Episode 7 of Monstar was worth the wait – the emotional tussles all get moved forward one big step all around and the music element finally crosses the first major payoff with the performance of hodge-podge Color Bar versus the cream of the school crop All for One. I have to say the wait was worth this, this harkens back to the best of the Dream High musical duel performances between the oddballs and the elites. There is a bit of an apples to oranges comparison though, because ultimately a contemporary piece can’t be judged vis-à-vis a an orchestral arrangement, but I’m going out on an limb here and say that perhaps the school will send both groups to the charity performance and let them duke it out on a bigger stage. Now that both sides have truly seen the talent available, I’m eager for an even more explosive battle with bigger budgets and more badass vocalizing. Monstar continues to be everything I love about this drama and then some. A few future issues are introduced such as Seol Chan’s conflict between becoming more and more like a real high student and his obligations to his idol career and his group Man in Black. Kyu Dong and Do Man’s impasse seems to be reaching its boiling point and that’s better for them than this slow silent festering of the wound.
Na Na’s crush on Sun Woo collides with her shame over her less-than-upstanding family background and I’m hoping these two get together with the least amount of issues as possible. I get that Sun Woo likes Se Yi but it’s based on a childhood crush that he’s transferred over to the present. That is fine and all but for Seol Chan’s falling for Se Yi in the here and now all because of who she is. She is fiery and direct, unflinching and optimistic, clueless yet empathetic. For a guy who lives in the bubble world of being a Star, she’s the first to make him fall back to Earth to live like an average guy. A guy who gets flustered around the girl he likes, who gets jealous when his rival gets a smile from the girl, who has so many things he wants to say to her but can’t get out. When Seol Chan grabbed Se Yi’s arm in the alley and wouldn’t/couldn’t let go, staring at her with literally his heart in his eyes, I felt my heart go du-gun du-gun and my stomach do little flip flops. These two are fast becoming one of my favorite OTPs of the year.
Episode 7 recap:
Sun Woo strums his guitar and sings a ballad about loving a girl forever, and he’s got eyes only for Se Yi as he sings this song. She remains still the densest girl on the planet and appreciates his song, smiling back at him without indication she gets the deeper meaning behind him looking at her as he sings it.
Na Na and Seol Chan totally get it, though, and both are not in the best of moods. After Sun Woo finishes Na Na suddenly speaks up and suggests another song. Sun Woo says that is a duet and Eun Ha suggests Sun Woo and Se Yi sing it. Na Na cuts them off and says no need. Seol Chan storms inside and declares the rehearsal over and leaves.
Manager Hong is on the phone with the agency president about some news article coming out. Seol Chan gets inside and looks like he’s about to blow a gasket as he slams the door shut. Manager Hong is about to hand over a package that Seol Chan asked him to frame when suddenly Seol Chan grabs his head in frustration, letting all that jealousy topple out.
Se Yi is in a daze as she walks home when suddenly Seol Chan darts in front of her and blocks her path. He’s changed out of his school uniform and wears sunglasses as a disguise. She asks what he wants but he can’t seem to get the words out. She’s totally confused and keeps asking him what he wants when he suddenly spits out a question as to whether she liked it? (Sun Woo’s serenade). Se Yi is all like “what?” and Seol Chan scurries off all mortified.
Seol Chan returns to the safe environs of his car and starts to berate himself for what he just did. Poor Manager Hong remains unclear what Seol Chan is so upset about. Seol Chan asks Manager Hong to hit him and he obliges with a right hook to the face.
Seol Chan doubles over in pain and starts to cry, ostensibly over the pain but its clear he’s really crying over his strong feelings for Se Yi. He wonders aloud how he can cry when he’s a Star.
Na Na loiters around Sun Woo’s house and tosses a CD over the gate. Sun Woo picks it up the next morning on his way to school. You know, what little glitch that makes this couple rather disconnected for me is how hard-ass Na Na can’t get up the courage to tell Sun Woo that she likes him due to some shame about her background, and how the always observant Sun Woo can’t see that she likes him with her off reactions around him.
As he’s being driven to school, he notices Na Na walking on the street. He stops the car when he sees her bus ticket drop out of her pocket. He goes to pick it up. At school, Sun Woo stands in class and looks out the window as Na Na walks through the courtyard. Seol Chan arrives in class and sees Sun Woo standing by the window. He sends him a text asking to meet outside.
