Bangtan Boys HYYH Series: Run

Onto the next MV in the HYYH Series, and one of my favourite BTS songs; Run.

We have in Run a MV that is much more like I Need U than the Prologue we looked at previously. By this I mean it’s more haphazard with no clear chronology. However, let’s take a moment to see what’s happening with everyone and see what we can discover;

The clip starts with V falling backwards into water, but before we can discover his fate, we cut to Rap Monster. He’s at the train tracks (perhaps the ones from I Need U?) and he knocks on a carriage door, as if he’s expecting someone to open it. It does open, but rather expectantly, it’s Jimin opening the door to a party, obviously in a different venue. The whole group is at the party, dancing, chilling, and having fun. Jin has his video camera out. We suddenly jump to V struggling in the water, something that occurs throughout the MV. Back at the party, V pushes Jin against the wall and spray-paints over him. This becomes a segue into V and Rap Monster using spray paint to graffiti. Unfortunately for them, they caught by the police, but try to run away. Cutting back to the party, Jin builds a house of cards (interestingly; ‘House of Cards’ is the name of a song on the album), but V knocks it down as soon as it’s complete. Jin looks directly at the camera uncertainly, and we cut back to V struggling in the water again. We later learn that V and Rap Monster were caught by the police, although they honestly don’t look too concerned. We get a completely different set of shots now, with J-Hope waking up in a hospital bed (although it doesn’t appear to be a hospital room) with Jimin standing above him. The two look at each other before J-Hope hits him with a pillow. Again, we segue, but this time back to the party where there’s a massive pillow fight. We seem to jump again, this time back to Rap Monster and the train carriage; he finds a card with a butterfly on it, surrounded by feathers. We cut again to new scenes; this time it’s a (possibly drunk) Suga having a meltdown, with Jungkook trying to comfort and/or calm him. Suga doesn’t take too kindly to this, pushing Jungkook against a wall. Hurt, Jungkook retaliates by punching Suga, who then throws him against the couch and continues his destruction.  With the smashing of a mirror, we have V looking directly into the camera followed by the house of cards falling again. Jin is staring at the fallen cards, drink in hand, confused. He seems to be alone. We return to the party once again, zooming in on Jungkook sitting on the floor. We zoom out but the room is now empty. We get more new scenes, this time Jin has blocked off a tunnel with his car while the other members go a little bit crazing harassing the line-up of cars. When a man yells out the window, the group takes off and Jin follows closely in the car. He slows for the group to pile in, and they stand jeering at the cars while they drive off. Another new scene, with Jimin going to the bathroom, where the party seems to have moved to. Jin pulls him into the room and throws him in the bathtub, similar to the one associated with Jimin in I Need U. The group splash him before jokingly pushing him under the water. Finally, at the end of the MV, we get solo shots of V and Jin before an interesting shot that seems to have been taken through a car windscreen. The members, minus Jin, are walking in front of the car. Jungkook looks back to wink and smile at the camera. The scene fades to black and we see V stand up in the water. The MV cuts to credits with behind the scenes footage from the Prologue and Run, but of course it isn’t the end yet. This time we re-visit the shot of the group at the beach we saw in the Prologue. As the scene changes to a photograph, Jin disappears from it. Jimin is holding the photo and sets fire to it, almost exactly like he did with the note in I Need U.

jungkook

Okay, the cut between the party scenes, the scenes of specific members, and V struggling in the water is certainly confusing as hell. Sure, we could be just getting clips of the group hanging out partying, but I think that this late into the series it’s a little naive to take the party scenes at face value, so let’s dive in. Just like the previous group shots and trips we’ve dealt with in I Need U and the Prologue, the party could represent a flashback to happier times. However, these party scenes could also represent something more sinister. Although the group looks they’re having fun, there is a sort of destructive nature to their partying; a drunk Suga fighting it out with Jungkook, J-Hope ending up in a hospital bed, and Jimin’s friends pretending to drown him in a bathtub is a couple of examples. Are we watching the group spiralling downwards after a life of partying or a life of turning to alcohol to drown emotions? Or are we witnessing the constructed, imagined world of one of the members, desperate for his friends who aren’t there? It’s certainly something that’s left up to the viewer to decide.

