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Itaewon Class -- Episode 1 & 2: Sheer Will and Determination

I always go into a new drama with the least expectation because the less one expects much, the less disappointed one will be when it's a letdown. And Itaewon Class is more than a pleasant surprise with a lot happening in its opening week. I've always liked Park Seo Joon as an actor. I think he's quite refined, and one week into Itaewon class, I can see why he was cast in the role of Park Sae Royi.

I was completely blown away by Park Seo Joon, and his portrayal of a boy turned man consumed by his grief and his vengeance, simply amazing. I must say I've never cared much for Kwon Na Ra as an actress, and her role Oh Soo Ah, doesn't shed her in a favorable light, but that does not take away from her acting ability. Nara does an excellent job of making me, as the viewer, dislike her selfishness.

The drama opens up with Park Sae Royi, still in high school, a headstrong teenager with uncompromising ideals. On his first day in the new school, he meets his first crush, gets expelled for striking a bully, and refusing to compromise on his ideals and convictions. And it doesn't stop there; his father (Son Hyun Joo) is fired from his job because his son refuses to apologize for striking the bully, whose father is a powerful local businessman and Park's father's employer. Park Sae Royi ends up in prison for his assault on his father's killer, who is none other than the bully from his school. They say when it rains, it pours.

It's true when they say no one chooses who they love or why they love someone or how they love them, and despite that, I cannot stop myself from firmly believing Soo Ah doesn't deserve an ounce of his love. She's not only selfish and disloyal but also a coward. There is nothing worse than knowing something is wrong and still doing it nonetheless.

I couldn't understand how she idly and silently stood by at Sae Royi's trial when she knew that the bully Jang Geun Won (Ahn Bo Hyun) and ultimately the even bigger bully his father Jang Dae Hee (Yoo Jae Myung) had done to Sae Royi's father. Isn't silence in the face of evil, evil itself; I mean, she might as well had testified against Sae Royi, the son of the man she claimed to have respected and loved. Not only that, she accepted money in the form of a scholarship, and it doesn't end there; seven years later, she ends up working for the very company that ruined the life of her best friend and ended his father's life. What friends like her who need enemies, really.

Anyone else other than Sae Royi would probably not have had the determination and resilience to not only overcome prison but hard labor in a foreign country to accomplish a goal he set up the moment the Chairman unjustly covered up his father's murder to save his son. Park Sae Royi is the reason Itaewon works the way it did. I quickly found myself already tightly invested in Sae Royi and his new pub, Danbam.

I found myself anxiously to meet the full ensemble of characters as this Itaewon Class story unfolded. No matter how ambitious or even broken one is, there is no way I couldn't discern the difference between what's conscious, let alone legally acceptable, to do. At the end of the first week, I was left with the hope that Sae Royi meets someone who shows him what true love means because only then will Soo Ah understand what she truly lost when she chose herself over her friend. All in all, an overwhelming start to a drama, with many bad circumstances happening in the first week alone.


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