Review

Review: Crash Landing On You

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Show really is everything that many of us have come to love in kdrama. It’s gorgeous to look at, our actors are pretty darn capable all-around, our characters are mostly endearing, there’s amped-up, epic romance to be had between an OTP that shares solid, sparky chemistry, and, well, Hyun Bin is appealing in this, to a rather staggering degree. Flail. As a bonus, Show possesses a cheeky sense of humor around drama tropes, even as it revels in them. In addition, the glimpse into North Korean life feels fresh and novel as well, and is a major highlight.

On the downside, there’s a bit of drag in the mid-to-late episodes, which is compounded by rather heavy-handed narrative angst, and Show’s long episodes. That can feel a bit or a lot hard-going, depending on your appetite for angst.

Overall, though, Show does a great job bringing the feels, and is well worth the watch.

THE LONG VERDICT:

Funny story, you guys; I actually watched this drama twice, before writing this review. This is something I never do, basically. I watch a drama once, and then review it. The only rewatches I do for a review would be for older dramas like Goong and Coffee Prince, where I rewatch the drama in question (again, just once), in order to craft the review. So the fact that I watched this show twice before starting to write this review, is a first, for me.

Which begs the question, why did I feel the need to watch this show twice?

Basically, I wanted to make sure that I was being fair to Show. I’d started this show on a high note, early in Show’s run; it made me laugh, and I found it wonderfully slurpable, and rather cracky, even. I found Show ridiculous, fun, and entertaining, even as I happily ate up the feels that Show served up. And then real life got in the way, and I fell behind in my watch. Show also got pre-empted twice, thus adding to the lag.

When I managed to get back into some kind of regular rhythm with my watch, around Show’s middle-ish episodes, I was bemused to find that I didn’t seem to find this show as cracky as I’d had, at first. In fact, I found myself even dragging my feet, sometimes, in watching the next episode. In Show’s final stretch, though, I decided to watch the episodes as close to each other as possible, and to my surprise, I found that I enjoyed those few episodes more than I’d expected.

This made me wonder if the mid-show drag which I’d felt was really Show’s fault; maybe it was just the fact that I’d lost momentum? Maybe it was just me, and not Show’s fault at all?

I decided it would be unfair to declare that Show actually had any mid-run drag, without first verifying it, and so when I got to the end of my watch, I went right back to episode 1 and started all over again. This time, I made sure to keep up a good pace, and watched at least an episode a day, if not two.

The end result? Well, I still think Show suffers from some mid-run drag, but it’s honestly not as bad as I’d originally thought. So my lag in watch pace did contribute to the perceived drag. I’ll talk more about the mid-run drag later in this review.

For now, let me say that I don’t actually think this show is for everyone. A good benchmark, I think, is whether you enjoyed 2013’s You From Another Star (aka My Love From Another Star), also written by Park Ji Eun. Basically, if you loved one, it’s quite likely that you’d love the other, because both shows contain many similar ingredients, albeit served up in their own ways. Both shows also benefit from keeping your logical lens on a fairly blurry setting, and just letting the feels carry you.

OST ALBUM: FOR YOUR LISTENING PLEASURE

I thought I’d try something new with this review. Here’s a collection of OST tracks which I found on YouTube, in case you’d like to enjoy the very pleasant OST while you read the review. There’s a bigger collection of OST tracks which I’ve shared at the end of the review; I just figured this length would work better for the review. Also, I fancy the sound quality on this is a tiny touch better. Enjoy:

STUFF I LIKED

Show’s very pretty to look at

With high production values, thoughtful directing, careful framing, color palettes suited to each locale, and beautiful leads, Show adds up to a whole lotta Pretty indeed. Even though I thought the scenes in North Korea tended dark, it was clear that Show’s visuals as a whole, had been curated with very specific intentions in mind: to create a picturesque drama world that would be an immersive experience for the viewer.

In particular, I noticed that the color palette was carefully selected for each locale: the scenes in South Korea had bolder, more saturated colors; the scenes in North Korea leaned a lot more muted and washed out; the scenes in Switzerland were painted in beautiful bright Spring tones. On top of it all, Show employs savvy framing and camera angles to ensure that everything is presented with a solid layer of fairytale polish.

My eyes; they could not complain.

The depiction of North Korea

The glimpse that Show gives us, of life in North Korea, is one of my personal highlights of my watch.

Show benefits from having a well-informed, well-positioned advisor who had himself defected from North Korea (you can read more about that here), and comments from other defectors from North Korea (example here) indicate that what we see is largely accurate, although Show obviously takes some artistic liberties.

Kudos to Show for somehow managing to execute this on a scale that makes onscreen North Korea feel real. I’m sure some of it was achieved through the use of green screens and CGI, but it’s also obvious that some elaborate sets were constructed to achieve the end result that we enjoy on our screen. Mad props to Show for managing to give us such a detailed peek into life in North Korea, which has always been largely kept hidden and mysterious.

I appreciate that Show takes pains to show us that average North Korean citizens are just an ordinary folks trying to live their lives and take care of their families. It feels so alien and strange, and yet so everyday and relatable. I found it all very intriguing and fascinating, and thoroughly absorbing.

[MINOR SPOILER] The fact that Show manages to squeeze in PPL even in North Korea, via the contraband that the villagers consume, amused me quite a bit. [END SPOILER]

I feel like even if you’re not super into the Big Romance which is Show’s main narrative arc, that the vicarious North Korean experience, in and of itself, is worth a look.

The cheeky treatment of tropes

One thing that Show does really well, is poke fun at drama tropes as a whole, and bring the funny doing that, while serving up drama tropes in its own story, and bringing the feels with those. For new drama viewers, this is quite a special two-way indoctrination. Like, first, let me show you what’s so cliched about drama tropes, and oh, by the way, this is why you’ll love ’em so much: Feeelzzz. Ha.

Show’s particularly good at this. Even though my brain recognized various plot developments as rather cliched and tropey, my heart happily inhaled it all, and hearts rapidly grew in my eyes.

[SPOILER] In episode 4, the way Jung Hyuk and Se Ri (Hyun Bin and Son Ye Jin) made out to create a cover story for being out at sea was amusing, and the way Jung Hyuk grabbed Se Ri and confidently leaped off the cliff, trusting in her paragliding equipment to carry the both of them, was swoony in effect, even as my brain protested the ease with which Jung Hyuk held onto Se Ri, in the face of gravity and everything. [END SPOILER]

At its best, Show manages to be ridiculous yet swoony at the same time. At its best, there’s something easy and comforting about watching this show, even as it manages to feel fresh, while still using tropes within its story.

Familiar, yet fresh. That’s a pretty rare combination, and kudos to Show for managing to hit that pitch perfect note, so much of the time.

CHARACTERS

Hyun Bin as Jung Hyuk

Listen. I’m not exaggerating when I say that this is the most melty I’ve seen Hyun Bin, ever.

I mean, I already had reasonably well-informed Hyun Bin-appreciating eyes before coming to this show, but I’m still happily blown away, by just how ridiculously attractive Hyun Bin is in this, as our leading man Jung Hyuk.

I wasn’t feeling his appeal so much in 2018’s Memories Of The Alhambra, thanks to the way his character was written, but here, as Jung Hyuk, he’s really very swoony indeed. Can’t lie; I find him even more swoony in this show, than when I first had hearts in my eyes for him, while watching 2011’s Secret Garden, where I thought he was very handsome indeed.

I seriously luff Hyun Bin as Jung Hyuk, and here’s why.

First of all, the visuals are gorgeous and on-point. Hyun Bin definitely beefed up for the role, and his broad-shouldered, solid build, combined with his height, and his chiseled good looks is quite a heady combination indeed. Plus, Hyun Bin definitely looks extra handsome in military togs.

Behold the shoulders. ❤

Second of all, I love the character of Jung Hyuk. Immediately, you can see that there’s a stiffness about him, but there’s a softness as well. That marshmallow within the gruff vibe that Jung Hyuk’s got going on, melts my heart, and my knees, in increasing degrees.

Third of all, not only does the stoic-bemused vibe of the North Korean soldier suit Hyun Bin well, he brings Jung Hyuk to life in detailed, three-dimensional glory. From the small micro-expressions to the larger emotions, Hyun Bin delivers them all in a manner that feels flawless and organic. He literally made Jung Hyuk come to life, for me, and I loved all of it.

Add on the intent gaze, as he tries to make sense of the strange South Korean woman who’s landed abruptly in his world, and his bemused yet thoughtful efforts to cater to her needs, and it’s just one very melty package indeed. Swoon.

[SPOILER ALERT]

E2. Jung Hyuk borrowing an elite military car, and rushing back to Se Ri to save her, is swoony stuff, even though I know that he needs to protect himself and his men too. It’s just, she’s alone and scared and cornered, and he swoops in to defend her and save her, in his stoic, no-nonsense, soldiery way. Flail.

E2. The fact that Jung Hyuk not only put up with Se Ri’s incessant calls about her first world problems and needs, but remembered them and went to the market to buy everything she’d asked for, and even thought to include antiseptic lotion for the scrape on her knee, makes him ridiculously attractive. How patient and sweet is he?! And Se Ri notices it too, musing out loud that Jung Hyuk might look indifferent, but is kind of sweet. I approve the acknowledgment, because he really is so sweet to do this.

E3. The moments that hit me the hardest this episode, are the times when Jung Hyuk is shown thinking about his piano past. He gets this wistful look in his eyes that speaks volumes, even though he doesn’t say anything. The first time is when he looks at his piano-related stuff in his bookshelf, as Se Ri talks about having seen them. And the second time, which I found even more affecting, is when he’s squatting in front of his new tomato plant, trying to think of 10 nice things to say to it, as instructed by Se Ri, and he finally lands on “piano.” Rocking back and forth on his haunches, there’s a childlike quality about him; his gaze flickers and there’s a plaintiveness about his gaze, as he just falls silent, his last word hanging in the air. Augh. That makes me feel like he misses his old life a lot, that his true passion is for piano, and he’s here in the military purely to investigate his hyung’s death, and there’s so much unsaid and so much emotion held back, that words just escape him.

E3. Jung Hyuk’s a good man. When Se Ri gathers food and blankets from his house for the orphan boy who tried to steal Jung Hyuk’s uniform off the line, Pyo Chi Soo (Yang Kyung Won) protests loudly about how she’s being scammed, but Jung Hyuk treats the boy kindly. Not only does he allow Se Ri to give away the items she’s gathered from his house without first asking him, he instructs the boy to wash his hands and face before eating, so that he won’t get sick. Jung Hyuk is so warm and so kind, really. I can totally understand why Se Ri would look at him with hearts gathering in her eyes.

E3. Aw, that Jung Hyuk decides to go on the boat with Se Ri because he can see she’s nervous and anxious. Again, he’s a good man.

E5. Props to Jung Hyuk for coming clean about his engagement to Se Ri, even though his heart is clearly not in the engagement. He’s given his word to marry Dan (Seo Ji Hye), and that’s all that matters. He’s a man of principle, and I admire him for that.

E6. That scene in the bar, when a tipsy Se Ri mumbles that she’s troubled about leaving because she likes (it/him – the object isn’t specified), I find Jung Hyuk’s expression such a perfect response. His gaze flickers just a little, and his expression doesn’t change, but it’s clear that the implications and possibilities are troubling him too. Hyun Bin has such fine control of his micro-expressions; I am suitably impressed.

E9. That moment when Jung Hyuk tries to call Se Ri back, and gets the generic phone recording saying the number is not available, the Look on his face is nothing short of arresting. There’s shock, fear, horror, grief, and hope, all battling one another on the inside, and that complicated mix of emotions is written all over his face, frozen in time as he stands stunned, fighting to hold back the tears. Really good.

