One of the more popular K-dramas currently airing domestically in Korea and streaming internationally is Itaewon Class. The series starring Park Seo-Joon, Kim Da-Mi, Yoo Jae-Myung, and Nara formerly of Hello Venus was an instant hit upon its premiere and has grown in popularity since then.
Itaewon Class also received a lot of attention for representing different “classes of people” which possibly plays to the K-drama’s title. Though there are specifically five groups represented within the five employees of DanBam, the two getting the most attention are Ma Hyeon-Yi (Lee Joo-Young) for LGBTQ and Kim To-Ni (Chris Lyon) for POC.
Nevertheless, Itaewon Class keeps gaining in popularity as it progresses. Just recently, the K-drama reached mid-series. In it, Jo Yi-Seo (Kim Da-Mi) realizes she is in love with Park Sae-Royi (Park Seo-Joon) and she wants him to be successful in all he does. However, her sociopathic tendencies may get in her way as her methods for Sae-Royi’s success could be transgressional. Will her love clash with her sociopathy given that by definition, the two are usually non-existent of each other?
Love for Park Sae-Royi doesn’t mean love for others
The dilemma we come across in the mid-series episodes is that Jo Yi-Seo finds she truly loves Park Sae-Royi and doesn’t want anything to hurt him anymore. She realized her feelings when she accompanied Sae-Royi to see the detective in charge of his father’s case, who was pressured to hide the truth for the sake of his daughter.
During the bus ride to the countryside, Park Sae-Royi tells his entire life story to Jo Yi-Seo. The pain and burden he suffered from losing his father, prison, and working alone touched her heart.
Later when they are spending the night in one of the detective’s rooms, Jo Yi-Seo notices all the scars on Park Sae-Royi’s body. As he explained how he got each scar, the fact he physically and emotionally suffered so much in his life was too much for Yi-Seo to bear. She realized her feelings for him at that moment.
Jo Yi-Seo in love is beautiful but she still has her sociopathy when it comes to everything else. This can result in some rather unique and chaotic situations.
For example, Jo Yi-Seo is now caring and loving towards Park Sae-Royi but cold to everyone else including the other employees of DanBam. Since she is the manager of DanBam, she is setting herself up for conflict and has done so specifically with two of the staff members during these episodes, Kim To-Ni and Jang Geun-Soo (Kim Dong-Hee).
Pertaining to Kim To-Ni, Jo Yi-Seo is adamant about him not being Korean despite his pleas that his father is Korean and he is half-Korean, half-New Guinean. Yi-Seo’s stance is more painful to To-Ni after To-Ni was rejected from entering a club that doesn’t allow entrance to Africans.
While being escorted off-premises, Kim To-Ni keeps telling everyone he is Korean yet the person most prevalent in saying he is not is Jo Yi-Seo. Yi-Seo than coldly rationalizes why To-Ni isn’t Korean despite how hurt he is at the moment.
Pertaining to Jang Geum-Soo, after Jo Yi-Seo learns about what his family did to Park Sae-Royi, she suddenly becomes cold and hostile to Geum-Soo. This throws Geum-Soo off as they’ve been friends for years then suddenly she doesn’t care.
To further enforce how cold and hostile she’s become to Jang Geum-Soo, Jo Yi-Seo finds it “the right thing to do” when Geum-Soo says he’ll quit working at DanBam and kneel before his father to leave Park Sae-Royi and his restaurant alone. This is after Geum-Soo learns about what his family did to Sae-Royi and after Sae-Royi has shown he cares for Geum-Soo and sees him as a “little brother.”
Fortunately, Jo Yi-Seo’s love for Park Sae-Royi is stronger than her sociopathy and she is trying to do things Sae-Royi’s way while caring for the people Sae-Royi cares about too, especially the DanBam staff.
K-drama fans love Itaewon Class
Since its debut, Itaewon Class has consistently grown in popularity resulting in increasing viewership. With the airing of the mid-series episodes, Itaewon Class has achieved the honor of now being the second-highest rated K-drama in Joongang Tongyang Broadcasting Company (JTBC) history.
According to AGB Nielsen Korea, the eighth episode of Itaewon Class earned a nationwide viewership of 12.562 percent and a Seoul viewership of 13.990 percent. These numbers mean Itaewon Class has surpassed Women of Dignity.
Itaewon Class still has eight more episodes to go so they have plenty of time to build the viewership past 24 percent. If the K-drama succeeds, it would have surpassed Sky CASTLE, the highest-rated JTBC K-drama in its history.
Fans have much to look forward to as Itaewon Class now goes into the second half of the series. Subsequent episodes will air on Fridays and Saturdays at 11 p.m. KST on JTBC.
For international fans, Itaewon Class is a Netflix Original and is available in all regions via Netflix. Take note viewers will need a paid subscription to the video streaming service to watch the K-drama.