I hope I can keep starting off every recap of Monstar with the same sentence, that this was the best episode yet. It need not sound repetitive if true, and since this is a once-a-week 12-episode drama, aiming to keep reaching higher isn’t a formidable feat but does require a firm grasp of the overall narrative. Episode 6 was an emotionally taut episode that didn’t move the musical element forward with the upcoming duel but instead stopping in its track so everyone could finally take a lay of the land. Se Yi learns first that Sun Woo is the boy from her childhood, and then she discovers that Seol Chan isn’t some snot-nosed “star” she can disregard but is instead a flesh-and-blood guy who makes her feel all sorts of wonky. Seol Chan comes clean with his feelings for Se Yi and finds out his rival Sun Woo already has a past history with her. Na Na’s crush on Sun Woo is confirmed though it feels way too random to have any emotional resonance with her, and rather undermines her tough-as-nails attitude to fall for a good looking hunk at school just like that. What makes the hodge podge mix of Color Bar group members work is that music breaks through their differences but it’s going to take communication and understanding to for beyond that.
I appreciate that this drama isn’t trying to be overly serious with any issues (such as Dream High tried to go with Sam Dong’s deafness in a musical drama) and instead allows all the juvenile petty conflicts to bubble to the surface because these kids really are just a bunch of kids. I’m fairly certain Sun Woo, Se Yi, and Seol Chan are forming the same love triangle that Se Yi’s parents had with Ji Woong, who must’ve been a star and chose fame over Se Yi’s mom who ended up with her dad the guy who loved music but not the star accoutrements that came with it. This episode foreshadowed that beyond Seol Chan liking Se Yi and competing with Sun Woo for her, he’s got an even bigger burden on his back and that is his “I am a Star!” baggage. Sun Woo can pierce right through the fangirls and get to Se Yi, Seol Chan stands there trying to tell her how he really feels but cannot be heard above the crush. Will history repeat itself? For my Seol Chan-Se Yi ship I sure hope not, because those two are falling for each other in the here and now even as my heart is crushed a bit for poor Sun Woo who had the leg up in the past.
Episode 6 recap:
Se Yi shares her most painful memory with Ji Woong, that she believes her mother was the cause of her father’s death. At his wake, she overheard her mother crying to her uncle that she shouldn’t have gone to see “that man” because she missed him. That made her husband so mad and he chased after her, and died in the car accident.
Se Yi hears this and confronts her mom about it, get slapped for her accusation but she doesn’t back down. She calls her mother the worst names of adulterer and now murderer. Ji Woong listens to this story in stunned shock which Se Yi doesn’t notice because she’s rather unclear why she would share such dark secrets with a near stranger.
The other kids arrive for rehearsal and Se Yi leaves to join them. Ji Woong takes out an old high school photograph hidden inside a record sleeve and it shows a girl with two guys. I just need one guess – Se Yi’s teenage mom, dad, and Ji Woong.
Rehearsal goes well and later when Se Yi goes home, her aunt encourages her to reach out to her mom who is always asking about her wellbeing. Se Yi considers calling but the memory of her mom saying that someone who did something wrong needs to suffer the punishment of the consequences makes her stop. She thinks her mom is rightfully being punished.
Se Yi also flashes back to her dad writing the song to lull a baby her to sleep and later they would sing it together all the time.
Se Yi takes out the little note that Seol Chan wrote to her “a person who does something never done before will die” and laugh out loud at Seol Chan’s immature retort. She puts the note away next to his jacket button that she pulled off the first time they met, which she has clearly kept.
Se Yi sits with Eun Ha on the school bench and Eun Ha notes that the weather is too nice to practice indoors in a basement. Finals are also coming up and she wonders how that will go. The girls sit and look up at the blue sky, soaking in the atmosphere like the kids they are.
Seol Chan extricates himself from the fangirls and spots Se Yi, tiptoeing over towards her but is stopped by Sun Woo who appears to want to give the girls some private time. Or else he’s really just trying to keep his rival Seol Chan from Se Yi any chance he gets. Seol Chan seethes at Sun Woo’s interference but his nemesis just smirks.
After class the gang of Color Bar discuss where to practice and Sun Woo offers up his house. Se Yi says yes while Seol Chan says no. Eun Ha also says yes since it’s a rare opportunity to visit Sun Woo’s house, to which Seol Chan says he’s disappointed in her. Seol Chan tries to get Na Na to say no but Na Na just stares back at him so he backs down. Do Nam doesn’t care as long as it’s a place and Kyu Dong also yes says.