E9. Jung Hyuk is very smart and very shrewd. It doesn’t take him long to figure out that Dan was involved in Se Ri’s disappearance, and he quickly deduces that it was his father (Jun Gook Hwan) that actually abducted Se Ri. And he’s also able to work effectively with what he’s got; he knows that his father will not deign to get him out of prison, but that if the word gets out that he’s the General’s son, that others would be willing to get him out, out of fear for his father. I do enjoy a smart hero.

E11. Jung Hyuk trying to hide his pleased reaction at the adoring comments from netizens reacting to his handsome doorman manner, is so cute. There’s something so childlike and gleeful about him, in this scene, even as he retains his very handsome demeanor. Also. The dimples make their arguably most perfect appearance here, too.

E11. I must admit that Jung Hyuk is an effective, lethal fighting machine. I love me a leading man who has fight skillz and uses them to sharp effect. It’s even more swoony when it’s driven by a heart that’s devoted to protecting the woman he loves. Flail.

E14. I have a distinct weakness for badass heroes, so when Jung Hyuk functions in full bodyguard mode and swiftly takes down the guards that Se Hyung (Park Hyung Soo) tries to sic on him, and then effortlessly twists Se Hyung’s arm, effectively cornering him, I swoon. And he does it all without missing a beat or even raising an eyebrow. Hearts in eyes for days. Moar, please.

[END SPOILER]

Son Ye Jin as Se Ri

Although I generally feel indifferent towards Son Ye Jin, and had ended up hating Something in the Rain, which had then increased my meh feelings towards her, I am pleased to report that I find her surprisingly likable in this.

Se Ri is written to be a bundle of contradictions. On the one hand, she can be extremely sharp and quick on the uptake, and on the other hand, she can seem quite ditzy and lacking in common sense. At the same time, sometimes she is cold and aloof, and at other times, she’s warm and generous. On paper, that’s enough to give anyone drama whiplash, but somehow, in Son Ye Jin’s hands, it actually works.

Instead of finding Se Ri annoying and entitled, I found her quite charming and rather endearing, even while I rolled my eyes at some of her more featherbrained moments.

To me, I think Son Ye Jin’s biggest challenge was to make Se Ri likable, despite her behavior being written as rather illogical and off the wall, at times. To that end, I would say that Son Ye Jin was very effective in achieving that goal. As unbelievable as I sometimes found Se Ri’s behavior, I somehow managed to believe that she was quite real.

Also, for the record, I thought Son Ye Jin did a fantastic job, particularly of Se Ri’s more emotional, difficult scenes. An all-around excellent performance, I say.

[SPOILER ALERT]

E1. Se Ri might show her estranged chaebol family a cold, jaded side, but what we see more, is her cute side. Her exasperation over the walkie, at being stranded is cute enough to make the straitlaced Jung Hyuk put away his weapon and smile, and I have to say that even I am somewhat charmed.

E2. Se Ri is really quick-thinking and shrewd, for all her princessy needs and spurts of whining. I mean, she’s able to outsmart and outtalk the soldiers, so that they can’t help but see themselves as being on the same boat with her. That’s pretty impressive.

E3. The ahjummas try to intimidate Se Ri into participating in their kimjang gathering, but trust Se Ri to wriggle out of it by claiming not to like kimchi, without batting an eyelash. Ha.

E3. I gotta say, Se Ri can be really quick on the uptake. Just moments after Jung Hyuk explains what Division 11 is about, Se Ri fields the ahjumma’s questions on it with a confident aloofness. I was pretty impressed by this.

E6. Se Ri might be vain and self-indulgent, but her spurts of honesty come at just the right time. When she’s saying goodbye to Jung Hyuk, she tells him that she’ll miss him, and will think of him often, even though she believes the opposite is true for him. That’s so candid of her, and I know Jung Hyuk needed and wanted to hear that, from her.

E7. Sometimes Se Ri’s shrewd and sharp, like when she adapted to the Division 11 ruse and fell right into step. And then sometimes, you gotta wonder if she’s ditzy or just plain blind, like when she sews a heart-shaped patch onto Jung Hyuk’s uniform in the name of mending it. Um. Who in their right minds would think that was a good idea?

E9. It’s a running gag that Se Ri thinks she’s so right about everything, and keeps making the wrong deductions, first about whose father had kidnapped her, and then about why the walk to the border takes such a long time. I’ve come to accept that this is part of her charm, though, that she might be a super successful CEO, but in some ways, she can be a little dim, and overconfident of herself.

E9. It’s a little cliched that Se Ri would win over at least one of Jung Hyuk’s parents while being held captive, but it’s well executed, and feels believable in the context of our story. Jung Hyuk’s mom (Jung Ae Ri) has always come across as being genuinely concerned for her son’s emotional wellbeing, so I buy that she would soften towards Se Ri, once she realized that her son was treating Se Ri with care and warmth.

E10. After watching Se Ri in North Korea for almost the entirety of our story, it’s rather startling to see her put her boss shoes back on and strut through life with sass and confidence. She’d taken off all of those trappings in North Korea, and shown us the more vulnerable real her, and I’d gotten used to that. It’s a little shocking, really, to remember again, that she’s quite the badass on her home ground, and a force to be reckoned with.

[END SPOILER]

Seo Ji Hye as Dan

To be honest, this is the first time I’ve noticed Seo Ji Hye on my screen, even though I’ve seen several of the dramas listed on her filmography, like My ID is Gangnam Beauty, Jealousy Incarnate and 49 Days. For the record, I think Seo Ji Hye did an excellent job of delivering the character of Seo Dan, and I’m making a mental note to keep an eye on her future projects.

As a character, Dan doesn’t get a huge amount of screen time and attention, because as our story’s second female lead, her role is mainly to pine after Jung Hyuk. However, to Seo Ji Hye’s credit, Dan comes across as immediately quite interesting as a character, and upon her introduction in episode 3, I was quickly intrigued to learn more about her. Seo Ji Hye imbues Dan with a regal sort of air which I really liked, and yet, Dan’s inner insecurities and vulnerabilities are easy to spot too. Very nicely done, I thought.

Additionally, to Show’s credit, Dan does come into her own more than the average second female lead, in the overall scheme of things. I did feel like Dan’s arc could have been handled a little differently, particularly towards the end of our story, but I’ll touch on that later.

Kim Jung Hyuk as Seung Joon

I have to admit that Seung Joon as a character was a slow burn, for me. I started off feeling a little bemused by him, but ended the show with a significant soft spot for him. Kudos to writer-nim for fleshing him out and bringing out his more noble qualities, and kudos to Kim Jung Hyun for a very solid performance, overall.

To be honest, in the first place, I found it felt slightly bizarre to see Kim Jung Hyun in this show as an adult, because it wasn’t so long ago that I saw him as a student, in School 2017. And yet, here he is, playing a 31-year-old. Which is his actual age. Woah. That took some getting used to, I gotta admit.

I don’t know if this is all in my imagination, but I actually feel like perhaps Kim Jung Hyun himself took some time to get used to his character Seung Joon too, because there’s an occasion in episode 3 where he legit looks like he’s trying not to laugh (more on that in the spoiler section). By Show’s later episodes, though, I felt like the character of Seung Joon sat much more comfortably on Kim Jung Hyun, where his delivery of the character felt noticeably more nuanced and natural.

[SPOILER ALERT]

E3. On my first viewing of the show, at this point, I’d felt completely indifferent towards Seung Joon. To my eyes, he seemed completely vain and self-absorbed and rather whiny, to boot. For someone who got his money through dishonest means, it sure seemed like he was full of himself.

However, on my second viewing, after having accumulated affection for Seung Joon, I find him a lot more likable even in these early episodes. He’s all bark with no bite. He tries to talk big and act big around his North Korean agent / manager, but the moment the agent / manager pushes back, Seung Joon sheepishly backs down. The sheepish is subtle, but now that I know to look for it, I definitely see it, and that makes a lot of difference.

Also, I swear, it seemed like Kim Jung Hyun was legit trying not to laugh while his character whined about the lack of windshield wipers on the car during the storm. To me, his eyes looked extra bright, as if he was possibly about to explode from holding in the laughs, heh.

E4. Seung Joon is so reckless and keeps shooting off his mouth. I feel like it’s just a matter of time that he gets into trouble. I want to know why he’s like this. He seems to have no respect for the system that’s agreed to accommodate him, and he doesn’t seem to care if the people themselves get into big trouble for the deal he’s made with them. I mean, why else would he keep mouthing off, and threatening his chaperone not to nag at him?

E7. I’m beginning to find Seung Joon more interesting, finally. The broker guy got it right, Seung Joon does seem to be a conman who wants to do good. He’s kind to Dan, and also, he seems genuinely concerned for Se Ri’s safety. On the other hand, the way he’s talking Se Ri into staying with him at the end of the episode does come across as rather creepy.

E10. Ha. Seung Joon turning out to be the one who helped Se Ri and Jung Hyuk leave his family home to get to the meeting point, is quite amusing. I do appreciate that Show went back and explained how they managed to leave the house. And I like seeing more evidence that Seung Joon is good at heart.

E12. Hrm. So now we find out that Seung Joon is actually seeking revenge on Se Ri’s family, because his father was conned because of them? I.. isn’t this kind of late, and rather random? It’s not a small deal, even though Show drops it as a small detail, and I feel like this is very much underplayed. Seung Joon never struck me as a man out for vengeance / justice, even on my second watch.

[END SPOILER]

The Puppy Boys

Gosh, you guys, I was not prepared for how much I would love this bunch of Puppies. They are just the cutest, most adorkable, endearing bunch. ❤

From the very beginning, Show makes each of them different and distinct, so that each of them has a quirk that makes it easy to identify him by: Ju Meok (Yoo Soo Bin) is our resident Hallyu fan, and is the group’s interpreter for all things related to the South; Pyo Chi Soo is the suspicious, sardonic one; Kwang Bum (Lee Shin Young) is the handsome one; Eun Dong (Tang Joon Sang) is the innocent baby of the group who needs the most care and guidance.

I loved watching these boys together; there’s so much innocent, earnest childlikeness about them, even though they’re supposed to be Special Forces soldiers. Definitely a big highlight of my watch. ❤

[SPOILER ALERT]

E2. Lol at how Ju Meok “learns” all these things about South Korea from his drama obsession. How familiar and relatable! And how silly and hilarious, that he believes that South Koreans get amnesia a great deal, ha! And then how endearing, when he keeps talking to Se Ri to find out what happened to Dae Gil at the end of Chuno.

E3. Ju Meok’s repeated insights into South Korea via his drama watching experience is such a hoot, with him assuring everyone that people kiss to avert crisis, and fall in love after spending a night together. Lol. Yes, the fake couple really does always fall in love. Hur. And it’s even funnier because Show is not just poking fun at the trope, but doing a nudge-nudge-wink-wink thing with us, coz Jung Hyuk and Se Ri are totally going to fall in lurve, just like Ju Meok says.

E10. The Puppies coming over to South Korea and marveling at the different types of instant ramyun in the convenience store is cute, and their awe at the existence of instant rice is adorkable.

E11. The Puppies trying to blend into South Korea and failing epically is quite amusing, while still serving as a poignant highlight of the differences between the North and the South. It was cute, but also, so bittersweet, to hear the boys sighing in envy at the fact that the lights stay on at night, in South Korea, especially Man Bok’s (Kim Young Min) wistful sigh that his son would be able to do his homework so well, if the lights stayed on at home like this. Oof.

E13. My favorite little arc this episode, is Ju Meok getting to meet Choi Ji Woo. He’s so adorably shy, dorky and earnest, and she’s so lovely, understanding and gentle. Ju Meok explodes with extra puppy appeal, with his I’m-so-happy-shocked-I’m-gonna-cry face, and his earnest-desperate reciting of her famous lines from his favorite drama Stairway to Heaven. She is so gracious to say the lines with him too, and his I-need-to-bury-my-face-now reaction, pulling his beanie down over his eyes, is just the cutest, most innocent, childlike thing. How is this man in Special Forces?

