Monstar Episode 12 (Final) Thoughts

Another lovely little drama wrapped up this week.   The overall quality and entertainment value of Monstar snuck up on many viewers, I think.   I do not think I had any expectations going into it.  I was pleasantly surprised by the execution of this drama and in particular a big surprise was the acting of Yong Jun-hyung, the standout performance of Kang Haneul, and the stage presence of Dahee, along with the chemistry that sparked with Kang Haneul and Dahee.

If we look at it on the surface, it has all the standard issue overworked elements in dramas, and especially teen dramas. Standard issue male lead, standard issue, second male lead.   It did the same thing with the female protagonist many dramas do-she’s cute, she’s plucky, she’s an outsider.  Then “they” turn her into a passive little girl.  There was a cast of of excellent supporting characters.  Why was it different?  Good question.  They took their time telling the story.  They gave each character a moment to shine.  The cinematography was pretty, the writing was wonderful,  and the acting was great. That does not really make it different, just somehow bits and pieced together good stuff.

What it did not do:  it did not flesh out the antagonists.  It left them as cookie cutter images, with small hints of humanity in them.  It did not redeem them. Which was great, and that is kind of important. Why?  Because that is a life lesson of high school.  All those people that make you miserable in high school really are not important in the scheme of your future life.

At about the 8th episode, I knew this drama was going to meander a bit and pacing was going to be sacrificed for the small moments, which I am okay with sometimes, but we were not going to have everything wrapped up neatly and tied with a bow.  I have come to expect that in many Korean dramas, especially teen dramas.  That it was somewhat open ended was okay with me, because life is not wrapped up neatly when one is in high school.  I appreciated that in the Dream High dramas also.   That the winner of the band battle was left unanswered was done for a reason, because it too, was not important.  The important thing was that Color Bar worked together (Color Bar to describe people of different socio economic levels is a bit different than how it would be used in other countries).  And really what was not tied up to some extent in the end?   All the plot bunnies had a wrap of some sort:

-The conflict with Seol Chan and Sun-woo were childhood resentments that Seol Chan understood and would recede with time.  They had natural competitiveness that was not going to go away.  And they liked the same girl.  Only time would sort that out.

-Sun-woo was not ready to let go of Se-yi,  even though she rejected him.  Even though he admitted to Nana he had to practice letting go, thus he knew in his heart that it would never be.  If this was a longer drama, I have a feeling we would have Sun-woo go second lead female crazy stalker on us.  I am glad to be spared because I eally really liked the complexities of this character, even though they were not really explored.

-Sun-woo finally acknowledged Nana’s crush in his normal passive aggressive way.   Sun-woo’s character was way too complex for such a short drama.  He had so many layers of kindness and detachment and cruelty.  But he never saw that it was Nana that brought him to life and made him interested (and interesting) in something outside his little world and his childhood crush on Se-yi.

-Nana, smarter than all of the others put together, was at least able to see that her crush was one sided all along, and knew there was a time limit on Sun-woo’s toleration of her crush.

-The nerd boys made peace.

-Eun-ha grew up a little bit, and stepped into her role as the heart of the group.  There was not going to be a resolution to an abusive parent.   Not in this Korean drama, and not in life.  Life is not that simple.

-The mother/father and Ahjussi story line was explained.

-Thai boy was explained.

-Episode 12 really was Seol Chan’s time to resolve as a character.  He developed from a egocentric Monstar to a person that cared about his team mates.  We saw that all of his insecurities were tied to abandonment issues.

-Was the teen love storyline opened ended?  I do not think so on Seol Chan’s end.   Seol Chan committed.  It appears the Se-yi committed, but she still allowed Sun-woo to claim her attention and even drag her around a bit.   Seriously, she allowed the posturing to continue from Sun-woo.  She has strong points, but could she really survive Seol Chan’s world? I definitely think this is a situation where she was loved way more than she loved in return.  I am not sure that the relationship would last.

The themes of friendship and acceptance and forgiveness of others and self that ran throughout the drama were not sacrificed by time issues in the last episode.

Would I liked to have had more from this drama?  I have to say yes.  I wish Se-yi had retained her sense of justice throughout, and her backbone had not been sacrificed to become the passive chew toy between two boys. Someone with backbone does not let a one-sided crush linger, especially after the guy asks you to date, and you do not say no.  I wish we could have delved in the complexities of Sun-woo’s nature.  I wish Seol Chan’s passionate nature did not have to be stymied by a teen demographic.  I wish Nana could have what she wanted out of life.  I wish Eun-ha time to find her calling.  I wish there had been time for the gym teacher to woo the aunt.  I wish Kim Nana would beat the crap out of that violin girl.

So if a show leaves you wanting more, it is because it was insufficient, or because it was good?   I am going to go with this was a little show that was pretty darn good.

And how sad is it that the MINUTE I saw the shadow profile of the mystery guy with the orchestra geeks, I was like OMG that is No friggin Min Woo!  I am such a nerd.   That guy is a beast.  I love him, he is so talented.  However, he is getting a little weird and is way too thin.  But that guy is another blog topic.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Caitlyn
    Aug 05, 2013 @ 08:18:59

    I really liked this show, and you’re so right, it snuck up on us. I really didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did (even while I was cringing half the time. So many cringe worthy moments in this show, seriously).

    You know my squee moment in this episode? When Do Nam sang in their performance. I don’t even know why, but I wasn’t expecting it. And the bit at the very end was adorable. Do Nam really became my favourite character over the last few episodes. Oh, when he and Kyu Dong both defended Nana in perfect unison? Ha ha, and aww.

    No Min Woo! I didn’t know he was gonna be in this, that totally took me by surprise! What was he doing on this show!? I loved that performance though. I loved both the groups performances, actually. I didn’t care who won, because Seol Chan’s fans would have made him win anyway so it was a no contest.

    Something I actually would have liked to see? When Seol Chan and Se Yi came back from crying in the park, and he got mobbed. He grabbed ‘her’ hand and started running. Okay, that moment could’ve been an “aww, he can finally get past the fans and protect her” moment, but they went for the comedy angle instead. Which was expected, but I would’ve preferred the latter version.


    • randomsoju
      Aug 05, 2013 @ 14:02:43

      The fan mob scene, I took it for more than just a comic moment: I took the whole scene as a foreshadowing, even though this was the last episode and we will not see a result, that the path of SC and SY would not be smooth-his fame would be a wedge, and perhaps Sun-woo would be there waiting for her. But then again I think way too much lol.


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