Seol Chan gets a call from his manager that he’s off to pick up the agency president so Seol Chan is on his own to get to afternoon rehearsals.
Seol Chan ends up hitching a ride with Sun Woo, though he once again wedges himself uncomfortably in the middle between Sun Woo and Se Yi. Along the way they pick up Na Na, who initially ignores their offer of a ride but then quickly gets in when she spots a black car passing by.
Seol Chan tries to break the awkward silence by asking Na Na if she’s a good fighter like rumors suggest and she shoots him down. Se Yi changes the subject to Sun Woo’s nice life having a dedicated driver and Seol Chan snarks that Sun Woo has been driven since elementary school.
That reminds Se Yi of a kid she knew in elementary school – smart, good looking, class president – who also had his own driver. The kid took music classes from her dad and was supposed to meet him one night around Christmas but Se Yi and her dad never showed. Se Yi tries to remember the name of the song her dad taught the boy to sing and Sun Woo correctly says it.
Seol Chan makes the connection faster than Se Yi and turns to stare wide-eyed at Sun Woo, who smiles as Se Yi gapes at him asking if he’s THE Jung Sun Woo from her past? She wonders why he didn’t tell her right off the bat and Sun Woo says she didn’t recognize him so he was worried that if he told her she would reject him again like she did long ago by not showing up that night. Seol Chan continues to stare at Sun Woo and you can see the poor boy’s heart is just clenching knowing that Sun Woo has an even earlier connection with Se Yi. Na Na also listens from her perch in the front seat.
Se Yi and Sun Woo start to reminisce about their shared childhood until Seol Chan cuts in and asks the driver to stop the car. Seol Chan and Na Na get out and the car drives off. Na Na leaves and Seol Chan flashes back to his childhood.
Little Sun Woo asks little Seol Chan to go with him to meet a musician ahjusshi. Seol Chan is much too wise and knows Sun Woo is interested in the ahjusshi’s daughter and snarks that he saw her picture and she’s not even that pretty. Sun Woo’s face falls and asks if he’s that obvious? Seol Chan says yes.
Seol Chan goes with Sun Woo to wait for Se Yi and plays his wingman part perfectly. He shatters Sun Woo’s hope by pointing out that it’s been two hours and the girl has stood him up. Seol Chan is annoyed the girl couldn’t just turn Sun Woo down straight and instead has to do this roundabout way of rejecting him. Seol Chan shoves a hot sweet potato in Sun Woo’s hand to keep him warm and leaves.
Back to the present, Seol Chan realizes that Sun Woo was telling the truth when he asked why Sun Woo was so certain he likes Se Yi, a girl he just met, and Sun Woo says he has a valid reason.
Sun Woo and Se Yi walk together and she reveals that reason for standing him up that night – her dad passed away the night before. Sun Woo takes the initiative awesomely by taking Se Yi on a belated date to make up for that night, and to get her mind off her dad.
Seol Chan is practicing with his group Man in Black and they are singing a song about a girl who is the first love. We see Sun Woo and Se Yi on a cute date intercut with Seol Chan performing very intensely.
Seol Chan collapses after the performance and his maknae takes the chance to assure him that all the guys in the group are on his side with the issues he’s going through. Awwww. Seol Chan gets called into see the just returned agency president who wants to get him out of the school music performance but Seol Chan is adamant he’s going to do it.
As Seol Chan walks through the agency, he acknowledges that he’s jealous of Sun Woo right now but decides to use his vast self-control as human beings are equipped with to make it go away. He chortles that it’s working but then muffles a curse when he realizes it’s not, he’s still jealous of Sun Woo.
Sun Woo takes Se Yi to grab a bite to eat and Se Yi rattles off a list of Korean snacks that she’s been dreaming about during the years living in New Zealand.
Conversation turns to the strained friendship between Sun Woo and Seol Chan and Se Yi wonders if maybe they are having a lover’s spat? She asks if Sun Woo likes Seol Chan? Sun Woo sputters and quickly tries to assure her that he likes girls, until Se Yi breaks her own deadpan demeanor and says she was joking.
Se Yi asks about the breached friendship and all Sun Woo will says is that there was a misunderstanding and Seol Chan stopped being his friend. Na Na walks by and happens to see this date, and the moment Sun Woo feeds Se Yi a piece of cake.