E14. The way the boys listen in on everything going on in Se Ri’s hospital room, with edge-of-their-seats suspense, wonder, discovery and, well, addiction, is just like how drama fans follow their favorite crack dramas. It’s completely hilarious, while being oddly wholesome. I loves it. ❤

[END SPOILER]

The Village Ahjummas

Kinda like with the Puppy Boys, I was quite shocked by how much I loved the Village Ahjummas, by the time I reached the end of my watch.

At first, the ahjummas seem mostly like comic and narrative devices, with their inquisitive, gossipy ways, and their giant collective crush on Jung Hyuk – and what effective devices they made, too! – but by Show’s second half, their good nature and good hearts are clear to see, and I couldn’t help but grow fond of them all. Special shout-out to Wol Suk (Kim Sun Young) for her uninhibited drunken ways, heh.

Here are just two of my favorite moments involving the ahjummas. Not to worry though, I’ll be talking about them some more, later in the review.

[SPOILER ALERT]

E12. The moment that I found most touching this episode, is when the village ahjummas each risked their safety, to bring Young Ae (Kim Jung Nan) food and supplies, even though they’ve been warned that it’s best to keep a distance. The fact that they each take it upon themselves to bring something, out of care and concern for Young Ae, despite the potential danger to themselves, speaks of so much sisterhood and solidarity. I teared up alongside too, when Young Ae cried at the sweet and selfless gesture.

E13. Pfft. The village ahjummas walking in on a shirtless, glistening Seung Joon is quite hilarious. Their eyes are as big as saucers and they literally look like they have stars in their eyes, ha. They’re such fangirls, seriously. I love it.

[END SPOILER]

Man Bok

I really felt for Man Bok as a character, and I’m honestly deeply impressed by Kim Young Min, who plays Man Bok.

The more I saw of Kim Young Min as Man Bok, the more I marveled. I mean, the last time I saw Kim Young Min, he was playing a snooty chaebol jerk in My Mister, complete with sharp suits and smug swagger. And here, he’s a fidgety, nervous mouse of a wiretapper. His entire posture is different, and the entire air about him is a stark contrast to his swaggery chaebol days. He literally comes across as a completely different person, and I’m suitably impressed.

I thought that Man Bok’s arc, while full of heartbreak and angst, was well-handled. At no point in my watch did I feel like Show was taking this into cheesy or OTT territory. In fact, I thought the angst was well-balanced with humor and heart.

[SPOILER ALERT]

In general, I felt sorry for Man Bok, who’s under Major Cho’s (Oh Man Suk) thumb but seems wracked by guilt over his involvement in Jung Hyuk’s brother’s death. He feels even more guilty and torn, when he realizes that Major Cho wants him to wiretap Jung Hyuk as well, but complies because he has to.

Man Bok eavesdropping on the goings-on in Jung Hyuk’s house, and getting super confused, and also, getting super invested, is very amusing. It’s almost like he’s listening to some kind of radio drama, like the way we watch our dramas, ha. This running gag made me giggle quite a bit.

For example, in episode 3, Se Ri’s conversation with Hallyu lover Ju Meok and his obsession with Stairway to Heaven is hilariously misunderstood as some kind of plot where Se Ri claims not to have killed someone, and Jung Hyuk’s 10 nice words to his tomato plant is interpreted as some kind of secret code. Tee hee.

On the other hand, I found it gratifying to watch, as we see Man Bok grow fond of Jung Hyuk, and more determined to set things right. It’s basically an internal battle between love, fear and conscience, for Man Bok, and every time Man Bok too a little step to protect Jung Hyuk and Se Ri, I cheered on the inside.

I was so proud of him in episode 13, when we learn that he finally makes a decision to stand up to Major Cho’s threats, even though Major Cho claims to hold Man Bok’s son’s life hostage. I was very pleased to see that despite it all, Man Bok wants to fight back, and that he trusts the other puppies enough, to tell them the truth. Yes.

And then I really love the fact that Man Bok bugged Se Ri’s hospital room, in episode 14. HA. Talk about turning your shortcoming into your strength. Once the Puppies realize he’s bugged her room, they’re all hugging him and thanking him, which must so trippy for him, since he’s always felt ashamed for bugging and listening in on people, and had been ostracized and bullied for it too. I love it. ❤

[END SPOILER]

Special shout-outs:

Dan’s family

For the small amount of screen time that Dan’s mom and uncle (Jang Hye Jin and Park Myung Hoon) have, they sure make a big splash. They’re so dramatic, theatrical and hammy, that they basically steal every scene they’re in. Even better if they’re in a scene together, facing off of each other.

In particular, I loved watching Dan’s mom. Her giant pouf of hair, her bold red lips, her random garbled English, and her mega amounts of vain swag are just so iconic. She basically deserves her own show.

Im Chul Soo as Park Soo Chan

Soo Chan is a pretty minor character, but I just wanted to give him a shout-out because I very much enjoyed Im Chul Soo’s elastic expressions. His sad faces were always extra sad, and his smiles, extra wide. I just liked having him on my screen.

RELATIONSHIPS

Jung Hyuk and Se Ri

The OTP connection really is Show’s Main Event, and I’m happy to say that by and large, this OTP really worked for me.

First of all, Hyun Bin and Son Ye Jin share a chemistry that I find believable, natural and sparky. It helps that both actors deliver their roles so convincingly, that I could believe that Jung Hyuk and Se Ri really meant everything they said to each other.

Secondly, even though I felt Show was very heavy-handed with the Big Fate between our OTP (more thoughts on that later), I have to credit Show with the fact that I can believe how Se Ri and Jung Hyuk would fall for each other. In many dramas, we’re expected to just believe that the OTP is in love. But here, I can actually see and feel them falling for each other in degrees. I love that through it all, Jung Hyuk and Se Ri actually have meaningful conversations that deepen their mutual understanding. I find their growing affection for and connection with each other completely believable and organic, and that made it easy for me to root for them to find happiness with each other.

I love the idea that they go from strangers who have no business with each other, to people who truly understand each other, and care for each other. And I am very pleased that we get to witness that journey as it unfolds. There might be a bunch of things that I found hard to believe in Show’s drama world (more on that later), but the growing connection between our OTP was not one of them.

[SPOILER ALERT]

E1. Even though Se Ri and Jung Hyuk are on opposite sides, it’s nice to see that they don’t mean each other any harm. Se Ri leaves him slightly stranded for her own safety, but makes sure to put his walkie in a place where it’ll be carried to him by the water current in due time. And he gives instructions for her to be captured but not shot.

E2. That moment, when Se Ri’s in the dark during the power outage, and she’s got a vase raised over her head to hit any potential intruder, and a single tear escapes her eye in the midst of her terror, as she sees that it’s Jung Hyuk, is really well done. Kudos to Son Ye Jin for an excellent portrayal; I feel like that was a difficult scene to pull off in that degree of detail, and she does it beautifully.

I can also believe that that would unlock the floodgates and that it would give rise to a moment of vulnerability, where Jung Hyuk would get to see her true, very scared and worried state. The way Jung Hyuk responds to Se Ri’s blubbered statement about how she can’t believe she’s crying in front of a stranger, by snuffing out the candle so that he can’t actually see her, is so gruffly sweet and thoughtful.

E3. I do love the short conversation that Se Ri and Jung Hyuk have on the boat, when they think they won’t see each other again. They sound so at ease with each other, and even tell each other their names and where their family clans are from, and chuckle at how her family clan originated in North Korea, and his, from South Korea. There’s a friendly solidarity here that I like.

E4. It amuses me that both Se Ri and Jung Hyuk separately each take pleasure at news that the other is concerned for them. Se Ri gets all shy and pleased when she hears that Jung Hyuk told the boys to stay with her and guard her while he isn’t there, and hilariously, Jung Hyuk gets just the same pleased-bashful way, when he hears that Se Ri wants to help him receive the Preferential Star award and be promoted. Cute.

E4. It’s so dorky that Jung Hyuk rides past Head Ahjumma’s house several times, until he bumps into Se Ri coming out, and it’s just funny, that Se Ri immediately pinpoints that he must’ve been waiting for her. Ha. What a letdown, after all the trouble he went to, to make it look accidental.

E4. The way Jung Hyuk looks at Se Ri when he thinks she isn’t looking, is starting to get seriously melty. He’s so focused on her, and the look in his eyes is just so warm and appreciative, even as amusement flickers in his gaze. Guh.

E4. Jung Hyuk sure goes to a lot of trouble to meet the requests of the demanding South Korean woman. I mean, he even roasts coffee beans to make her coffee in the morning, and then looks stifled-pleased when she slurps it up appreciatively. How endearing and sweet is he?

E4. Jung Hyuk’s immediate concern when he hears that Se Ri got separated from the ahjummas at the market, and his creative thinking, in getting a candle, and his thoughtfulness, in making it a scented candle like what she’d asked for, is just all kinds of melty. If I were freaked out and lost in the dark in Se Ri’s shoes, I can only imagine the overwhelming relief I’d feel, to suddenly see a light in the distance, and have that light illuminate a face that I’d come to trust. Augh. The tears in Se Ri’s eyes feel completely warranted, and my heart surges a little, that Jung Hyuk’s eyes are sheening a little with tears too. Aw. He’s relieved that he’s found her and she’s safe.

Jung Hyuk being Se Ri’s light in the darkness, coming for her, and saving her, when she thought she was completely lost, must have inched her a little more, towards falling for him. Same for the other sweet and thoughtful things he’s done, like roast coffee beans to make her fresh coffee in the morning, even though he has to go to quite a bit of trouble to even get the coffee beans.

And for all the trouble she gives him, Se Ri is appreciative of Jung Hyuk’s kindness, and tells him so. Plus, it’s clear that he finds her quite endearing, for all her Picky Princess ways, and even I have to agree that despite Se Ri’s tendency to come across as fussy and vain, that that part of her consistently fades away quite quickly, to reveal a more grateful, carefree side. And because I find her likable in spite of her ridiculous rich ways, I find it easy to believe that Jung Hyuk would like her too.

E5. Se Ri and Jung Hyuk denying their feelings for each other, to each other as well as to themselves, even as they each get jealous – she of Jung Hyuk’s interactions with Dan, and he of her interactions with Seung Joon – is quite amusing. Jung Hyuk got all petulant and grumpy, when Se Ri gave finger hearts to the other boys as well, which is the cutest thing. And Se Ri, who’s sworn that she will never wait for anyone, ends up sitting up all night, drinking herself into a stupor, because Jung Hyuk isn’t returning home like he said he would. D’aw.

E5. It’s so clear that they have feelings for each other, and there’s a distinct sense of wistfulness that comes up every time either of them mentions their impending goodbye.

E5. Jung Hyuk going to so much trouble to find Se Ri a way to go home, at such high risk to himself, which he stoically denies when Se Ri asks him about it, is just so selfless and sacrificial. He knows that she badly wants to go back, and so he goes ahead and does this, putting himself at risk, just so that he can grant her wish. Augh. My heart hurts.

E5. Jung Hyuk really is the sweetest. During the power outage-induced overnight picnic in the middle of nowhere, he buys Se Ri just about anything she asks for, except for warm water to wash her face with, heh. But otherwise, he gets firewood, blankets, corn and potatoes, so that she will be warm and not cold, fed and not hungry. I also really enjoy the philosophical conversation they have, about whether life brings disappointment, and whether a wrong train can bring you to the right destination. Clearly, Se Ri got on a wrong train which landed her in North Korea, but since it also landed her right in front of a very sweet, thoughtful and melty Captain Ri who would go to great lengths to help and protect her, it looks like she’s already at the right destination.

