The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling

Review: Fox Bride Star [Where Stars Land]

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THE SHORT VERDICT:

The characters and their journeys are the stars of this warm workplace drama with an emotional, humanistic sort of touch. We get to know and care about key characters and their personal journeys, even as Show serves up human interest side stories relevant to the management of a world-class airport. Even though large chunks of the cinematography feel quite pedestrian, there are very prettily shot, beautiful poignant scenes sprinkled through the drama as well. The music is also quite lovely and atmospheric, and effectively lifts the watch experience.

Unfortunately, Show’s narrative gets muddied by too much emphasis on shady gangster dealings, which overshadow our key characters in regrettable ways, particularly towards the end of our story. Show also has a habit of introducing story threads and then dropping them, sometimes without even a hint of resolution. This was a downer.

Still, I found this to be a warm and enjoyable watch overall.

THE LONG VERDICT:

For me, this was the watch that almost never was.

Back in October when I kind of went MIA for a little bit, I found myself in a bit of a drama rut. I had lots of stuff on my watch list, but not much interest to really watch much. That was about the time that I half-heartedly picked up a random episode of this show (I think it was episode 3), and watched a couple of minutes, just to see if it grabbed me. It didn’t. So I brutally cut it out of my watch list, and moved on to other shows.

But then blog friend Akisa dropped me a couple of sweet, earnest comments about Show, and she sounded like she really liked this one, and believed that I would like it too. I felt like I probably ought to give this one another, more proper chance. So I went back and started from the beginning this time. Huh. Guess what? This time, I actually enjoyed what I saw quite well, and felt interested enough to want to see more.

The thing is, while there’s a lot to like about this show, there are also a few glaring flaws. In fact, said glaring flaws really got to me by the time I reached the end of my watch. Do I regret watching this, though? See, I don’t. I’m honestly rather glad I watched this one, after all. Thank you, Akisa. ❤

STUFF I LIKED

1. General vibe and feel

Show’s warm workplace drama vibe reminds me of A Poem A Day, somewhat. Once I got situated in terms of knowing who’s who, I soon found myself enjoying my watch very well. This would be the first show I’d reach for, as a matter of habit, coz it was easy to like. It’s not rocket science, and neither is it edge-of-your-seat amazing, but it’s easy to watch after a long day, and it’s generally warm and hopeful, with its human interest side stories. Plus, Show does seem to remember to move our main character relationships along, in the midst of it all, and that’s also helpful.

In terms of serving up its human interest side stories, Show tends to lean sweet with a saccharine bent. Yes, sometimes the lower rent production details, or Show’s missteps with certain details amused me – [SPOILER] like in episodes 7-8, when everyone was getting so emotional about the Filipino couple having the baby, it was distracting and quite funny every time the camera panned over to the baby’s face, coz the baby clearly looks completely Korean, ha. [END SPOILER] – but generally speaking, Show was good at serving up doses of syrupy sweetness with an emotional touch.

One of the things I really enjoyed about this show is that, after the busy-hectic vibe of a day at the airport, Show tends to pull it back to a tone that’s more contemplative and quiet. Those moments feel thoughtful and almost lyrical in contrast, and act like some kind of oasis of rest, after the frenetic pace of keeping things running at the airport.

Perhaps the biggest thing that kept me coming back, episode after episode, is the way Show managed to endear many of these characters to me. I soon found myself liking and caring about these characters, and coming back each episode, to walk their journeys with them, felt like an act of loyalty, almost. In this section, I’ll be highlighting some of my favorite characters.

2. Lee Je Hoon as Soo Yeon

I’ve historically not warmed up super much to Lee Je Hoon (I didn’t see enough of Signal – yet! – to fully appreciate his performance in that, and what I did see of Tomorrow With You underwhelmed me), but I really enjoyed him in this show. I guess I found his character here more accessible? Also, I guess I needed to see him smitten, which he does get in this show, heh. I’m happy to finally see the light; Lee Je Hoon is a very good actor indeed. He’s got excellent control over his microexpressions, and is often able to express so much more than the limited dialogue given to his reticent character.

There were times that I didn’t agree with Soo Yeon’s rationale and decisions in the course of his journey, but I think this made him feel all the more real. Additionally, while I didn’t always agree with his choices, I mostly understood why he made the decisions that he did.

[SPOILER ALERT]

Soo Yeon as a character

In principle, I found Soo Yeon an interesting and sympathetic character. He’s at once weaker than everyone else, because of his disability, but at the same time, he’s also stronger than everyone else, because of his bionic appendages. But he wants neither to be weaker nor stronger than everyone else; he just wants to be normal like everyone else, and he does everything in his power to fade into the woodwork. Essentially, he sometimes comes across as a superhero who’s horrified by his own superpower, and trying to do everything to hide it.

As Soo Yeon’s relationship with Yeo Reum (Chae Soo Bin) becomes closer, we see Soo Yeon slowly but surely come out of his shell and start to leak warmth, in spite of himself. In episodes 13 & 14, when Soo Yeon gets to inquire after Yeo Reum, or contribute to her well-being, there’s a shy satisfaction that plays at his gaze and his lips, like he can’t help but smile a little at the chance, and it’s very endearing. It’s such a small thing, like when he asks if she had the breakfast he left for her, or if she slept well, but it makes him visibly happy. Aw.

The closer Soo Yeon and Yeo Reum get, though, the more desperate Soo Yeon becomes, to keep live normally, even while his prosthetics become problematic. In episodes 17 & 18, Soo Yeon lying to Manager Choi (Lee Sung Wook) in order to get another month at the airport is a sign of how desperate he is, to be able to live normally, and to have the woman he loves, perceive him as normal.

Time and again, we see Soo Yeon lying to the people around him, insisting that he’s ok, when he’s absolutely not ok, and is literally risking his life a little more, with every minute that he continues to wear his prosthetics. While I generally don’t endorse lying in my drama heroes, I do see that Soo Yeon’s desire to keep his condition a secret from Yeo Reum is rooted in insecurity and fear. I don’t think he distrusts Yeo Reum; rather, I think that his insecurity and fear is so great that it overpowers the trust that he does have in her. I feel like in his heart, he doesn’t think that anyone could know his truth and still love him.

As we progress deeper into our story, we see that Soo Yeon is, without a doubt, being very reckless with his body. It also becomes clear that he does still think of his relationship with Yeo Reum as a one-month deal, since he can’t answer her when she broaches the idea of making plans for Christmas in episodes 25 & 26.

While I wish Soo Yeon would be wiser with his choices, I felt like I could understand why he’s being so reckless. This is the first time in his life that someone has seen his disability, and loved him anyway. Yeo Reum is choosing to accept him for all that he is, hardly asking any questions, and he loves her so much, that he will do anything to keep it going – even if it means putting his own safety at risk. It’s irrational, but I do think he sees this as his one and only shot at happiness, and he wants to take it, even if it’s short-lived.

The thing that I found disturbing about Soo Yeon, though, is how he basically becomes an annihilator each time he is triggered. He plows through people with an almost-vengeance, like a guy possessed. We see it in episodes 23 & 24, and then again in the finale. We do see Soo Yeon sobbing in horror after the first instance, but it troubles me that we see repeated similar behavior in the finale, and we never do see this resolved or corrected. Plus, Soo Yeon ends the show still wearing his prosthetics, so it feels like we leave him with a critical flaw still intact, and that doesn’t mesh well in my head, with this show’s warm and humanistic vibe.

Lee Je Hoon acting highlights

Lee Je Hoon delivers some seriously fantastic moments in this show, and I wanted to shine the quick spotlight on some of his best scenes.

E15-16. The moment when Soo Yeon comes out of the house and spots Yeo Reum in the courtyard, is really good. The shifting microexpressions on his face say it all; he was trying not to jump to conclusions about being excluded from Yeo Reum’s housewarming, and then when he saw her, he was pleased. Pleased that he hadn’t been wrong about her, pleased that she’s true to her word, and pleased to see her alone, because he much prefers alone time with her, than to share her with other people.

