly little Se Yi morphs into adult Se Yi to finish the duet with Sun Woo. What is this about Se Yi that she turns the guys around her into fantasizing about her?
Trench coat guy is moping around his dingy apartment where he clearly has been letting himself go. He also drinks a lot.
The class assembles at Gyeongbokgung for a mandatory civic service day of sweeping the Palace. Sun Woo takes roll call and confirms everyone is present.
Seol Chan sneers at the oblivious Se Yi and mutters that he’s going to show her that getting into his car isn’t something any girl can just do. Looks like Manager Hong is developing a crush of Teacher Dokko.
The cleaning begins and Seol Chan is immediately surrounded by fangirls. He signs some autographs and tells them to clean now. He grabs a broom and turns to check out where Se Yi is. He coughs to get her attention, wanting her to see him hard at work cleaning, which is when Sun Woo moves into place and perfectly blocks her view of him. Ha.
Sun Woo asks if Se Yi is alright after the head bump last night, and he gives a slight glance behind him as he can see Seol Chan sweeping and sneaking closer and closer to them to listen to what they are talking about.
Sun Woo smirks and tells the group around Se Yi to go clean the toilets since they have enough people here, and hilariously Seol Chan immediately brakes and starts sweeping and scooting back whence he came. Obviously Mr. Star cannot clean toilets.
Seol Chan then spots trench coat guy lurking by the door and huffs over to warn him away from Se Yi. The guy can tell that Seol Chan is a star and warns him about the perils of fleeting fame before walking away.
Kyu Dong appears to want to ask Se Yi something but doesn’t have the guts to. He does have the guts to ask Do Nam if he’ll sing with him at the charity event, like old times. Do Nam’s eyes widen and he goes berserk, punching Kyu Dong who goes flying against the wall and some heritage tiles tumble down. Ooops.
Do Nam keeps beating up Kyu Dong, who apologizes profusely for daring to ask, when Se Yi arrives and uses her broom to thwack Do Nam to get him to lay off Kyu Dong. Na Na has been off to the side having a smoke break and she witnesses this entire event.
Do Nam grabs Se Yi’s broom but Sun Woo arrives just in time to stop any further escalation. Eun Ha and Seol Chan also arrive and Seol Chan picks up a broken tile. Suddenly Eun Ha freaks out that they have destroyed a national heritage and all the kids book it.
We see a surveillance camera capturing Na Na, Do Nam, Seol Chan, Eun Ha, and Se Yi leaving the scene of the crime. There is another pair of legs that arrive after they leave.
The school is alerted to the vandalization of a national heritage site. In class, Seol Chan, Se Yi, and Eun Ha are crowded around a desk deciding whether to turn themselves in or keep silent (decision – keep silent).
Sun Woo walks into class and orders the following students to head to the teacher’s conference room: Na Na, Eun Ha, Seol Chan, Se Yi, Kyu Dong, and Do Nam. Busted!
Teacher Dokko expresses anger and disappointment that one of them would have done this and says to come clean. Everyone denies and denies until Do Nam says its just some broken tiles and all that is needed is monetary compensation. Teacher Dokko’s eyes widen and she is stunned to learn they also broke some tiles.
Everyone looks around in confusion, if they aren’t here for that, then what? Turns out it was POOP. Everyone exchanges a look and then starts cackling at the absurdity of it all. Teacher Dokko is not amused that one of them pooped on the altar. I love that during this entire interrogation, Seol Chan’s response is always “But I’m a Star!” in a very plaintive and wailing way.
Teacher Dokko shows everyone a picture of the poop and each kid denies that being his/her poop, except Na Na who still says nothing at all. Teacher Dokko is about to throw in the towel when Teacher Choi comes by and offers to step in, telling her that she can use this “incident” to her advantage, since she still doesn’t have a performance scheduled for the charity event.
Teacher Choi goes in and lays it all out – they can all deny being the person who pooped, but if word gets out even if they are innocent the poop incident will forever be associated with them. And if they continue to deny, Teacher Choi will have to believe in their innocence and will then spend the rest of his life trying to prove their innocence beyond a doubt.
But……..he does have another way out for them. They might as well think of it as each one of them failed in preventing one of their classmates from pooping on the altar, and this is their punishment. He gets the six kids to agree to form an ensemble and perform at the charity auction. Then all of this Poop business will quietly disappear and never be mentioned again.
Class is dismissed for the day and each member of the Poop Group leave not taking it seriously. Kyu Dong sits in class and plays a few notes on his recorder, which takes him back to his elementary school years when he was the class performer and everyone cheered him on genuinely and enthusiastically for his medley greatest K-pop hits of the last decade.
