Just as The Rolling Stones crooned, our budding movie star learns that you can’t always get what you want. Sometimes you have to forego your own needs for the benefit of others or do things you simply don’t want to do, but such is the way of the world. Despite how handsome and famous Young-bin is, the world does not revolve around him, and occasionally, something’s just gotta give.
EPISODE 2 RECAP
At a SK Wyvern baseball game, Young-bin warms up right before he has to throw the first pitch, and his buddies cackle at his poor athletic ability, saying that they expect better from someone whose film attracted six million viewers. That’s right, his film Flowers of Evil turned out to be a surprise hit. No one expected a success, and manager Ho-jin says that it was a fluke because there weren’t any other box office contenders.
A group of cheerleaders arrive, and Turtle scores a selfie with them. Joon wants to impress so he prepares to pitch like a pro, but ends up slipping and landing on his behind, causing everyone to erupt into laughter. Pitcher Kim Kwang-hyun shows up to teach Young-bin some tips, but he’s not very helpful until Young-bin discloses that he’s close with numerous female celebrities, including Ahn So-hee.
After Young-bin throws the first pitch, he and his buddies head out to meet Eun-gab. The guys make fun of Ho-jin because he saw his ex with a new boyfriend, but Ho-jin insists she was with her sunbae, and adds that he has no desire to hop back into the dating pool. Meanwhile, Young-bin anxiously waits for a text from So-hee. Joon fumes when a news article about the baseball game blurred out his face, making him feel even more insignificant, but Young-bin says he’ll enlist the help of Eun-gab to get him some more auditions.
The boys arrive to loud cheers and a celebratory cake at Eun-gab’s talent agency due to the success of Flowers of Evil. They meet JOEY JUNG, an assistant played by f(x)’s Amber who wants to be a manager, but has to be Eun-gab’s assistant in the meantime. Eun-gab makes fun of the way she speaks, but she counters by calling him an old man.
Following the success of Young-bin’s film, Eun-gab happily presents Young-bin with the new terms of his renewed contract and a new feature script called War Terminator, which aims to be the Korean version of The Avengers. Young-bin and Ho-jin are surprised to hear that production company Idea will be co-producing with CJ since Idea is headed by the lady who grabbed Joon’s butt in Busan. Comforted by the fact that the butt-grabbing lady doesn’t hate him like he thought she did, Young-bin instructs Eun-gab to schedule a meeting with her so he can coerce her into casting him in Im Hwa-su.
Eun-gab wants Young-bin to meet her to discuss War Terminator, but Young-bin only has eyes for Im Hwa-su, and that’s that. Meanwhile, poor Joon learns that his agent, agent Im, left to form his own agency and took all his clients with him without informing or bringing Joon along.
The boys follow Young-bin as he browses luxury cars. After the success of Flowers of Evil, he wants to purchase a new car for Ho-jin, but Ho-jin maintains that he doesn’t need a new car and doesn’t think it’s the right time for Young-bin to splurge unnecessarily. They end up test-driving a car just for the heck of it.
The next day, Ho-jin arrives at Young-bin’s place with the groceries Joon asked for, but he’s tired of fetching things for the boys. Young-bin suggests that he move in with them so that he doesn’t have to worry about that or rent. Excited by the possible addition of Ho-jin, Young-bin asks Turtle to call the realtor so they can check out new homes.
They look at a swanky abode with a killer view in the exclusive UN Village area, and everyone’s smitten until they learn that it comes with a $1.8 million price tag. Ho-jin tells Young-bin that moving is unnecessary, and that this new place is too expensive. But Young-bin’s confident he’ll nab a new movie soon.
Eun-gab calls to notify him about their meeting with Idea’s CEO tomorrow. Feeling optimistic, Young-bin orders Turtle to list their home for sale so they can move into a new place as soon as he nabs Im Hwa-su, but Ho-jin urges him to slow down since nothing’s been determined yet.
Eun-gab, Young-bin, and Ho-jin meet with the CEO of Idea, JO TAE-YOUNG, aka Joon’s butt-grabber. Eun-gab starts off by saying that he first met her in Busan, unaware of her embarrassing incident, so CEO Jo cuts the conversation short. She asks for Young-bin’s thoughts on the War Terminator script, which takes Young-bin and Ho-jin for a surprise since they thought they were here to discuss Im Hwa-su.