I like that Se Ri shows a genuine concern for Jung Hyuk’s future. First, when she asks on the train, whether anything bad will happen to him once she disappears as planned. A more selfish person wouldn’t care, because it’d all be stuff they’d left behind, but Se Ri cares. And second, when she tells him that he’s a good person, and that she hopes that he will be happy, and reach the right destination, even after she leaves. She genuinely wishes him well, and that feels quite pure, which I like.

E5. I love the way Jung Hyuk steals glances at Se Ri. His facial expression doesn’t change a great deal, but there’s a twinkle of amusement and a touch of appreciation in his gaze, which I dig.

E6. Another thing I like about this OTP, is that even though one of Jung Hyuk’s earlier standing rules was that Se Ri would be banned from talking to him and the puppy crew, they talk, and often, about important, deeply personal things. In this way, I can also believe that their connection would grow deep, in a relatively short period of time.

E6. It occurs to me that Se Ri and Jung Hyuk are similar yet different, in their family experiences and outlooks. On the surface, they both are expected to marry someone of their family’s choosing. Jung Hyuk is engaged to Dan, and Se Ri was supposed to have married Seung Joon. But, while Se Ri says that she and her brothers never experienced any kind of siblinghood, Jung Hyuk and his brother (cameo by Ha Suk Jin) are shown to have a deeply loving relationship.

It’s ironic, that the siblings with the stronger, warmer relationship is the pair from North Korea, which is commonly viewed as the colder, harsher Korea. So when Se Ri muses that her brothers must be happy to think that she’s dead, Jung Hyuk corrects her – and how painfully paradoxical, that he’s actually lost his brother, and was heartbroken for it. When Jung Hyuk quietly says that Se Ri’s brothers must be waiting for her to return, I feel so sad for him, because it feels like in his heart, that’s what he would hope for the most, that his brother would – could – return.

E6. Jung Hyuk goes to a lot of trouble to ensure Se Ri’s safety, and it’s so loyal and gallant of him. Even though it’s Se Ri who christens him her bodyguard, he takes the role seriously and even gets shot while protecting her. Oof. I’m sure Se Ri won’t be able to leave him now.

And how cool and badass does Hyun Bin look, stunt riding that motorbike and wielding weapons, while wearing the most determined, focused expression on his face? Squee! More than that though, I’m moved by how Jung Hyuk’s literally putting his life on the line to keep Se Ri safe. He may hold back with his words, always gruffly telling her things like there’s no reason for them to keep mementos of each other, and to forget him and everything she’s been through in North Korea once she gets home, but his actions speak much louder: he cares about her, so much.

E7. Se Ri’s faced with the choice of either going home and leaving Jung Hyuk to possibly bleed to death, or staying to save him, and give up her chance of going home, possibly for good. And she chooses him, unequivocally. When it was between driving to the hospital or to the airport, she chooses the hospital without hesitation, and when it was between donating blood or leaving for her flight, she chooses to donate her blood to Jung Hyuk. Yes, it can be argued that this is the humanitarian thing to do; that a humane person wouldn’t leave an injured person to die; that this is not necessarily love. But we know that Se Ri loves Jung Hyuk, and chooses him over herself because she loves him. And isn’t it nice to know that she’s a good, humane person too, to boot?

E7. Why would the photo of Se Ri fall out so conveniently, from Jung Hyuk’s bloodied uniform? Probably because he’d looked at it, just before setting off on that mission to save her; gazed upon her face, while thinking upon his promise to protect her. Augh. The devotion.

E7. A confirmation of feelings before episode 8? That’s unusual, but I’m not complaining. The lead-up to the kiss was predictable, but still poignant. They each literally put their lives on the line, in order to save the other, and it rightly calls for a lot of emotion, and some tears. And some honesty. Confronted with all that they’ve faced in the space of a single day, it feels believable, and quite right, that their feelings for each other would come flooding out. I would believe that Jung Hyuk, faced with what Se Ri’s given up in order to save him, would act on his feelings and kiss her. I do like that it’s a gentle, tentative kiss, and I also like that that gentle tentative kiss is also quite.. enduring. The execution isn’t exactly swoony, but just the concept of it makes me melt a little.

E8. Jung Hyuk’s pleased expression when he hears from the kpop fan hospital patient that he’s Se Ri’s favorite and biggest bias, is cute.

E8. I don’t like lying between OTPs, neither do I like noble idiocy, where one party leaves the other for their own good. But, in this case, I can buy that it makes sense within our story. Se Ri (well, is told, and) believes that Jung Hyuk’s life will be in danger if she continues to allow him to help her, and it’s actually true, in the context of North Korea, so it makes sense that she would say stuff that she believes will stop Jung Hyuk in his tracks, and let him be safe, away from her. It’s still a bummer to watch unfold, though.

E8. Jung Hyuk is ever the gentleman. When Se Ri asks what he’s doing at the guesthouse, he says that he figured she’d be waiting for him (rather than that he needed to save her coz she’d been kidnapped, for example), and when she tells him her plan and asks him to leave, he looks into her eyes and asks if that’s what she really wants. And when she tells him yes, he answers gently, “I understand. So don’t cry,” as he wipes away her tears with his thumb. Augh.

It’s clear from the look in his eyes that he’s hearing her words, but is reading her face and her tears, and he knows that she doesn’t want to push him away, but he chooses to respect her wishes anyway. It’s no wonder that she cries even harder, having to say goodbye to such a sweet and caring man.

E8. Driven by concern for him, out in the snowy cold, and fueled by her surging emotions at having to say goodbye to him, Se Ri drives out to get Jung Hyuk. When she finds him, she can barely meet his eyes, and tells him to get in the car. His watchful gaze never leaves her; he sees her tears, her awkwardness; he hears her feeble words, but sees her sadness and her struggle, and this time, he allows himself to respond not to her words, but to her heart, and pulls her into his embrace. Aw.

E8. Given how tender and sweet Jung Hyuk is towards her, it’s no wonder that we learn that Se Ri has changed a lot from a year ago. From a lonely workaholic who keeps her team working on the night of Christmas Eve, apparently genuinely believing that there’s nothing to celebrate, she’s become a person who cares enough for someone else, to go to all the trouble of making decorations to create a makeshift Christmas tree, make a personalized Christmas card for her Mr. Lee, and even pawn the ring on her finger to get him a gift.

E8. Because of their literal life-or-death situation, the stakes and emotions are suitably amped up for this OTP relationship, which also effectively elevates our vicarious experience. Jung Hyuk literally risks his life to grant Se Ri’s wish of returning to South Korea, and Se Ri literally puts her life on the line, while making that final phone call to tell Jung Hyuk goodbye, and that she loves him.

E9. I’d been accidentally spoiled that there would be a scene where Jung Hyuk has a heartfelt love confession type outburst in front of his dad, and yet, that didn’t diminish my enjoyment of the scene. It was a pretty fantastic mix of emotions, in response to watching the scene. First, I was glad to see Jung Hyuk and Se Ri reunited; Show is at its best when these two are together, and I also wanted Jung Hyuk to be put out of his fearful misery about Se Ri possibly being dead. And, it was sweet (almost saccharine, but just shy of it) to see them show so much unabashed concern, love and care for each other, oblivious to the fact that his parents are right there in the room, looking on. He’s all concerned that she’s not hurt, and she’s all dismayed at his injuries from being beaten up; they only have eyes for each other, and it’s admittedly both sweet and poignant.

What’s fantastic, though, is Dad’s shocked face, which remains completely frozen in a raised-eyebrow, dumbfounded sort of state, through every stage of the not-quite-a-couple’s reunion. It’s the greatest thing, and it made me giggle out loud, even as I also wanted to melt at our OTP’s demonstration of care for each other. Pretty fantastic handling indeed.

E9. It’s such a sweet-dorky thing for Jung Hyuk to do, to pretend to get lost over and over again, because he wants to delay saying goodbye to Se Ri. Their conversation is so bittersweet, as he tells her to go back to life as if nothing ever happened, and when she mentions that she will date men and he appears dismayed by it (though he denies it), she agrees to have a mourning period of 6 months, like she’d once requested of him. How sweet, that he tells her to go ahead and date men if she likes; he just doesn’t want her to be lonely, nor does he want her to ever consider ending her life again. How selflessly caring, and with Se Ri tearing up so much, I have to admit that I feel her reluctance and wistfulness too.

It’s a plaintive moment, when Se Ri steps over the boundary line, after Jung Hyuk tells her that he can’t go any further with her, not even a single step. She walks away, even more teary-eyed than before, and I love it that emotion takes over our usually decorous captain, and he steps over the boundary line, grabs her arm, and murmuring, “Just one step should be fine,” leans in to kiss her. Squee! The kiss itself is tame by cable standards, but I will buy that that’s Jung Hyuk’s sense of decorum kicking in.

E9. That’s a cute little detail, that Se Ri had left a coded message for Jung Hyuk by arranging his books on the shelf such that the first character of each book would read, “I love you Ri Jung Hyuk.” Cute! And, how clever, that he would actually understand the coded message, coz I personally would’ve found it quite obtuse.

E10. How very like Jung Hyuk, to just look for Se Ri in the neighborhood that she’d mentioned, and how like this show, to make it such that they would meet face to face in the crowd. I guess these two have a knack for being in the same place at the same time? I do like his simple explanation, though. It’s so like him, to say only a few words, to explain some big sweeping gesture that he’s made. Se Ri’s eyes brimming with tears, full of wonder, disbelief, questions and gladness, kind of mirrors how I feel about this reunion. I like it, it feels good, and I also want to know more, heh.

E11. The scene where Major Cho is hunting down Se Ri, while Jung Hyuk is entrapped in a deserted building with a whole gang of men trying to kill him, was hard to watch. I literally had to pause the episode before coming back to it. How telling, though, that Se Ri would literally put herself further into danger’s way, in order to save Jung Hyuk.

And, she tells him to leave because she’s ok – when she’s far from ok. I must say, though, I do appreciate the idea that Se Ri and Jung Hyuk essentially save each other. When Jung Hyuk’s about to be shot, she saves him by turning off the lights and calling Major Cho’s bluff; he saves her by tracking her voice and finding her before Major Cho does, so that he can protect her. That.. is pretty intense stuff.

E11. These two are developing a bad habit of continually telling each other that they’re ok, and everything’s fine, when it’s the opposite of the truth. Jung Hyuk almost died coming to South Korea, but he tells her it was all fine and that nothing happened. Se Ri’s family is anything but happy that she’s back, but she tells him that he was right, and everyone was glad, and it’s all fine. And then this thing, when Se Ri tells Jung Hyuk to run away, because she’s fine. I get that they want to protect each other, and not worry each other, but.. this is getting unhealthy.

E12. The thinly disguised drunken chat between Se Ri and Jung Hyuk feels quite cheesy and lame in its setup, but I have to confess that I choked up a bit, when Jung Hyuk confessed wistfully that he actually wanted to stay and marry Se Ri, and have a kid that takes after her. Aw.

E12. After the boys’ failed birthday surprise, the tears and sobs, the embarrassment, the effort of trying to stop crying – and then Jung Hyuk’s gentle backhug, is all very heart-in-your-throat stuff, and yet, I can’t take actual comfort in the moment, because Jung Hyuk’s backhug is so tenuous, in context. This is only assurance in the moment, not assurance for the future, and his words, that he will always remember her and think of her gratefully on her birthday, are just very heart-achey to hear. Oof.

E13. Jung Hyuk giving Se Ri couple rings is a mixed signal indeed, given that they’re carefully avoiding making promises to each other, and have agreed not to make too many memories together. I feel like this is Jung Hyuk having mixed feelings. He wants to give her something significant, but they’ve agreed not to, and that’s why he tries to brush it off in his preamble. But it totally means something, and I melt a little, that the ring fits her so perfectly.

