Episode 1 of Street Woman Fighter delivered a compelling program with multiple story lines and a host of strong personalities. The competitive structure was a tad underwhelming and not intuitive, but the promise of these strong women (in both character and muscle) duking it out for an entire season set viewers’ hearts aflame. “As long as Mnet stays out of the way,” hoped the people. “Not so fast,” replies Mnet.
Episode 2 kicks up right where we left off, with WayB’s leader Noze experiencing a string of losses. Not to be outdone, Lee Chaeyeon also shows off her L’s, right before finally snatching a win, powered by the support of her teammates. If you can’t tell already, Chaeyeon is a protagonist of the show. She’s going to come out of all this in great shape.
Chaeyeon’s teammate Rozalin goes toe-to-toe with veteran battler Lip J. They have some history, as Rozalin is a former student of Lip J’s, but left her trainee crew unceremoniously. Mnet emphasizes how icy things are between the two. Rozalin wins the battle, and later sheds tears for having (somewhat) resolved things between her and her former teacher.
Mnet, no doubt aware of the criticism their judge selection is getting online, gives us a little montage on how good of a dancer BoA is and how everyone respects her. The judges, who have received a large amount of ridicule for not being real dancers, consistently vote for spectacle over technique. But, for a show like SWF, I think this approach works. Technique and strength are difficult (and boring) concepts to explain to casual viewers. It’s better tv to do Mnet edits on those WTF moments and then have the judging supplement that.
Finally we get to the foretold battle between ex-Purplow teammates Honey J and Rihey. Even though they’ve gone their separate ways, their sensibilities are still very close, dancing in sync a couple times during the head-to-head battle.
Rihey wins, and Honey J gives her a hug and some praise. The rest of the CocaNButter crew cry at the emotional scene.
The Underdog battle is now over. HOOK places last, with only one win. YGX and CocaNButter tie at 6 wins, four losses. They battle head to head, and YGX comes out on top. Their reward is a meal in the penthouse.
Host Kang Daniel then introduces the next mission. The crews will be split up into four classes: Leaders, Second, Sub, and Assist. The leaders of each crew are automatically in Leader Class. Second Class is the vice-leaders, Assist is the maknaes, and Sub are two members from each team not already in a team. Each class will perform a song all together.
Everyone will get a few days between filmings to make a snippet of choreography for their class’s song. When they reconvene, the classes will vote amongst themselves whose choreography they’ll show the judges. They’ll then perform the same sample choreography in front of the judges, who will select the main dancer for each class. The main dancer will then be responsible for the rest of the choreography, as well ass formations and positioning. Main Dancers will also automatically get points, and then after all this is done they’ll nominate someone in their class for Worst Dancer, docking that competitor’s team some points.
Yes, there’s points now, I don’t know who has what points because Mnet never shows that.
Time passes and the teams reconvene to vote on choreography. In the Assist Class, LACHICA’s Simeez is pegged as the front runner, due to her extensive experience making choreo for idol groups. Her performance impresses the rest of the class.
Chaeyeon shows her choreography and… it’s not great. Mnet rubs salt in the wound by showing her being the first candidate ruled out Hyojin later tells her not to take their shit. Simeez’s choreo is chosen.
The Leaders also begin their exhibition. Obviously, there are a lot of strong personalities in this group. Each of their choreo’s is vastly different, emphasizing their particular strengths and styles. Noze, however, didn’t have time to finish hers. To her surprise, her unfinished choreography gets the most votes.
Later in the green room, LACHICA’s Gabee reveals her voting strategy. Getting picked for choreo doesn’t win you points, becoming main dancer does. Noze’s was not only fairly simple, but also incomplete. Everyone else’s choreography had some flair and complexity specific to their background. So, Gabee, along with many of the other leaders like YGX Leejung, HOOK AIKI and Prowdmon Monika, voted for Noze with the intention of doing her choreo better than her. Noze quickly realizes she’s being set up and feels the pressure.
On Demo Day, the Assist Class is up first. Simeez gets a little messy in the showdown and Prowdmon’s Hyeily takes the Main Dancer role.
The Leaders are next. Monika and AIKI make big mistakes during their time, the latter giving up entirely out of frustration. Noze ends up defending her choreo and takes the main dancer position. Honey J, who keeps coming up in 2nd place the entire episode, takes it on the chin like a pro.
In the Sub class, which features a pair of dancers from each team, the choreography from YGX’s Yeojin and Jihyo gets selected, again for the strategic reason of it being simple to memorize. During practice, YGX immediately notices WANT’s Emma and Moana are performing particularly well, so they put them in the back of the formation. Tensions rise as YGX continue to nip and tuck at the choreo. Prowdmon’s Kayday speaks up about the imbalance, but immediately gets shut down with the fake-nice “thanks but no thanks” for her suggestions. The eyebrow Jihyo gives Emma when she interjects is extremely spicy.
Back to Demo Day. Emma, Moana, Kayday, and Jihyo all make it to the final cut. It’s a heated battle, but WANT’s Emma comes out on top. They get 50 points (I still have no idea who has how many points (please Mnet)).
Finally the Second Class competes. Lip J’s choreography is the most accessible and wins the nomination. LACHICA’s Rian, who is Chung Ha’s main choreographer, wins the main dancer slot outright.
They move to an outdoor location to film the performances, kind of a Mad Max backlot. The cattiness continues as most of the main dancers passive aggressively direct each stage. A big deal is made of Monika coming to help her hoobae Hyeily out on the Assist Stage, as the other members of the class think she should be directing on her own. Most of the non-Main Dancers are being as cooperative as possible, to avoid getting picked as the worst dancer of their class.
