Please note that this review contains spoilers…
Episode 3: Just Give Me A Smile
This episode starts where the second episode finished, and J-hope is seen recalling the moment Jungkook needed a respirator, looking ill and lifeless. After the concert it is apparent that Jungkook lets go of his “I’m ok” facade, and ends up collapsing in the changing rooms. Yet even at this moment Jungkook still feels embarrassed with everything that happened and is seen saying his apologies towards the crew, staff and members. In true BTS style, the members joke with him to raise his spirits, which helps him loosen up.
It is truly saddening to see the youngest member so ill, but this is something that is commonplace in K-pop. Idols will push themselves to the point their body can’t take any more, and in the end, they get seriously ill or injured – but they still fight it and even feel ashamed for “Letting the team down” even though no one blames them.
RM explains that as the leader his mind was in turmoil with being worried for Jungkook, but then worrying for the fans, the continuation of the show and how they could carry on. At first it’s easy to be taken aback by this exclamation, which can seem selfish, and even RM himself stated that he felt like a selfish child. But he continues by explaining how Jungkook is the main vocal, and that there is no one in the group or outside of the group that could ever replace him. Suddenly we feel a pang of guilt for even doubting RM’s feelings, and realise that he was confused as to what to do as a leader of the group, as Mr.Dependable for the fans, and as a brother towards Jungkook.
D+25: Santiago Chile
Each of the members are busy working on their own projects: V is completing his vocal training; Rapmon and Suga are separately creating music and raps for possible BTS hits or their own solo releases; J-hope is seen finishing up music and lyrics for his solo mixtape Hope World; while Jin practises his guitar skills as a new hobby; Jimin reads webtoons, mangas and novels; leaving Jungkook playing Overwatch and learning drums.
With the group in a different country, fans might think they would be out sightseeing, or having alone time where they can truly relax and not think about work. Instead, the members continue their daily routines like they would back in Korea. This is right after the concerts the previous day and all the commotion with Jungkook falling ill. Dedication is definitely a key point to the BTS members.
RM begins to talk about his feelings and how he battles with depression, anxiety and loneliness being an idol. He says that he tries to find reasoning to his problems by expressing them through his music and lyrics and that he knows others feel the same as him at times. He doesn’t want those who also suffer to feel alone, so he tries to tell others through his music that everyone, no matter what background they come from, can overcome their problems.
With the recent suicide of the much loved SHINee member Jonghyun, mental health issues (normally very taboo in Korea) have been hitting the headlines. BTS have spoken out before about depression, loneliness, eating disorders and other battles that many feel that K-idols would never have experienced. Ending this segment, Jungkook states, “The members put together the scattered puzzle pieces of my life” which can be interpreted in many different ways. Personally, we think he’s talking about his own mental state, and how the members help him centre himself.
The members (minus Jungkook) are seated around a dinner table drinking wine and talking about funny memories and moments in their pas: from strict diet regimes and staff members trying to feed them, to weird dreams of winning the lottery. Jimin exclaims to Suga, “Remember when you fell down the stairs?” To which Suga replies, “Actually, I told you that when I saw you, but really I was in a car accident. I was delivering food on a motorbike when I got hit by a car at an intersection.” The boys around the table all recall that Suga gave up B-boying around that time because he had badly dislocated his shoulder.
This was all pre-debut but was still a time when all the members were trainees under their company iBIGHIT. Suga continued to say that the company didn’t know of his accident as, “I thought they would let me go if I told them.” It’s a heartbreaking revelation to hear that even when the idols were training as hard as they could, they were told to hold down a job, with the fear that should anything not be perfect, their company would drop them instantly. People rarely see the hardships of trainees, or they turn a blind eye to it all, but this moment was a perfect eye-opener for those who don’t understand the K-pop trainee programs. The dreams of many youngsters can easily be made true, and then taken away just as fast.
A flashback video dated to 2013 featured a very young RM, Jhope, Jungkook, Jimin, V, Jin, and Suga, which was the beginning of their video logs to their fans. They look fresh, new and nieve – compared to how they look now, more mature, knowledgeable, and prepared.
D+29: Sao Paulo, Brazil
The first thing the group think about when they get off the plane is food. Eating Korean food in Brazil seemed like a blissful moment for them, but also reminded them of their home country. After eating, the members set up their personal spaces within their hotel rooms – lots of wires, laptops, microphones and creativity. The team are working on the road once again after leaving the concert the previous night, getting straight onto the plane and back into the daily grind of practising. At intervals, we see the members completing their daily gym workouts with their personal trainers, and things continue in a way that they are used to.
This episode felt like it was easing in the newcomers to the K-pop regime, showing just a small portion of what goes on, but also hitting on points that even veteran K-pop followers tend to forget about, such as mental and physical health. In a music world where everyone is striving for perfection, it is great to show the hardships that come with the facade that BTS are the perfect boy group.
Episodes one to three are now available on YouTube Red. Episode one is free, while each episode from two onwards has a charge of £1.89 to view.