E17-18. In today’s pair of episodes in particular, the way Lee Je Hoon plays out the scene where Soo Yeon’s arm gets magnetically glued to a car, is just amazing. He literally looks like he’s about to explode, in degrees, and the horror and panic in his eyes is clear, and I can tell that he’s trying to make it all stop, while desperately trying to keep it down, so that he’s not discovered. Really good.

E19-20. Props to Lee Je Hoon this episode, his delivery of Soo Yeon’s confusion and horror when he got all magnetic in front of In Woo (Lee Dong Gun) and Yeo Reum, is so well done. Such a controlled, detailed delivery, of a moment that didn’t feel at all controlled. His subsequent fear and unease as he walked the hallways trying to hide his arm, felt so real and palpable.

E27-28. Soo Yeon’s despair and anger are so well delivered, in the scene where he goes to see Mr. Jang (Park Hyuk Kwon). His tears, the twitches in his facial expressions, the despair in his eyes; it’s all so real and raw. Wow.

[END SPOILER]

3. Chae Soo Bin as Yeo Reum

Even though I have a great deal of affection for Chae Soo Bin, I found that I didn’t take to her character Yeo Reum immediately. When we meet her, we see that she tends to shoot her mouth off, which is one thing, but more like, her attitude is just off. She comes across as self-righteous and impulsive, and basically gives everyone trouble on a regular basis. These things made it hard for me to root for her, right off the bat.

The saving grace was Yeo Reum’s regular voiceovers, during which I found her more likable and understandable. I also came to see why Yeo Reum has such an ardent desire to be noticed and favored by her superiors at work. She wishes to stand out and be acknowledged, and that’s why she gets nosier than she ought to, and more involved than she should. But she’s not ill-intentioned, and I soon saw that there’s something quite dorky and relatable about her, when she feels free to be herself. [MINOR SPOILER]Her ridiculous victory dance in episodes 3 & 4, when she thought no one was in the office, is a perfect example of that. I couldn’t help but chuckle at her thrilled abandon. [END SPOILER]

Happily, Yeo Reum gets to show us more and more of her good side as we get deeper into our story, and it wasn’t long before I was genuinely rooting for her.

[SPOILER ALERT]

Here are a few of my favorite Yeo Reum highlights:

E7-8. The thing Yeo Reum says this episode strikes a profound sort of chord: just because you can’t feel it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hurt. So true.

E11-12. Context is everything. After all the flak that Yeo Reum’s gotten for violent behavior in the past, it all looks different now that we know that the people she was violent with, were actually scary thugs. Take that, Manager Gong (Ahn Sang Woo).

E19-20. Yeo Reum again demonstrates her faith this episode. When faced with whether to allow herself to be bullied again by her high school tormentor, or tell Soo Yeon the truth, she opts to tell Soo Yeon the truth. She has enough faith in him to feel that she can tell him the truth. And I really like how she told him as well.. so matter-of-factly, without dramatics, without showing fear. I feel proud of her.

E19-20. Yeo Reum standing up to her high school tormentor turned blackmailer, and telling her what’s what, and not being cowed by the girl’s efforts to intimidate her, was so great to watch. I know she’s trembling on the inside, but on the outside, she stood her ground and was firm, without losing the essence of who she is. Love.

[END SPOILER]

4. The OTP together

To be perfectly honest, I actually felt more interested in the OTP separately than together. I was invested in Soo Yeon’s journey to self-acceptance, and in Yeo Reum’s journey of growth, but I found their relationship development less compelling. To my eyes, Lee Je Hoon and Chae Soo Bin are pretty cute together, and while I’m not blown away by their chemistry, I felt that the two share a reasonable amount of chemistry, ie, I’ve seen worse, heh.

Still, there were quite a few times that the details around the OTP development felt meaningful and/or moving, to me.

[SPOILER ALERT]

E5-6. This pair of episodes is when we start to see a more definite connection between Soo Yeon and Yeo Reum, and it’s nice to witness. He’s deliberately distant and aloof, but he’s also quietly observant, and when he hears Yeo Reum expressing how upset she is that no one has ever told her that she’s ok and she’s doing well, he doesn’t stay silent about it. He advises Yeo Reum to speak up for the things she believes in, to at least not hear the things that she doesn’t want to hear, and his advice is just what she needs this hour, to gather the courage to speak justly and calmly with the abusive passenger, politely requesting an apology. The fact that Soo Yeon was right there with a handy recording that backed the abusive passenger into a corner, was just icing on the cake. Also, Soo Yeon’s pleased, approving gaze was great to see.

E5-6. That running gag of the robot vacuum being drawn to Soo Yeon feels kind of lame, but it does get our OTP up close and personal, and gets them exchange a smile, and that’s nice. Plus, they follow that with honest conversation, her thanking him for helping her, and him asking her why she doesn’t ask about his arm like everyone else. I do like her answer very much, that it’s an easy question to ask, but the person answering must feel pain each time they answer that question. How thoughtful and empathetic. It’s little wonder that Soo Yeon tells her about the accident, unasked. That’s huge, that Soo Yeon, who doesn’t wish to be involved with anyone, is actually volunteering information to Yeo Reum, about the very thing that he’s working to hide.

E9-10. Soo Yeon offering to stay with Yeo Reum, while she waited for news of her mum, is so sweet. The way he asks it, is so hesitant and uncertain, but the heart behind it, is so hyperaware of how Yeo Reum feels in the moment, and all he wants to do, is help her feel better. Aw. Also, the fact that Soo Yeon risks having his secret revealed, by disobeying orders and getting out into the emergency area, to help Yeo Reum locate her mum, says a lot about how important Yeo Reum is, to him. If it’s important to her, it’s important to him too. Wow. For someone who usually sticks so adamantly to the rules, this is huge.

E9-10. Since Yeo Reum already knows his secret, I can only assume that Soo Yeon doesn’t want to appear less than, in front of her, and that’s why he doesn’t pick up her calls and just tell why he disappeared from the airport, and why he can’t come to meet her. I’m pretty stunned that he goes to see her anyway (must’ve been the rain, and knowing that Yeo Reum would just wait in the rain for him, otherwise), and I’m even more stunned that when she finally asks him if he likes her, he – after a long, breathless beat – answers yes. Ooh. How matter-of-fact and straightforward. Soo Yeon admits to liking Yeo Reum, no buts about it. And then, after angsting about it for a while, Yeo Reum’s answer to Soo Yeon in episodes 13 & 14, is so.. honest. She needs time; it’s not a yes, but it’s not a no. How.. healthy.

E17-18. Given how cautious Soo Yeon is, it’s super telling that he would risk further – and very serious – injury, because he missed Yeo Reum. Yes, he seeks out Manager Choi first, but that still all boils down to how much he feels for Yeo Reum. And then, when he begs to be allowed to wear his bionic arm and leg just for one more night, because his date is more important than his well-being, that just seals the deal: he’s a goner where Yeo Reum is concerned. Him getting caught with lipstick smears all over his mouth and then chuckling gleefully to himself, is just bonus.

E17-18. The kiss on the bridge is, in essence, a step of faith. Yeo Reum doesn’t know much about what’s really going on with Soo Yeon, but she senses that he is sincere in asking her to just love, right then and there, and I believe she also senses that this is what he needs, which is why she leans into the moment and just kisses him right back.

E21-22. Yeo Reum’s words to Soo Yeon, after chasing him down in a taxi, are so sweet and moving. She is so earnest as she tells him that she likes him too, and to please stop being broken because of her. That in itself is sweet enough, but then she turns back and tells him with tears in her eyes that she’s good at waiting – that she’s had to wait to meet her parents, and to see her dad after her parents’ divorce, and to get her job at the airport – and so he shouldn’t worry, because she’s good at waiting and will wait for him as long as he needs. Augh. It’s no wonder Soo Yeon’s eyes fill with tears too, and he can’t help but go after her and take her in his arms, his mind filled only with how much he loves her.

