Not even 4 minutes in, Sora’s character Hye Sung shows her uselessness. I don’t doubt Sora’s acting ability, but for the life of me I cannot seem to like her character at all. She tries to break up a fight between JB and Yoo Jin, but only serves to undermine Yoo Jin when she accidentally reveals that he’s staying for free. Hye Sung chases after the angry Yoo Jin in an attempt to calm him down, but he wants nothing to do with her.
While this is happening, Jiyeon’s character Rian is confronting her boss when she discovers that she wasn’t rejected for the drama role she wanted, but in fact her company turned it down. She complains about how she is not given a chance to improve her acting, and worries about her future since she isn’t a good singer like the other 2 members of her group. Rian sarcastically suggests that she could host internet shopping malls in the future after the group disbands, to which her boss agrees. He tells her to just focus on not bringing the group down and that B level actors are a waste of time.
The whole exchange is kind of ironic in that Jiyeon is almost arguing for her real life self. T-ara already does run an internet shopping mall, and Jiyeon is not as vocally talented as some of the other members of her group. The difference being she is considered one of the better idol actors, having done so from even before she debuted as part of T-ara in 2009. The highlight of the exchange is Rian’s line asking what idols don’t start out as B-level actors when they first start, a truth that many fans always seem to overlook when they gush over the “amazing” acting of their favorite idol, despite the critical responses from everyone else. But I digress…
In the next scene, Rian and Hye Sung argue about their housing arrangement. Rian notices all the JB memorabilia that Hye Sung has and calls her a stalker. Hye Sung takes offense, of course, and this leads to a heated exchange. The next thing we know, most of the dorm is outside of the room listening to see who will win the exchange. Hye Sung’s roommate opens the door a crack and sees Rian peacefully lying in bed while Hye Sung tearfully tries to put her collection back together
Seriously? Avatar reference? It makes sense to a certain extent but it’s still a ridiculous comparison. The Navi were being forced out due to human greed for the resources on the planet. These students are being forced out because at the end of the day, Kirin Arts School is supposed to be putting out students who can succeed in their respective art fields, and they just aren’t cutting it.
The blowing battle was rather amusing. The smirk on Rian’s face after she cheated to win was the same one I had on while watching it. Of course, Yoo Jin lost to JB, but I’m sure Jin Woo beats Jae Bum every time in real life. Hyorin, as Nana, is able to blow the longest of course since she’s main vocal in both her fictional and real life groups. I’m a big fan of Hyorin, and I’m glad they kept her in a comfort zone for acting. As Rian states earlier, “What idol doesn’t start out as B-level actor?” She could be good at it, but for her first real role, best to keep it simple. I also enjoyed Rian’s jealous glare when their instructor compliments Nana.
As it turns out, the Avatar protest of Hye Sung and the other students being kicked out actually works and the school president announces that he will let everyone compete for spots in the dorm. Hye Sung is excited, but her friends betray her and don’t want to pair with her. She tries to win in the partner auction the other students are holding, and at first has the winning bid. However, Nana and Ailee run across them and Nana snatches her partner away by bidding her voice. Ailee is understandably angry about this arrangement since this now means she has to partner with Rian, who is not Nana’s equal.
Next comes the most entertaining part of the episode for me. Scenes from Suzy and Eunjung’s audition for Kirin High from the first season of Dream High are cut in with Rian reciting Suzy’s lines. Rian is flooded with all the criticisms of her acting, which is similar to what Suzy faced for her acting as Go Hyemi in Season 1.
I’m not really sure what was the point of this side storyline of JB’s wayward partner Si Woo. As of now, he serves no purpose to the plot. Maybe down the line it’ll become important, but right now I’m just not seeing it. JB’s obvious rival is Yoo Jin, a fact that is further highlighted when JB spots Yoo Jin performing in the street and ruins his performance by taking off his cap and letting people discover who he is. I did enjoy Jin Woo’s performance, though. His vocals are not up to the standards of his fellow 2AM members Chansung and Jo Kwon, but still not bad.
Meanwhile, the rivalry between Rian and Hye Sung gets further developed as Hye Sung wanders the halls of Kirin High trying to find a partner for the upcoming competition. Nobody wants to partner with her, but of course everyone is falling over themselves to partner with Rian because they feel there’s no chance she’ll get cut. This leads to Round 2 of Rian vs Hye Sung as the two argue in their room, however this time the fight turns physical as Hye Sung grabs Rian’s head and they struggle against each other. Rian’s tiara falls to the ground, which angers her enough to showcase Jiyeon’s real life taekwondo skills and roundhouse kick Hye Sung in the face. On a side note, I really enjoy Rian’s obsession with wearing tiaras as a nod to T-ara.
Finally they get to the point where they begin to setup the love line between Yoo Jin and Hye Sung. Yoo Jin sneaks in the dorm in the middle of the night after his earlier fight with JB and the paparazzi. He just happens to break into the room where Hye Sung is staying and he silences her and drags her into a room with food and drinks. There they talk and she patches him up with JB-decorated Band-Aids in an attempt to get on his good side so he’ll partner with her for the performance, a fact that Yoo Jin doesn’t realize until the morning after. Cue the romantic music as Yoo Jin gets that look on his face that shows he might entertain the notion that Hye Sung is a real person instead of the annoyance she’s been thus far. As they walk out, they run into their respective rivals in the hallway since Rian had to go let JB into the dorm.
The next day begins with Yoo Jin and Si Woo getting suspended for their parts in the fight with the paparazzi. Yoo Jin has his prized guitar taken away from him by the principle, and President Lee orders that Si Woo be cut from the agency. Both JB and Si Woo were admitted to the hospital and it is there that Si Woo is revealed as the culprit who stole his President Lee’s list of students he wants to cut and gives it to JB, hoping that JB will stand by him. Alas, his hopes are dashed and he walks away as JB tears the papers into pieces. Rian is reading up on the news when President Lee walks in and hints to her that he knows that about her meeting with other company representatives and to not cause trouble for him. This causes her to panic and she quickly calls her mother to stop talking to other companies before she is run out of the industry.
And then come the twists. President Lee tells Principal Joo that he’s not having the teams compete against each other, but instead the teams will be competing member against member. This shocks Principal Joo and though he’s against it, he can do nothing at this point. Yoo Jin, stewing about his suspension and the fact that his guitar was taken away, spots JB wandering around the school and angrily confronts him on the fact that he got off without any punishment. The episode ends with Rian surprising Hye Sung by proposing to team up with her. Obviously, Hye Sung suspects some kind of hidden motive, and turns her down at first. However Rian correctly points out that Hye Sung doesn’t really have many options at this point and it seems like she has no choice but to accept.
3 episodes in and I still can’t get into this series like I did the original. At least they finally started moving on the love line of Yoo Jin and Hye Sung. I’m sure Rian will factor in there at some point, if history is any indication, but I could honestly care less if she does or does not. Frankly speaking, at this point in a drama, the viewer should feel some kind of connection to the characters and I don’t feel that except for Yoo Jin and Rian. They really need to clean up the clutter and focus the character story lines like they did in the original Dream High.