Review: Age Of Youth 2


A sequel that feels similar-yet-different when compared to its elder sibling Age Of Youth.

The departure of several characters and the addition of new ones makes this season feel rather bittersweet, but the drama world feels the same, and it’s great to spend time with familiar beloved characters once again.

Show continues with certain hanging threads left over from Season 1, while introducing new adventures and new people to our Belle Epoque girls. All in all, this feels like a solid continuation of Season 1.

Familiar enough to make existing fans of the show happy, but also accessible enough for viewers who haven’t seen Season 1.


If you’ve been around the blog for a while, you’d probably know that I really enjoyed Season 1 of this show. Which, ironically, is the whole reason I was almost reluctant to start on this one; I was afraid that I wouldn’t like it as much as Season 1.

Well. I needn’t have worried. Yes, this one is different from Season 1, but in a good way, I think.

It shares enough of the same sensibilities as Season 1, to feel familiar.

Watching each episode, I often had the distinct feeling that I was revisiting a world that I once knew and enjoyed. At the same time, Season 2 brings enough fresh stuff to the table, so that it doesn’t just feel like more of the same. Win, and win. 🙂


Here’s the OST album in case you’d like to listen to it while you read the review.


I figure one of the big questions one might ask about Age Of Youth 2 is, can it be watched in isolation, ie, dya need to watch Season 1 first, in order to enjoy Season 2?

Personally, I do think it’s possible to enjoy Season 2 without first having watched Season 1, because Show’s got a pretty slice-of-life flavor to it, and it’s not hard to get caught up in terms of understanding the group’s dynamics.

The challenges that our characters face are also relatable and easy to engage with, and it isn’t hard to get a feel for each character either, even if you didn’t already know the characters from Season 1.

So, yes, I do think Season 2 can stand alone. But.. Season 1 is pretty lovely, in my opinion, so why would you want to watch Season 2, without watching Season 1? 😉


The absence of some Season 1 characters

As with many sequels, not all cast members return, and that is most definitely a downer. In particular, I was sad that Kang Unnie (Ryu Hwa Young) isn’t part of the line-up this season, because Kang Unnie is such a force to be reckoned with, in the overall group dynamic.

To Show’s credit, though, Kang Unnie gets to make several appearances over the course of our story, so even though she’s officially moved out of the Belle Epoque house, it doesn’t truly feel like goodbye.

Another character that I missed seeing regularly was Chef (Yoon Park), who had a sweet and poignant loveline with Jin Myung (Han Ye Ri) in Season 1.

Thankfully, Chef gets to visit our drama world as well, and that helped make it all better.

Ji Woo as Eun Jae

Park Hye Soo was unable to return as Eun Jae because of schedule conflicts, and Show cast Ji Woo to take her place. This took some getting used to, especially since Season 1 had largely been seen through Previous Eun Jae’s eyes, at least in the beginning.

To Ji Woo and PD-nim’s credit, even though New Eun Jae felt different from Previous Eun Jae, right away in episode 1, I did feel like she was kinda-sorta the same character, in terms of tone of voice, speech patterns, body language and overall vibe.

I could almost believe that Previous Eun Jae went and got some serious plastic surgery, and now looked different, is all.

As we progress deeper into the show, New Eun Jae definitely takes on shades that I wouldn’t have associated with Previous Eun Jae, but by then, I’d gotten used to the actress switch, and this didn’t bother me too much.

I didn’t like Eun Jae as a character very much, at times, but we can talk more about that later.

The addition of new characters

Clearly, with the absence of older characters, it only makes sense to introduce some new characters into our drama world.

I was fully on board with this idea, but I will admit that the initial awkwardness around new housemate Eun (Choi Ah Ra) did feel a little hard to watch, because of the vicarious discomfort. But that’s all to be expected, given the set-up.

And it was pretty apt, that it all feels similar-but-different to when Eun Jae first moved in at the beginning of Season 1.

Besides Eun, I also found Jang Hoon (Kim Min Suk) a nice addition to the house, especially since Kim Min Suk always has a relatable, engaging sort of energy.


The whole naked introduction thing felt odd, because I found it weird that anyone would walk into a house and take a shower, without noticing that there was already girl stuff around the house, and especially in the bathroom.. but, I guess it’s one way to make an entrance?


Overall, I found it quite pleasant to watch our familiar characters making friends and forming fresh connections with new characters.


Revisiting familiar characters

One of the biggest things I looked forward to in Season 2, was spending more time with characters that I had come to know and love in Season 1, and following them on their journeys, particularly on narrative threads that had been left open at the end of Season 1.


In particular, I was curious to see Ye Eun’s recovery from the trauma of being kidnapped and being held against her will, by her abusive ex-boyfriend.

