I continue to love Monstar with a steady affection of the type reserved for my trusty pup. It’s so sweet and earnest, so effortless and straight forward. We’ve got the requisite eclectic group of high school students comprising all the major stereotypes, smushed together by a common goal, and chipping away at their scars and barriers through the bonding experience of making music together. Episode 5 revealed a bit of Do Nam’s talent and backstory, and having an expert beatboxer around only makes the Poop Group (now called Colors) so much more unique than the classic music homogeneity of All for One’s brand of haughty showmanship. I appreciate the delicacy of Kyu Dong’s bullying being something he participates in almost like a penance, so we can see that it’s a two way street and whatever monsters are eating away at Do Nam its clear Kyu Dong is part of it. Se Yi is like the glue to holds the entire group together, but she only needs to give a little nudge and everyone seems to have this compulsion to join in.
Na Na still says little but appears to be hanging out with Colors all the time. Eun Ha may or may not have musical training, but she probably can use the friendship to help open up her self-confidence and perhaps unearth a hidden talent. This episode took what was a forced charity event performance and turned it into a coveted pride and mastery badge of honor. Seol Chan spent this episode acting like a real high school student, bickering with his nemesis Joon Hee, hanging out with his classmates, and picking on the girl he has a crush on. His love-hate relationship with Sun Woo is pretty darn adorable, because as much as they like the same girl and it’s a genuine rivalry in both love and music, its clear their childhood friendship still lingers in the periphery. The music in each episode is rocking and perfectly accentuates the narrative and this episode is no exception. The PD continues to delicately bring forth the admittedly elementary script with a lot of fun and heart, and at the end of the day Monstar is just a drama that leaves its audience with a smile on the face.
Episode 5 recap:
Sun Woo goads Seol Chan into performing their piano duo from childhood and their performance leaves the rest of the gang clapping enthusiastically for the beautiful display of musical talent and cooperation.
Kyu Dong goes outside to call Do Nam, clearly the childhood friendship reminder between Seol Chan and Sun Woo triggered his own nostalgia. He asks Do Nam to come join them but the big lunk says no way. Ji Woong watches Kyu Dong get shot down.
At school the next day, Jae Rok and Do Nam walk into class and its clear Jae Rok is in a particularly cruel mood today. He orders “Radio” to perform for the class and Eun Ha tries to object but the bullies ignore her objections and snarks that the Radio must be broken since its been too long from his last performance.
Kyu Dong gets up and performs an enthusiastic rendition of “Single Ladies” while the mean kids in class laugh at him as usual. He finally stops when Se Yi arrives and yells at him to stop. Kyu Dong runs out of class and right past Seol Chan and Sun Woo.
Se Yi runs after him while Seol Chan tries to understand what is happening. Sun Woo reveals that Se Yi is only interested in doing the charity performance because of Kyu Dong, because it’s something he wants so she wants to make it happen for him.
Se Yi catches up to Kyu Dong on the same roof and sees he’s about to throw a paper airplane like last time. Kyu Dong confesses that he can’t see his real self and Se Yi confides that none of them can since they are just kids. Kyu Dong thanks her for keeping him company, but mostly for doing this charity performance for his sake.
Seol Chan runs after then and spots them talking on the roof. He’s annoyed that Se Yi is only mean to him but nice to everyone else. He wonders how Sun Woo knows so much about Se Yi and why she wanted to help Kyu Dong.
Se Yi asks about why Do Nam is so mean to Kyu Dong and won’t join their rehearsal. Kyu Dong reveals that he did something wrong to Do Nam in the past and Do Nam is mad at him. That is why he won’t perform with them because it would require him to practice with Kyu Dong.
Class starts and the teacher notes that Kyu Dong, Se Yi, and Seol Chan are all missing.
Eun Ha and Kyu Dong leave school to go practice, with Nana following behind, and they encounter Sun Woo. They reveal that Se Yi is coming later and Seol Chan is getting driven there separately. They find out Sun Woo is going to practice with All for One.
Na Na and Sun Woo brush past each other in a way that is clearly meant to mean something to her, and she stops and looks at him as he hurries off.
Se Yi goes to get Do Nam to join their rehearsal but he’s in a foul mood and warns her to stay away otherwise he’ll give her a beatdown. He says he won’t go.
Seol Chan arrives and warns Do Nam that Se Yi may be small but she’s determined and feisty and never gives up. This time he plays grammar police, telling Do Nam that there is a difference between can’t go and won’t go. Can’t means he doesn’t know how, won’t means he doesn’t want to.
Do Nam is about to beat down Seol Chan but he warns Do Nam to stop calling him a bastard since he’s a star. Do Nam says that can’t and won’t are the same to him and storms off.