CEO Jo was under the impression that this meeting would be regarding War Terminator, and Eun-gab tries to smooth things over by saying that Young-bin is interested in both. CEO Jo states that casting for Im Hwa-su is complete, bursting Young-bin’s bubble. However, the budget for War Terminator is unprecedented and Young-bin’s pay will be huge, she says. She wants Young-bin to play the role of Black Tiger, the main protagonist of the movie. But Young-bin balks at the idea of playing an animal and leaves the meeting, furious.
Eun-gab tries to persuade him that he won’t be wearing a silly tiger mask, and that this kind of movie is guaranteed to attract a minimum of 10 million viewers. He asks Young-bin to give the script a read, but Young-bin’s not having any of it and leaves without saying goodbye, which Ho-jin says is a sign that he’s really angry.
Eun-gab blames Ho-jin for planting the wrong seed in Young-bin in the first place and causing this mess, and warns him not to show Young-bin any scripts that aren’t Eun-gab-approved. He also orders Ho-jin to read the War Terminator script as if it’s porn until he gets excited about it.
A group of women ring the doorbell of Young-bin’s home, and Turtle gladly lets them in since they claim to be realtors. He and Joon can hardly contain their excitement when they enter, but their fantasy is shattered when they ransack the home in search of Young-bin’s belongings. Turns out they were crazy sasaeng fans.
The chaos was caught on camera, and Joon and Turtle explain to Young-bin what happened. Joon is upset that the girls stole Turtle’s lucky underwear thinking it was Young-bin’s. Because he didn’t get the movie, Young-bin asks Turtle to take the house off the market, saying they’ll convert one of the closets into a bedroom for Ho-jin.
Ho-jin calls Young-bin out for drinks, and they meet at an old haunt they used to frequent when they were both broke. Young-bin wonders if something’s up since Ho-jin always invited him here whenever he had something important to say, and Ho-jin admits that he read the War Terminator script and found it to be better than expected; he urges Young-bin to give it a read. But Young-bin has zero interest and is not in the mood to discuss work. An unexpected call from So-hee lights him up, especially when she wants to hang out with him and the boys like old times.
The next day the boys meet with SEO JI-AHN, the interior designer who’ll work on redecorating the house and creating Ho-jin’s room. Ho-jin first saw her when they were waiting for the elevator; she had taken off her flip-flops and slipped into heels while next to him. He can’t seem to take his eyes off her, and fusses with his business card before carefully handing it to her. Turtle and Joon notice this and tease him.
A call comes in from Eun-gab, and Young-bin asks Ho-jin to take it. Eun-gab asks if Ho-jin was able to sway Young-bin, but is disappointed to hear that Young-bin is still against playing a tiger. He demands that Ho-jin continue to describe War Terminator as a masterpiece since they have to get Young-bin to sign on. Suddenly, Joey bursts into the men’s bathroom where Eun-gab is speaking to Ho-jin. She informs Eun-gab that CEO Jo is on the other line. Speak of the devil!
Eun-gab frantically instructs Joey to give an excuse to avoid speaking to CEO Jo, and says to tell her that he had a testicular emergency and is at the hospital. But now CEO Jo is calling Eun-gab’s cell and has tried his office numerous times because Joey didn’t mention the testicular emergency, and just relayed that he went to the hospital.
Joey informs Eun-gab that the “big boss” was looking for the “little boss,” aka him, so he reluctantly heads to a billiards room where the sharp-tongued “big boss” KANG OK-JA is playing pool. She surprises Eun-gab with her knowledge of Young-bin and War Terminator; she had talked her friend CEO Jo into casting Young-bin. She belittles him for struggling to attach Young-bin to the project when she made the whole thing happen, but Eun-gab counters that he did all the heavy-lifting.
She offers him her second bowl of noodles; she had always ordered two servings when he was her underling, but carb-free Eun-gab passes. When asked about Young-bin’s contract renewal, Eun-gab assures her that Young-bin will go all the way with him because he’s loyal. But she cautions against being so sure of him.
She gives Eun-gab unwanted, dated career advice that he doesn’t need and raises her pool stick to discipline him, but he grabs it before she can strike and says he’s not going to let her bully him again. But she succeeds in kicking him in the shin and he flees, cursing at his crazy old boss.
Meanwhile, the boys check out new furniture at a store. Ho-jin asks Young-bin how long he plans on ignoring Eun-gab’s calls and urges him to think War Terminator over. But Young-bin asserts that he won’t be signing on. He spots a bunny pillow and wonders if he should gift it to So-hee, but Ho-jin answers that she’d feel uncomfortable since he’s not her boyfriend.
This dampens his mood, and Young-bin grumbles about feeling stifled. But he ends up buying the pillow anyway, and Ho-jin acquiesces; he tells Young-bin that he doesn’t have to do the movie and that he’ll search for a different project, which satisfies Young-bin.
Joon goes to pay the valet and is surprised to see that it’s his drama school friend who quit acting to make a living for his family. Joon encourages him to not give up on theater, but his friend points out that Joon’s only able to continue because of his celebrity cousin, and he should think seriously about whether this can be his future.
Feeling discouraged, Joon vacuums in front of the boys while they’re watching a movie. Ho-jin and Young-bin assure him that he’ll get calls for auditions soon. Joon receives an unexpected call from Agent Im who invites him to the opening party of his new company. He calls Joon his “rising star,” and Joon beams, thinking he’ll ask Joon to join his new agency.
The boys accompany Joon to the opening party and are surprised to find a Maxim-sponsored, rowdy pool party with foam and scantily clad women. Agent Im greets them and guides Young-bin to a private room so they can talk, completely ignoring Joon. Joon was clearly just his gateway to Young-bin.
Agent Im tries to talk Young-bin into leaving Eun-gab’s agency and joining his, describing Eun-gab as old-fashioned and stubborn, but Young-bin answers that he dislikes talking about people behind their backs, effectively putting an end to Agent Im’s futile efforts.
Joon drowns his sorrows in alcohol, but his day is made when two women recognize him as a former boy band member and ask for a photo. Young-bin, Ho-jin, and Turtle remind him that he still gets recognized, but one look at Turtle, and Joon realizes that the boys set this up to make him feel better. Agent Im spots Young-bin again and walks him over to Clara’s trailer so the two can get to know each other, because she’s in talks to join Agent Im’s agency.
Young-bin helps bikini-clad Clara into her jacket, and they chat. Eun-gab’s assistant Joey spots Young-bin sharing a drink with Clara and immediately calls Eun-gab, who’s about to attend church service with his wife and daughter. He’s furious to hear that Young-bin is at Agent Im’s party and fears that Young-bin will switch agencies because of Clara. His wife scolds him for taking work calls again, but Eun-gab explains that the situation at hand is more serious than a North Korean invasion and peaces out.
Back at the party, Ho-jin is surprised to find designer Ji-ahn there; she says she did the interior of Agent Im’s new agency. She asks if he’ll accompany her since she doesn’t know anyone at the party, and he stutters that they’ve only met twice. She takes his arm anyway, and he follows. Turtle, Young-bin, and a very drunk Joon smile when they see Ho-jin and Ji-ahn together. They all exchange pleasantries with Ji-ahn before she leaves to catch up with her friend DJ Soda.
Turtle pushes Joon into the pool, and Young-bin and Ho-jin push Turtle in next. Just then, Eun-gab arrives at the party and chews Agent Im out for attempting to poach Young-bin from him, but he’s not at all surprised, saying that Agent Im has a history of using company money to pay for massages and stealing gifts from clients’ fans. Eun-gab threatens to crush his puny company and reveal to his investor (whom Eun-gab knows through church) how shady and thriftless Agent Im is if there’s ever another attempt to steal Young-bin.
Eun-gab finds Young-bin and the boys by the pool, and they’re startled to see him. “Is this how you’re going to backstab me?” he asks. Young-bin replies that they’re all just here to play, but Eun-gab wonders what others will think of Young-bin associating with sleaze. Eun-gab declares that they should clear the air, and Young-bin answers that he was ignoring his calls because of the constant push for War Terminator, which he already decided he wasn’t doing.
Eun-gab reminds him that he’s never made Young-bin do something bad and that everything he did was for Young-bin’s sake. He asks Young-bin to reconsider the movie, but Young-bin doesn’t budge. Eun-gab admits that when he first met Young-bin he thought he was loyal and the real deal, but today is the first time he’s disappointed in him. He states that he’s given up on Young-bin and that if he doesn’t sign on to War Terminator, it’s over between them. And with that, Eun-gab walks away.
On the way home, the boys say they’ve never seen Eun-gab that angry, but Turtle says it was natural for him to misunderstand like that since Young-bin cut off communication with him. Young-bin finally decides to give the script a read to maintain his loyalty to Eun-gab. He receives a call from So-hee, who says she can no longer hang out with the boys tomorrow, putting Young-bin in a worse mood.
She’s on an overnight shoot right now, and Young-bin decides to surprise her there. He gifts her with the bunny pillow and says they should meet once her drama is over, but So-hee says that she’s shooting a movie right after. He asks her what movie it is, but we don’t hear her response. Oh. If it’s War Terminator, Young-bin won’t think twice about doing it!