At the end of Season 1, Ye Eun had been safe, but she had also clearly been in denial about the whole thing, and I absolutely hoped to see her work through her post-traumatic issues in a meaningful way.


Spotlights on the individual journeys

Show’s pretty excellent at managing a roving spotlight, and we get regular insights into each of our housemates’ journeys in turn, balanced with time that we spend together with them as an intact group.

Ye Eun

Like I mentioned in my previous section, Ye Eun’s recovery was one of the things that I really wanted Show to spend time on, and generally speaking, I was satisfied with how Show handled this.


I mean, there were a couple of times when I felt like Ye Eun’s improvements felt conveniently easy, but most of the time, Show doesn’t rush it.

Ye Eun’s recovery is slow, with many steps forwards and backwards, and that helps it to feel real. One day she feels like she’s fine all by herself, and the next, she doesn’t feel so fine after all.

I thought this season’s new threat in the form of threatening letters was not completely necessary, since that just made everything more complicated than it needed to be, but I do think the overall narrative arc made sense.

Additionally, I thought the budding friendship and romance between Ho Chang (Lee Yoo Jin) and Ye Eun was rather sweet. Personally, I would have preferred if the two had remained just friends, but I didn’t mind the loveline too much.

In essence, I saw them as people who both found themselves in an awkward place, and I felt there was a solidarity between them that drew them together.

In particular, I thought it was very kind of him to build her a taser out of worry for her, when they were mere acquaintances.



I really enjoyed watching the budding loveline between Eun and Jang Hoon; the two of them are just the cutest odd couple.


I love that he’s small in stature, but big on confidence; he says and does what he wants, and generally speaking, that’s way more than Eun is able to do. I loved the moment in episode 5, when he asserted that he liked her, then grabbed her bag and took off grinning. So cute!

Another narrative arc around Eun that I found interesting and rather unusual for kdramas in general, is the romantic attachment that Ye Ji (Shin Se Hwi) has for Eun.

I was pretty impressed with this side arc because not only does it feel rather daring because kdramas generally don’t deal with same-sex attraction, but also, Show handles this with a touch that feels realistic yet sensitive.


Jin Myung

I really enjoyed watching Jin Myung’s journey as she returns from her extended stint in China and secures her first job in Seoul.

I was kinda bummed that Yoon Park couldn’t reprise his role as a regular cast member this season, but there are two silver linings to this, I figure.

1, I’m happy that at least Jin Myung and Chef are together, even though they are carrying on a long-distance relationship.

2, this allows the spotlight to focus on the other parts of Jin Myung’s life, and I appreciated that.

Love is great and all, but it’s just nice to actually witness that there’s more to life than whether or not one has a boyfriend.

I was pleasantly surprised by Jin Myung’s arc with Heimdal (Ahn Woo Yeon). What started out feeling like a very random connection turned out to be a very meaningful lesson in dignity and empathy, and I liked that a lot.


I especially liked the scene in episode 7, where we see Jin Myung conduct the final interview with each member of Asgard, which is being disbanded.

The way Jin Myung handles each final interview feels sensitive and respectful. She isn’t shown to say much to them at all; each person is given the space to say what they want to say, without judgment. She maintains a respectful demeanor throughout, and I liked that a lot.


Ji Won

We get a lot more screen time with Ji Won this season, which is great, because she enjoyed the least screen time among the girls, in Season 1. It felt like Show was making up for it this season, in its own way.

On the one hand, I liked being able to see more of Ji Won and her not-quite-boyfriend, not-quite-just-a-friend Sung Min (Son Seung Won) together.


I also appreciated that Show picked back up on the issue of Ji Won being a habitual liar. At the same time, I wasn’t quite so satisfied with how all of this was handled, which we’ll talk more about, in a bit.


Eun Jae

Eun Jae’s main arc in Season 1 was with Sunbae Jong Yeol (Shin Hyun Soo), and they were one of my favorite things in Season 1 coz they were so cute together.

This season, with New Eun Jae playing opposite Sunbae, it felt kind of weird, to be honest.

Additionally, there were also stretches in the show where I found Eun Jae rather unlikable (which we’ll talk about a little later). Still, to Show’s credit, it all turns out for good, with lessons learned and growth achieved along the way.

The growing bonds among our characters

Over and above the girls’ individual journeys, my favorite thing in this show, has to be the growing connections among our Belle Epoque girls.

It was just so heartening to watch the girls make room for Eun in their fold, and learn to care for and love one another as a new whole. Sometimes it was in the big things, but oftentimes, it was in the small things, that we see the girls show love and care for one another.

Basically, any time Show turned the spotlight to the girls and the evolution of their group dynamic, my heart squeed.