E21-22. What a big step, that Soo Yeon goes to his date with Yeo Reum, not with his bionic arm and leg, but in his wheelchair. He’s ready to show her the real him, and I am so proud of him. Yes, it doesn’t actually work out, but he was brave enough to want to do it, and that counts.

E23-24. Soo Yeon deciding to show Yeo Reum the real him, is a big step, and I love how deliberate and intentional he is about it. It’s something he’s thought about and decided to do, and he goes and executes it, one methodical move at a time. It’s huge for him, since he’s been so afraid of being judged for being different, and he doesn’t even seem to really like himself much. And yet, he’s allowing himself to stand before Yeo Reum, completely vulnerable and open. Wow.

E25-26. First of all, props to Yeo Reum for coming out and telling Soo Yeon first, that she loves him. And then, when he asks if she’s ok with the fact that he’s disabled, gosh, I so love Yeo Reum’s response; that she’s disabled too, and then repeats all her faults that he’d earlier pointed out to her, and then asks if he’d be ok with that. I love that. She’s framing it such that they’re equal; he’s hampered physically, but she’s hampered emotionally. It’s no wonder that Soo Yeon can’t help but pull her in for a hug.

[END SPOILER]

5. The security not-a-couple

I’ll be honest; I think I was more taken by this security not-a-couple, than the actual OTP. By the time I reached the episode 15-16 mark, I realized that I was looking forward more to their scenes, than actual OTP scenes. Considering how these two don’t actually get as much screen time as the OTP, that’s quite an accomplishment, to my eyes.

Dae Gi and Young Joo (Kim Kyung Nam and Lee Soo Kyung) are wonderfully earnest, straitlaced and awkward, individually as well as together – but more so when they’re together! – and I loved every scene we got of these two. It took me forever to actually place Kim Kyung Nam as Jung Kyung Ho’s reporter brother in Prison Playbook; he looks like a completely different person here! I thought his earnest, straitlaced vibe goes really well with his uniform, and his oftentimes befuddled expressions around Young Joo are the best things ever. I found myself growing a big soft spot for Dae Gi, even as he in turn grew a soft spot for Young Joo. ❤

[SPOILER ALERT]

Here are some of my favorite highlights of this maybe-couple:

E15-16. When Young Joo lashes out at Dae Gi for treating her differently coz she’s a woman, his confused wait-what-did-I-really-wait-do-I-maybe-like-? expression is gold. And then when the team shows up at her residence for the housewarming party, his awkward half-eye-contact is so cute.

E21-22. Ahhh! How cute is Dae Gi, asking Yeo Reum to pass the walkie to Young Joo, so that she can bask in the credit and praise, and have a happy moment?? And that small half smile that escapes his lips, as he watches her smile and bask in her colleagues’ praise, is – guh! – SHO CUTE. I ship these two, I really do. And this episode, we see definite crumbs of progress, with her going out to look for his walkie on the sly, and him feeling bad and offering her an energy drink. Tee hee.

E23-24. The dorkiness between Dae Gi and Young Joo is super cute right now, and I’m loving it. Young Joo waiting to give him ointment for his nose injury, and then Dae Gi feeling so awkward as he realizes that she’d waited a long time just to give him the ointment. Young Joo’s attempt at fake boyfriend excuses to Dae Gi’s attempt at a casual dinner invitation, is completely foiled by Dae Gi casually showing up to be her convenience store dinner neighbor. Ha! And then the two of them leaking smiles – and attempting to stifle said smiles – just goofily sitting and eating next to each other. Ack. The cute is just making me giddy. And then after walking Young Joo home, Dae Gi calls her with the flimsy excuse of asking when he should use the ointment. It’s so lame, but also, so cute that he’ll grab at any excuse just to talk to her a little longer.

E25-26. Dae Gi is just so fantastically awkward this episode, I cringe from the secondhand embarrassment, even as I can’t stop giggling. He already looks so ill at ease when his family shows up, but when they express interest in Yeo Reum as a potential girlfriend for him, he practically looks like he’s going to have a heart attack. Also, he looks so pumped declaring his favorite present from the team, believing it to be the one from Young Joo.. until Young Joo informs him that her gift was the one he insulted. Yikes. Poor Dae Gi looks befuddled, horrified and sorry, all at the same time.

E25-26. Young Joo’s stifled smile when Dae Gi awkwardly grasps at straws and tells her that he doesn’t like girls with puppy faces, but girls with cat faces, is great.

E27-28. Dae Gi pressing Young Joo for an answer about how she feels about him worrying for her is pretty courageous of him, but my heart pinched for him, when his face fell at her answer. He just looks so handsome, dorky and confused. Poor baby. Afterwards, he looks so forlorn and lost, as he contemplates his birthday socks and wonders if he’s been rejected even before he’s had a chance to begin. But meanwhile, Young Joo sits at home and contemplates her matchy socks. Eee! She’d bought couple socks!

E29-30. Gah, these two. The stolen glances, the careful aversion of gazes, the swallowing of feelings; it’s all heart-grabby stuff. The best part is when she cracks under the sudden colder treatment and asks if he’s angry with her. Coz that gives way to him finally having a chance to tell her why he likes her, and how much he likes her. How sweet, that he simply tells her that he’s trying to find the right distance that would make them both comfortable, and respectfully asks if she can wait while he does that. How sweet is that? I melt. It’s no wonder Young Joo stares after him in a daze, before having to tell herself to snap out of it. Ha.

I ship ’em. ❤

[END SPOILERS]

6. The growing friendship between Yeo Reum and Young Joo

This friendship blossoms pretty late into our story, but it was worth waiting for.

Given how much distaste these two had for each other in the beginning of our story, it was just extra sweet to see them bonding in spite of themselves.

[SPOILER ALERT]

E23-24. I loved seeing Yeo Reum and Young Joo get on so well, despite their initial distaste for each other. The two girls discovering a similar taste for spicy food, and a similar appreciation for ice cream, while dragging their respective befuddled love interests around on an impromptu, unofficial double date, was one of the most adorable moments in this entire drama.

E25-26. How cute, that Yeo Reum attempts asking Young Joo about relationship stuff, assuming Young Joo would know, since she “has a boyfriend.” Young Joo awkwardly trying to answer her questions anyway, is cute too. This growing reluctant friendship is entertaining and makes me happy.

E27-28. Yeo Reum’s friendship with Young Joo is quite delightful, especially since the more reticent Young Joo seems to be embracing the friendship more readily than Yeo Reum, speaking to her readily and consistently in banmal, while Yeo Reum still slips into jondaemal. Aw.

[END SPOILER]

Special shout-outs:

Manager Yang and Manager Choi

Among the various team leaders, my favorites were Manager Yang and Manager Choi (Kim Ji Soo and Lee Sung Wook). Yes, Show hints that these two managers have some kind of personal history with each other, but that isn’t the focus of this section, nor does Show even let that come into proper focus, until its finale – which I’ll talk more about later).

Mainly, I genuinely liked these two as team leaders, and wanted to give them credit where credit’s due.

[SPOILER ALERT]

Manager Yang

E1-2. Manager Yang being called a witch by the people around her seems extremely uncalled for. In that encounter she had with Yeo Reum, I thought she was firm but fair. In fact, I thought she demonstrated a fair amount of patience for Yeo Reum, who’s being unreasonable and is basically out of line. I actually like her, right away.

E5-6. I do love that despite Yeo Reum and Soo Yeon acting out of protocol right in front of her, Manager Yang looks on them with a subdued pride written on her face. She hated the idea of sending Yeo Reum to grovel in order to save the airport, even though Yeo Reum believed she did nothing wrong. And now, in the moment, she’s pleased that things are turning out very differently. I think I might love Manager Yang. She’s a cool boss. I love her even more, for telling Yeo Reum that she did well, instead of berating her like most other managers would.