Do Nam storms off and has a flashback to him practicing martial arts with his teacher, who I’m betting money is his father because of the resemblance and the close bond. His dad schools him on the difference between being unable to do a move and not wanting it badly enough to learn it. Do Nam masters a hold move his dad was teaching and runs around yelling happily. The two then hug each other.
Do Nam sees Sun Woo and stops. The Poop Group have assembled in Ji Woong’s basement for rehearsal and Seol Chan suggests they cut Do Nam out of the performance and stop wasting time on him.
Sun Woo brings Do Nam and claims he’s just here to watch. Do Nam says he didn’t want to come, not that he couldn’t perform, so he’s going to show Seol Chan to shut him up. Seol Chan ays their group doesn’t need a talentless tool. Do Nam grabs a mike and to the astonishment of everyone, other than Kyu Dong, he starts to expertly beatbox. Damn the boy has got talent.
Everyone stares with their mouths agape while Do Nam lays down the track.
Suddenly Kyu Dong grabs a mike and starts to sing along with Do Nam’s beat. The two stand together and perform for the rapt audience.
When they are done, Na Na breaks the silence by clapping first. Seol Chan runs up and envelopes Do Nam in a tight back hug and refuses to let him go from the group. Se Yi and Eun Ha happily run over and join the hug as well. Sun Woo tells Do Nam to do this performance with them.
Se Yi looks out the window and notices that one of the flowers in a planter has started to grow.
Se Yi is strumming her guitar in her room when her aunt comes by to talk. Se Yi reveals that she has a good feeling about their performance at the concert.
Seol Chan is being driven to school the next morning by Manager Hong, who laments how hard its been on Seol Chan and wonders if he can speak with the company president to end Seol Chan’s school exile. Seol Chan says things are on track now and not to shake it up.
The gang start to assemble at the front gate when Seol Chan’s car stops and he steps out to join them. Teacher Dokko walks by and makes an observation that they are so disparate its going to be interesting to see how the different “colors” of the group become one color.
Teacher Dokko gets a call from the principal and is shocked to find out All for One has agreed to perform. Joon Hee walks over and tries to shake Seol Chan’s hand and thanks him for working hard to perform but now they don’t need to anymore.
All for One practices for their performance at the charity event while everyone waits around to hear what the school decides. The principal overrides Teacher Choi and Teacher Dokko’s objections and selects All for One to represent the school to perform.
Sun Woo confronts Joon Hee, who claims he was being selfish in turning down the performance earlier and putting it in the hands of others. Sun Woo points out that the charity event has become a bigger scale performance and being televised so its clear Joon Hee wants to do it now to beef up his resume for college applications.
Joon Hee and Jae Rok walk past Seol Chan and his group and Jae Rok of course feels the need to be snarky and deliver a set down that it’s such as shame the world didn’t get to see the misfits performance.
Se Yi is so angry she is about to confront then when Seol Chan stops her and addresses Joon Hee directly, challenging him to a performance duel to determine who represents the school at the charity event performance.
News spreads like wildfire that Yoon Seol Chan challenged Ma Joon Hee to a performance duel. Sun Woo and Do Nam, who missed the earlier confrontation, hear the news and takes it in. Seol Chan walks and all the students whip out their cell phones to take a picture of him. Poor Manager Hong hears about the duel when checking the news online.
The principal calls the two teachers in to discuss the music duel to determine the school representative. He’s not happy about it but allows it to go on believing that All for One will win no matter what.
Manager Hong goes to school to look for Seol Chan and his fangirls swarm over to ask him to stop Seol Chan from performing with a bunch of school misfits. They accuse him of being a derelict manager in taking care of Seol Chan’s career.
The Poop Group sits outside discusses how they can possibly beat All for One. Sun Woo walks over and says All for One is the real deal and not to be taken lightly. Seol Chan guarantees they will win. Sun Woo announces that he is joining their team then. Do Nam will do it because he doesn’t do anything unless to win.
All for One is waiting for Sun Woo to join their practice when news reaches them that he’s defected to Seol Chan’s team. All the students in school are gossiping about the upcoming duel with the added fuel that Sun Woo switched teams.
Seol Chan stops Se Yi to talk, asking why she allowed Sun Woo to join their team since he’s clearly a Trojan horse spying for All for One. Se Yi isn’t worried but Seol Chan is frustrated she’s so clueless as to Sun Woo’s reasons for sticking around.
The Poop Group appears very subdued in class pondering the sudden escalation of their performance stakes.Sun Woo and Joon Hee pass each other in the school grounds and Sun Woo pointedly ignores Joon Hee.
Se Yi and Eun Ha are waiting for the bus in front of posters of Seol Chan and discuss Sun Woo joining their team. Eun Ha can see the reason why but Se Yi is oblivious and says Sun Woo is doing this for Seol Chan. Despite their outward animosity, Sun Woo actually cares about Seol Chan and wants to help him.
