Backstreet Rookie Episode 1

Backstreet Rookie Episode 1 Recap

3 years ago…

Choi Dae Hyun (Ji Chang Wook) saves a kitten then rushes off with a bouquet of flowers in hand, as he is late.

Jung Saet Byul (Kim You Jung) runs through the school yard as she is late.

They brush past each other on the street and lock eyes as they continue rush to their destinations.

Kim Young Jung is beautiful.

Saet Byul rushes to a rooftop where a gang of girls seem to hold two of her friends. Her friends rush behind her. Saet Byul tells the leader she’s in trouble.  The gang of girls approach the trio. They form the crane position.  The girls fight in their own fashion.  Saet Byul has good fighting skills. When she gives the leader a bloody nose, she promises not to try and recruit Saet Byul again. Saet Byul gives her one more punch for good measure.

Liked the humor in the fight scene.

The trio celebrate as they walk down the street. Saet Byul’s gaze falls upon the interior of a café where Dae Hyun presents his bouquet. Saet Byul sighs at the sight of Dae Hyun though she claims one day she’ll be a florist. The trio gets on a bus.

Dae Hyun’s girlfriend (Jung Eun Ji) isn’t impressed that he smells. She asks what kind of animal he saved this time. She declares they aren’t a good fit. She gives him that massive stufed animal and leaves him. Dumped, Dae Hyun has a beer and smacks the stuffed animal.

The trio see Dae Hyun smack and leave the large stuffed animal with the bouquet. Dae Hyun notices them. Saet Byul approaches him. She asks him to buy them cigarettes. He refuses. She entreats Dae Hyun. He refuses. She smiles prettily. Dae Hyun appears to cave but won’t purchase the cigarettes.  He orders the trio to stop smoking. Touched, Saet Byul kisses him. She smiles and thank him for his concern. Then she gets his phone. She teases that she’ll call him late at night. She winks and walks away.

Cue Intro….

3 years later…

Dae Hyun, a convenience store owner, has adoring school girls take photos with him and post on social media. Choi Yong Pil (Dae Hyun’s father) collapses in the store after telling his son to hire part-timer.

At the hospital the doctor diagnoses gastric issues brought on by stress. Kong Boon Hee (Dae Hyun’s mother) isn’t happy he collapsed just as his shift was to start. She heads to the store to take the shift.

Saet Byul sees two gangs of girls fighting. She dispatches them util only a few remain standing. Her sister, Jung Eun Byul takes off running. Saet Byul catches her. They fight. Saet Byul wins.

The flower designations are cute.

Dae Hyun brings his father home and finds his sister, cleaning out the refrigerator of side dishes. She sees her father’s sling and rushes to his side. When he says he’s fine, she orders him to make kimchi for her husband. She takes the side dishes and leaves. Dae Hyun tells his father he’ll relieve mom at the convenience store.

Dae Hyun finds his mother asleep and takes over. He’s ready when the school girls arrive. But the sales figures aren’t good.

The next morning his mother finds him asleep. She leaves him to take a day trip. Dae Hyun is exhausted when the school girls arrive. He tells himself he needs a part timer. He posts for one.

In a short sweater dress Saet Byul walks through the street catching many a guy’s eye. She sees the convenience store and smiles. She strides in and finds Dae Hyun asleep at the counter. She wakes him. He stares. She declares she’s there to interview for the part time job. He notices his physical reaction to her. He remembers her from 3 years ago. He worries she’s there to make good on her threat. He tries to dissuade her from taking the job. Saet Byul notices how tired he looks. She pours him tea from her container. She leaves to use the restroom. He sips the tea. He struggles to stay awake.

Dae Hyun wakes to find his store full of customers. He sees Saet Byul behind the counter. He tries to tell her she doesn’t have the job. She cries attracting the customer’s attention. Dae Hyun hires her.

Dae Hyun introduces Saet Byul to his mother. They get along well. Dae Hyun wonders what she really wants. He gives her a long list of duties. Saet Byul claims she can handle it. The training goes quickly. Dae Hyun asks if she smokes. Saet Byul claims she doesn’t smoke. Dae Hyun is unsettled as he stocks. She leaves on her scooter. Dae Hyun believes she’s too good to be true.

Saet Byul’s sister arrives home before Saet Byul leaves for work.

At the convenience store, Dae Hyun notices some money is missing from the register. He suspects Saet Byul. He checks the video footage. He calls Saet Byul but she doesn’t answer. He wonders if the tea she gave him was drugged. He watches a video of convenience store owner that complains about a new part time employee that stole from him.

Dae Hyun rushes to Saet Byul’s address. He psyches himself up to confront her. He’s shocked when the address is a sting for catching men solicitating prostitutes. He tells the police why he’s there. He shows them Saet Byul’s job application. They let him go.

Dae Hyun calls his mother and learns Saet Byul is at the cs. He wonders if Saet Byul will follow the next step in the video he watched. He rushes to the cs and finds it locked and cigarette case empty. He calls his father for the key and rushes to meet him.

When Dae Hyun returns to the convenience store, he finds Saet Byul finishing stocking the new organized cigarette display. The register has the missing money. She wonders if he rushed over because he missed her. Dae Hyun assures her that isn’t the case. He dismayed when the police officer stops by the convenience store and asks about the missing money. Saet Byul realizes that Dae Hyun went to her home but misread her apartment number. Angry that Dae Hyun suspects her of stealing she stalks away. He stops her. Saet Byul states his mother borrowed the money. Dae Hyun counters she should have informed him. Saet Byul notes his mother said she’d tell him. Saet Byul tells Dae Hyun he is like everyone else, jumping to conclusions. She takes off on her scooter after ordering him not to follow.