E19-20. I have so much respect for Manager Yang. She doesn’t stop herself from getting involved in Yeo Reum’s situation, but, the way she gets involved is so great. Giving Yeo Reum the best advice, in the most concise way, while respecting Yeo Reum’s personal agency and right to make her own decisions. Wow.

Manager Choi

E15-16. I loved the way Manager Choi defended his team members and very firmly yet professionally put the errant passengers in their place. Yes please. This is how a team leader treats his people.

E15-16. I really like how Manager Choi tries to handle Soo Yeon’s investigation with a human touch. He’s not forcing it like In Woo would like. Instead, he’s honest and forthright with Soo Yeon about their various choices and the consequences. He also does what he can to be sensitive to Soo Yeon’s needs, in asking for the one week extension. I honestly couldn’t ask more of him.

[END SPOILER]

Ro Woon as Eun Seob [SPOILERS]

When we’re introduced to Eun Seob (Ro Woon), he’s Yeo Reum’s chum at work, so when he’s revealed to be nursing a crush on Yeo Reum in episodes 7 & 8, it felt a little sudden, to me. Before this point, Show hadn’t given us any hints about that, and Eun Seob had seemed very neutral to Yeo Reum in the early episodes as well. Which makes me wonder whether Eun Seob’s crush on Yeo Reum was a last-minute addition.

In any case, I found myself growing a bit of affection for Eun Seob, if only for what a good egg he turns out to be.

In episodes 21 & 22, we see that Eun Seob pretty much knows that he has no chance with Yeo Reum, but he doesn’t therefore attempt to sabotage Soo Yeon and Yeo Reum’s budding relationship. He does take Soo Yeon to task for keeping secrets from Yeo Reum, but that’s genuinely in Yeo Reum’s interest. Even his big act about going to dinner with Yeo Reum was to make Soo Yeon jealous and galvanize him into action.

Even though he likes Yeo Reum and wishes that things won’t work out between her and Soo Yeon, when she asks him for advice in episodes 25 & 26, he gives her good advice and useful perspective that will help her. The questions he asks – do you think Soo Yeon didn’t know that you’d have questions? Why do you think he still bothered to tell you? – trigger Yeo Reum to think about things differently, and I feel so heartened by Eun Seob’s graciousness and humanity.

For the record, I do feel a little underwhelmed at where we leave Eun Seob by the end – expressly content to be whatever Yeo Reum wants or needs him to be, whether it’s a friend or more. That’s a bit of a raw deal, I thought. Boo.

STUFF I DIDN’T LIKE SO MUCH

As a general trajectory, Show was a lighter, easier watch in its first half, with the second half being bogged down by various plotlines. [SPOILER] In particular, I felt Soo Yeon’s deteriorating condition was a downer, and this contributed quite a lot to the second half’s less fun vibe. [END SPOILER]

While I can rationalize that that’s just part and parcel of the character journey, there were also other things that I didn’t enjoy so much, in this show. Here’s a quick-ish list.

1. The gangster stuff

For a show that starts off so innocuous in terms of its work place setting, we get what feels like a disproportionate serving of gangsters, violence and shady dealings, by the time we get into Show’s second half.

To my eyes, the entire gangster arc felt unnecessary and try-hard. Worse, I felt like we wasted a great deal of screen time, which could have been otherwise spent on fleshing out story threads that Show had teased us with, but never really developed (I’ll talk more about that shortly).

I get that this gangster stuff is designed to amp up the drama and get audiences on the edge of their seats, but I do wish that we could’ve taken a different, gangster-less route, for our story.

2. Lee Dong Gun as In Woo

I’m gonna come right out and say it: I’ve never cared much for Lee Dong Gun as an actor, but I really, seriously disliked him in this. I guess this means he did a pretty good job of the role, since In Woo isn’t supposed to be a likable character.

When we’re introduced to In Woo in episodes 3 & 4, I felt rather intrigued by Lee Dong Gun in this role. I’d always thought of him as more wallpapery than suave, but in this show, I immediately felt like despite his crisp and clean-cut appearance there was also something immediately.. hungry, and almost.. lascivious about him. I can’t quite place it, but it seems to come across in his gaze, particularly when his character is interacting with Manager Yang. I found it provocative and quite repulsive at the same time.

Over the course of our story, In Woo displays a multitude of reprehensible behaviors, and it truly irked me, that Show started working out a redemption arc for him in our last stretch. Without going into specifics, let me just say that this entire redemption arc didn’t ring true for me, and didn’t feel well thought-out.

[SPOILER ALERT]

Just to lay it all out, here’s a collection of observations and thoughts that I had about In Woo, in the course of my watch.

E5-6. In Woo digging into Soo Yeon’s personal file without clearance, and then wondering darkly how Soo Yeon recovered, is quite chilling. Does he prefer that Soo Yeon be disabled, or worse, dead?

E11-12. I wonder why In Woo feels it’s his right to know all about Soo Yeon’s arm? He talks as if the secret to Soo Yeon’s well-being is information that is owed to him. That’s really weird. And he’s being a real ass about it too, stealing Soo Yeon’s personal record, pushing the issue at meetings, and even staging it such that Yeo Reum sees Soo Yeon’s personal record. I usually don’t take to Lee Dong Gun’s characters much, but this time I seriously dislike him. I dislike him even more when we’re shown the whole backstory of what happened the night of the accident. Yes, he couldn’t help it that thugs were beating him up and he couldn’t help it that Soo Yeon chased them down and got into an accident. But, he ran away to save his own skin; ran away, in the face of a critically injured Soo Yeon. He saw Soo Yeon’s tearful gaze pleading for help, and he ran away. Ugh. And after all that, he has the gall to say that Soo Yeon’s very presence bothers him, and so he will force Soo Yeon to leave? What kind of human is he?!?

E15-16. I really dislike In Woo. I’ve disliked him up till now, but the things he says this episode, forcing innocent employees who’ve been abused, to apologize to their abuser, is just too much.

E17-18. In Woo is being a total ass about Soo Yeon’s investigation. I like how Manager Choi shuts him down, but I really don’t like how In Woo just won’t quit.

E19-20. I have had it up to here with In Woo, though. What in the heck is this about, claiming that he wants to reconcile with Soo Yeon?? And then he proceeds to push Soo Yeon right into the tightest corner he can possibly create, just to get himself some answers? I seriously hate him. There is no humanity there.

E21-22. It’s becoming clearer that In Woo is involved in shady activities. I guess Show is going to turn things around and say that he’s been so mean because he wants to get Soo Yeon out of an unsafe environment, but I don’t want to buy it, mostly because he’s been so cruel, that I don’t want to allow him any excuse.

E25-26. In Woo starting to show signs of worrying about Soo Yeon is to be expected, since I fully expect Show to redeem him, but it irks me. I am not willing to forgive him all the hurtful things he’s said and done to Soo Yeon, even if it’s now in the name of protecting him.

E31-32. In this finale, we see a flashback where In Woo purportedly visits Soo Yeon’s mother and gives her a watch as a gift for him. This doesn’t add up, because in the beginning of our story, we are explicitly shown that In Woo is legitimately shocked to see that Soo Yeon is still alive. So this flashback feels like a tacked-on last-ditch effort to humanize In Woo. Sorry, Show. Still not buying it.

[END SPOILER]

3. Dropped plot lines

Like I mentioned earlier in this review, Show has a habit of introducing story threads and then just.. leaving them there.

Here’s a quick spotlight on some of those abandoned story threads, which I would’ve much preferred to have explored, in place of those gangster shenanigans.

[SPOILER ALERT]

1. We’re told that Yeo Reum’s dad is the one who saved Soo Yeon’s life, but we never find out much more than that. Why was Dad there in the first place? What happened after Dad saved him? How did Dad come to introduce Soo Yeon to Mr. Jang? What’s the story behind Mr. Jang developing those prosthetics?

2. In its early episodes, Show teases us about there being a backstory between Manager Yang, Manager Choi and In Woo, but never actually reveals anything about that backstory. What happened between the three of them?