Seol Chan cuts to the chase and says Sun Woo’s smarmy ways caused him to be restless last night. He makes up an excuse that Sun Woo’s oily gesture to Se Yi was so indigestible that as an artist Seol Chan was so offended.
Sun Woo shoves it right back to Seol Chan and says it was no more slick than what Seol Chan did. Sun Woo walks away leaving Seol Chan sputtering.
Kyu Dong sees Do Nam in the school yard and takes Ji Woong’s advice to heart and speaks up. Do Nam is still all bluster around him and acts angry but Kyu Dong refuses to back down. He thanks Do Nam for singing with him earlier and wants to talk now.
Jae Rok arrives and sneers that the two of them look like they are having a friend spat. Jae Rok wonders why Do Nam hangs out with that band of misfits, what’s in it for him? Seol Chan wanders by and Jae Rok asks with a sneer if practice is going well? There is nothing they can do to beat All for One, they have real talent and don’t even need to practice.
Seol Chan returns the sneer and says All for One just coasts on their rich pedigree with the instruments and lessons only the wealthy can afford. They have a priceless secret weapon which is their voices. Joon Hee and Hyo Rin walk up and Joon Hee says that if voices (singing) is going to be a part of it then they will even out the competition.
The principal fields a call from angry mom of Joon Hee over the latest news articles suggesting the school is using Seol Chan’s fame in performing in the charity event and will send their group over All for One. News articles suggest that Seol Chan is performing without the permission of his agency and causing a strain with his idol group. The principle is flustered with this latest news which makes the school seem like users.
All for One gets ready for a performance and the members of Color Bar are summoned to attend. Hyo Rin gets on stage and gives Color Bar a smirk before beginning to play her violin. After a few strings the rest of the orchestra plays and she switches to singing. She has a nice strong voice and Color Bar is forced to acknowledge the competition is stronger than they anticipated. Teacher Dokko arrives to inform both sides that the principle is judging the duel personally to ensure its fair.
Seol Chan confronts Sun Woo later and asks if he knew Hyo Rin could sing. Sun Woo did but he didn’t think it was important since All for One does not do vocals in their performances. Seol Chan resumes calling him a spy but Se Yi pins the blame on Seol Chan for opening his big mouth to Jae Rok and touting their side’s vocal talent.
Se Yi and Seol Chan glower at each other and Eun Ha calms everyone down. Kyu Dong points out its going to be tough to beat All for One plus vocals so Seol Chan decides to amp up their side’s vocals during the performance.
Seol Chan is having Se Yi sing octaves over and over to try and get her to hit the high notes. She’s unable to and clearly struggling. He tries to guide her but both are clearly getting worn down. Everyone watches silently as Seol Chan order Se Yi to do it again and again and she tries but cannot. Finally Eun Ha calls a break and Seol Chan storms outside to the courtyard.
Kyu Dong goes out to talk with Seol Chan and suggests they stick with the original plan. He points out everyone can see Seol Chan is purposely putting intense pressure on Se Yi and it’s not what Seol Chan really wants to do. Inside Se Yi keeps looking outside at Seol Chan, while Sun woo asks if she’s alright.
Seol Chan thinks about it and looks up, but when he sees Se Yi and Sun Woo smiling and talking with one another he gets jealous again and storms inside.
Seol Chan ends the break and forces Se Yi to resume singing but she’s no closer to hitting those notes. He gets fed up and calls her an idiot. She calls him an idiot and leaves. Seol Chan runs after her and everyone left wonders how to salvage this situation.
Se Yi cries as she runs off but Seol Chan grabs her arm and stops her. She yells at him to let her go, he’s an idiot and she doesn’t want to see him right now. Seol Chan looks totally torn up but doesn’t let her go. She keeps yelling at him to let her go and asks why he keeps tormenting her?
What did she do to him to earn this? Tonight and that night, why is he doing these things to her? Seol Chan doesn’t answer her but the look of anguish is all in his eyes. His tight grasp on her arm loosens and his hand slides a bit before he grabs her around the wrist, as if he wanted to let her go like she demanded but just can’t even if he tried.
Ji Woong steps out and orders Seol Chan to let go. Seol Chan lets go and Se Yi bolts. Ji Woong gives Seol Chan a stern look before leaving.