Saet Byul rides the streets upset.

Saet Byul’s sister and her friends karaoke. She’s dismayed to find Saet Byul outside the room. Saet Byul orders her sister to leave with her.

Saet Byul asks her sister if she’s hanging out with the wrong people. She notes people are suspicious of people like them even if it isn’t deserved. Her sister asks what happened. Saet Byul claims nothing happened.

Dae Hyun goes to Saet Byul’s apartment. There’s no answer.

Saet Byul and a man decide they will conduct business there. After they finish, Saet Byul is thrilled to get an offer of beef for dinner.

Han Dal Sik showers and dreams of becoming a webtoon writer. Instead he draws sexy prose.

Dal Sik goes to the convenience store and finds Dae Hyun eating. Dae Hyun gives him the full story of what happened with Saet Byul. Dal Sik doesn’t believe she’ll return. Saet Byul returns. She eyes Dae Hyun eating the expired food. Dae Hyun sends him home. Dae Hyun ends up cleaning while plays on her phone. He admits he suspected her. Saet Byul believes he owes her an apology. Dae Hyun apologizes. Saet Byul accepts the apology.

Dae Hyun flags Yoo Yeon Joo as she exits a building. He suggests lunch. She suggests they meet in a hotel that evening. Her suggestion wins.

Saet Byul arrives at the convenience store and comments on the cologne Dae Hyun is wearing. He deflates her when he says he’s meeting his girlfriend for a date. Dae Hyun asks if she’s jealous. Saet Byul declares soon Dae Hyun will fall for her and dump his girlfriend. Dae Hyun declares that will never happen. He leaves for his date. Saet Byul doesn’t look happy. Dae Hyun’s voiceover “I shouldn’t have told Saet Byul about Yeon Joo”.

Dae Hyun arrives at the hotel. He’s dismayed to find out that Yeon Joo intends them to work out in the hotel gym not make love. Saet Byul sends Dae Hyun a running update her activities via text. Dal Sik calls Dae Hyun and reports that Saet Byul has a ton of friends over at the convenience store. Dae Hyun dashes out of the gym.

Saet Byul tells her two friends that she’s doing well. They drink until tipsy. Dae Hyun arrives and sees Saet Byul drinking with her friends. He remembers the 2 friends from 3 years ago. Once again, he doubts Saet Byul. Dae Hyun approaches the trio. Saet Byul stands and gives Dae Hyun a winning smile.

My Thoughts

Fluffy first episode. Writer Son Geon Joo derived the light as air first episode from the webcomic written by Hwalhwasan and  Geumsagong. It was a straightforward episode. Dae Hyun and Saet Byul meet 3 years ago when she was in school. She seeks him out 3 years later and becomes his part timer. Dae Hyun remembers her and believes she’s looking for any opportunity to mess with him. The production values by PD Lee Myung Woo and his team had a sense of style, such as the stylized fighting and drawing on the scenes. There were amusing moments. I enjoyed the cameo by Jung Eun Ji (Reply 1994) as Dae Hyun’s girlfriend 3 years prior.

Choi Dae Hyun (Ji Chang Wook) was drawn to Saet Byul then and now. He didn’t seem to realize his physical reaction to Saet Byul. Dae Hyun’s mother and father are okay. Dae Hyun’s friend Dal Sik interested me. Dae Hyun’s reaction to Saet Byul was there.

Jung Saet Byul (Kim You Jung) didn’t like being doubted. Not sure what Saet Byul’s game is. She was hurt when Dae Hyun doubted her noting that wasn’t an unusual occurrence. I don’t know what to make of this character. She sees her younger self in her sister. Saet Byul was more interesting than Dae Hyun in this initial episode. Kim You Jung looks gorgeous.

The first song of the OST is called “Something” and is sung by Kang Daniel. Video below has the lyrics:

I rank this episode as decent, 6 on a 10-point scale.


Asian drama fan. I watch and blog dramas on

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Posted in Backstreet Rookie
5 comments on “Backstreet Rookie Episode 1
  1. beezrtp says:

    “Saet Byul tells Dae Hyun he is like everyone else, jumping to conclusions”, kjt recap

    I can’t wait to see what is up with that? Are she and her sister orphans? Or had she been treated badly because of her looks?

    I really like the mangwa feel.

    Somebody sent me the mangwa back when this show was first announced but I was too lazy to try to practice reading Korean (basically I was looking up every word to try to figure out what’s going on). Here’s the link

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really like the mangwa feel.
      Yes, that a better way to put it than my description of stylized and drawings on scenes.

      Thank you for the link to the webtoon/mangwa.

      Here’s JCW’s Episode 1 behind the scenes video from his YouTube channel. You’ll have to go to the link, it won’t display in the comments.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Kirst says:

      I liked that too. It feels like a mangwa has come alive. Some of it was quite funny eg the huge pile of girl fighters on top of Saet Byul exploding up into the air. Not much content though the episode just set the scene. Ji Chang Wook trying out a new style of drama … interesting.


      • It feels like a mangwa has come alive. Some of it was quite funny
        Agree. Who doesn’t enjoy a fun series?

        Ji Chang Wook trying out a new style of drama
        I like him exploring options, he’s at a point in his career he can do that.


    • Jane Tilly says:

      I was surprised by the mangwa feeling of the series, but I found it to be a pleasant surprise.

      Liked by 1 person

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June 2020

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