3. Whatever happened to Yeo Reum’s father? Is he dead? Everyone seems to speak of him in the past tense. What’s that about?

4. We never get any closure on the fact that Manager Heo (Hong Ji Min) discovered that her husband was cheating on her. She drinks and is upset for a couple of episodes, and then is back to being her sunny self. What?

5. The grudging friendship between Manager Lee and Director Kwon (Jung Jae Sung and Jang Hyun Sung) is a little unexpected, but I can see this potentially have a nice amount of heart. Unfortunately, Show doesn’t give this friendship much screen time at all.

THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]

To be honest, I feel rather underwhelmed by this finale.

Not only does it feel rushed, it also feels haphazard and rather illogical. On top of all that, in getting us to the finish line, Show falters at giving us satisfying personal moments, which is what it does best.

There’s a big heave towards resolving all the gangster stuff and getting Soo Yeon to not kill himself, and in cramming lots of elements into the bulk of the hour, there were more than a few times when I found myself scratching my head and basically wondering, “What just happened? Also, how did we get here?” 

Here are a few of my favorite examples of that:

1. In the whole Dramatic Showdown thing, where the gangsters take Soo Yeon with them, the NIS agents in contact with Manager Choi promise him that they won’t let anyone get hurt. But, while all the fighting and bodily harm is happening inside the warehouse, the NIS agents just sit outside the building in their car, which is parked in plain view. And even though their car is right there, no one exiting the building actually seems to see them?

2. When the car that In Woo is in, is in danger of falling over the edge into the water, Soo Yeon strains to stop the car by holding onto it with his bionic arm. He strains and strains, and it takes all of forever, while his eyes fill with tears, and he practically looks like he’s about to burst a blood vessel. And yet, Dae Gi – who’s trained security personnel and who should totally have better instincts – just stands there, agape, and doesn’t move a muscle to help the situation, like, y’know, maybe run forward and work to get the car door open so that he can get In Woo out of the car while Soo Yeon’s got the car? I know that the whole thing about Soo Yeon pulling the car off the edge is supposed to be for dramatic effect, but really, why isn’t Dae Gi allowed to do something? It was just excruciating to watch, seriously.

3. Soo Yeon decides to give Manager Yang his resignation letter, as a just in case thing. Just in case he doesn’t show up to work one day, she’d have it on hand to process, he says. And then both Manager Yang and Yeo Reum take this as an immediate thing, and both get upset in their own ways. Manager Yang drinks at the bar, feeling like garbage. And Yeo Reum clings to Soo Yeon and cries that she can’t live without him, and to please let her stay by his side. He holds her and smooths her hair, as he thinks to himself that he can’t let her be his arm and leg as she’s asking. And then.. we cut to them having a cheerful dinner with Eun Seob, Dae Gi and Young Joo? What? Just, how did we get here, and how is Yeo Reum so cheerful and playing drinking games?

4. I am peeved that Mr. Jang gives Yeo Reum the device to stop Soo Yeon. At first I thought it was because she would see him first. But now, when they are both equally able to be near him, when he’s found and accessible, why does he still let her have it, and let her bear the responsibility of stopping Soo Yeon? Yes, I know it’s for dramatic effect, so that Soo Yeon and Yeo Reum can jab him together, hand in hand, while they kiss, but I found it all just too much.

And then, once we get to this point, everything is solved by a convenient one-year time skip, during which Soo Yeon has been completely off the grid and uncontactable (which, why, really?).

We see that some folks have been promoted, and the airport is running just as usual. Dae Gi and Young Joo are still working on the same team, and still in a not-quite-relationship. Young Joo does get jealous when Dae Gi meets an old school friend who happens to be single, attractive, and very interested in whether he’s still single, and blurts out that Dae Gi very much has someone that he likes. Dae Gi looks like he’s about to burst from joy, at Young Joo’s indirect indication of interest, and we’re left to hope for more cuteness and possibly some progress for these two. Can we please have a spinoff starring Dae Gi and Young Joo? I really want to see how their story pans out.

Conveniently, Yeo Reum gets wind of a passenger who bent a tensabarrier with just his arm, and, thinking that it can only be one person, runs around looking for him. She finds him, fully mobile and still being tailed by the cleaning robot, and they embrace. Cue credits.

After spending 16 hours with these characters, I’m upset. I’d become fond of these characters, and curious about their journeys, and enjoyed it every time Show gave us a glimpse into each of their lives and backstories. Instead of building on this strength, though, Show uses up so much screen time on the gangster arc that doesn’t even get wrapped up properly (did they ever get arrested for their illegal dealings? Last we see, they just covered up the Soo Yeon story, and that was it?), and so many characters get glossed over.

We find out in the final hour – by way of a throwaway comment, no less – that Manager Yang and Manager Choi are married but estranged? Just, what? Why did Show only choose to reveal this now, just minutes before the end of the show? Couldn’t we have spent more time exploring these characters and their story, and less on the annoying gangsters? Also, whatever happened between these two and In Woo, that we were teased about, but were never let in on?

We never find out what happened to Yeo Reum’s dad. Is he even alive? Also, for a character who’d been introduced with such drama and emotion, we suddenly stopped seeing Yeo Reum’s mum around, and we don’t even see Yeo Reum on the phone with her. That’s weird.

Altogether, I feel like Show had a lot of heart, and really knew how to make its characters come alive. It’s too bad that Show doesn’t seem to also know where best to spend its screen time.

THE FINAL VERDICT:

Show is great at bringing out warm and relatable characters. Pity Show also gets lost while trying to amp up the drama. Still worth the watch though.

FINAL GRADE: B

TRAILER:

MV:

Author: kfangurl

Proud to be a k-fangirl since 2007. Main diet of kdramas with movies and kpop on the side.

54 thoughts on “Review: Fox Bride Star [Where Stars Land]

  1. So, here we have a show that I really enjoyed right up until the final episode. Then, I couldn’t believe what I was watching. WSL didn’t just hit turbulance, it took a major nose dive. Where was Captain Sully when we needed him? I found myself patiently reaching for the oxygen mask, putting on my life jacket and settling in to the brace position – only to discover it didn’t make any difference until Yeo Reum’s smiling face right at the very end.

    It did become quite apparent along the way that certain things would never reappear or be closed out. I’m generally pretty good at ignoring that sort of thing and say to myself “well that is Kdrama for you after all ”. I was the same with Soo Yeon’s choices. Mind you, my wife would say he’s just like you!

    The legend of the Fox Bride Star was a nice touch along the way and the security not-a-couple certainly got a big thumbs up by many watchers from all over. Like you, I found In Woo a waste of space and I didn’t like how the show tried to redeem him in the end. As for gangster ville, well yes, it could have been far more effective.

    Then we have Manager Yang – she was perhaps my favourite character and I would welcome her into my management team any time. The show really got her character right.

    Now then, what is worth watching right now? Fates and Furies has started off well (our OTP have reunited and just eat up the screen). I dropped Mama Fairy, Yoo Baek (not feeling the quirkiness) and Our Glamorous Time (an interesting Cdrama to start with). I’m in two minds re The Last Empress. It feels like it’s tanking. Jang Na Ra won’t be enough to save it unless her character improves some what.

    Well, that’s it for now. I have a speech to think about delivering tomorrow at an end of year concert for a local primary school. I think I will drag out my Looney Tunes tie for that one as I don’t have any of my Santa ties with me 🎅🏻 (Yes, I have one for each day in December).

    Another fabulous review by you, as always.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for enjoying the review, Sean! 😀 I love your analogy – this show definitely experienced more than turbulence, during its finale! 😆 And YES, Manager Yang was really awesome. I agree she’d be a great addition to any management team. Fair and firm, but still very much guided by her humanity. ❤ I'd love to see more capable women like Manager Yang around dramaland!