Filming is over, and the dancers are back at the compound. They gossip about how things went, and then discuss the strategy surrounding picking candidates for worst dancer. Is it better to knock the front runners (read: YGX) down a peg? Or is it better to doom a struggling team?
The crews convene again around the battle floor to watch the results of each performance.
The behind-the-scenes of Assist Class show that Hyeily was inexperienced at creating choreography and that Simeez did a large part of the work. While the rest of the class think it’s a little embarassing, Hyeily appears to be unfazed, ready to use the Worst Dancer nom on whoever didn’t help her (or whoever she feels is a threat).
After watching their performance, BoA comments on how Simeez did really well even without the Main Dancer position. Hyeily picks HOOK’s Yoonkyung as the worst, mostly for not really jiving with the dance style.
Next is the Second Class. Rian is a pro at choreography, so there aren’t procedural problems with developing the rest of the stage. After watching, BoA comments that it’s a battle between Lip J and Rian, and Rian wins this round. Rian nominates HolyBang’s Jane as worst dancer, for her inability to make an impression during the performance. Honey J is not pleased.
Sub Class is next. Their stage is this multi-terraced, vaguely favela-esque jungle-gym looking thing. WANT puts YGX in the dirt in front of the structure in return for their catty behavior from before. Yeojin takes it as a compliment. BoA remarks how YGX caught her eye. Taeyong is underwhelmed by the choreography, remarking it felt like a music show (lol). WANT picks YGX as the worst dancers. Mostly for strategy, but also because they kept picking on Chaeyeon for the Underdog battle. YGX swears revenge.
Finally the leaders. Spirits appear high in practice, but in private most of the leaders find Noze a bit underwhelming as a leader. Out of frustration, Honey J starts speaking up with a lot of suggestions, making her a target for worst dancer. The judges shower praise on many of the leaders, but comment that Noze fades into the background with all the strong performers present. Noze ends up picking Monika as the worst dancer of Leader Class. Again, mostly a strategic decision. Monika does not appreciate Noze’s nomination.
But it’s not over yet! Each worst dancer has the chance to battle 1-on-1 with another member of the same class (excluding the main dancer). If they win their battle, the title passes to the loser. This time, the judgment will be decided by the rest of the competitors, excluding the two crews involved. So again, heaps of strategy involved.
The YGX duo picks HOOK’s BORN and Hyowoo. The HOOK duo krump their way into the hearts of their peers, and eke out a slim victory. Yeojin wipes her brow and does her daily affirmations.
HOOK’s Yeonkyung picks Lee Chaeyeon. Chaeyeon gets skunked in the voting, 21-0. HolyBang’s Jane successfully beats a messy WayB’s Leesu, and Monika vs Honey J is a nailbiter, with Monika winning 8-6.
Finally with all the results resolved, Kang Daniel drops a bombshell on the crews, announcing there will be eliminations after the next mission. The next mission is a crew-on-crew battle that will partially be judged by the views and likes each video gets on various streaming platforms. Who gets to decide the bracket? From the just-concluded Class challenge, the judges picked a crew that did the best overall: Prowdmon. Prowdmon gets to pick who battles who and with what song.
- Prowdmon vs WayB: CL – “Doctor Pepper” / “Hello Bitches”
- CocaNButter vs HOOK: 4Minute / Hyuna – “Crazy” / “I’m Not Cool” / “Lip & Hip”
- HolyBang vs LACHICA: Jessi – “What Type of X” / “Nunu Nana” / “Gucci”
- YGX vs WANT: BoA – “Better” / “Eat You Up”
As a twist, each song will be choreographed half-and-half by both opponents. They’ll have to perform each other’s choreography for the same song. Discussions get spicy once again, and the episode ends.
- The videos for the next challenge have actually been up since July. You can go watch them right now if you want. I have no idea if Mnet is counting views/likes since the beginning or if they’re just counting them from a certain span of time.
- Most of the rules on this show are very confusing to me. Do you know the score? Does anyone know the score?
- Honey J followed Rihey on Instagram, ostensibly confirming things are okay between them now. It’d be really funny/cool if they set all this up months ago (not the beef but the idea of resolving it on TV) for the sake of drama. Bravo either way.
- Again, this is all wrestling folks. If you’re mad that A dissed B or C was disrespectful to D then you’re getting mad at a stage-play. There are ample IG posts and videos showing them all working together, hanging out together, cheering each other on, etc. Are they all best friends? Most likely not. But despite how big K-Pop feels sometimes, the industry is actually very small, and secrets are hard to keep. Enjoy the kayfabe!
- Of course now there are allegations that so and so dancer used to be a bully in elementary school. I’m sorry but zzzzz you can tell more than half of the people on this show were iljin as hell back in the day. Show me a person who wasn’t a little shit in middle school and I’ll show you two liars.
- More important is that good ol’ Mnet again fucked things up for no good reason, using a track that samples the adhan (the Islamic call to prayer) in the title sequence. Mnet has apologized and will replace the music used.
- Leesu overdoing it during her battle was hilarious. It sucks for all of them that they have to wear the mic packs during their battles, but it probably sucks more for dancers like YELL and Leesu who get on their backs for moves and then feel a huge lego brick of an antenna wedged into their spinal column.
- AIKI is such a good crew mommy and it was cute when Gabee recognized that.
- I’m glad Gabee’s hair was just a wig.
- A large amount of these videos are blocked outside of Korea, which is unfortunate. This might be due to music licensing, which is why Blackpink‘s “Pretty Savage” vids and the next round’s battles are all viewable.
- But if it’s music why aren’t the Judge Reaction videos blocked? Or maybe they’re demonetized because Mnet doesn’t care about them. Either way, this is the most worthless set of content provided by Mnet I’ve ever seen, and I watched all the Hidden Box Game videos for Girls Planet 999.