It’s also in this MV that we start to get more butterfly symbolism. Throughout the world, butterflies have been associated with souls, endurance, hope, the death of a loved one, and life. In Christian religions butterflies are usually symbolic of resurrection, but they are a symbol of transformation worldwide. I think the symbolism of the butterflies in the HYYH series could easily represent any of these things, depending on your interpretation of the series. Is it symbolic of the souls of the departed? The transformation or journey through life? Or hope for a better future?

butterflyFinally, the age-old question for this series; where does Run fit in in relation to I Need U and the Prologue? I think Run is even harder to place because of its chaotic nature. With V falling into the water at the beginning of the MV, it’s tempting to say it occurs immediately after the Prologue. However, just like the Prologue, it could be that the bulk of the MV is actually a flashback. Alternatively, Run could be the memories of V struggling in the water. We can even have a split situation where some scenes are flashbacks (such as the individual cuts of the members), some are occurring in “real time”, and some are imagined. Confusing, isn’t it?

MY INTERPRETATIONS AND PROPOSED THEORIES:
Previously in the Prologue I offered different theories based on where I thought the Prologue occurred in reference to I Need U. However, I’m not going to do that for Run. Instead I’m going to clarify what I think (A) the party scenes mean, and (B) the relation of Run to the other MVs.
A. The party scenes represent something more sinister than the groups’ time together.
Explanation: I think that there’s enough of a destructive undertone in the party scenes of the Run MV for it to not simply be flashbacks to happier times. However, I think the actual nature of the scenes changes according to interpretation (see below).
B. Run occurs after I Need U.
Explanation: There’s a couple of reasons why I think Run occurs last from the MVs we’ve seen so far. Firstly, there was a good chance that the Prologue could occurs before I Need U because of its title. There’s nothing about Run’s title to support it occurring before anything we’ve seen so far. Secondly, I find little evidence in the Run MV to support it occurring before I Need U (in fact, there’s evidence to support it occurring afterwards due to the references) or, in the possibility that V’s story occurs first, between V’s story and I Need U. For this I am talking specifically about the party scenes. As for the individual shots of the members, their occurrence varies according to theory.
C. V’s death?
We still don’t know if V survived his jump from the scaffolding at the end of the Prologue. Although we see him struggling in the water, we also see him exiting it.

EVOLVING PREVIOUS THEORIES, AND COMBINING WITH NEW THEORIES:
1. Only Suga and Jungkook died in I Need U
1A Prologue Occurs Between’s V’s Story and I Need U: Weak Evidence
Timeline: V kills a man -> V commits suicide (or at least attempts)-> Jungkook dies in an accident -> Suga commits suicide -> the others try to deal with the death of their friends (I Need U and Run). In this case, the party scenes represent the remainder of the group (Jin, J-Hope, and Rap Monster (and possibly V?)) spiralling out of control as they continue acting as if their friends are alive. The shot of Jin sitting by himself could be him realising that they are, in fact, dead. However, the shot of Jungkook in the empty room is harder to interpret, as is the fight scene between Jungkook and Suga. Although I like this theory, the fact that there isn’t any special symbolism around Jungkook and Suga suggests that they aren’t dead. In fact, if anything, it’s V and Jin who seem to be getting the special treatment.
1B Prologue Occurs After I Need U: No Evidence
With only weak evidence to support this theory in the Prologue, and no evidence here, I’m going to discard it.  
2. Jin and V survive I Need U