      I haven't seen any of the new shows you've mentioned except The Last Empress. It's kind of uneven, but so far I find that I'm enjoying it quite well. Specifically, I need to watch it with a makjang-appreciating eye. It's so ridiculous and unbelievable, but I find it quite entertaining. So far it's makjang I feel I can eat with a spoon. I felt it faltered a bit in the 3rd hour, but after the 4th hour (E7-8), I was sorry that there weren't more episodes to slurp up, ha! Hopefully it will remain as entertaining. I literally laughed out loud – and then couldn't stop giggling – when Wang Shik's transformation happened on my screen. 😂😂

      I hope your speech went well at the primary school, and that your Looney Tunes tie was suitably appreciated! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Kfangurl and Sean Fletcher, I’m just jumping in with thoughts on what I’m watching.

        Among the currently airing ones, I will recommend ‘Children of Nobody (Red Moon, Blue Sun)’. It’s hitting all the right marks for a great crime-solving mystery thriller at the moment, with a winning team of flawed ‘investigators’ and all manner of possible suspects and victims. The pace is good, the execution sharp and most important to me … the characters are smart, likable and developing.

        If you decide to try it, I’d love to read your review on it. I just hope it turns out much better than the ‘The Village : Secret of Achiara’ (by the same writer as Children of Nobody).

        Side note: someone suggested that The Last Empress’ was actually a black comedy, purposely done over the top. 😉 What do you think? 🙂

        Like

        • Ooh, you make Red Moon, Blue Sun sound rather intriguing. I’m generally not one for crime mystery thrillers, but maybe I will dip a toe in, just to see!

          As for The Last Empress.. I personally don’t think of it as a black comedy, because while it’s absolutely OTT on purpose, I don’t see it as making light of stuff like death and murder etc, which, from what I understand, is what characterizes black comedy. Rather, I see it as a show that revels in its makjang-ness and completely embraces it without trying to be anything else. Almost like, “Logic schmogic. Imma be fabulous however I feel like it!” *hair flip* 😆

          Liked by 1 person

        • Children of Nobody sounds very interesting. I have been going backwards and forwards as to whether to take a look at it or not. Seeing as both you and Timescout give it a recommendation, I will take a look.

          I would classify The Last Empress as a classy makjang 🤔 It has all the key elements delivered by a very good cast. I am watching a daily makjang at the moment, and I don’t know why because as much as it is good, it is really bad. It is full on. Nearly every episode has smashed up everything they can lay their hands on, the villainess wins out every time (no one is that clever) and the good guys are really hopeless 😂

          My favourite black comedy movie: Shaun of the Dead (but then there is Raising Arizona and Pulp Fiction). However, the one movie my family and I all agree on having a look at is The Fundamentals of Caring. My favourite black comedy show: Killing Eve and then ther’s Dexter 😎

          One show I am really taken with at the moment is Memories of the Alhambra. It has drawn me right in because of the fantasy sci-fi elements that contain VR, mystery and story timelines that go back and forth (some watchers have said they are confused by what’s going on). Of course our OTP have very interesting backgrounds and it is set in Spain for now 🤩

          Liked by 1 person

          • Sean Fletcher, I’m watching Memories of the Alhambra as well. This one is extremely beautiful to the eye. It’s intriguing for the high likelihood of reality and VR/AR merging seamlessly in a player’s mind. How the lines get blurred and how one can be extricated after being sucked into the AR world, is the draw for me. There even seems to be hints of a portal into which players can disappear, which I’m itching to know more about.

            I’m also hoping to watch an epic battle between Jin Woo and his nemesis in both reality and AR, with Jin Woo winning, of course. 😆 I’m all hyped for more game play, with the show airing this weekend!

            Liked by 1 person

            • Hello GB, I have just finished watching episode 3. I like this type of story where the VR world collides with reality. It certainly takes an interesting turn re the adversaries at the end of the episode. I hope you enjoy where it ends up too 😊

              Like

      • Wow! Makjang with a spoon 😱. I must confess I found hours five and six so much more to my liking. You weren’t the only one out there to enjoy Wang Shik’s transformation. I was a bit ho hum about it, but I do like both versions of him. The real contrast in all this is the young princess – what a great performance. It’s amazing how she churns out her lines.

        Yes, the speech did go well. I kept it short and sweet. I said to the School Principal afterwards what an amazing performance by the young ones re their rendition of the Dragon Who Saved Christmas. I couldn’t believe how well they delivered their lines! I was hopeless at that age re any concert I was in. Then, I had someone say to me they didn’t want to be Santa at this year’s community Christmas Tree 🎄 Perhaps I would be available? I politely said no, as I had previously been Santa 🎅🏻 enough times elsewhere to last me a life time. I still have the Santa Suit at home 🤗

        Like

        • Oh, I think the child actress is very good – I’m just disturbed by the character she’s been tasked to portray. So much two-faced flattery at such a young age 😱😱

          Lol. I can imagine you being a popular choice to be Santa – you’ve just got this warm and jovial vibe about you, which is perfect for a jolly Santa! 😉

          Like

          • It’s probably more like Grumpy Santa 😂 My Deputy said the other day, “you were like a Tasmanian Devil – a cranky whirlwind we couldn’t keep up with” 😎 The ladies in the office have organised a Bodyshop Advent Calendar. So far I have ended up with an emery board and almond hand and nail cream, which they think is hysterical 🎄

            On another note, I have finally got home tonight – it’s been a month since I was last here and thinking about the comments Beez made re no contact between the OTPs for 12 months. Yes, I have never seen this as a convincing storyline. My wife and I talk to each other at least once a day and most days twice (let alone the text messages). I will be conducting training for the next two days, but Friday will see me wearing my latest Hawaiian shirt with surfing Santas on it 🎅🏻🌺🦌

            The watch of the week: Beautiful Vampire. It’s not earth shattering, but interesting all the same. Then there is Clean With Passion For Now – it’s funny, charming and cheerful 😁

            Like

            • Tee hee! I had to giggle out loud at the idea of a grumpy Santa receiving an emery board, I have to admit! I guess even grumpy Santas need neat nails? 😂😂

              You’re so right about the communication over long distances.. in fact, some of my friends report that when they are away, they find that they have more meaningful conversations with their loved ones than when they’re talking in person. That makes sense to me, coz all the mundane filler-type conversations are usually cut out, and you focus on more meaningful things, like how the other person is really doing, etc. So while I can see how certain situations lend themselves to a lapse in communication for the time apart, eg, the couple broke up, but in this case, it really didn’t make sense. 😛

              Interesting that you’re enjoying Clean with Passion! I saw several tweets about this show, where folks were upset with the show and dropped out early. As a result I haven’t dipped my toes in yet, even though I’ve still got it on my list.

              Liked by 1 person

              • It’s always interesting what people like to watch. Clean With Passion is light, has the cute factor going on, and is, at times, very funny. The first episode was so/so, but then after this you have our hero who is such a big bear of a CEO totally transfixed by a very pixie like Kim Yoo Jung.

                Anyway, “Dashing through the snow”…🎄☃️🦌

                Like

                • Aw. I love how you omake Clean with Passion sound, Sean. I mean, how can I turn down a show with a big bear of a CEO being a dork, fixated with a lil pixie? 😆 It sounds adorable. I will dutifully bump it higher up my list!

                  I love how you’re getting into the holiday spirit – not only with what sounds like a very colorful wardrobe, but breaking forth in song too! 😉

                  Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with you. The finale felt rushed and just didn’t feel complete.

    The security not-a-couple getting their own spinoff would be awesome to watch!

    Great review!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for enjoying the review, Hina! 😀 Someone was saying to me on Instagram that maybe they ended the show this way, to hint at a second season. I’m not sure the show did well enough for the higher-ups to actually consider making a second season, but I’d grudgingly buy that explanation (sort of!) for why the ending was left with so many hanging threads. But in all honesty, if there is a second season, I want the security not-a-couple to be our OTP, and I want more screen time for Manager Yang and Manager Choi’s story!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Exactly!!! The security not-a-couple and the Managers deserve some more screen time and details. I hated that they didn’t reveal the relationship between Manager Yang and Choi earlier. It would have made the drama so much more compelling. I kept waiting for more details on Manager Yang and absolutely loved her character.

