Why Can’t We Be Friends? – Itaewon Class Ep 5 Review

This is a review of episode 5 of Itaewon Class, or 이태원 클라쓰 kdrama currently airing on Netflix.

Check out the previous episode review here.

So before I begin this review, let’s all put our hands together and give a big round of applause to our favorite Itaewon social climber: Soo Ah!

Because boy did she try it.

She really did try it.

So, (I’m saying so a lot but) it’s great that she is so utterly blunt. That way, it is fairly easy for the audience and the rest of the characters to see right through her bs (save Sae Royi). I love that we all finally know how she feels, and there can be no more speculation.

Soo Ah only cares about Soo Ah. And, that’s perfectly fine!

As Sae Royi mentioned, that is absolutely a great prerogative to have. Especially while working in such a cut-throat corporation. But…here’s the thing…its borderline abusive at this point.

Let me explain. Soo Ah completely knows what she is doing. She is very aware of her thoughts, actions, and how to process this information. From the very first episode we knew that she was selfish. Yes, the homeless man did grab her arm and I can’t fault her for being upset over that – but there was no need to put down Sae Royi when he tried to help. Was he nosy? Absolutely.

That would annoy anyone.

But then, once Soo Ah finds out his father is the orphanage’s benefactor (in a sense, I know Jangga did the main funding but he took care of it) she only wants to befriend Sae Royi for that reason. Because if she is nice to Sung Yul and compliments his son in front of him, it might improve her relationship further with the old man. This is why I called Soo Ah a social climber in my first review.

Again, I have nothing personal against this character. But I’ve had the unfortunate experience of going to school with and working alongside so many types like her it’s almost comical at this point to see one portrayed so accurately. Soo Ah is particularly transparent. While Sung Yul thought his son Sae Royi was being rude by not bidding Soo Ah goodbye at their ‘first’ meeting, she played it up and allowed it to be portrayed so – it wasn’t her fault.

And truth be told, it wasn’t.

How could Sae Royi’s father know what happened at the train station earlier that day? Sae Royi isn’t the type to mention or dwell on something so petty outwardly.

Soo Ah picked up on this, and knew he would let it slide.

When the incident with the chairman’s son happened, Chairman Jang knew Soo Ah would be worth the investment because of her reaction. He knew that she would be a good dog. Just as he pointed out this episode, Chairman Jang knows that Soo Ah always tells him what he wants to hear. He is aware that she is staying in the middle between the brewing powder keg of Chairman Jang and the other primary share holder, Ms. Kang Min Jung.

Why on earth would Soo Ah chose sides just yet, when the battle has barely begun? I’m sure Ms. Kang knows this, as I’m sure that’s why Chairman Jang is now putting pressure on her to pick a side. To be quite honest, maybe this is also the reason behind Soo Ah not acknowledging Geun Won’s feelings. It’s been over ten years and she’s not stupid – I’m sure she has realized how he feels.

Soo Ah is the only woman on screen so far Geun Won has shown any interest in.

But then again…what has he been able to offer her thus far? What can he do for her? As of late? Nothing.

So, why acknowledge the stupid son of Jangga corp?

Now of course, things become annoying. The chairman suddenly wants her to choose, and she doesn’t really like Geun Won but doubtless she won’t play along to keep her job. Hell, maybe her next pitch at the board meeting will be about a crime-mystery themed bar. Where patrons can act out their sadistic fantasies of committing murders and other psychopathic atrocities without reprimand from society.

Am I being too harsh on Soo Ah? Maybe. To be quite honest, I hope I am exaggerating what this character will become. I will also say though that I pride myself on being able to peg and read a person very quickly. This ability has kept me out of a lot of sticky real-life situations. I am not trying to be right concerning this, but it all just seems so familiar I could swear it was just like another workday at my old job.

Anyway, moving on from her – it seems Hyun Yi is indeed transgender. I thought she was a FTM at first because I remember that actress was one of the best friends in Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo. Instead, Hyun Yi is a male living as a female. Which is fine, that’s their choice. I guess for these further reviews I’ll settle on calling her a, well “her”.