Here are a handful of highlights, of when these girls warmed my heart.

E4. It’s so nice to see Eun getting more comfortable with the other girls in the house that she rambles happily about them when she’s Ye Rim.

E7. It’s very sweet that Eun makes it a point to look out for Ye Eun. Without being asked, she keeps going to the bus-stop, just in case Ye Eun is alone and is too scared to come home by herself.

E9. It’s nice to see the girls banding around Ye Eun to find out who sent the letter, and it’s great that no one expects Eun to move out, despite the fact that she moved in because of the letter. Eun’s happy grin when she tells Jang Hoon that she’s not moving, says it all.

E10. It’s sweet that every girl in the house does what she can to help Ye Eun feel better, even though they genuinely don’t know what to do. And I love that it’s Kang Unnie’s protective tough love tirade that does the trick. That is so cool. ❤️

E12. It’s so heartwarming to see Jin Myung being the Mother Hen Big Sister to the max, mothering all the younger ones, one by one, in as understated and inconspicuous a way as possible.

It’s so sweet that she cares so much, and takes it upon herself to watch over everyone. These girls really feel like a family, and I love that.



Too much time spent on some arcs

I would’ve never imagined myself saying this in Season 1, but this season, I felt like too much time was spent on Eun Jae and Sunbae. Their arc was definitely not a fun one this season, and I felt the drag.


First of all, I was rather bummed that Eun Jae and Sunbae broke up this season, since I found their loveline so heart-fluttery in Season 1. *sadface*

Second of all, I found that I didn’t like Eun Jae much, with her entitled, jealous, needy ex-girlfriend behavior.

As it turns out, Eun Jae wasn’t an understanding girlfriend, and unfortunately, Sunbae really seems to be better off without her. Which means that I found it hard to get behind all of Eun Jae’s efforts to get Sunbae back.

In particular, I found her behavior in episode 8 especially off-putting. I found her weird grins as she fantasizes about a dramatic love declaration between her and Sunbae while one of them is on the verge of death, really creepy.

On top of her strange behavior directly related to Sunbae, Eun Jae’s treatment of her friends also suffers.

In the same episode, I found her argument with Ye Eun petty and self-centered.

Plus, the way she gives Ye Eun the cold shoulder treatment doesn’t help my impression of her.

Even though Ye Eun fights back and is, frankly, also petty, Ye Eun is still a trauma victim who’s trying hard to recover. So to have Eun Jae complain about Ye Eun while she’s still recovering, feels really wrong.

To Eun Jae’s credit, she subsequently stands up for Ye Eun in the face of Ye Eun’s scary mom, and that does a lot to vindicate her, in my eyes.

Beneath the petty squabbles, she does care, and a lot. It’s just that her sad-sack pity party of one happened a lot of the time, and I found that that wore down my goodwill towards her somewhat.

Last but not least, Eun Jae pursuing Sunbae again, and failing to re-ignite the relationship, is pretty painful to watch. I feel like I winced through her efforts in episode 11.

On the upside, this is all stuff that’s true to life. You don’t always get a second chance at a relationship, because it takes two, and the other person might not want to.

And, as painful as it is to see her desperately trying to get through to him, I feel that in the end, it’s an important thing that she does so, if she feels strongly about him. If she’s given it her best effort, and failed, then at least she will feel like she’s done all she can, given the circumstances.

Long story short, I absolutely do think that Eun Jae learned an important life lesson, and that that lesson was worth learning.

But, I also think that Show could’ve spent a little less time on this arc in favor of other arcs, to give us some balance – and some relief from the angst of this one.


Show is stingy with other arcs [SPOILERS]

..and by this, I mean Ji Won’s potential loveline with Sung Min. The upside is, Show gives these two a lot more screen time this season. The downside is, the loveline between these two still stands as a potential loveline, even after all that extra screen time.

For the record, I do get why writer-nim chose not to bring this loveline to fruition; there were other, more important issues to tackle. Ji Won’s lost memories needed to be addressed, and she needed the time and space to process the pieces of her past, and find her way to her own healing..

And, it is important that Sung Min is right there with her, as she works through everything, since he’s the one who gets her the most, after all.

It was pretty great, to watch Sung Min basically allow Ji Won to drag along on every adventure this season, no matter how much he protests that he is unwilling. Plus, there’s often that hopeful look in his eyes.

Like in episode 8, when he’s about to go in and fight Jang Hoon, and she tells him to be careful, or else.. He looks so hopeful, that she would say something that would indicate her feelings for him.

Also, there’s the smile on Sung Min’s face that we glimpse, just before Ji Won goes off to talk with Ye Eun’s friend. He’s amused by her, despite her crazy antics. Which, melt.

