By Bryan Tan
This review contains spoilers and covers episodes 9-10 of Record Of Youth, which is currently available on Netflix.
In the latest episodes of Record Of Youth (ROY), Sa Hye Jun’s (Park Bo Gum) popularity and star power soar after a successful supporting role he plays in the fictional drama series Gateway as a doctor. Things on all fronts seem to be doing well for Hye Jun; his relationship with Ahn Jeong Ha (Park So Dam) blooms after an emotional kiss with her, a scene which propelled the series to the No. 1 spot on Netflix Singapore’s Top 10 shows for a couple of days.
Now everyone wants a piece of Hye Jun; from the rapacious ahjummas (older women) who frequent the jimjilbangs (saunas) to his older brother’s aggressively enraptured boss, Hye Jun is finally getting the respect and adoration he deserves, even grudgingly from his intractable father who replays clips of his son’s acting every night on his phone. After all he’s been through, it feels extremely satisfying to see Hye Jun reap the rewards of success; but with success naturally come the proponents of jealousy and hate.
Storm clouds are starting to brew overhead, as the ominous plot-driven conflicts rear their heads to threaten all that Hye Jun has fought so hard for. Won Hae Hyo’s (Byun Woo Seok) tiger mother plants the seeds of doubt and rivalry in her son, urging him to see Hye Jun as a competitor who has gotten ahead of him, rather than as a friend. The seeds of jealousy start to sprout, as Hye Jun wins multiple high profile acting awards, announced by Park Seo Joon in a hotly anticipated cameo role, which has set K-drama fans tittering.
Hye Jun’s scenes in winning the acting awards really sent me back to 2016, when Park Bo Gum won the KBS Top Excellence award, while being an MC for the same awards ceremony. Unlike the on-screen award show, it was an emotional affair with Bo Gum tearing up along with friend and mentor Song Joong Gi. Perhaps it is unfair to make a comparison, but considering what Hye Jun had to go through to win the coveted best actor award, it was a rather placid and anti-climactic moment; I was rather disappointed and let down, as the scene could have been a great emotional tribute to Bo Gum as an actor.
Hye Jun’s ex-girlfriend Jung Ji Ah (Seol In Ah) makes another foreboding appearance on the set where Hye Jun is filming, and even tries to rekindle her former romance with him before being firmly rebuffed. Her sadistic student-lawyer vibes give me the chills of a succubus; we can expect more evil seduction attempts now that she knows her former squeeze is super famous.
In a stunning turn of events, Charlie Jung, the gay model agency boss who offered Hye Jun his love previously, sends a cryptic message to Hye Jun. Hye Jun is called up by the police to give a statement regarding Charlie’s untimely death, which happened just after he watched Hye Jun receive the Best Actor award. This shocking incident follows malicious rumours circulating online that Hye Jun used to date Charlie before his rise to stardom; will fickle netizens now turn against him?
Will Hye Jun be able to steer out of the treacherous waters that threaten to sink his ship, which has just begun its promising maiden voyage? Keep an eye out for episodes of Record Of Youth, released every week on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Read our other reviews of Record Of Youth: