Well… I didn’t hate it? Man, this is a hard post to write. Because I loved Monstar! But the ending… disappointing is the word to use. Which means, my love dialed back quite a bit, unfortunately.
So let’s get into all the gruesome details.
Yup — I’ll spoil everything below…
First, the good bits: I actually really loved that we’re not told who one that final music battle. Winning was never really the point. Most of “Color Bar” aren’t planning to continue on in music or performance and most of “All For One” are training for an entirely different genre of music. So really the whole thing was for pride of place and in that sense, “Color Bar” won just by getting onto the same stage as “All For One”. (That “All For One” felt so threatened they had to pull in a ringer? A symbol of their loss, in my opinion. Though it did make for a hilariously random cameo from No Min-woo. No complaints there.)
It was nice that Se-yi and her mom reconciled. And I liked that the ajusshi had his moment of catharsis. Their backstory was interesting and I did appreciate that it didn’t slide into sordidness.
I loved that Seol-chan brought Se-yi home to meet his mom and play her a song he’d written for her on the guitar he’d learned to play for her. That’s a whole lot of sweetness going on in there and I enjoyed it.
I also liked that Eun-ha moved onto a different idol-crush, began treating Seol-chan like a normal classmate (to his adorable chagrin) and pretty much got her mojo back. It was also nice to see how comfortable Kyu-dong and Do-nam are together. Their mutual crush on Na-na was adorable.
Here’s what I didn’t like:
Everything that has to do with Sun-woo. I hated that the last two episodes were of him being a dick. Yeah, the boy’s allowed to be immature after being dumped by the girl he’s been pining after for years. But ending his storyline this way made me grumpy.
It means that the rift between Seol-chan and Sun-woo was never addressed and, obviously, never healed. Once Seol-chan’s out of his school punishment and back on the idol circuit, I’m sure they’ll never see each other again and not regret it. And that’s a pretty sucky ending to a broken bromance. Especially after we got such a wonderful reconciliation storyline for Kyu-dong and Do-nam! I thought they were the warmup for the main event but… nope. So that annoyed me.
I was also really annoyed that Sun-woo was such a colossal dick to Na-na. Because it turns her storyline into a pretty painful one as well. Sun-woo was the only reason Na-na joined Color Bar. (I kept waiting for a friendship to develop between her and Se-yi but it never happened.) Since he rejected her so thoroughly and she has no other ties to them, I figure she’s done with Color Bar. So Na-na starts the story as a loner and… she ends the story as a loner. Which made me grumpy.
I considered those dropped threads. There were also a couple of weird scenes that hinted at storylines to come that, of course, there wasn’t any time to take anywhere.
At one point there was an oddly intense interaction between Ma Joon-hee (the School President) and Se-yi. He kept insisting she use his name; she persisted in calling him by his title. It was… bizarrely personal. He was taking special interest in her and it seemed to come out of nowhere. Aaaand, then it went nowhere.
At the same time, his little sister completely lost her mind because Eun-ha touched her (covered her mouth with her hand), pushed Eun-ha to the ground and called everyone around her (all the Color Bar members) beggars and trash and even class bully Jae-rok looked a bit shocked and uncomfortable at this wanton display of class bigotry. And… it goes nowhere.
I feel like the scenes had possibilities. Joon-hee and his little sister were constantly lurking in the background as a possible threat to what Color Bar was trying to achieve. (Pulling together completely different personalities to form a found-family group of awesome.) Sun-woo pointedly rejected them in favor of Color Bar. Surely something was going to happen with that tension?
Nope. Just a second battle of the bands that seemed to accomplish little. (I liked that we didn’t learn who won. I didn’t like that we spent so much time on something that had little emotional impact on anyone involved and required our gang to pick up mad musical skills they didn’t have in a matter of weeks. Eun-ha singing especially rubbed me wrong.)
Which leaves me with the feeling that the story of Monstar was not fully told. If this were a US tv show I’d say we were well poised for the second season. Since this is a Korean drama, though. I’m going to have to say the story had a rushed and sloppy and incomplete ending. (Were they banking on an extension?) Which is too bad because everything leading into it was gold.