He finishes performing now and in his flashback, and turns to see Se Yi watching him. She claps for him and he’s about to talk to her when suddenly Sun Woo walks in and Kyu Dong immediately books it. Se Yi asks Sun Woo why he allows the bullying of Kyu Dong to continue to class?
Cut to Sun Woo walking with the snobs of All for One, who mock Seol Chan for being an idol that makes money off fangirls. Joon Hee has heard that Seol Chan is from a well-to-do respectable family, and in fact knows Sun Woo’s family. Jae Rok points out that Seol Chan appears interested in Se Yi and when the first year girl wants to spread this gossip around, Sun Woo at least has the decency to stop her.
Se Yi comes home and decides to head to the park to look for trench coat guy after she remembers that he was actually mouthing the words to her dad’s song lyrics when listening to her sing. Teacher Dokko thinks back to the latest news which is that the poop has been analyzed to be animal poop so none of their kids are in trouble. Plus the security camera also caught Sun Woo and Teacher Choi leaving the scene. Teacher Dokko realizes now that Teacher Choi planted the poop to force the Poop Group to perform for her charity event. She tears up the incriminating surveillance camera footage of Teacher Choi.
Se Yi finds trench coat guy at the park and follows him home. He confronts her and asks if she’s deliberating sent to find him? She trips and he helps tend to her scraped knee, and then points out that her guitar string broke when she fell.
Trench coat guy takes her to his basement room which has been all boarded up and takes out an old box containing a repair kit. He repairs her guitar string and tells her it’s a nice guitar so she needs to take care of it. He strums a few notes and is about to get into a song when he stops himself and curtly tells her to leave.
Seol Chan is practicing in the studio and complaining about his charity event duty where he has to play something as doofy as the tambourine. His suggestion to get out of the performance is to switch it from a group gig to a duet. Duet reminds Seol Chan of Se Yi’s duet with Sun Woo earlier.
Suddenly Seol Chan fantasizes that he was the one doing the sultry Bichunmoo duet with Se Yi, and HOMG this boy’s smitten fantasies are just so HIM. He breaks the fantasy and gets back to practice.
Seol Chan finds Se Yi at school the next day and asks her in a curt manner if she’ll do a duet with him to cover the charity event rather than the group performance. She turns him down flat. He is flummoxed and asks why and she explains that their voices don’t mesh well. Poor Seol Chan touches his throat and says “voice?” He says that he’s a pro, and don’t they have stars in New Zealand? Se Yi says she was with sheep the entire time and he huffs off.
Sun Woo walks up and Seol Chan ducks away, then wonders whether Sun Woo heard him ask Se Yi to duet. He peeks back around the corner and confirms that Sun Woo heard him. He grits his teeth.
The Poop Group members once again ditch rehearsal. Eun Ha asks if Se Yi is leaving but she’s staying, and since Sun Woo is standing there, Eun Ha gives Se Yi a knowing smile and leaves.
Se Yi instead goes in to talk with Kyu Dong and asks why he asked Do Nam, his tormenter, to perform with him. Before Kyu Dong can answer, Sun Woo walks in so he quickly leaves.
Teacher Dokko discovers Poop Group has not been practicing so Teacher Choi arrives to bring more tough love. He makes them perform in the music room for him since they claim its easy peasy and they don’t need to practice. As expected, they suck so bad that when All for One walk past everyone snarks at them. Teacher Choi once again uses the poop threat to get them to agree to practice in earnest.
Seol Chan gets called back to school where the Poop Group, plus Sun Woo but minus Na Na, has gathered to practice. It’s late and the school is locked and they need to find a place to practice. Sun Woo keeps texting Na Na to join them. Seol Chan pulls Se Yi aside and whispers that he better not have the word poop added to his search word online because of her, wondering why she told Sun Woo. Se Yi says Sun Woo is trustworthy and offered to help.
The group heads to the park to practice, with Seol Chan “I am a Star!” wearing sunglasses and all covered up to avoid recognition. Best part is when Sun Woo stands next to Se Yi, Seol Chan waves his tambourine around to get Sun Woo to step back. It starts to rain and Do Nam is so fed up he decides to hell with it, let the pooping news come out. Se Yi can tell Kyu Dong is disappointed they won’t be performing so she gets an idea.
Trench coat guy is drinking and dozing in his dingy apartment when he has a nightmare where he in a car with a bloody and battered woman beside him. The woman suddenly opens her eyes and stares at him and there is pounding on the car window.
He’s awakened by real pounding on the door and opens it to find the Poop Group standing in front of him. Seol Chan recognizes him as the park pervert and mutters “Min Se Yi!” and grabs her arm. Se Yi pushes him aside and turns back to trench coat guy.