Na Na wanders into a noraebang and Do Nam happens to see her and overhear some waiters say that Na Na can go in and out because she’s indebted to the owner.
Na Na goes a room where a hip waiter is playing the electric guitar and she picks up a microphone and starts singing a song. Flashback to her crushing on Sun Woo secretly since she first spotted his perfectly framed in a classroom window.
Memories of all the times she was paying attention to Sun Woo and he totally never noticed her flash by. Na Na sings and cries until finally she can’t sing anymore and collapses on the sofa in sobs. The waiter ahjusshi asks if he needs to beat a guy up for her but Na Na says no.
The gang gather at Sun Woo vast estate to practice and Sun Woo has laid out a food spread that rivals if not surpasses what Seol Chan prepared last time. Seol Chan stands there shooting “DIE BASTARD DIE” glares at Sun Woo, who pulls him off to chat as the practice can’t start until Na Na arrives.
Seol Chan accuses Sun Woo of being the backstabber he is but not revealing his prior connection with Se Yi. Sun Woo shoots back that he had no reason to since he and Seol Chan aren’t friends anymore. And they aren’t rivals in love either, since Seol Chan said to Eun Ha nothing would happen with Se Yi. If they were friends or rivals, Sun Woo would have told Seol Chan.
Both boys are clearly angry with each other still about their thwarted friendship and this simmering Se Yi jealousy. Sun Woo keeps pushing Seol Chan on why he thinks Sun Woo should have said something until finally Seol Chan shouts back that he also likes [her]! (without the pronoun since in Korean pronouns can be omitted – so Seol Chan’s declaration could be towards a man or a woman).
Se Yi ducks down behind a bush after hearing this since she snuck off to follow them. Seol Chan storms off and Se Yi finds him and asks to talk. She reveals that she heard what he said to Sun Woo. Seol Chan thinks his secret is out but he is still blustery and asks what she’s going to do about it. He likes what he likes, as if it was such a imposition on him.
Se Yi encourages him to follow his heart and says he has no reason to be so upset because the object of his affection likes him back. She knows that the person Sun Woo likes is also Seol Chan. Her total idiot misconception throws Seol Chan off balance and he gapes at her like a fish.
Seol Chan yells that she’s total moron and storms off. Se Yi realizes she made a mistake but then wonders who it is that Seol Chan and Sun Woo both like? Goodness girl, spend 5 years with sheep and your brain turns to mutton. Seol Chan storms away but stops, his fist clenching as he tries to process how Se Yi disregards him as a man and doesn’t even think he could possibly like her. He stalks back to her and asks if she thinks he’s such a joke?
She takes steps back as he invades her personal space until he grabs her and pushes her up against a wall. He asks if in her eyes he’s really not a man? If so, then let him prove otherwise to her. He leans in for a kiss and Se Yi stands there immobilized, neither pushing him away nor angling in for the kiss. Elsewhere, both Sun Woo and Eun Ha are running through the massive backyard looking for Se Yi and Seol Chan.
As Seol Chan gets closer and closer to Se Yi’s lips, her chest is rapidly shaking and she closes her eyes with her lips slightly open. Seol Chan stops himself a millimeter away from making contact, as if he realizes this isn’t right and shouldn’t happen this way. That was hot, my boy, and doubly so for finally exercising restraint in the end.
Seol Chan makes fun of Se Yi for seeming to anticipate her kiss with her lips all open and his joke breaks the tense mood between them. He pushes off her and turns to leave which is when Sun Woo steps into view. He demands to know what happened her and why Se Yi is standing there looking all dazed and flustered.
The group assembles and starts to rehearse without Na Na. Se Yi is totally affected by Seol Chan’s near kiss and keeps sneaking glances at him during rehearsal, which Sun Woo notices. Seol Chan calls an end to practice early since its not going well and everyone leaves.
As Sun Woo sees Se Yi off, his flashback shows up that he arrive in time to see Seol Chan almost kiss Se Yi but he didn’t stepped forward until Seol Chan walked away.
Sun Woo turns to go inside which is when Na Na arrives. She asks if he still believes only in what his eyes show him, and if so what does he see right now?
Se Yi keeps flashing back to the near kiss with Seol Chan on her walk home and she stops and clutches her chest.