        It would be better if they came out with a spinoff rather than a sequel or Season 2 in order to emphasize the other characters rather than the main leads.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’m with you, I was a bit disappointed that they only revealed the relationship at the very last minute, when they could have revealed it earlier, and spent time showing us more of their story. So YES PLEASE, I would be SO up for a spinoff for these under-appreciated characters! ❤

          Liked by 2 people

  3. What kdramas are you currently loving?

    Like

    • Hi there Gabrielle! 🙂 I’m behind on a lot of stuff, but I’m still enjoying Beauty Inside, and The Third Charm has sucked me in, despite things growing darker in Show’s second half. I’m also enjoying the ridiculous makjang in The Last Empress. I tried the first ep of Boyfriend today, but I’m not sold on it yet. Bogummy is very pretty to look at, though! 😉

      Like

  4. Seems like you haven’t watched epilogue of final episode? There’s yeoreums appa appearance for 4 minutes

    Like

    • Hi there! No, I haven’t seen any epilogue of the final episode. After your comment, I tried hunting it down, but after trying 4 streaming sites and 1 torrent, I didn’t manage to find anything. :/ Where did you watch that final epilogue?

      Like

      • I just found it on YouTube after searching for Where Stars Land epilogue. It’s cute!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks for the tip, Carrie! I just found it and watched it. It’s sweet, but also, sad. 😭😭 Also, why wasn’t this made available after the last episode itself, I wonder. Coz after the last shot of the final hug, the credits rolled good and proper, with shots of the crew and everything. Hrm. :/

          Like

          • Ikr.. This scene is better as closing scene in my opinion. More touching 😭

            Like

            • The epilogue definitely has a lot more feels than the actual closing scenes of the show, so yes, it could’ve been Show’s closing scene. Or, they could’ve just made the epilogue more available? I couldn’t find it on multiple sources of the finale, and credits had formally rolled after the final hug, with group photos of the cast and everything. They could’ve let the epilogue roll before the credits, then we wouldn’t need to go hunt the epilogue down, and, we would’ve had the desired emotional punch at the end of the finale. I mean, if you hadn’t mentioned it, I wouldn’t have known there even was an epilogue to hunt for! 😝

              Like

        • Thanks Carrie! I found it too. So poignant!! For those who’d like the link, here it is:

          I feel that a half hour episode could have been made from those 4+ minutes. I’d have liked to have seen why Yeo Reum’s dad decided not only to save Soo Yeon but to take him in, to see Soo Yeon being introduced to Ajusshi Jang, how he learnt to walk and discover his strength, how he knew Seo Koon … even what the much reviled In Woo was doing in all that time. I applaud the show for making it’s characters so rounded and likable that we’d like to know lots more about them, but at the same time, I’m disappointed that nothing more was done to give us at least one of these backstories.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Thanks for sharing the link, GB! I should’ve thought to do that! 😅

            And YES, I would’ve liked an extra episode expanding on the material of those 4 minutes. Also: “I applaud the show for making it’s characters so rounded and likable that we’d like to know lots more about them, but at the same time, I’m disappointed that nothing more was done to give us at least one of these backstories.” EXACTLY this! I’m really impressed that Show got me to care about this characters as much as I did, and I’m equal parts disappointed that for a lot of these characters, their backstories were merely teased, and not properly fleshed out. :/

            Liked by 1 person

  5. Ouch this drama.

    I am a fan of Lee Je-Hoon, but truth be told, I have always felt that romance did not seem to be his forte, that is, until this drama comes along.

    I am probably among the few people that felt the OTP chemistry to be very affecting. I quickly became enamored by the progression of their romance and glued to the screen whenever my OTP shared their moments. Even as the drama went into crap town with all the gangstery stuff and most viewers seemed to care more about the security couple, I remained steadfastly invested in the OTP. I do like security couple, but not as much as I achingly adore the OTP. Not quite sure why. Is it because of my bias for Lee Je-Hoon and Chae Soo-Bin? Or is it because cute is not longer enough for me? I actually wish I had like the security couple better than the OTP so the sting of the ending felt less to me, but unfortunately no.

    It’s really hard to explain why I love the OTP so so much, but I suspect it’s because there’s a bittersweet tinge and warmth in their romance. Despite the fantastical situation that Soo Yeon was in, their romance has always felt grounded to me. Each time this OTP shared the screen, I felt like everything went still and soft. I craved for their interaction and grinned like a fool because for me they are one of the softest OTP that I have ever seen. Add to this is the fact that their relationship was among the healthiest relationship in dramaland with them communicating whenever they have issues (that is until Soo Yeon went incommunicado for a year in the finale which made me facepalmed so hard). In short, I quickly got swept up in their romance and their hold on my emotion remained strong throughout the drama.

    Because I was so emotionally invested in the OTP (not only for the romance part, but also for their character growth), the blow from the ending felt almost too visceral for me. The mixed messages that it convey at the end (about living with disability) made me so murderously furious. I really really really want to kimchi bitchslap the writer and director so darn much!!! Also, probably put both of them in a headlock, lol. I shouldve been more wary of this writer and director duo as their last drama together (gu family book) also gave a major wtf ending, sigh….I was so traumatized by the ending that I have been avoiding romantic drama like a plague for the past weeks (have been on steady diet of Children of Nobody and The Sky Castle. Could not bring myself to even watch my baby Bo Gum’s newest drama or old crush Hyun Bin’s drama. Anything with romance is a bit triggering for me right now, lol).

    Did I regret watching this drama? No, not really. Mostly because this is the first time I am so taken by Lee Je-Hoon in a romantic role. This drama has made me want to see more of him in a romance drama. Although Chae Soo Bin kinda get the short end of the stick in this drama (her character growth practically fell into the wayside towards the end of the drama), I still think she’s a very talented actress when the script let her do her craft (like in the scene when Yeo Reum confessed that she likes Soo Yeon too or when she stood to the bully). But will I ever watch a drama from this writer and director again? Probably not, especially after the debacle of the ending of their two dramas together.

    Sorry for the long rant. And love your review as always!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi there Bajing, thanks for enjoying this review. ❤ I actually get why you like the OTP as much as you do; the way the development of their relationship was written, was refreshingly different from most OTP arcs, and there were healthy conversations and consideration for the other party regularly demonstrated as well. I think I just didn't see as much chemistry between Lee Je Hoon and Chae Soo Bin as you did, and that's just the weird way things work with perceived chemistry. One person could see nothing much, while another sees lots of chemistry. I think if I'd managed to see the same chemistry you did, I'd be much more invested in the OTP, because I already appreciated the meaning and gentle spirit in the writing of their relationship. 🙂

      I absolutely do wish that the writers had explored the idea of Soo Yeon being deserving of love, even with his disability. Like, let us see Yeo Reum loving him, even while he's in his wheelchair. She gets to express that she would love him anyway, but we don't get to see that actually play out, even for a while, and she doesn't see him in his wheelchair at all, or at least, we don't see that she does, and I think that's an unfortunate choice. :/

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  6. Oh I was so worried that I recommended you a drama that you would eventually not find worth of your drama hours since I-the recommender-myself lost interest slightly during the later half.I agree with everything you say here- especially that the finale was rushed and lacked impact,really, but nevertheless I am so glad that you ended up liking it ❤ Amazing review,as always~ 🙂

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  7. Spot on review, as always! You know, Second Lead Syndrome is a thing, but what about the Second Couple Syndrome? This isn’t the first time I’ve found myself fast-forwarding to the too-few moments of the Second Couple when the OTP leaves me feeling uninspired.

    Btw, Kim Kyung Nam also played the bad-but-redeemable brother in “Come and Hug me.” He is obviously a versatile actor. His desperate expression while his grandfather was trying to marry him off was priceless!