And then in episode 13, Sung Min is right there for Ji Won as she investigates her ex-teacher, and nothing says loyalty as much as the way he throws himself in the way of Hyo Jin’s gangster ex-boyfriend, even though his life is literally at stake – all because Ji Won had asked for his help to stop the ex-boyfriend. Just, wow.

It admittedly feels disappointing that Show teases us with so much substance between these two, and so much unspoken hope, but gives us so little, in terms of actually allowing that hope to take some sort of tangible shape.

In my head, I feel like these two will end up bickering along the delicate line between friendship and romance, for many years to come.

And maybe, just maybe, when they’re firmly settled into middle-age, or close to retirement, they might finally get together (I do kinda love that idea because it’s kooky enough to suit these two.. except, writer-nim has very different ideas. Which we’ll talk about next).

Writer-nim’s ruthless touch [SPOILERS]

Show gives us regular epilogues at the end of most of this season’s episodes. Some of the epilogues are cute. Like the epilogue for episode 6, where we see flashbacks to the girls’ childhoods.

The mismatch between some of the girls now, and their childhood selves, is illuminating and also very cute.

BUT. Writer-nim also serves up some darker epilogues. In particular, the epilogue for episode 7 leans disturbing, with the girls’ various tombstones getting the spotlight. We see that one of the girls dies pretty young, at just 41 years of age.

And THEN, in episode 13, we see an epilogue featuring a daughter and a husband. The context isn’t made explicit, but the implication is that this is the left-behind daughter and husband of the one who dies young.

To make matters worse, the voice of the left-behind husband sounds suspiciously like Sung Min’s voice. Just, whyyyy?  Wahhh.

After finishing the show, I read an article that writer-nim had explained that Ji Won was the most likely to die young because of her propensity to offend people in the course of her work.

I sort of get writer-nim’s angle, which is likely along the lines of: this is life; take the happy with the sad, the good with the bad.

Honestly, though. Did we really have to go there? That felt rather ruthless, to me. I love these characters, and can’t bear to consider the possibility of even one of them dying young. Boo. :/


It’s a bittersweet final hour for the gang, with us leaving our characters in various degrees of closure.

Eun sends off new boyfriend Jang Hoon with a smile, only to dissolve into tears the next day. Aw. It’s sad, but it’s also cute, that she’s missing him so much already.

Also, although it’s still work in progress, it’s nice to see Eun making an effort to rebuild her relationship with her dad, going to visit him in the hospital and all.

It’s sad that Eun and Ye Ji continue to keep a distance from each other, but Ye Ji’s voiceover rings true; they both want different things, and forcing the friendship would only hurt them both.

It’s a sad turn of events, but it feels like a necessary separation for these childhood friends, at least for now.

Jin Myung is reunited with Chef, which gets an in-principle woot! from me, despite the slightly awkward way the quick kiss they share is delivered.

More than that, I love how invested Jin Myung becomes, in giving Heimdal his final stage. I love what an emotional moment it is, for the boys, and I love that Jin Myung got to be a part of orchestrating that – even if it was by accident.

Ye Eun goes to meet new boyfriend Ho Chang’s family, and it’s blushing awkward smiles all around, and it’s nice to see Ye Eun smiling again. I still have concerns about her eating issues, but it really does feel like Ye Eun is on the road to a wholistic recovery, and that’s a good thing.

Eun Jae is finally no longer in a clingy space, and is better able to be comfortable in her own skin, so much so that her previous blind date takes a fresh new interest in her.

Yay for her, and double yay that she doesn’t say yes to another set-up because she’s aware that she’s not quite over Jong Yeol yet.

It’s a rather bittersweet moment, because there is still a bit of wistfulness in her eyes when she sees him, but it’s good to see her starting to move forward in her life, and actually be more likable again.

Ji Won is vindicated when her memories are substantiated by the experience of a witness that steps forward, and we are assured that she will likely win her case. I have to admire her for standing her ground even though she was so scared on the inside.

She put justice for Hyo Jin above her own safety and well-being, and that’s just so brave and upstanding of her.

I love that everyone rallied around to help her in her time of need, and I very much love that Sung Min was always there for her as her slightly grumpy, disapproving, but very caring rock.

And I can’t help but notice also, that she is able to be so honest in front of Sung Min as she cries, stating so matter-of-factly that she’d been terrified.

Even though Sung Min says that he’s happy with things as they are, I also can’t help but notice how riled up he got, when Blind Date Hoobae asked him why he wasn’t asking Ji Won out.

I can’t help thinking that this just might be one of the catalysts that is going to nudge Sung Min towards Ji Won, just a little more.