Seol Chan is in the car and he looks out the window and sees Se Yi in the reflection of the mirror. He reaches out his hand and wipes her face off the window as he asks himself why he didn’t just erase her from his mind when he could.
The foursome of Na Na, Se Yi, Seol Chan, and Sun Woo are all distracted that night doing their respective tasks.
The next day at school, some gossiping girls are wondering if the rumors are true that Sun Woo joined Color Bar because he liked the transfer student Min Se Yi? But what about the other rumor that its Seol Chan who likes that girl?
Se Yi arrives at the classroom and can’t walk in when she sees Seol Chan sitting at his seat. Sun Woo arrives and sees her standing there and pulls her inside and makes her sit down next to Seol Chan.
The mood is awkward until Seol Chan speaks up and tells Se Yi to forget about last night, it was a joke and she’s seen him pull the same joke the first time they met (with that actress). Sun Woo overhears this.
Se Yi is stunned and asks how he could joke about such things, and why do it to her? And shouldn’t he be apologizing rather than telling her to forget it since it’s such a nasty experience for her? Se Yi storms out of class and Seol Chan rushes after her.
Seol Chan asks if the experience was really that bad? He claims to want to know since he’s star and needs to gather market research. If almost being kissed by him is that bad, then he needs to improve his star allure. Clearly he’s just trying to bluster but that in turn gets Se Yi even more incensed because she really was affected.
Finally Seol Chan is about to tell her the truth but suddenly a group of fangirls swarm around them and physically keep Seol Chan and Se Yi apart. Se Yi’s face falls and she’s not angry anymore, rather she looks crestfallen with the reminder that Seol Chan really is a star and their distance is so very vast. Sun Woo arrives and manages to pass through the scrum of swarming fangirls and crosses the divide to reach Se Yi. I know the imagery is much too obvious but it works beautifully as we see Seol Chan unable to reach Se Yi while Sun Woo can.
Later during PE class, the boys are playing basketball and Sun Woo and Seol Chan are going at each other way more aggressively than last time, their antagonistic attitudes totally obvious to everyone watching.
Seol Chan follows Sun Woo out to the sink and asks why Sun Woo is so directly competing with him this time, isn’t Sun Woo’s method more like throwing sneaking curve balls? Sun Woo smirks that he doesn’t think Seol Chan has a chance against him whether he’s throwing fast balls or curve balls.
Seol Chan is about to retort back when Sun Woo tilts his head towards the fangirls standing to the side all cooing over Seol Chan. Sun Woo asks if Seol Chan has the courage to break free from his fangirls and take Se Yi’s hand in public? If he doesn’t, then he can’t possibly compete with Sun Woo.
Seol Chan spends the entire class staring at the back of Sun Woo’s head. Se Yi sees and looks distressed, while Na Na, Do Nam, and Eun Ha all notice the tension as well.
Eun Ha is collecting trash with Se Yi and notes that the mood in their group is weird lately and she worries they will be fractured soon. Se Yi encourages Eun Ha to do what she does best which is to keep everyone together.Se Yi goes to take the trash to the recycler after class and a bunch of mean girls trail behind her with dirty bathroom water to punk her. Na Na notices and manages to save Se Yi from the pranking and the mean girls end up pouring the bucket all over themselves.
The gang return to Ji Woong’s house to practice and Seol Chan stops to talk with him. He tells Ji Woong that he is living his life with purpose unlike a certain someone and even if he’s rude, at least he has a reason to live in this world.
Practice starts and it’s a total mess all around. Seol Chan storms into the garden during a break and Eun Ha suggests Sun Woo play a song to liven up the mood.
Sun Woo strums his guitar and sings a ballad about loving a woman with all his heart forever. He looks at Se Yi as he sings this song and she smiles sweetly back at him.
Na Na stands to the side and watches this while Seol Chan hears the song and walks back inside and stare angrily at Sun Woo. The episode ends quietly as Sun Woo finishes his song and gives Se Yi a direct look. I admire Sun Woo’s direct but non-pushy approach with Se Yi, but it’s still Seol Chan with his heart like a confused puppy that has my gut into a twisted up for him because he’s just so emotionally adrift with all these new things happening to him. Se Yi needs to start doing some emotional digging of her own and Na Na has no one to blame for her own unrequited crush other than whatever it is keeping her from expressing overt interest in Sun Woo. This is getting soooo good.