E13. I’ve seen comments asking why Se Ri and Jung Hyuk aren’t kissing during the romantic moments. I get where viewers are coming from, and I also think I get where Show is coming from, too. Jung Hyuk and Se Ri have admitted to their feelings for each other, but have basically agreed not to act on their feelings, well, too much, anyway. They’ve avoided making promises to each other, and in Korea, kissing is considered a bigger deal than, say, in the US. Generally speaking, of course. I think that in this context, even though Jung Hyuk has kissed Se Ri, they are consciously holding back from getting too involved because there’s an impending goodbye.

E14. Hyun Bin kills it, as worried, tearful Jung Hyuk, as Se Ri undergoes surgery for her gunshot wound. Despite my inner wrestlings with this show, I couldn’t help but be sucked in, as Jung Hyuk silently watches over Se Ri from a distance, worry written in his gaze, and his heart in his throat. And that moment when Se Ri calls Jung Hyuk to let him know that she’s awake, and to ask him to come back, I swooned a little, even as Jung Hyuk makes big strides, beelining in her direction, the tears sheening in his eyes. Augh. I felt all of the feels, watching Jung Hyuk hone in on her and her alone, with his heart practically bursting out of his chest.

Se Ri and Jung Hyuk crying, reflex-bickering, and then just simply crying, is very heartfelt, and I can even understand why Jung Hyuk would get upset at her, because she’d put her life in danger. Their tearful embrace is gentle and tender, and Jung Hyuk finally gets to tell Se Ri the words that he’s kept in his heart all this time, as he whispers, “I love you.” Aw. And, sniffle.

E14. The scene where Jung Hyuk shows off his various battle scares to Se Ri is quite funny. The more scars he shows her, the more Se Ri clucks in sympathy and coos that it must’ve hurt, and the more he digs around for more scars to show her. It’s no wonder his shirt is half off when the boys walk in on them; what a difficult situation to explain away indeed. Snicker.

[END SPOILER]

Seung Joon and Dan

Just like with our OTP, I found that Show was better when Seung Joon and Dan were together than apart.

We don’t get a whole lot of screen time with this couple and their loveline, but I must say that given the limited exposure I got to this loveline, my heart was very effectively sucked in. I found myself actually rooting for this couple, and I’m impressed that Show managed to achieve this, with the slightly highlight reel vibe of this loveline.

[VAGUE SPOILERS] We go from aloof, disdainful start (on Dan’s part), to reluctant meaningful conversations and encounters, to actual heartfelt declarations of love in relatively quick order, because of this couple’s smaller amount of screen time, and even though my brain protested the speedy acceleration of this loveline, my heart argued that sometimes people do fall in love fast and deep, and shipped them anyway. [END SPOILER]

I think credit goes not only to the solid chemistry between Kim Jung Hyun and Seo Ji Hye, but also to their deliveries. Even when my brain protested how quickly Seung Joon and Dan grew closer, their all-in, heartfelt deliveries sold it for me, and it wasn’t long before I concluded that these two are just perfect for each other.

I’m pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this couple, though I have some thoughts on how Show eventually treats this loveline, which I’ll talk about later.

[SPOILER ALERT]

E7. Seung Joon’s encounters with Dan are usually played as light and a little comedic, but they really do seem to connect well. She doesn’t welcome his presence per se, but he’s undeterred, and tells her things that she may not want to hear, but are useful for her to hear. Like how she is barking up the wrong tree, expecting sparks in an arranged marriage. No one else would tell her that, but he offers it up, frankly and without any attempt to sugarcoat the hard truth. As much of a bummer as it is to Dan to hear it, she seems to appreciate the truth, even as she wrestles with it. Also, these two look very cute together.

E9. I see why people are shipping Seung Joon and Dan, their shared scene where she gets all drunk and slurry, and where he carries her home and she drunkenly tells him to stay the night, is quite funny, and they do share solid chemistry. Plus, she tells him stuff, albeit when she’s tipsy, but I do think it means that on some level, she trusts him.

E10. I dig the growing connection between Seung Joon and Seo Dan. The fact that she would vouch for him even though she has to lie to do it, shows that she trusts him. And I like that he sees through all her attempts to pretend that everything’s ok, and isn’t afraid to tell her everything as it is. He’s right, she should let go of Jung Hyuk; it really is game over.

E11. Seung Joon becoming increasingly preoccupied and obsessed with Dan is quite amusing. Plus it’s rather great that they save each other; he’s her knight with shining umbrella, saving her from humiliation in front of her gossipy friends, and she gives him a place to stay when he has nowhere else to go. These two get along better than they’d like to admit, and Seung Joon obsessing over what Dan meant with every word that she said, is quite funny.

Essentially, Seung Joon and Dan are to each other what they never got otherwise. Dan’s finally the object of a man’s undivided attention, and he’s discombobulated by her, to boot. She absolutely never had that with Jung Hyuk, even though they were engaged to be married. And Dan is a natural at being aloof and playing hard to get – when she’s not even actually trying to play hard to get. It’s a bait that she doesn’t even know that she’s putting out, and Seung Joon cannot help but bite, because he’s so used to charming all the ladies whenever he wants. These two are quite perfect for each other, I think.

E12. I don’t quite buy the whole revenge arc that Show is throwing in now, all of a sudden, but Dan getting all fired up and upset on Seung Joon’s behalf is rather cute, I have to admit.

E13. Even though Seung Joon and Dan have only known each other for a short period, I somehow buy that Seung Joon really does like her sincerely. I appreciate that he tells her the truth, when she asks him why he’d gone to Jung Hyuk’s house.

E14. Aw, Seung Joon seeks Dan out because he’s worried about her after seeing her cry, and even offers to be her punching bag if that would make her feel better. The way he blurts out all the details that make her so attractive and charming in his eyes, is pretty darn awesome.

“I told you before. I’m not going to lie to you ever again. So you have to listen carefully to me. First of all, you’re pretty.” … “You look good with your hair loose or tied up. Even if you suddenly come out without makeup on, you look like a goddess. And you seemed so charismatic when you saved me. You were so cool.” … “You’re coy, haughty, and unfriendly, but I just can’t hate you. To be honest, you even… look cute. You make me wonder what the guy you care for is like. I even feel jealous. And you make me want to become a better man. You’re so amazing that you make me feel that way. You are an amazing woman.”

Swoon. She can’t help but be affected by it and by him, and – eee! – kisses ensue. I do wish we had more time with this couple.

[END SPOILER]

Jung Hyuk and the Puppy Boys

It’s the stereotypical manly man thing to do, not to articulate your love for your best buds, but that love is often clear to see, in how you relate to one another, and in how you’d literally put our life on the line for your brothers, and that’s exactly how I see the relationship between Jung Hyuk and his Puppies.

The boys respect that Jung Hyuk is their Captain, and they take his orders seriously. But it’s in the fierce loyalty in their eyes, when push comes to shove, that tells me that these boys love Jung Hyuk more than they love themselves, and that Jung Hyuk would do anything to protect them.

[SPOILER] We see the puppies’ love and loyalty for Jung Hyuk starkly, in episode 13, during the flashback in the epilogue, of how the boys pledge, with earnest tears in their eyes, to stay behind to help protect Se Ri, ignoring their standing orders to return to the North. I like the sentiment, that Se Ri is important to them too, and I believe it, with the happy affection that we’ve seen, from their reunion with her. But beyond that, the burgeoning emotion, on the part of the puppies, and also, on the part of Jung Hyuk, was moving to behold. This was a deep expression of loyalty and love for Jung Hyuk too.

And then in episode 15, Jung Hyuk valiantly tries to take all the blame, when he and the boys are taken in to the NIS. He knows that if he’s successful, he will face severe consequences, but he’s willing to endure that, in order to protect the ones that he loves: Se Ri, and his boys too. [END SPOILER]

Se Ri and the Puppy Boys

I really enjoyed Se Ri’s relationship with the boys.

Despite their slightly rocky start, Se Ri soon endears herself to the boys, and I really liked watching the bond between them grow. Each of them relates to her differently – [MINOR SPOILER] Chi Soo is always gruff, Ju Meok constantly wants to talk to her about kdramas, Kwang Bum is reserved but respectful, and Eun Dong is like her youngest child, even moving towards her and leaning in, so that she can pat him on the head, ha [END SPOILER] – and together, they really do strike me as a bunch of kids of varying ages, relating to their Mom.

It’s very cute and endearing, and also, quite strongly poignant to me, because there’s the whole North-South divide underscoring the whole thing, and I just want them to be able to hang out together like this, always.

[SPOILER ALERT]

E3. The awards ceremony that Se Ri holds is so random and bizarre, but the boys really get into it, and both Chi Soo and Jung Hyuk get a bit grumpy when they don’t get an award, hee. Cute.

E6. Se Ri having a farewell picnic with the boys is the cutest, most poignant, endearing thing. They really can’t bear to see her go, and so earnestly want to show her a good time. Thank goodness they didn’t slaughter the cute piglet though. Eep.

The puppy crew really are the cutest. The way they bumble around in the water trying to catch fish for their picnic, and then roar and jump and dance with delight when they actually do catch a fish, feels so childlike, pure and innocent. And the way they bring all the food and huddle around Se Ri, is like kiddos proudly bringing food to Mom. Aw.

E9. Se Ri and the boys saying their goodbyes is such a wistful thing. They are sorry to see her leave, and they hide it with gruff words, like Chi Soo telling her not to come back to North Korea, or he’ll bury her, and then end off with instructions to each other, to be well, and not fall sick. Aw.

E12. Se Ri group hugging the boys in the park is so poignant, because she’d thought that she would never see them again. The tearful gladness in her eyes and theirs is really sweet.

E13. I do like the way Se Ri’s birthday is celebrated with both North and South traditions. They have a cake in South tradition, but the song is from the North, and then Se Ri teaches them to make a wish, and they all blow out the candles together, in their own brand new tradition. Aw.

E13. I appreciate that Se Ri, Jung Hyuk and the boys effectively foil Major Cho’s big plan by using the weapon that all of us viewers have been imploring our characters to use all this time: communication. It was pretty great to see in flashback how they just communicated with one another and kept things transparent, and worked together to come up with a plan.

E14. The boys rushing in to hug Se Ri at the hospital, is so endearing. They do get stopped by Jung Hyuk, who instructs them to keep it to handshakes coz she’s still fragile, ha, but they really did want to hug her. They really do love her; they’re like a bunch of kids rushing to their mom, lol.

[END SPOILER]

Se Ri and the Village Ahjummas

I also really enjoyed watching Se Ri getting to know the ahjummas. They are as different as chalk and cheese – a South Korean chaebol heiress and a bunch of North Korean village ahjummas? Cue hijinks! – and while Show milks the differences for some well-executed amusement and hilarity, the heartfelt bond that results, is so completely heartwarming and moving, that I couldn’t help but choke up at it all.

I just loved the idea that this newly cemented sisterhood was something that transcended all of their differences, and spoke to their hearts, universally. ❤

[SPOILER ALERT]

E4. Se Ri getting along with the ahjummas is very amusing. She’s a natural at buttering up Head Ahjumma, but the others can’t help but be endeared of her too. I like that she took a dress that was pronounced too frumpy to be suitable as a birthday gift, and turned it into Head Ahjumma’s favorite present. Her fashion spin doctor skills are truly next level.

E5. Tee hee. The ahjumma squad knocking down Se Ri’s door so that they could drink with her in her perceived time of heartbreak, is so endearing. They are so adamantly on Se Ri’s side, and even vow to punish Jung Ryuk for breaking her heart. How cute. And also, how bittersweet, that this is likely the first time Se Ri’s experienced such loyalty and sisterhood.