Plus, it’s great to see Kang Unnie back in the house, even if it’s just for a bit.

All in all, I feel a sense of deep bittersweet, bidding goodbye to these characters all over again. It’s been quite a pleasure seeing them again for a second season, flaws and all.

And while I feel assured that these characters will carry on to bicker and rally round one another as they continue to share their lives, I also feel a sense of wistfulness knowing that I won’t be able to be a fly on their walls to share in the experience with them. Sniffle.

Goodbye, Belle Epoque friends – hopefully just for now.


A good mix of warm and relatable, with poignant and bittersweet – and a touch of dark on the side.



Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
2 years ago

Bittersweet is a very accurate portrayal of my feelings for the show. I loved it and want a third season! It may be that I am dense, but there are many things I am still left wondering, particularly:

1) Why did Hyo-Jin Moon send the letter to the Ji-Won Song? To me, it seemed she wanted vengeance on the third grade teacher, not Ji-Won. What is her gripe with Ji-Won?
2) Why did Ye-Eun’s close friend harass her? Particularly, why did she leave a picture of Ye-Eun with Doo-Young in her locker? Does she have some connection to Doo-Young?

I also wonder why Jo Eun is staying at Belle Epoque. Does she not go to a different university in a different city?

There are many other points I have an issue grappling with, but it seems the 2nd season left many things unaddressed or unanswered. Left unaddressed, many of these almost seem like plot holes (almost. It’s more like many things seemed to have been glossed over).

I love your reviews and I would LOVE to get your opinion/perspective on this. What do you think of these points? Do you feel any other points were not addressed fully?

I also love that you mentioned Eun Jae took on shades that do not resemble the previous character. To me, it seems like a different character taking on the persona of the previous. Don’t get me wrong, I think Ji Woo is a great actress in this, but I’m left feeling like it was a different character trying to take the place of Eun Jae. I missed the different layers and the dark aspects from her in the previous season that gave her such depth and I just did not feel that depth with her character this season. From my perspective, it almost seemed like Belle Epoque with 2 new housemates.

Thank you for another great review and I hope I can get more of your perspectives!

2 years ago


I sincerely apologize! I forgot to put a spoiler tag and I cannot seem to edit my comment!

Prashil Prakash
Prashil Prakash
3 years ago

This Here. Is Exactly why I’m scared of kdramas!

I loved Age of Youth 1 and I’ll say the same for Age of Youth 2 as well.
When a show is ”supposed” to be a “dark” show, it doesn’t hurt as much.
but Age of Youth 2, a supposed “Slice of life with a touch of poignance” show,
Decided to go on a much darker path.

It’s so funny and disturbing that episode 7s epilogue has a cheerful song playing in the BG.
when two of our Girls are shown to die as early as 46 years and 41(confirmed as Song Ji-won)

I Loved how they balanced the dark themes in AOY 1

Because It was successful in delivering the message of the bad things that happened / unfairness of life

And STILL managed to, for a lack of a better word, “Not hurt” the viewers. Skillz!

And I really don’t know why the Show didn’t realize this was a strength of the show.

And I still believe the show could have taken a page from its own book.
It really Sucks to see my favorite character die like this (I literally Am Song Ji won, just slightly a less funny version. lol)

Sucks to see Lost friendship of Yeji with Eun, (Arrrgh not fair Show!)

Now I guess cant technically terms these as “flaws” just cuz I’m a Lil salty.

Best the only way to describe it: “I Loved it!…But at what cost”
too dramatic? Sorry😅

Anyway Cheers!😊
And I Hope you check out this show called “Live”

3 years ago

I have read this blog for four times already simply because the show ended bittersweet and I am still in denial on Ji Won’s potential future which I hoped to be refuted by the writers or a sneak plot for season 3 (fingers crossed) given Sung Nim’s current affairs, it felt rather sad. The girls and the house felt cozy and familiar that I’d want to have toast for breakfast like they do.

Late to party, yes. But I’ve got to say that this show is a success and I hope to see them again. Twenties, thirties, forties…

3 years ago

I stumbled across your review of Another Oh Hae Young years ago when I first started watching kdramas, and have followed your blog ever since. I recently started blogging again and just posted a review on Age of Youth 2!

I have to say, I must have really controversial opinions because:

1) I watched Season 2 for Jiwon and Sungmin, but I’m actually very satisfied with how their relationship was handled. This season, with its focus on Jiwon’s past, just wasn’t the time and place for romance. They seem like soulmates that had already found each other, and I don’t see them wandering away either. Somehow, picturing them still bickering well into their 30’s is so much cuter to me than if they were to become official now. I think it was enough just knowing that she was cognizant of the fact that they weren’t only friends.