Sun Woo and Seol Chan talk and bicker as usual, with Seol Chan getting another grammar lesson smack down. Sun Woo then correctly guesses why Seol Chan is so confident they will win, it’s because their side has genuine vocal talent whereas All for One only has instrumental prowess. Sun Woo wonders what to do with Na Na and Eun Ha and Seol Chan says he has plans for them.
The Poop Group gather to brainstorm ideas again. Seol Chan’s idea is to do a 50’s era groove performance with Eun Ha and Na Na in poodle skirts jiving as his dancers while Kyu Dong and Do Nam are on percussions and Se Yi plays the guitar and he sings.
Eun Ha loves the idea as usual but Na Na shoots it down.
Ji Woong peers at them practicing in the basement. Manager Hong comes by to bring good for the practice and he spots Ji Woong and thinks he looks familiar. Ji Woong is upset more people keep coming to the house.
Seol Chan confronts Ji Woong, asking what he is hiding? Ji Woong confronts Seol Chan back for being a rude asshole and asks what he is trying to hide behind his façade of being a jerk. He asks if Seol Chan’s parents taught him such bad manners, and his mention of parents leaves Seol Chan fuming.
Everyone gathers to enjoy a picnic feast brought by Manager Hong. The gang toast with wine except for Se Yi who drinks milk. She asks why everyone gets wine but she gets milk and Seol Chan huffs that she’s such a midget she needs to grow taller.
Afterwards she gets a milk mustache and Sun Woo brings it to her attention. Se Yi is about to lick it when Seol Chan loudly snaps at her to stop.
Se Yi stops mid-lick and everyone is startled by Seol Chan’s outburst. Sun Woo hands Se Yi a napkin and she wipes the milk away while glaring at Seol Chan.
The discussion turns to finding a name for their team and I love that Se Yi suggests Poop Group which is immediately shot down on Seol Chan, who thinks they should be called “Colors”.
Se Yi goes to bring some good for Ji Woong, who declines it. Seol Chan is worried about her and goes to check on her. Sun Woo follows and asks why Seol Chan is so concerned. Seol Chan claims that Se Yi is too trusting so can get taken advantage of, the guy isn’t a friend just because he’s her dad’s friend.
Sun Woo is happy that Seol Chan isn’t worried because he likes Se Yi, and confirms that Seol Chan isn’t going to like her per his promise to Eun Ha. Seol Chan asks Sun Woo why he doesn’t confess, is it because his feelings aren’t sincere? Sun Woo smirks and says its been long enough to be sincere, clearly indicating he’s liked her for quite some time.
Eun Ha goes inside to grab her phone to take a group picture and when she peers at the rest of the gang outside eating, she thinks they look so beautiful they could be an illustration. Her imagination turns Sun Woo, Seol Chan, and Se Yi into manhwa characters and then the tableau morphs into a cocktail party on the roof.
In Eun Ha’s dreams this party is taking place ten years later and she morphs into a thin sultry singer performing on stage. Afterwards Seol Chan apologizes for making her dance during their performance since she can sing so well. Eun Ha is startled out of her reveries and goes to join everyone.
As the team disperses, Seol Chan offers to write the score for their performance. Seol Chan is hard at work making music in his studio.
During class, Se Yi draws a doodle of Seol Chan and passes him a note when she sees him hard at work writing music.
Se Yi turns to smile at Seol Chan. He reads it and is clearly pleased but acts annoyed and writes her back a note that she will die if she does this.
Se Yi turns to glare at him. When she’s not looking, he uses his elbow to pull her note towards him and swiftly hides it in his pocket.
The school is buzzing about the big musical showdown and how the students have laid down bets, with 70% betting on All for One, and in the 30% betting on Seol Chan’s team, 20% are his fangirls while the other 10% have crushes on Sun Woo.
All for One is practicing for the performance and the freshman girl whose name is Ma Hyo Rin and is the sister of Ma Joon He, is bitching about Sun Woo deserting them for that group of losers. She blames Se Yi for Sun Woo’s temporarily insanity. Joon Hee believes that Sun Woo will rejoin their side before the performance.
Hyo Rin confronts Sun Woo about his defection because of Se Yi, asking if he can’t see that Seol Chan also likes Se Yi so why is he getting involved in this loser mess. Joon Hee tells Sun Woo to come back after he’s done slumming.
Seol Chan sees this exchange and snarks about why Sun Woo hung out with assholes like All for One. Sun Woo says it’s because Seol Chan wouldn’t play with him. Now he is going wherever Se Yi is.
Se Yi arrives at Ji Woong’s place and cooks ramyun for herself because she lives with an aunt who doesn’t like to cook. Conversation turns to her parents. Se Yi reveals she can’t live with her mom because she blames her mom for the death of her dad. She learned that her mom had fallen in love with another man. Ji Woong looks shocked to hear this.