E10. Se Ri leaving a letter for the ahjummas is very sweet. She did lie to them about her identity, but her affection for them is real, and that shows, in her letter. Even though she has to say goodbye, and will likely never see them again, she takes the trouble to tell them the truth, and thank them for their company and support. Aw.

[END SPOILER]

STUFF THAT WAS OK

Oh Man Suk as Major Cho

To be honest, during my first watch, Major Cho struck me as mostly a caricature of a plot device; evil just because the story called for it, and hammed up for dramatic effect. I didn’t have any sympathy for Major Cho that I could speak of, to be honest.

But then, during my second watch, I had a bit of an Aha! moment in episode 6 (details in the spoiler section below), which helped me to make sense of Major Cho a lot more. Because of this new perspective, I found that I had a little more compassion for Major Cho, even though I still think he shouldn’t have done all those terrible things.

Also, for the record, I don’t think this role made the best use of Oh Man Suk’s talents; I would’ve preferred if Major Cho was played with a little more nuance and subtlety, and I am sure Oh Man Suk is fully capable of that. It’s just not what PD-nim &/or writer-nim called for.

[SPOILER ALERT] I realize episode 6 is the first time we are told anything of Major Cho’s background. Before, all it looks like is that he’s a bad guy with a dirty record and isn’t afraid to kill people for his convenience, to keep the books “clean.” But now, we learn that he’s an orphan who roamed the streets, with no parents or siblings to speak of. That.. reminds me of the orphan boy who tried to steal Jung Hyuk’s jacket. And it also reminds me of Seung Joon, who is also all alone in the world.

Major Cho says that he’s where he is today because of the Senior Colonel, but really, he’s basically clawed his way out of poverty, hasn’t he? In a system where orphans don’t really have many options, it looks like he threw away conscience and morality in exchange for survival, money and power. I wonder if he would have turned out differently, if he hadn’t been an orphan in dire straits?

In this conversation, he says to the Senior Colonel that they’re family, and family should stick together to the end. How sadly ironic, that in the end, Major Cho dies alone, even as he makes it his last effort to take Jung Hyuk with him, so that he wouldn’t be alone, in the end. [END SPOILER]

Se Ri’s family

The evil ones

I feel like Se Ri’s family was written in, just to be the source of her troubles. To me, Dad seemed more like set dressing. I’ll talk about Mom next; for this section, I just wanted to highlight her two Oppas and their wives.

Se Hyung and his wife (Yoon Ji Min) are the more devious scheming pair, and provide our story with its requisite South Korean Baddie. I didn’t like them much. But, I did find Se Joon and his wife (Choi Dae Hoon and Hwang Woo Seul Hye) quite harmless and entertaining. In particular, I found Se Joon’s wife quite amusing, and I actually found her slight lisp quite endearing.

The harmless ones

The thing with Tortured Mom

In the overall scheme of things, I didn’t care so much, for the whole thing with Tortured Mom and the teased backstory between her and Se Ri.

[SPOILER ALERT]

Mainly, when Show does the Big Reveal in episode 14, I felt like it all fell flat, a little bit.

We finally see that Mom’s always cared about Se Ri, and that she very much regretted abandoning Se Ri before (which had something to do with Mom wanting to end her life, but I don’t get the connection, it’s presented so weirdly. I mean, you wanted to end your life, so you brought Se Ri to the beach with you? What does that mean? Did you mean to kill her as you killed yourself? Gah.), and it’s sweet that she asks Jung Hyuk to continue to stay at Se Ri’s side.

But, after Mom’s outburst during Se Ri’s coma, begging her to wake up, I’m kind of disappointed that we never see Mom coming clean with Se Ri to tell her how she really feels. And yet, Se Ri’s relationship with Mom improves drastically through to the end of the show. So, Se Ri forgives Mom but never actually gets that face-to-face, heart-to-heart talk that Mom said she desperately wanted? That’s quite uncool, I think.

Also, with this knowledge of the truth behind Mom’s tortured expression, her behavior just didn’t make a lot of sense during my second watch. Basically, Mom is saying that she’s all tortured and messed up because she’s punishing herself, by not accepting the love that Se Ri’s always freely given. But, in Show’s earlier episodes, we see her speaking harshly to Se Ri, and telling her things like Se Ri’s made Mom’s life a living hell, that Se Ri doesn’t deserve to dream, in episode 9. How does this add up? And, if Mom truly felt guilty for how she’d treated Se Ri, doesn’t it make her quite a terrible person, for continuing to lash out at Se Ri, while cognizant of her own guilt towards Se Ri?

This just didn’t work for me very well.

[END SPOILER]

The idea of the OTP Big Fate

Show lays on the OTP’s Big Fate in thick, fat layers, with a very heavy hand, and I honestly don’t think it was necessary.

Like I mentioned earlier in this review, the development of the OTP loveline was robust, organic and all-around well done, so much so that an extra indication that these two people belonged together because of a Gigantic, Far-Reaching Destiny, just felt like Show was taking the idea that These Two People Belongg Togetherr, and hitting us repeatedly in the head with it.

Whenever Jung Hyuk or Se Ri started talking about fate and destiny with tears in their eyes, I have to confess, I rolled my eyes a little. But I will concede that Show managed to pull off that Big Fate in a rather poetic manner, for the most part.

Show’s saving grace to me, on this front, is the fact that Jung Hyuk and Se Ri’s connection was built and teased out so well, that it didn’t need a Big Fate to back it up. And because this Big Fate wasn’t foundational to the OTP relationship, I found it easier to look past.

It can be challenging to keep track of details

Because we have a pretty sprawling story spanning the two Koreas, and many characters and arcs to go with, I found that it was sometimes challenging to keep track of story &/or character details.

A lot of things made more sense, on my second watch, simply because this time, I had my bearings figured out, and I had narrative context for the entire story, which meant that everything fit together a lot better in my head, as a result. This made the story feel much more cohesive to me, on my second watch. Which means, credit to writer-nim, a lot of narrative details were well thought-out. It’s just hard to actually comprehend them all, the first time around.

STUFF I DIDN’T LIKE SO MUCH

Sometimes Show’s sense of humor bugged me

Generally speaking, I didn’t find myself struggling much with Show’s idea of humor, which is a Big Plus, for me. However, there were a couple of occasions in Show’s second half, where the humor struck me as rather insensitive, and that made me uncomfortable.

[SPOILER] Mainly, I’m referring to the Puppies’ efforts to find Se Ri and Jung Hyuk in episode 12. I thought their initial wide-eyed wonder upon their arrival in Seoul was cute and amusing, but by episode 12, I felt like Show had shifted gears, and was making the boys seem quite lame and stupid. I felt quite uneasy at the way Show was making the boys seem so inept and dim, just because they’re from North Korea. I mean, these are supposed to be well-trained Special Forces soldiers, so it didn’t make sense to me that they were portrayed behaving in foolish, dull ways. And imagining North Korean viewers watch these same scenes (because they do consume kdramas as contraband, as Show emphasizes), made me wonder how they would feel. To my mind, I felt like a North Korean viewer might well take offense at this spate of jokes made at the boys’ expense. And, since Show clearly knows that it is likely to have North Korean viewers, this seemed rather insensitive, from my point of view.

I concede though, that having the boys ooh and ahh over basic things like electricity and running water, makes me grateful for what I have. I guess I want Show to help me be grateful, without making the boys look stupid. [END SPOILER]

Thankfully, this wasn’t something that was stretched out over many episodes, and so this wasn’t a deal-breaker for me.

Logic stretches

Even though ridiculousness and logic stretching is built into Show’s premise (who survives a typhoon while paragliding, and without serious injury, right?), there are a number of logic stretches &/or plot holes which niggled at me.

It’s for the best, if you’re able to close your eyes to these things and just enjoy your watch. But for the record, here are the things that bugged me, or made me snicker, during my watch.

[SPOILER ALERT]

Se Ri’s depression and suicidal tendencies

Se Ri is written as having gone to Switzerland seeking physical-assisted suicide because of a long history of depression and anxiety. The doctor doesn’t grant her request, and instead suggests she take in the sights of beautiful Switzerland – and lo and behold, it actually does poof Se Ri’s suicidal tendencies away. I’m no expert on depression, but I’m pretty sure that someone with actual suicidal tendencies – especially someone serious enough about it that they’d seek out physician-assisted suicide or actually attempt jumping off a bridge – can’t just snap out of it, after gazing at pretty scenery? This made no sense to me.

I know this is part of Show’s fairytale, but it does bug me that this is how depression is portrayed, especially after we’ve already lost so many k-celebs to suicide fueled by depression. :/

Other items

E7. I still can’t get over how ridiculous it is, to have a piano sitting on the edge of a pier like that. It’s so bad for the piano, and for someone like Jung Hyuk, who’s such an advanced pianist, it’s impossible that he didn’t know what bad things would happen to the piano from sitting out there like that, and I don’t think someone who loved piano would allow that to happen to a piano.

E10. There’s one thing that I feel doesn’t quite line up. We saw Seung Joon meet Se Ri in flashback for a blind date, where she turned him down unequivocally, telling him that there would be no second date. But, for the rest of the show, we’re told that Se Ri and Seung Joon were once engaged, and this episode, Seung Joon even tells Jung Hyuk that Se Ri broke off the engagement a few weeks before the wedding. That doesn’t add up.

E10. The way Major Cho is rescued requires quite a bit of suspension of disbelief. He sits smugly in the back of the vehicle, while a shoot-out is happening between the men in his vehicle and the men in the monster truck, and is escorted out unscathed, even though lots of bullets go through the vehicle in the meantime. It’s a little unbelievable, that there were no stray bullets that grazed him, in all of the fray, or that he wouldn’t feel the need to, y’know, duck?

E11. Jung Hyuk keeps saying that once he captures Major Cho, that he’ll leave immediately. But, how? He’s in South Korea, alone, on a secret self-assigned mission. It’s not like he has actual back-up officers with a plane or boat waiting to take him back to North Korea. Plus, he makes it sound like he could leave at anytime. How would that work, is what I want to know. Does he intend to just swim back??

E13. I get that Jung Hyuk and the puppies are all stunned that Se Ri’s been shot, but it niggles at me that these guys are all Special Forces trained, and therefore should know the basics of how to treat a patient with a gunshot wound. I mean, at least put pressure on the wound to stem the bleeding?

E14. Pfft. Major Cho was shot in his left shoulder (I double-checked, which the wardrobe and continuity folks clearly didn’t do), but in the scene with the illegal doctor, the bandage and wound is on his right shoulder, and remains on his right shoulder, for the rest of the show.

[END SPOILER]

The unreasonably long episodes

Clearly, Show does not think that being concise is a virtue, because man, those episodes get really long!

Even though it’s become quite typical for an episode of a tvN drama to average 1 hour 15 minutes, Show pushes the envelope a great deal. Some episodes hit 1 hour 30 minutes or more, and the finale itself was a whopping 1 hour 51 minutes. I mean. They could’ve literally made a 24-episode show with hour-long episodes, and that would’ve worked out to be the same thing.

This quirk of Show’s actually affected my watch momentum, because the long episodes just seemed so daunting, that I’d sometimes put off watching an episode, coz I wasn’t feeling up to 1 hour 30 minutes of drama commitment. This didn’t help, especially during the mid-show drag, which I’ll talk about next.

On top of this, I actually felt like the long episodes made it easy for details to get lost. It’s easy to forget a detail that’s casually shared in the midst of a movie-length episode of drama, and it also becomes much harder to keep track of multiple details across multiple movie-length episodes of drama, if you know what I mean.

I feel like on this point, Show leaned too indulgent of itself.

The perceived mid-show drag

I personally felt a degree of drag between episodes 8 to 13.