2) I missed Kang-unni dearly, and it really felt like something was missing this season without her. She really brought a lot to the group’s dynamic that Eun just can’t match. I never truly got on board with Eun. I think some of her arcs were very important – like her arc with her female friend – but I just didn’t find her all that interesting as a character overall. And her love line just didn’t captivate me all that much, although I do have to admit the height difference and personality differences were cute.

3) Other than the breakup scene with Jongyeol during which she was super clingy, I actually liked the Eunjae and Jongyeol arc. It probably would have been better if the end of their relationship was actually included in the story so we could emphasize with Eunjae more, but I think it was a very relatable and necessary arc. We also got to see Eunjae take the initiative and chase after Jongyeol. I really enjoyed that change because I thought it was something Eunjae needed to learn. She can be a bit too passive; she needs to learn to chase after what she wants. I also think that a breakup was super fitting considering how realistically the writers handle the show. Jongyeol was a little too perfect in the previous season; this season showed a side of him that many of us have probably experienced with people in our own lives. It’s no one’s fault that feelings fade, but it definitely hurts for the one on the receiving end. I also adored the ending to her arc; Eunjae recognizing that she’s not ready to start a new relationship yet, and Jiwon’s friend waiting for her to heal.

3 years ago
Reply to  my2dheart

Hi there, my2dheart, thanks for stopping by to share your thoughts! And congrats on restarting blogging! 🙂

I do agree that the loveline between Ji Won and Sung Min was reasonably handled, in that I understood why writer-nim focused more on Ji Won’s issues rather than developing an actual loveline between them. That did make sense to me. But I still pined for more cuteness, I guess. And, I also chafed at writer-nim’s ruthless touch when it came to the flashforward that tells us that basically Ji Won dies early and leaves Sung Min with a daughter. I mean, that feels quite unnecessarily cruel, I thought. 😭😭

I agree, I would’ve preferred Kang Unni to have stayed. Even though Eun grew on me, she couldn’t hold a candle to Kang Unni. Unfortunately, real life complications meant that they couldn’t cast Ryu Hwa Young. ☹️

I agree there was necessary learning for Eun Jae, but.. man, it did feel like a bit of drag to watch. 😅 I guess this shows that you have more patience than I do! 😅

4 years ago

I didn’t really like the eunjae replacement, to me her whole vibe seemed kinda off, like she’s too happy. And her repetitiveness in trying to get her ex back annoys me so much. Like no

4 years ago
Reply to  Leah

I get what you mean about the actress switch.. I also felt like the interpretation felt kind of off at times, especially when New Eun Jae wore an almost-blank expression while smiling. I found it a little distracting, and would’ve preferred if Show could’ve kept the same actress. But I guess I would rather have an actress switch than no second season, so there’s that. 😅

5 years ago

There was so much to like in this E show, but the whole Sunbae and Eun Jae thing just made me so sad. I winced at her attempts to bring him back…and not in a good way. It was painful. And her final speech to him, when she thanks him for being her first love…ouch. That hurt, too.

But I also felt angry. I do not agree that Sunbae was the “good” one in this story. Through a series of flashbacks and other hints, we learn that he was far from perfect. Let’s examine the evidence.

#1. He was older. Experienced. Had been in the army, right? You can give Eun Jae some slack for being so young. But she was not Sunbae’s first dip in the pool. We need to hold him to a higher standard.

#2. Her main attraction to him appeared to be her looks. That’s nice at first, but…. Of course, his main attraction to Eun Jae seemed to be that he liked her. Well, that was at firs. Also, there’s her youth. We can blame youth for just about anything.

#3. He kept thinking about getting her alone for a weekend. Nothing wrong with that, but he was really intent on it, wasn’t he? And did he pressure her to have sex? There are hints of it.

#4. He fell out of love with her. It happens. But the worst of it was that he wasn’t honest about it. He did that thing guys do–you all know what I’m talking about–where they try to get YOU to break up with them so they don’t have to be the bad guy. He starts fights with her, complains about her, is inattentive, doesn’t call, etc. etc. So she breaks up with him. She may have even been thinking it would be temporary. Poor girl didn’t realize she gave him an easy out.

#5, If she made him uncomfortable, he deserved it. I hope he learned some lessons from this experience, too.

The truth is, people do fall intensely in love and then…they can fall out of love. Realistic, yes, but also really, really sad.