Sun Woo speaks with Na Na in the courtyard and reveals he knows that she can sing and can help out their current situation. She refuses and wonders why she needs to help Se Yi. Sun Woo says this is not for Se Yi, its helping out the team.
Sun Woo drags Na Na inside and grabs his guitar and starts to strum a song. She clearly knows the song. He starts to sing it but can’t hit the high notes since it’s a duet. Na Na listens to him singing and struggling until finally her resolve cracks and she starts to sing. Eun Ha, Kyu Dong, and Do Nam listen in shock as Na Na duets with Sun Woo. Afterwards they all clap for her in awe.
Sun Woo smiles and walks up to Na Na to hand over her dropped bus pass. Turns out as he was following her to hand it back, he didn’t approach her because she was singing and he listened to her sing.
Ji Woong sits on the park bench with Se Yi and hands her a carton of milk, which at this point I will forever associate with Se Yi. Milk….and sheep. Back to Se Yi, who finally has someone to confide in and reveals she doesn’t know why Seol Chan is being so mean to her. But what’s even more confusing is that she ought to be angry at him but instead he just lingers in her mind. His anger towards her just weighs on her.
Whenever he hurts her lately, instead of getting mad she just feels sad and upset. Why is that? Ji Woong smirks as if her words bring back a personal memory and shares with her that long ago someone shared the same confusion with him. To which he responded that the person knew why and was just asking a redundant question. Just like Se Yi is right now, she knows the reason why she’s feeling this way around Seol Chan.
Manager Hong drives a silent Seol Chan home. He walks into his room and flops down on his bed, remembering his grabbing Se Yi’s arm and not being able to let go. He sighs about making her cry again. He turns around on the bed and spots the package from before on the side.
He grabs it and rips the paper off to reveal that he had Manager Hong frame the little “fighting” note from Se Yi. Good lord he is such little boy with his heart on his sleeve. He lets out a rueful laugh upon seeing it and then lays down on the bed holding it in his arms.
Se Yi walks to school in a daze and looks up to see Seol Chan a few steps ahead of her. Either he has eyes in the back of his head or a very active Se Yi radar because he turns around and tells him to stop staring holes into his very famous backside.
Seol Chan ekes out an apology and asks her not to be angry anymore. Se Yi just stares at him. Sun Woo arrives and tosses Seol Chan’s backpack at him before pulling Se Yi off to class, leaving Seol Chan chasing after them.
The kids are in math class and the Clueless Duo are respectively staring at floating mathematical symbols and doodling in his math book. They really are perfect seatmates.
The math teacher decides to play a round of Math Formula Rap and uses a math problem to select the participants. Both Seol Chan and Se Yi are picked and they cluelessly stand up to join the few other selected students.
The rapping begins and the other selected students have done this before and quickly rattle off the just learned math formula in a rap. Every time it gets to Seol Chan’s turn he just does this very awkward dance while Se Yi just stands there like a statute each time it’s her turn. Both are them are so out of their elements it’s adorable.
Se Yi and Seol Chan are ordered to learn the rap after class so they sit on the park bench trying to memorize it. Seol Chan is a natural rapper and only needs to learn the formula, but Se Yi can’t even rap to the correct beat so Seol Chan has to teach her slowly. Se Yi just stares at Seol Chan a lot as he raps effortlessly.
Seol Chan and Se Yi stand in front of the math teacher and deliver the rap. Poor Teacher Dokko is so embarrassed to see Se Yi there she covers her face.
After completing their punishment they leave the teachers lounge and Seol Chan accepts how embarrassing that was but says Se Yi got to see his charm in action. They make up and she decides to work harder on hitting those notes.
Eun Ha, Do Nam, and Kyu Dong tell Se Yi and Seol Chan in unison that their original plan isn’t needed because there is someone else who can sing it. Seol Chan and Se Yi turn around and look at Na Na.
The gang gather in the basement to practice and Na Na’s singing wows Seol Chan. He grabs her for a hug like he did with Do Nam, and the camera flashes to Se Yi with a frozen expression upon seeing the hug. Seol Chan gets a punch to the face from Na Na for the hug. He’s still giddy anyways and drags her outside to work on finalizing the song to her vocals. Se Yi looks out the window and notices more flowers have bloomed in the courtyard. She goes to find Ji Woong and asks what type of flowers are in the pots. Ji Woong says it’s violets.
