Apologies for being so far behind on these, all the China stuff was a big ol’ deal to contend with (it never ends). Next recap I’ll group the Combination Mission episodes into one, just like for the Connect Mission.
Anyways, lets cut some cells!
Episode 5 reveals the intended and unintended consequences of the cell system. Grouping trainees in threes indeed does spice things up a bit, making it difficult to predict the results near the cutoff line. But it also decreases the likelihood of a dark horse candidate surviving; having the albatross of two unpopular contestants tied around ones neck is a daunting obstacle to overcome. Could a Han Chowon or Lee Chaeyeon survive in the cell system? Maybe, but it’d be difficult. Part of the new game I suppose.
In classic Mnet fashion we must have levity before the tears. After assembling the trainees in the cafeteria, Yeo Jin Goo personally delivers an assortment of snacks and fan service to the girls. Jin Goo hasn’t been much of a factor so far one way or another, but at least he’s not creepy. His shy boy persona when interacting with the trainees is easier to digest than some of the previous hosts in Produce history. Imagining Jang Geunsuk doing something similar makes me laugh, cry and retch at the same time.
Afterwards, the girls then exchange letters, gifts and words of thanks and encouragement. Chen Hsin Wei’s mini punching bag with a picture of herself taped on is an inspired choice.
Later on in the episode (I’m knocking out all the goofy parts at once), Sunmi trots out her model friends for a fashion competition, which I can’t help but also feel is directly inspired/cribbed from Youth With You 2. Every Connect Mission team gets one chance to present a model, aiming for either a Best Dressed or Worst Dressed award. Considering the amount of model-turned-trainees on the show the results aren’t too shabby.
Team “Pretty U” take the Worst Dressed award and Team “Yes or Yes 2” take the Best Dressed.
Their reward is a day (night?) at the amusement park. Fun!
At the elimination ceremony, Jin Goo, (finally in a suit that fits) gets right to it. I’m not going to go through every pick one-by-one, you can see the cuts here if you want. Cherry Bullet’s Bora, who was under the cut-line prior to the Connect Mission, sneaks in at #16. You Dayeon, who had a large amount of screentime for Episodes 3 and 4, isn’t able to overcome the unpopularity of her teammates. GZH48 twin Liang Jiao (the alien) makes it, but her sister Liang Qiao (not alien) doesn’t.
Huening Bahiyyih makes it all the way to #7 with very little help from Mnet. Kim Doah, Chiayi make it, but their group mate Rayeon doesn’t. BVNDIT’s Seungeun is also eliminated.
(Pause for goofy break of handing out some spirit awards)
The top 3 cells aren’t a big surprise:
- Choi Yujin, Cai Bing, May
- Seo Youngeun, Shen Xiaoting, Kawaguchi Yurina
- Jeong Jiyoon, Su Ruiqi, Ezaki Hikaru
That’s two “How You Like That 1” cells in the top 2. The third with Lee Yeongyung and Xia Yan didn’t make the cut, even with Xia Yan ranking 8th out of all the C-Group contestants. She’s the highest individually ranked trainee to get eliminated.
The final cell called is Yoon Jia’s, with Wen Zhe’s falling just short. Wen Zhe’s teammates cry, apologizing to her for not delivering a proper birthday gift (brutal).
BUT WAIT!!! WHADABAOUUDA PLANET PASS?!?!
If you’ve already forgotten (I don’t blame you), the Planet Pass allows the mentors to save one trainee from each Group based on whatever criteria they want (star quality, they say).
- J-Group’s goes to Ikema Ruan, whose cell ranked 25th.
- C-Group’s pass goes to our queen of stunned reactions, Wen Zhe. The announcement sends her over the edge, bursting into tears as the rest of the trainees sing happy birthday to her.
- K-Group’s pass goes to show favorite and Yes or Yes Team 1 main vocal Kim Hyerim.
But we’re not finished! We have to announce the top 9 individual trainees as well. Again, not going to go through these one-by-one, but Seo Youngeun, Jeong Jiyoon and Kuwahara Ayana drop out while Kim Chaehyun, Sakamoto Mashiro, and Kawaguchi Yurina all make their way in. Yurina is the biggest surprise, jumping all the way into 1st place.
And with that it’s over. It’s finally over. The eliminated contestants board the bus out of town.
After being eliminated, Star48 members Ma Yuling and Liang Qiao revealed some interesting behind-the-scenes info via Star48’s livestreaming app Pocket48. A lot of the typical stuff (didn’t sleep, didn’t eat, no cellphones) but a lot of illuminating answers regarding the earliest stages of the show.
- The intro stages were completely decided by Mnet. The production team assigned groups and songs, which means they picked “Helicopter” and “Twinkle” and “Siren”, not the trainees.
- In fact, Ma Yuling had no idea who the trainers/mentors were going to be until filming, so upon learning she’d be singing “Twinkle” in front of Tiffany she was terrified.
- Many trainees took the time between filming the first few episodes and the more recent episodes (1 month) to take free classes on Korean, Dance, and Singing. Explains the steady improvement between intro stages and Connect Mission for a lot of the trainees.
- Xu Ziyin had her own place during the holiday and she cooked huge meals for C-Group, fuckin’ baller status.
- Recording the O.O.O stage took almost 40 hours with little sleep. Ma Yuling ran a fever and had to be isolated at one point.
- Before the break/classes, Liang Qiao asked for a translator but the production team admitted that seeing them struggle to communicate is part of the appeal of the show.
So yeah, not a whole lot of surprises here but many people have their stan aggro pointed in the wrong direction when it comes to what happens on these programs.
- The twins obviously played spoiler for each other when it came to the aegyo award.
- Bahiyyih not making it into Top 9 is a friendly reminder of the 50% weighting for international voting, and that Twitter isn’t real life.
- The biggest losers of the cell system were the aforementioned Xia Yan (8th place), You Dayeon (14th place), and Ito Miyu (12th place).
- The biggest winners were Tammy Wu (23rd place), Lee Hyewon (18th place), and Hayase Hana (27th place).
- The ratings for this episode were the best so far, but still haven’t broken 1%. So even though there are definitely a large amount of fans engaging mostly online, I don’t see a lot of casual viewers turning in at all.
- I would definitely watch a documentary of the C-Group’s escapades in South Korea at Xu Ziyin’s house.