5 years ago
Reply to  Blenny

You make several excellent points, Blenny. Yes, Sunbae wasn’t faultless, and it’s true that it always takes two. I guess Eun Jae’s behavior jumped out at me more, because she seemed to blame it all on Sunbae herself, and it was clear to see that her behavior towards him was far from reasonable. And that behavior was part of the reason Sunbae fell out of love with her, I believe. I was sad that this relationship took this turn, since these characters were so cute in Season 1. But, like you said, it’s realistic, and this show’s all about not flinching at the realistic, if those somber epilogues are anything to go by! 😝

5 years ago

THANK YOU! I’m always eager to read what do my favorite reviewers have to say on the shows I like, especially when it’s still fresh on my mind! I got hooked right after seeing Kang unni’s driving antics not so long ago. She got me ROFLMAO after a bad day of scolding sessions with my driving instructor,which got my mood back and I started believing again that little mistakes happen when you’re an inexperienced driver!
Urm, I guess Ji-won will pass away pretty earlier than that 41 years,unni. The chyron of that epilogue said 8 years later and if I remember correctly writernims said that Sung-min and dau were there after her funeral. I agree with you that we can imagine them getting together after something like ANOTHER 5 years of bickering, but to happen those EVERYTHING,including a fairly grown daughter within 8 years!? That was too far fetched and unrealistic. And it doesn’t match with their characters we know of. So I’d rather replace that 8 with something..,anything with TWO DIGITS! Harrumph.
To tell the truth,I was considerably ok with how Ji-won_Sung-min arc was created. I mean,sure I feel like WHY did not the writer build a proper romance arc if she needed it that much,she had a WHOLE season for God’s sake. But…do you think if their semi-intimate,friends-not-friends moments that were filled with mutual understanding got replaced by NOT FRIENDS AT ALL moments you’d be able to care for them as much as you do now? I…guess not.Because that was exactly what made their relationship one of a kind. Even her death,though tragic felt realistic, a passionate journalist dying at the hands of corrupt people she worked against. It’s just that I was angry with that damned number8! Speaking in Sohn Seung-won’s own words; “I felt so sad for my character.Right after fulfilling his crush on his best friend,he had to end up a single dad!”
*weeps aloud sitting in a corner*
This article and what it had to say about Ji-won sorta soothed my heart,so you try it too if you have time.

To talk about a different thing, haha it was Eun-Jay that you got angry with and felt sunbae was better without her? Because I felt the opposite. I felt it was terrible to”start yawning whenever she started talking” after being the one who persuaded her and began everything in the first place,and making us think that he was a swoony out of this world guy! I think it’s realistic for a realistic show like AOY to turn things upside down on a relationship like this,because people like him actually exist in the world who turn 180° in a moment.
Park Eun-bin herself said what we fangirls too probably knew but never said aloud.;” I don’t think people like Sung-min exist in the real world!” Now this might be correct. Because though he never behaved super swoony and sweet, he was always their for her when needed, even if he was grumpy. And he was consistent from beginning to the end. And that’s the type that’s hard to find right? A consistent,caring man who’s ideal for a long term relationship. The exact quality we see in good fathers! (Woah,that was long 😉 )
And to pick on a minor,petty quibble, I’m pissed with them not giving the child of Ji won a character trait from Kang unni.I mean, if they were that serious with giving her something in common with all the epoque girls,hey! Why did you forget Kang unni!??
Finally,let me tell you what got me crying the most in this drama. It’s Ji-won’s heartfelt monologue,an ode to all the mistreated children in the world, her sincere hope for a better world,better people. No one with a heart won’t be shaken after watching this scene and hearing this.
“In her youth, what kind of life did that child dream of? To be an ordinary person? To be a famous person? Did she dream of adventure or love?
I mourn too late. I mourn for that child’s broken dreams. I could not remember nor forget my friend, Moon Hyo-jin.
Today, I pray for those children—to not experience a storm, to not experience a helpless situation. Even though it may be frustrating or boring, I pray that these children experience calm lives. And I pray that if they experience a helpless situation, they will overcome it, face their fears, and move forward.”

5 years ago

Thanks for looking forward to this review, Peony! 😀 Also, awww, that Kang Unni’s driving antics made you feel better. If it helps, I was a terrible driver when I started (it took me 5 whole attempts to pass!), but I’m much better at the driving now. In fact, one of my friends says she feels most safe in my car – so hang in there, you will get better! 🙂

Oh dear, Sohn Seung-won’s comment about his character is just so sad! 😝 Why must writer-nim be so cruel? 😭 (I think something went wrong when you pasted the link to the article, the link is back to this review.. could you repost the link, if you still have it?)

About Eun Jae and Sunbae.. I guess I was too turned off by Eun Jae’s unreasonable expectations and behavior as a girlfriend.. but it’s true that Sunbae himself was at fault too, since in any relationship it takes two.

Great point, about how they should’ve included Kang Unni, when pointing out the various features of the little girl, that resembled the various housemates. They really shouldn’t have left her out!