I’m really glad she was able to improve her cooking. I thought we would be getting Hyun Yi’s backstory this time but instead we got Geun Soo’s. I’m not surprised his entire family was completely awful to him. I’m only wondering where his mother is at this current point.

Did Chairman Jang get tired of her? Did she essentially sell him off in exchange for continued shopping sprees and only had him to ensure her bankroll would never end?

I’m sure we’ll find out by the end of the series, but I’m leaning toward the latter.

And of course, Yi Seo did a bang up job remodeling DamBam. I expected nothing less of the talented young lady. I’m sure the business will really thrive under her leadership and management. Equally, I am so thankful that Yi Seo can see through the bullshit.

Earlier in the review I mentioned that Soo Ah is borderline abusive in her relationship with Sae Royi.

Abusers have this thing where they continually test and move the boundaries of their target. Manipulators essentially do the same. It didn’t make sense at first to me during the episode when it was revealed Soo Ah actually didn’t call the cops, but took credit for it. Apparently, it didn’t either to Yi Seo. Then Soo Ah flaunts it in Yi Seo’s face that she can do anything and Sae Royi will forgive her (or at least understand it).

So while feeling sorry for herself for inserting her own self, without coercion, between two powder kegs Soo Ah gets drunk and complains how unfair her current situation is. Run on sentence be damned.

While thinking about how much Sae Royi annoys her, and telling him this to his face – he understand her. He consoles her, and it pisses her off. Soo Ah probably wanted the guilt of it all to go away. If Sae Royi just said he hated her, it would be fine. She would have won, he’s not anything particularly special.

But…he doesn’t.

He’s a middle school graduate and ex-convict with a now booming business that shouldn’t have succeeded. She went to college and worked her ass off to get where she is – so why is he still succeeding? Why isn’t he bitter?

He’s “shining too brightly” near her, but if she kisses him…maybe she can get him to stop.

Maybe she can manipulate him into stopping…”for her”. After all, she couldn’t help him try to cut costs and expenses, he already knew that. Without going to school. Without any on-job experience.

(But imagine if he did?)

In comes our girl Yi Seo to hulk smash that kiss into oblivion.

This show is so much fun. It may seem like I’m ragging on the character that is Soo Ah, but I can assure you I’m really not. All of these characters are so well-written, especially Soo Ah. I’m fascinated more than anything, and completely excited for what’s to come. Thankfully, we don’t have to wait too long – episode six should be out tomorrow. ☺

Also before I end it here, I would just like to say…

I sincerely hope Soo Ah and Geun Won get together in the end. Both are incredibly good-looking individuals who are equally just as vapid and naïve in their self-importance that they are smarter than they really are.

Geun Won bragging about murders when the statute of limitations isn’t even up. Soo Ah being outwardly cruel for anybody to see not realizing everyone won’t stand for it.

But, tell me your thoughts.

Thumbs up for good cooking! Itaewon Class episode 5
Thumbs up for good cooking! Itaewon Class episode 5

What do you think will become of Oh Soo Ah? Do you think the Chairman will flip when he finds out his bastard son is working for Sae Royi? What reaction do you think Geun Soo will have when he realizes the boy who beat up his (half) brother Geun Won that day was Sao Royi? Would he be bitter? Would he want revenge?

So many questions, so many quality plotlines to look forward to!

Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, I’d love to hear from you! Also be sure to follow us for more Itaewon Class reviews!

Don’t fall for any schemes in the workplace, read: The Art of War by Sun Tzu.

다음 화 Mimicking Civility Over Hostility

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Author: In Asian Spaces

I write in my personal time and I haven't published much at all. I don't know if that qualifies me as a writer or not, but I'd like to change that. I have a deep passion for travel, cinema and (mainly) East Asian things, but I plan on writing various things to keep it spicy. Let's prosper together ~ よろしくおねがいします。

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