[SPOILER] This is where the angst kicks in most, I think, and the long episodes coupled with angst just didn’t do Show any favors, at least in my experience. The angst, when coupled with the very long episodes, makes for a general feel of narrative drag. Like, I signed up for feels, and I know angst comes with the package, but I’m not quite prepared to consume angst in such extended servings. Which is why, during this angsty stretch, served up in long episodes, I consistently had the urge to pause the episode and do something else, if only to give myself a break from the amped up angst.

As a result, I didn’t enjoy this stretch of the drama as much as the other episodes. In fact, I even resented Show to some degree, because these episodes weren’t just angsty, they were so longg. To Show’s credit, when the good bits showed up, I still liked ’em a lot. But, for the record, because of the angst and danger hanging over our characters, I felt like I couldn’t truly enjoy the cute or sweet moments that Show served up to alleviate the angst.

Additionally, I felt that Show sometimes toyed with my feelings as well, like in episode 12, where Se Ri comes home to an empty apartment and starts crying, believing that Jung Hyuk has left. I do think Show toyed with us by dragging out the misunderstanding, and having the boys come out of hiding so late. That felt unnatural to me, coz if you see the birthday girl that you’re trying to surprise sob-crying on the floor, after calling out to ask if Jung Hyuk’s already left, you stop the ruse, immediately, right? But no, the boys come out only a few long minutes later, extending Se Ri’s agony needlessly. I felt like this is Show toying with us as an audience, and I was not pleased about it.

Let me put it this way. It felt like Show was taking me on a rollercoaster of emotions. In a single episode (in this case, episode 13), I’m giggling at the dorky cuteness of Ju Meok finally meeting his goddess Choi Ji Woo, then I’m holding my breath as the puppies rally round to save both Se Ri and Jung Hyuk, and then I’m shaking my head as the puppies gather around and cry over Se Ri, who’s bleeding out from a gunshot wound. I mean. I’m on the rollercoaster, but I also feel like I’m being dragged unwillingly onto a rollercoaster that’s more than what I bargained for. [END SPOILER]

Again, like I mentioned in the very beginning of this review, this angsty stretch might not feel like drag to you, if you have a bigger appetite for narrative angst. Also, happily, I enjoyed Show’s last couple of episodes just fine, despite the monster length episodes.

SPOTLIGHT ON THE PENULTIMATE EPISODE [SPOILER]

I love how the village ahjummas band together and basically rescue Man Bok’s family from being taken away by bad men impersonating the authorities. Ahjumma sisterhood for the win!

I find it fitting that Major Cho would bring about his own death, in a last desperate bid to take Jung Hyuk down with him. But I don’t believe that Jung Hyuk would have taken his own life, even though he’d put his gun to his own head for a moment. I see it more as an indication of how lost he felt, in that moment, thinking Major Cho’s lies about his parents’ inevitable execution to be true.

The way Se Ri is so distraught at the sight of the boys being taken away, and insists on going with them, and the way the boys yell at her equally desperately to stay where she is and take care of herself, says so much about how much these people have come to love and care for one another. They’re family now, and it hurts so good.

Although I understand that Jung Hyuk believes that telling the truth will hurt Se Ri, and that’s why he concocts that lie about using her and sticks to his guns even when Se Ri is right in front of him, that was hard to watch. Even though Se Ri knows that he’s lying to protect her, I’m sure the words still sting, and I’m kind of surprised that Jung Hyuk sticks with it to the end, even though she looks like she’s so near collapsing right then and there.

Both Son Ye Jin and Hyun Bin deliver fantastic performances in this scene. I honestly believe that Se Ri is about to collapse from exhaustion, heartache and physical pain; her breathing is so labored and it looks like it literally hurts her to talk. And Jung Hyuk, while remaining stony-faced through their entire conversation, can’t hide the slight sheen of tears in his eyes, as he watches Se Ri struggle, and as he firmly keeps his words brusque and harsh. Oof. This was hard to watch, but the control both actors demonstrate in this scene is very gratifying to witness. I’m especially impressed by Hyun Bin’s ability to allow just that tiny sheen of tears in his eyes, without shifting his facial muscles at all; just enough to be visible, but far from being enough to actually allow tears to fall. That’s skillz.

Of course, everything changes when Se Ri does faint and Jung Hyuk is told that she’s in critical condition. Nothing can hide how much he cares about her; even the NIS officer can clearly tell how much Jung Hyuk loves Se Ri.

The way Jung Hyuk rushes out and freezes the moment he sees Se Ri being carried away, unconscious, says everything about how he really feels, and the tears that he’s been holding back, finally fall from his eyes, his expression no longer stony; now only full of regret, despair and a sense of lostness. Really good.

Even as Se Ri fights for her life, we hear in Jung Hyuk’s voiceover how, if he could do it all over again, he wouldn’t meet her, so that she’d be safe and happy. And we hear in Se Ri’s voice, how, if she could do it all over again, she’d choose to do it all over again, so that she’d have the chance to know and love Jung Hyuk. It all looks quite different on the surface, but ultimately, they would both choose the more self-sacrificial path, for the sake of their love. He would rather choose to be lonely and not to experience love, than to expose her to hurt, and she would rather choose to experience the pain, rather than not love him at all.

As poignant as this is, the most poignant moment this episode, belongs to Seung Joon. I first felt my heart pinch for him when he teared up at the orphans’ song, about not having parents or siblings, and no one would cry for them if they died. It’s an awfully sad song, and it strikes a deep chord with Seung Joon because that’s exactly how he feels. He has no family, and no one to mourn his loss, if he were to die.

And then I teared up again, when Seung Joon says his goodbye to Dan, telling her how much he likes her, and putting the ring on her finger, apologizing that that’s the best he can do for now, and that if he comes back to visit her in the future, and if she’s still single, if she would give him a chance. The tears that accompany this quiet confession, both his and hers, really made my heart pinch; these two are so perfect for each other, and yet, circumstances dictate that they can’t be together, and they say goodbye, cognizant of all these things. How painful.

In the end, I’m not surprised that Seung Joon gives up his chance to leave in order to save Dan, but I am quite pleasantly surprised at the badass sort of ending he gets. He enters the warehouse where Dan is being held, rifle at the ready, and quickly takes down the baddies, one after the other, like a seasoned hero. Dang that he gets a bullet in the heart as he delivers his last shot, but if he had to go, this was a pretty heroic way to die. And, I thought his parting voiceover quite perfect:

“I was wrong. When I die, there is someone who cries for me. The fact you are that person makes me sad and happy.” … “If one of us must die while the other lives on… If that’s fate, it’s only right that I die and you live on. It’s only right.”

Tear. Heart. Break.

THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]

For a finale where I ran into spoilers even while actively trying to dodge them, I’m pleasantly surprised that Show manages a final episode that feels quite satisfying and even a little bit fresh. This, despite its monstrous running time of almost 2 hours. I mean, while watching this finale, I didn’t even mind the length of the episode. Wow. That’s impressive.

The thing that I found saddest, is Seung Joon’s death. I mean, I can understand that narratively speaking, it’s really kinda hard for Seung Joon to make a meaningful life for himself in or out of North Korea. He’s a wanted man whether he stays in North Korea or leaves it, and he’s committed quite a few crimes, so there is no safe haven where he can make a new life for him and Dan, even though that’s what he’d like to do.

I appreciate that Show gave him the chance to go out a hero. Any man who’s willing to lay down his life for the one that he loves, deserves admiration, and he laid it all down for Dan, knowing that it might cost him everything.

What hurts me, is where this leaves poor Dan. She’s lived the past 10 years as Jung Hyuk’s shadow fiancee, seen, but barely acknowledged, and certainly not loved. And now, just as she finally experiences actual love for the first time, with a man whom she’s just getting to know, he dies protecting her, and she loses him, just like that, forever. How crushing.

I know it’s better to have loved and lost rather than not have loved at all, but.. for a woman who clearly desires to be loved the way Seung Joon loved her, this is quite a cruel fate. The shaman predicts that she will be successful and therefore won’t need a man in the future.. but I also think that Seung Joon’s just too hard of an act to follow. After Seung Joon’s literally died for her, I think any other man would pale in comparison, for Dan. We see that Dan eventually stands tall and walks forward confidently, but my heart still aches for her loss.

On the other hand, though, in a show where logic has been stretched so much for the benefit of bringing the feels, Seung Joon could’ve been given a way to survive in North Korea, no? So that he and Dan would be able to live happily ever after, together, with him always being goofy-smitten around her, causing her to crack a smile, for him, in spite of herself? Show could’ve still served up all the bittersweet poignance of episode 15, including Seung Joon’s lost pulse in the ambulance. But the medic could’ve applied CPR (instead of just declaring him dead after checking his pulse), or heck, we could’ve had Dan perform CPR if the medic didn’t know how; we could’ve then had Seung Joon revived and saved.. maybe have him settle down in North Korea to be with Dan? I know it wouldn’t have left as great an impact on us as Seung Joon’s sacrificial death, but.. I’m pretty sure I would’ve lapped that up, if that was what Show was serving.

As for Jung Hyuk and Se Ri, I have to admit that I actually teared up at their goodbye scene at the Military Demarcation Line. The tearful, desperate embrace, as they grasped for words to say to each other that would feel adequate; both unable to tear their eyes away from each other; the NIS agents and the North Korean Army both on alert, with weapons cocked; it’s a moment pregnant with tension and emotion and the impending pain of inevitable separation, and I feel like I’m right there with them, tears leaking as Jung Hyuk gets pried away from Se Ri. Oof.

And then there’s moment when the Military Director ambushes Jung Hyuk and the boys and tries to kill them off before they get to their Pyongyang destination. As guns are raised, dear old Man Bok runs to place himself in front of Jung Hyuk as a human shield. Dad comes to the rescue, and as shots are fired, it moves me deeply, that all the boys basically spring into a protective formation around Jung Hyuk. Their collective instinct was to shield him, with their very own bodies. Augh. The brotherhood. I love.

Afterwards, we see everyone’s lives go back to a variation of normal. Se Hyung getting incarcerated and filing for divorce; the Puppies reminiscing about South Korea and Se Ri, as they sit together eating roasted potatoes; Se Ri going back to work; Se Ri spending time with Mom; Dan’s mother breaking off the engagement between Dan and Jung Hyuk, with gentleness, grace and dignity; Dan’s mother bringing the village ahjummas new limited edition products by Se Ri’s Choice, which are a line of creams with paintings of each of the ahjummas adorning each cream (aw!); the village ahjummas getting dolled up to welcome Jung Hyuk back to the village after another outpost stint; Pyo Chi Soo getting promoted to Captain and taking over from Jung Hyuk, as he gets re-deployed to be a pianist for the National Symphony Orchestra. Life’s the same but different, and it’s gentle and bittersweet.

What’s special in all of this, is that we see Se Ri receiving pre-sent text messages from Jung Hyuk (thank you, sweet NIS dude, you really are the best); every few days, he tells her something interesting, or suggests something they can do together, even sending her a pot of edelweiss to raise. It’s really sweet, coz it feels like they’re having long distance dates, even though they technically can’t contact each other.

When the messages run out, Jung Hyuk’s last message suggests that they meet where the edelweiss blooms, which is how Se Ri ends up orchestrating yearly performances in Switzerland, by music proteges supported by the company, in the hope of meeting Jung Hyuk there. It takes a number of failed trips, but one day, Jung Hyuk finally finds her, appropriately under her paraglider wing, after she’s made a bit of a clumsy landing. Pfft. This is a bit much, for me, coz it’s so random. Did they really have to meet while she was paragliding? But ok, I get the point that they really are fated, and that it’s true that wherever she is, Jung Hyuk will always find her.