While I admit that Ji Won’s arc in recovering her lost memories sometimes felt a little too much for me (in that it seemed to overshadow other arcs in the show), I do agree that the theme was very poignant, and Park Eun Bin delivered that pathos very well.

5 years ago
Reply to  kfangurl

I passed the driving test! Thank you for the kind words! It’s so great that you have become a reliable driver,congrats! For me I guess,it’ll take much more time. 🙁
Here’s the link;

Thanks for checking out my little blog! Your like made my day,hehe.

Btw,you too should try those egg breads if you already haven’! 😉

5 years ago

Thanks for the link, Peony!!! Webby’s a good friend, but I missed this post of hers, and it was a pleasure to read. <3 And you're right, her take on it does manage to offer comfort, without compromising on what writer-nim set out to do. So good!

Also, congrats on passing your driving test! You're already on your way to becoming a better driver than me, since I had to take the test way more times that you did! 😉

3 years ago

The show is still fresh on my mind and I agree with your view on Ji Won’s epilogue. There’s just many inconsistencies and far-fetched possibilities to it. It’s just that I hoped there would be this hopeful story for Ji Won and we all know she’d be a fair and compassionate journalist alongside Sung Nim, of course. If they could just erase that 8 years later crap. ☹️

Whew, can’t believe this show has given us a lot of reflection and lessons and still feel like there’s a safe haven on the show.

5 years ago

Not sure this is the place to ask this, but are you planning on reviewing Nirvana in Fire 2? I know how much you loved the first season. I will base my decision (on whether its worth watching) on your review.

5 years ago
Reply to  Marce

Im also so curious is it’s worth watching, I tried a few minutes of the first episode and was very underwhelmed. I’d love to know if it gets better and worth investing time into.

5 years ago
Reply to  Marce

Hi there Marce and AndreaK, I do plan to check out NIF2, but life’s been hectic, and I haven’t had the mental bandwidth to check it out properly yet. I will sit down to watch it properly soon! In the meantime, I can say that I did watch E1, and found it easier to follow that NIF’s first ep, probably because of the fewer characters introduced. I’ve heard on good authority that NIF2 is worth the watch, even though NIF is still better. I hope that helps! 🙂

5 years ago

P.S. And anything with less Yoon Park is criminal but since we got some crumbs of him I should be happy.

5 years ago

You nailed it again. I adored spending more time with my friends at Belle Époque but was frustrated but the writing/acting of Eun Jae. I did not mind the actress change as I was not very fond of the first girl but felt something off with the way that her character was in this version. I did not like how she treated her ex at all but agree with you that she learned an invaluable life lesson. Still I too feel the show would have been better served with less of her story arc. And really, REALLY show you could not throw us Ji Won/Sung Min shippers a bone? Sigh.

5 years ago
Reply to  My2Girls

Hi5 Amy! We are SO on the same page with this show!!! I also felt like there was something off with Eun Jae, in general. Like, she was really strange at times. But the thing that bugged me more, was the unreasonable behavior she was shown displaying, in and around her relationship with Sunbae. I just found it unappealing, even though I knew in my head that Sunbae should shoulder responsibility too, for their breakup. It’s just that we don’t get all that much insight into how their relationship really was, and were shown more of the post-relationship fallout. And as far as post-relationship fallout behavior went, Eun Jae did not behave well, in my books.

And YES, I really wanted more of Yoon Park in this. He and Han Ye Ri were so great together in S1. I must say though, I was disappointed at how awkward their chemistry felt in the finale, when we finally got the two of them in the same frame. Sigh. That was a bummer, to be honest. :/

5 years ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Especially because she had a really interesting connection with the singer character and if they had wanted to go that route I think they could have. But I was happy that she didn’t and that she stayed as his friend. Still like you I would have liked more Yoon Park cuteness in the finale. They were my favorite part of season 1.

5 years ago
Reply to  My2Girls

Their motorcycle scene in S1 counts as one of Show’s loveliest scenes in my books. <3 I would have loved more Yoon Park as Chef in this – maybe then he and Han Ye Ri would've looked more organic and comfortable together? But yes, I'm glad Show didn't break them up to let Jin Myung and Heimdal have space to explore a romantic relationship. I thought the tone of her connection with Heimdal was quite perfect. Not quite friends, but there was a kindred kind of connection. That felt really nice, I thought 🙂

5 years ago

Loved this second instalment as well 💟

5 years ago
Reply to  snow

Yay that you liked this one too, snow! It’s so rare that we get sequels in dramaland, let alone sequels that feel solid and well done. This was a solid sequel, so I can’t complain too much – even though I still do grumble at Show for some stuff 😛