    And Lee Soo Kyun played the twin sister in “Ho-Gu’s Love,” so she can definitely do comedy.

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    • Thanks for enjoying the review, Blenny! 😀 And yes, I guess Second Couple Syndrome is a real thing! I found myself sitting up with more interest, each time a scene started with either half of the Security Couple. They are just so darn cute 😍😍

      I haven’t seen Come and Hug Me, but I’m very impressed that I wasn’t able to recognize Kim Kyung Nam from his role in Prison Playbook. That shows that he not only looks different here, but comes across with a completely different vibe as well. Really good. I’m looking forward to seeing more of him in dramaland! 🙂

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      • You should give “Come and Hug me” a look-see. The performances somewhat make up for deficiencies…like the alarming lapses in judgement exhibited by South Korean law enforcement…I mean, there’s a serial killer on the loose and they can only spare a team of six people? 🙂

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        • I heard lots of good things about Come and Hug Me.. I’m also wary of heavy melos, and that one sounds pretty heavy alright 😛 It’s on my vague someday list – for when the right mood strikes. 😁

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  8. I’m amazed at your ability to keep track of everything. As I was reading this I was picturing how you must take notes to refer back to for what happened during which episodes.

    I, too, like our sub couple better than our main couple and i also questioned the bartender/prosthetics guy not taking back the needle of doom but, I must say it was worth it – that was a really good, weighty moment when Seo yoon grabbed Yeo reum’s hand and injected the needle. This is one time that I understood the need for separation and the time jump but I’ll never understand the whole concept that “no contact for a year”is romantic. It’s not! If only I could send a memo to all Kdrama writers that says that it’s only romantic in a storyline like DOTS where the hero’s a POW or had amnesia so contact is out of his control. But when you’ve had no breakup but there’s a mutual agreement that circumstances call for a temporary separation… c’monnnnnnn! (Looking at you Oh My Venus.)

    Anyway, I’m used to Kdrama leaving all kinds of stuff hanging but this show did one completely UNFORGIVABLE and incomprehensible thing – they hid the hero’s face at the end in their reunion scene. For no reason. It wasn’t artistic. It wasn’t mysterious. It just had no reason and if they want to know why there show fell flat at the ending – that’s why. I am still so pissed at this one thing it has ruined the whole 16 hours invested for me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, same here @beez. That one simple Director’s call to turn the camera around so that we at least see Soo Yeon’s happy face was denied us. It was really unforgivable. It spoilt my enjoyment of the previous episodes somewhat and gave the sour taste in my mouth. It could have been a much better show!!!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Heh. You’re not far off, beez! I usually jot down some personal reactions after watching an episode, on various plot points etc, so that I can look back easily on the drama as a whole when I’m done watching it and ready to write the review. I don’t always have this as a resource, coz sometimes I watch something without intending to review it, and then change my mind after I’ve watched it – Nirvana in Fire being a case in point. But most of the time, yes, I do have notes to help me keep track of how I felt about various things during the course of my watch 🙂

      OMG yes, I don’t understand the no contact for a year thing either. In this day and age, that seems like lazy writing, with the writers blindly borrowing tropes from the very early kdramas without remembering that technology has moved on and nowadays, there’s really no excuse for not keeping in touch. Especially when your main couple hasn’t actually broken up. 🙄

      That decision to not show Soo Yeon’s face at the end was very weird indeed. I came across some viewer comments where they speculated that it wasn’t actually Lee Je Hoon in the shot, and maybe he couldn’t film and that’s why they used a body double. But.. someone came forward with pix from the drama set that day, and it really was Lee Je Hoon. Which seriously begs the question of why the PD decided it would be a good idea to show us only his back. 🙄🙄🙄

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      • Okay, then that really makes no sense. I just figured they had to use a body double for some reason. But then, neither does the separation with no contact as if we were living in the 16th Century. And then there’s the fact that some lunatic can have a meltdown that last for several long minutes, violently breaking multiple baggage kiosks, and NOBODY from security shows up; I guess they’re too busy patrolling the perimeter, looking for socks. 🙂

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        • Right??! It just makes no sense that they wouldn’t show his face, given that he was actually there, and legitimately part of the OTP happy ever after! 🙄 Also, your remark about the security team being too busy looking for socks to intervene with the violent passenger literally made me snigger out loud. 😆😆 Coz, who needs real security emergencies when you can just drown in the cute of matchy couple-in-denial socks?? 😂

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  9. one other thing I’d like to mention is – why was Yeo reum homeless if her mother’s home was within the city? They never explained if mom lived out in the countryside somewhere which would make that more understandable. Although, I don’t know why I’d expect an explanation from a show that couldn’t bother to even explain its title (or if Dad was alive or dead). I was also happy to see the epilogue clip that explained Dad and where the Fox Bride Star fit into all this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a good point! Yeo Reum could’ve bunked with Mom, and that would’ve solved it! But.. then the writers would’ve had to find a different way to put the OTP in close proximity. So I guess they conveniently forgot.

      YES, thank you. I honestly wondered at the Fox Bride Star thing all the way until I realized there was an epilogue and watched it. I mean, yes, there was a restaurant named Fox Bride Star, but I didn’t count that as anything close to a proper explanation. 😆

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  10. I honestly love your reviews so much!! If you had to choose 10 must-watch dramas, what would they be?

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    • Thanks for the enjoying the reviews, G! 😀 And wow, you ask a tough question! I mean, there are so many dramas that I love. Here’s a list off the top of my head:

      1. Nirvana in Fire (China)
      2. Healer
      3. Secret Love Affair
      4. Chuno
      5. My Mister
      6. Money Flower
      7. Answer Me 1988
      8. Life is Beautiful
      9. School 2013
      10. The First Half of My Life (China)

      For more great dramas, you can check out my Full List of posts, and look for all the A-rated shows. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yay for Healer!!! Now that it’s the year end and reviews are coming out, I find myself cheering at the mention of the shows I’ve loved this year and in the past. Healer was definitely one of the standout shows to me, marrying my great love for characters that grow and heal each other, with a wonderful romance, comedy and action. , plus a kickass ahjumma! Still love it to bits!

        Liked by 1 person

        • OMG hi5 GB, I LOVE-LOVE-LOVE Healer! 😍😍😍 It really is a must-see in my books. Like, if a friend who’s into drama has very limited dramas hours to spend and asks for a recommendation, I’d go with Healer, because it’s a win in so many ways that it’s almost a guaranteed good time. I know not everyone loves Healer, but so far, it hasn’t failed me yet, as a drama recommendation! 😉 Also, Healer+Ahjumma is ❤

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  11. Yeah, your review is spot on. I’ve heard not one positive comment about the gangster stuff. I ended up judiciously fast forwarding through certain chunks of the last four episodes. This is another drama that I enjoyed aspects of but it could have been better. Nonetheless, I appreciate it being at an airport and not a company, hospital or law firm. It did keep me invested enough that I didn’t drop, but I wish drama writers would get over this need to hype up unrealistic scenarios that seem unnecessary to me.

    As far as other dramas, I will throw in another positive word for Children of Nobody. I started it late and found it hard to turn away. This surprised me because the writer wrote Achiara which did the moody tone well but spun its wheels which led me to dropping so I’m crossing fingers that the pacing and story continue to work now that we’re at the halfway point. (I’m a little worried 😉

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    • Lol, yeah, the gangster stuff felt try-hard, for sure. I feel like it could’ve been so much more cohesive, if they’d cut out the whole gangster backstory. I always enjoyed the slice-of-life bits more than the angsty gangster parts. I think they could’ve still kept the bionic limbs thing in, even without the gangsters, and that could’ve still made it that extra bit interesting, from the writers’ point of view.

      Ooh, another upvote for Children of Nobody! I’m intrigued by everyone’s positive reactions, so it’s on the list. I just haven’t dipped my toes in yet. Good to hear that it’s remained good up till now – and crossing my fingers that it continues to be good all the way to the end! 🙂

      Like

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