By Bryan Tan
This review contains spoilers and covers episodes 11-12 of Record Of Youth, which is currently available on Netflix.
Things are starting to get really interesting as tensions rise in the latest episodes of Record of Youth (ROY). Apart from the kick-start of Sa Hye Jun’s (Park Bo Gum) long-awaited acting career, the love triangle between Hye Jun, An Jeong Ha (Park So Dam) and Won Hae Hyo (Byun Woo Seok) is really starting to take shape.
But before we get down and dirty into the juicy deets, Hye Jun is getting a whole lot of flak for being perceived to be previously dating Charlie Jung (Lee Seung Joon), the late fashion mogul who used Hye Jun extensively in his fashion runway shows as a model, and even propositioned him to be his boyfriend in episode two.
Although it is refreshing that gay themes are being explored in ROY, it is unfortunate that not much effort is spared on director Gil Ho’s part to develop the story of Charlie Jung, painted merely as a predatory fashion doyenne who was rejected at the hands of Hye Jun, and who supposedly committed suicide because of that.
Now the spectre of Charlie’s death has spun the rumour mills that Hye Jun is gay; even attending Charlie’s funeral could cost Hye Jun his career. South Korea’s netizens are notoriously known to be judgemental and unrelenting, birthing a new breed of sasaeng fans that harass their idols mercilessly, and also resorting to cruel bullying tactics online which may have caused the death of some celebrities.
Bo Gum himself was embroiled in a scandal last year, his company threatening legal action after being accused of ‘ending’ the famous Song-Song couple of Song Joong Ki and Song Hye Gyo. Yet in contrast, Hye Jun refuses to take legal action against his detractors, despite the strong protests of his manager Lee Min Jae (Shin Dong Mi).
Even though the issue is somewhat resolved by Hye Jun’s ex-girlfriend Jung Ji Ah (Seol In Ah) giving an interview, it doesn’t seem realistic that a popular celebrity would hesitate to consider legal action against defamation to protect the career he has fought so hard for.
Jeong Ha is undoubtedly hurt by all these developments, as Hye Jun has kept her in the dark all this while. The young couple have their first disagreement, where Hye Jun explains that he cares too much for Jeong Ha and family to tell them things that would hurt them. Jeong Ha retorts sullenly that that is something a parent would tell a kid.
Hye Jun replies by saying that it is because his loved ones have seen the hateful comments that his self-esteem is hurt. Jeong Ha assures him that his loved ones would only want to share his burden, and they would only feel disappointed if he hid his problems from them.
This big step in their relationship is regrettably overshadowed, as Superstar Sa gets a lot busier with his schedule and Jeong Ha finds herself spending a lot more time with Hae Hyo (Byun Woo Seok), who has employed her as his personal make-up artist.
The triangle is definitely complete now, as Hae Hyo constantly turns up uninvited at Jeong Ha’s make-up studio, and even picks her up from a far-flung film shoot in the pouring rain.
Will she start developing feelings for Hae Hyo, now that he is starting to become the reliable ‘friend’ who fills the void in Hye Jun’s absence? Find out in the coming episodes, released every Monday and Tuesday!
Read our other reviews of Record Of Youth: