(Image courtesy of Netflix)
Orange County School of the Arts

Review: ‘Extracurricular’ on Netflix is the gripping quarantine K-drama we needed

Have you ever wanted something so badly that you’ve explored every possible option to obtain it? Every option?

“Extracurricular” was released on Netflix last. It follows high school student Oh Ji-soo (played by Kim Dong-hee, who also starred in hit series “Itaewon Class” and “SKY Castle”) as he runs his dangerously illegal sex trafficking business for one simple goal: earning enough money to go to college.

But when his classmate Bae Gyu-ri (played by Park Joo-hyun) finds out his secret and starts blackmailing him, things get a little more complicated.

What’s crazy is that despite the high levels of crime and violence, this drama almost comes off as relatable to lots of students around the world.

To many, college is an unattainable dream due to life circumstances and finances, and the desperation for money that Oh Ji-soo portrays is something that can make people nod their heads in understanding.

On top of that, Ji-soo has somewhat of a lonely and miserable life with a terrible single dad, bullies and no friends, so his turn to the illegal and dark side of the world is a thrilling move, to say the least.

Then there’s Bae Gyu-ri, a foil to Oh Ji-soo in many ways. She’s rich, has lots of connections and is hardly characterized as desperate.

Yet she still chooses to involve herself in Ji-soo’s dangerous world, perhaps because a life full of unpredictability and making choices is more suitable for her than her already mapped-out life of following her parents’ footsteps.

The Netflix series also shines a light onto what is often shunned, such as school bullying and mental health. But most importantly, I believe “Extracurricular” shows that bad actions do not exactly equal bad people.

I’m not justifying bullying or sex trafficking or any of that, but just like how the K-drama slowly reveals the intensity of a crime-filled world, there’s more to a person than what first meets the eye.

Netflix so far has done a pretty good job with the Korean dramas they produce, and “Extracurricular” is the cream of the crop. As for the ending, I just hope that season two will come out soon.