Tomorrow is the big duel performance and Teacher Dokko warns her class that no one is allowed to attend. Some students whisper their plans to sneak out of class and attend. Color Bar looks confident and ready. Na Na gets a call on her cell that makes her upset and she refuses.
After school, Se Yi and Do Nam happen to be walking behind Na Na when suddenly a black car pulls up behind her and drags her inside. Do Nam reveals he saw Na Na enter a room salon once and rumors was that she worked there. He wants to go save Na Na and Se Yi wants to come along. They get in a taxi to head to that room salon.
Sun Woo sees them and tells his driver to follow their taxi. Seol Chan also sees this and has Manager Hong also tail them.
Se Yi and Do Nam arrive outside the room salon and call out for Na Na. A bunch of thugs walk out and a tussle ensues. Before Se Yi gets smacked Seol Chan arrives and decks one of the bad guys. Na Na runs out and into Sun Woo’s arms. She looks alarmed and then bolts. The kids are holding their own and even Manager Hong gets into the fight to protect Seol Chan. Suddenly a stern older man walks out and the fighting stops.
Seol Chan sits in the van and bandages Manager Hong and himself up. He looks out the window and in the nearby coffee shop Se Yi, Do Nam, and Sun Woo sit across from the older man who turns out to be Na Na’s dad.
The kids are scared but speak up about letting Na Na come to school. Dad says Na Na was hurt at school which is why he doesn’t want her to go there. Se Yi says Na Na wants to come to school and doesn’t like her dad’s men following her. Na Na’s dad considers this and says he will let Na Na go to school tomorrow for the performance.
Color Bar is gathered thirty minutes before performance time and still no sign of Na Na who has her phone turned off. Se Yi gets a call from Na Na’s dad that he doesn’t know where she is either. Sun Woo talks to the dad and tells the rest of the group that he’s going to find Na Na and to stall. Teacher Choi arrives and worries they won’t be able to perform. Seol Chan has an idea how to stall.
Since the principal is judging the performance, the plan is to keep him from arriving at the auditorium. The two adults with cars, Manager Hong and Teacher Choi, manage to hilariously use their cars and box the principal in his car so he can’t get out. Even Se Yi gets in the subterfuge and pretends she’s going to get help for him.
Sun Woo tracks down Na Na to her design studio where she’s crying as she’s sewing clothes when remembering how Sun Woo saw her at the room salon yesterday. She yells at Sun Woo to leave, she’s so embarrassed because people think her dad is her boyfriend and in truth her mom really is a manager at their family room salon.
Sun Woo says no one cares, all their group sees is a girl who can really belt out a song. Everyone is waiting for her.
Everyone is gathered in the auditorium wondering where the principal is. Hyo Rin also notices that Sun Woo is missing. Finally a school guard finds the trapped principal and frees him. The poor man arrives in the auditorium drenched in sweat and tells the kids to start the performance right away.
Se Yi tries to stall a bit more telling the principal to rest first. Seol Chan has Eun Ha drag Se Yi back to their side. Suddenly Sun Woo arrives and informs their side that Na Na isn’t coming. Seol Chan decides that Kyu Dong has to sing vocals then and poor Kyu Dong is a blubbering mess because he’s not prepared.
Joon Hee stands up and says All for One will perform first. The orchestra gathers and starts playing Amazing Grace with Hyo Rin singing vocals. Joon Hee plays the piano and joins in for a duet, while a back up choir enters the stage to finish up the soaring rendition. They finish with a flourish to claps and cheers.
Color Bar, minus Na Na, gets on stage and Kyu Dong starts to sing. He’s nervous and his pitch is off and the audience starts to snigger. Suddenly the door to the auditorium opens and Na Na walks in. Se Yi sees her first and runs off the stage to bring her up. Joon Hee acts all magnanimous and agrees to let Color Bar start their performance over.
Color Bar starts their performance with Na Na on vocals first before the rest of the group joins in. Do Nam accessorizes with beat boxing, Se Yi is on guitar, Sun Woo rocks his electric guitar, Eun Ha and Kyu Dong are back up, and Seol Chan rocks the DJ booth. The audience goes from shocked to excited, though the members of All for One are in a state of disbelief.
Their performance is a mixture of musical elements blended together with energy and a great transitional beat. Seol Chan even throws in some rapping midway. It’s all tied together with Na Na’s powerful vocals and the performance ends with all 7 standing side by side.