2B Prologue Occurs After I Need U: Strong Evidence
Timeline: Other members die in various ways and V kills a man -> V and Jin go away together (retracing the group trip shown in the Prologue) -> V jumps (either committing suicide or not) -> Jin (and possibly V) imagines all of the group still alive OR the souls of the departed friends remain. As mentioned, we are stuck with not knowing V’s ultimate fate. However, I think that with what we’ve seen so far, there’s enough evidence to set Jin apart from the other members. In Run, the scene with Jin alone after the house of cards falls is significant. Previously, we saw him with his friends joking around him as he built the house which V knocked down, but now he is alone and confused. Is he starting to realise that he is actually the only one alive, something that may have started at the end of the prologue? We see the other member’s deaths referenced throughout Run (J-Hope in the hospital bed, Jimin in the bathtub, Jungkook in front of the car), coupled with V struggling in the water (but again, we’re not too sure of his fate). Furthermore, in the scene in the tunnel, the people in the car take a long time to react to the members defacing the cars. The man who yells out could have been yelling at a dazed Jin, blocking off the tunnel and imagining his friends there, or being the only one able to see them. Finally, the scene with Jungkook in the empty room is something like him realising that he is dead. This leads to one of the final shots where Jungkook looks back to smile and wink at the driver of the car. The driver is likely to be Jin (the only one we’ve seen driving so far), and Jungkook could be reassuring him that everything will be okay. The evidence is leaning more towards only Jin surviving, with V having died when jumping from the bridge.
3. No one died in I Need U
3A Prologue Occurs Between V’s Story and I Need U: No Evidence
This theory could still hold up as I have interpreted Run as taking place after the other MVs. Hence, the members have survived their dangerous behaviours from I Need U (as well as V from the Prologue), but have started down (or continued?) a destructive path of partying and misbehaviour. However, we’re still lacking an explanation of what V was up to during I Need U, and the motivation for the other’s behaviour in the same MV. Furthermore, this theory doesn’t explain some very specific scenes that seem to have a significant meaning; the photographs, the focuses on V and Jin, and so on. Hence, I’m going to discard this theory as it is lacking too much. 
3B Prologue Occurs After I Need U: Weak Evidence
This theory faces the same problems as the one above it. Although plausible, it doesn’t explain enough.
4. Jin died before anyone else: Strong Evidence
Regardless of the time-line in terms of I Need U and the Prologue, we have Jin in the MVs not realising that he’s dead, and trying desperately to remain with his friends. However, he’s starting to realise that he’s no longer alive; the scene with Jin looking at the falling cards symbolises this. This is also why Jin is not present in the photograph at the end of the MV; he had passed away when it was taken. Jimin burns the photo while trying to deal with the loss of his friend. In this case, the butterfly symbolism we’re starting to get could represent Jin’s soul and the other members continuing to change without him. However, this doesn’t fully explain the references back to I Need U and Prologue in this MV (if his friends had died in the earlier MVs, we would expect some kind of symbolism that the other dead members can interact with Jin), or the party scene with Jungkook.
5. Jin is the only member alive: Strong Evidence
This shares a lot of similarities with 2B above, such as the party scenes and the individual shots of Jin and Jungkook. As Jin is living in an unhealthy mental state (either imagining his friends or seeing their souls), the party seems destructive and dangerous. V struggling in the water could represent what Jin thought he went through when he jumped off the scaffolding. The photo at the end is actually a flashback; Jin’s not in the photo because he took it (since he’s always the one with the camera), and Jimin is burning it because he’s saddened by the group memory of friends no longer with him. In this case, the butterfly symbolises transformation in Jin as he needs to learn to accept his friends’ deaths and move on. Note: This theory was split into 5A and 5B in the previous post, but in this MV it doesn’t matter too much. 

These posts are getting lengthier and more complicated, but hopefully you’re still able to follow along. We’ve covered the main MVs now, and only have a few more until we’ve reached the end. Going forward, we should see more and more theories getting cut, and more making sense! As usual, if you have your own interpretations, please feel free to share in the comments ^^

-S

btsrun

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4 thoughts on “Bangtan Boys HYYH Series: Run

  1. Pingback: Bangtan Boys HYYH Series: I Need U (Japanese) | A Fandom of its Own
  2. Pingback: Bangtan Boys HYYH Series: Run (Japanese) | A Fandom of its Own
  3. Pingback: Bangtan Boys HYYH Series: Epilogue (Young Forever) | A Fandom of its Own
  4. Pingback: Bangtan Boys HYYH Series: Conclusion and Wings | A Fandom of its Own

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