Young-bin returns home and the boys are eating. He joins them, and Joon warns him not to eat too much because he’ll be swollen the next morning, but Joon doesn’t need to worry about swelling because he says he quit acting. Young-bin surprises everyone by announcing that he’ll sign on to War Terminator, and casually adds that So-hee might star in it as well. But he tells the guys to inform Eun-gab that he signed on just for him, to make him feel better.
Eun-gab is overjoyed the next morning. He hugs Young-bin for agreeing to do the movie and shares some exciting news: Acclaimed director Lee Jun-ik is in negotiations to direct War Terminator. Everyone’s thrilled to hear that, and Joon finds reason to smile again because Eun-gab found a new manager for him and lets him know that he already has three auditions lined up.
As Eun-gab waits for his car to pull up, he asks Young-bin if there’s an actress in particular he’d like to costar with, and Young-bin answers that he’d simply like to work with a skilled actress. Turtle spots a couple hopping into a car in the distance, and Eun-gab observes that it’s So-hee and Kang Haneul, who’re dating after all.
Young-bin is silent as he takes in this news and watches So-hee whiz right past him in the car.
This episode felt significantly slower than the pilot, and I feel like it’s because nothing major really happened. Young-bin’s movie Flowers of Evil ended up being a surprise hit, but we only learned of that after the fact, and strangely, it didn’t feel like there was any major shift in the atmosphere. I didn’t see any significant changes in the characters; I was expecting the boys to celebrate extravagantly or pull silly shenanigans, but I wasn’t shown anything of that sort. Isn’t it kind of a big deal that a movie — Young-bin’s very first at that — which everyone had deemed a flop suddenly attracted six million viewers? How did the boys react when they first found out the movie wasn’t a complete failure? Wasn’t Young-bin the talk of the town? Didn’t the media want to interview him and splash him across every magazine? The surprise success of Young-bin’s first movie just felt so anticlimactic.
The conflict with Eun-gab at Agent Im’s opening party didn’t quite work for me because it wasn’t even a real conflict. Eun-gab incorrectly assumed that Young-bin had betrayed him by jumping ship and joining Agent Im’s camp, but…Young-bin didn’t and had no intention of doing so. I also would’ve liked to have seen Young-bin actively and repeatedly ignoring Eun-gab’s phone calls because I just had to go off of Ho-jin’s knowledge that Young-bin was avoiding Eun-gab. It’s another instance of us being told what happened; we were told Flowers of Evil was a surprise success, and we were told Young-bin was giving Eun-gab the cold shoulder. It’s just no fun when we’re not shown anything and when there’s a capable A-list cast that’s not being fully utilized. It feels like such a waste to give them lazy and on-the-nose dialogue that’s meant to inform the audience in the most humdrum way possible.
I also wish Eun-gab’s reasons for desperately wanting Young-bin to sign on to War Terminator were clearer. All I got was that it’s a big-budget movie that was going for The Avengers-level success. And Ho-jin didn’t even get to express why he liked the script or how the story changed when it went from being an ensemble movie to a lone, black tiger hero one. For an agent who most likely pushed Young-bin to star in Flowers of Evil, a movie that seemed like a cheap revenge thriller, I’m not convinced that Eun-gab has great taste in projects. I don’t really expect him to since he’s an agent who’s more concerned with the financial aspect of things, but his treatment of War Terminator as THE deal-breaker didn’t make enough sense to me.
It seems everybody has some sort of conflict except Turtle, and he’s starting to come across as a rather dispensable, one-note character, which is unfortunate. I’m sure there’s more to the freewheeling jokester than what we’ve seen so far, and I hope we get to see another side to him. What were his ambitions when he was a film school student? Pretty sure his dream wasn’t to be part of a celebrity’s entourage.
Ho-jin continues to be my favorite character, although he wasn’t as memorable in this episode. His adorable stuttering and oblivion whenever he was around Ji-ahn was too cute. Keep being awkward, Ho-jin!
I guess all in all, I want to see more. More drama, more problems, and fewer unnecessary reaction shots. I can almost predict the next shot of a scene revolving around Young-bin: Young-bin says something, cut to Turtle and Joon’s reactions, cut to Ho-jin’s reaction, cut back to Young-bin, and repeat seven more times. I appreciate the experimenting with swooping camera moves, but the pacing needs some work, and by that I mean the pacing needs to speed up if it wants to accurately depict the fast-paced, deadline-driven entertainment industry in all its glory. Lights, camera, and more action, please!