We then see that Se Ri arranges to spend 2 weeks in Switzerland every year during the performances, and that’s when she meets Jung Hyuk. As Show comes to a close, we also see that they even have a home there, filled with their pictures and their memories.

It’s a bittersweet yet hopeful note that we end on. Bittersweet, because it still pains me to think that Se Ri can’t see the ahjummas or the boys. How sad, that they can’t even contact one another to ask after one another.

It’s also bittersweet that Se Ri and Jung Hyuk can only see each other 2 weeks in a year, despite even getting a house together in Switzerland. Yet, it’s hopeful because even though they only get 2 weeks together each year, this is still ultimately much more than they’d dared to hope for, when they fell in love with each other. They’d thought their goodbye at the Military Demarcation Line was for good, and they had always been steeling themselves for a forever goodbye. So, to have the chance to spend 2 weeks every single year, with the person whom you thought you’d had to say a forever goodbye to, feels like an annual precious second chance.

And with this annual second chance, perhaps our lovebirds will eventually even be able to make bigger and longer plans for a shared future. Yes, that future is even more vague than it is for the average couple, but perhaps that very uncertainty is what spurs them on to cherish what they have together in the present moment, all the more.

THE FINAL VERDICT:

A little overly bloated and angsty in spots, but Show sure knows how to serve up the feels.

FINAL GRADE: B++

TEASER:

MV:

OST ALBUM:

This contains 29 tracks, and I like that as you listen, you’ll see the title of the track that’s currently playing, on your screen. It also includes the popular opening track, Sigriswil. Enjoy:

494 thoughts on “Review: Crash Landing On You

  1. I really enjoyed this show, in short because it made me feel hopeful and happy. Acting was great and felt a bit different to root for secondary romance as much as the primary one. Hyun Bin couldn’t look more handsome in military gear, sigh. My favourite part though was Ju Meok desperately asking how Chuno ends – and then bawling when he finally gets to watch it. I was right there with him. “Why?!”

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    1. After watching Chuno so many times, I’ve actually come to appreciate it’s ending. At first, because of my Jang Hyuk obsession, I was really upset but looking at Dae gil’s (and the Fallen General and Pristine Princess – sorry can’t remember their names), role in history (although fictional), it just felt right.

      I think because Dae gil is bigger than life, bigger than the story even, that the little bit of history they tag in here is forgotten. It appears at the beginning, is barely hinted at in a few early episodes but then fades into the background until it becomes crucial at the very end. I think if Show had made the historical bits more relevant throughout the story, then it wouldn’t feel like “Why? For what?” And the little actor, while 1000 on the adorable meter, had zero personality. You could’ve had them carry around a doll for all the impact he had.

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      1. You’re probably right but that doesn’t help the ache in my heart at Daegil’s ending – or poor Seung Join’s. No place in the world = you know what seems too too sad. Seung Joon had a place with Dan and Daegil had a place with his boys – and maybe lovely Seol Hwa. But I am a sucker for open endings rather than full stops… 😊

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        1. @Ele Nash – Remind me again, please? I know that Seol hwa was the little “wench” who was running from the performing troop that tried to pimp her. Who were Seung joon and Dan?

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          1. Seung Joon is secondary male lead in Crash Landing On You and Dan second female lead. I just thought I should bring the comment back round to CLOY seeing as this began on its review! All kdrama reflection seems to lead me back to Daegil 😳

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            1. Ahhhhh! I’m terrible at remembering characters’ names and once you got me started on Chuno – my mind went into one-track blinders to everything else because… CHUNO!

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    2. Oh yes, Hyun Bin is so very appealing in this! 😍😍 When I felt the drag in the later eps, it was Hyun Bin as Capt Ri that got me through it! And YES, Ju Meok and his Chuno obsession is so adorable and relatable! 😂

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    1. Argh. I know for a fact I wrote that in the reply box. Beez will see it regardless, but I hate newcomers to the CLOY review being forced to read off-topic comments at the very top.

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      1. Saw it, merij1; and lol’d 😆

        Out of curiosity, since I seem to be the only person who relies on the email notifications of new comments, how do the rest of you see new comments? Especially since they don’t always show up chronologically – do you just scroll around on the web site?
        I, myself, want a better method than the one I’m using so… if you guys don’t mind letting me know how you manage to see (and keep track of) all the comments?

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        1. I use the email notifications also, despite the randomness of it.

          For example, I used to get one email for each new comment. Now that still happens some of the time, but other times what I see initially is a really old comment. Then I realize I have to scroll down through 20 other comments in that email to get the very bottom, where the new comment is located. Sometimes I’ll find multiple comments I’ve never seen along my way to the bottom.

          So yeah, email notification has become a “trust . . . but verify” indicator for me. Every now and then I scroll through the entire comments section on posts where I’ve been active to see what I missed.

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          1. That sounds like a WordPress settings choice. If I recall, when you first make a comment, you should’ve received a confirmation of subscription email. In that email you select whether you want a notification immediately or once a day or once a week.
            Now the question is how to get to this settings. I’ll dig around and see if I can remember.

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        2. It depends on what I am doing. Generally, I will rely on email notifications. However, this will flag in my WordPress account as well, but only when I have made a comment or if someone responds to a comment I have made. With the subscription email, this is dependent on how the blogger has set this up. Then again, you can totally dismiss everything I have said and keep your fingers crossed 😂

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        3. @beez: I kind of use both, email notification and scrolling through comments, not always successfully. I find the email notifications don’t always tell me what the issue is as it’s abbreviated but then it’s tricky sometimes to scroll through the comments to find the subject comment. Maybe I need to get a WordPress account but I just don’t like leaving too many digital fingerprints though it maybe too late for that for all of us.

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            1. As of a day or so ago, I can no longer “like” anyone’s comments.

              Even if I first go to the WordPress site to refresh my login or successfully post a comment of my own.

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              1. I’m having the same problem, MeriJ! I thought I was just having a glitch on my browser or something, but if you’re having the same issue, it must be a WordPress issue! Let me ask for some technical help, and see if we can get this sorted. Sorry for the glitchiness!

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                  1. So.. it seems that my WordPress theme got retired, and with the new WP upgrade yesterday, stuff’s starting to break down on the site. So I’m now in the midst of figuring out a new theme. The one I’ve got now, is a temporary one, which I accidentally activated while considering it (facepalm) and now I can’t go back to the old one, so it’ll have to do for now, while I poke around to see if there’s another one that I like better. 😩😅 But, I’ve verified that I can like comments again!

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                    1. I’ve accidentally stumbled upon stuff too at the new WP version. I actually found the page we were discussing here for how to tell WP to group comments into instantly, daily or weekly. (If I thought I could explain how to get there, I would. I can only say once you’re on the page ignore all the suggested blogs and articles it recommends and look around for the small tiny word “manage” and click on that. I noticed that it didn’t have many of the blogs that I already follow but it had some old obscure ones that I don’t even remember visiting or commenting at; but I was able to add the ones that were missing (including The Verdict).

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                    2. I got there via Notification Settings/Reader Subscriptions/Use the Reader (where “Use the Reader” is light blue font in the first sentence at the top of the page.

                      But like you said, it only listed blogs I barely recall, like some rando dark web site named “Beez’ Place.”

                      So I pasted the URL for this blog in the search window for new sites to follow, added it, then opened Settings to the far right of the blog once it populated. I opted for Email Me New Posts + Instant Delivery (instead of daily or weekly) and also Email Me New Comments.

                      We’ll see it that does it. Thanks Beez. As my mom also said, “many hands make light work.”

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                    3. That would be my step-person, previously thought to be a daughter. Yes, I think it’s just larger now.

                      KFG, is there more pronounced nesting of replies now? As is great indentation?

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                    4. Yes, sorry about that – I’m still trying to find a better theme than this one. This one is a decent one for keeping the site running (since there were so many errors with my previous theme), but I don’t like the more pronounced nesting of replies either. I’m on the hunt! Please bear with me for now! 😅

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  2. Sean, Merij1, Geo, Phlrxd (I hope I spelled that right) and anyone else who might be interested – Whenever you guys need a break from starting a new series, I’d like to recommend two movies:

    1) The War of the Arrows – This is an easy watch. After the first 15 minute set up, there’s not a lot of dialog. It just becomes a chase and war of arrows but it’s one of those things where when you see people doing something extraordinary it becomes fascinating. I can only explain this way – I know ZERO about football and not a basketball fan but the first time, as I was channel surfing and came across Barry Bonds running with the football, I was mesmerized. Same with Julius Irving (Dr. J). It’s liked that. (Young people don’t know but before Michael Jordan began doing all that fancy stuff, Dr. J pioneered it so a young MJ could improve upon it later.) Neither event made me want to watch those sports but it was a special moment in time.
    Free on Amazon Prime; Free on Tubi
    Free (if use 1 week trial) on HiYah tv

    2) The Phantom Detective – I can’t even explain it. I can only say it’s a strange mix of Humphrey Bogart meets Sin City. Not that this is as dark or riskè as Sin City but there’s this 1930’s comic book vibe but not as cheesy as the live action Dick Tracy movies either.

    Neither movie is is a romance, but they’re very entertaining.

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  3. @beezrtp, @sean,@merij,@phi and anyone I’ve missed: I find myself unable to reply to the continuing posts on my hijack of the thread so I’m starting a new comment. Funny, I didn’t get an email referring to Sean’s list but I do see it below.

    Sean, thanks for the list, I’m a real newbie compared to you so thanks for the suggestions and we all know we all don’t like all the same shows to the same extent for whatever reason. Merij can barely stand My Love From The Star but you and I think it’s really good, you like K2 and I just gave up on it and fast forwarded through the last few episodes; Beez and I don’t rate My Sassy Girl as high but it’s on your list. Nevertheless, I do appreciate all the recommendations since more often than not I tend to agree with KFG’s and the ratings of this group.

    Beez, I’m pleased to see you weren’t a big fan of Full House though you seem to be a big Rain fan. It seems to me that the early Korean shows were not fully developed or “mature” if I can use that term. I’m not sure I’d be watching Kdramas today if I had started at the beginning of the wave, circa 2000, because I’ve been disappointed in two of the “classics” from that time. The Tree with Deep Roots is going really well, I’m on episode 4 now. Looking for a lighter show to rotate with The Tree… and I’ve settled on Personal Taste, partly because of Son Ye Jin. The first episode is a little off-putting because SYJ’s character is presented as someone totally clueless about her femininity and she does manage to look very unglamorous, which is hard to believe! The plot seems fairly unoriginal but I’m hoping the delivery sells it and it’s light touch may be the perfect foil to The Tree… . For the ladies, there’s Lee Min Ho in Personal taste and I can see what the fuss is about; as you said, Beez, he may have saved BOF for the female viewers. I see Sean has added another SYJ vehicle, The Last Princess, to go with The Pirates on my list.

    I think I’ve seen about 10 shows now and my top 5 so far are Mr. Sunshine, CLOY, Memories of the Alhambra, Healer, Secret Garden/Stranger (a tie for 5th as they are very different type shows).

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    1. There’s a limit on the number of replies for each comment. A limit that KFG cannot change.

      For the record, we liked the premise of Love From Another Star and loved the actress and also thought it ended quite well. (Ending well is not something I can say about some of my fave shows, so that’s a major bonus point.) It was the male lead that didn’t work for us.

      Please let me know what you think of Personal Taste. We’re finishing Fantastic this evening and need a new one. I have a list, of course, but serendipity is a factor I have come to respect.

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        1. We just finished Personal Taste. We skipped episodes 13-15 and the first part of the finale, after consulting recaps at DramaBeans.

          We watched it for Son Ye-jin, and in that sense, we were not disappointed. She’s an endearing actress.

          However the script was lazy and, if this show is any indication, Lee Min-ho cannot act to save his life. He reminds me of the least substantive of boy band singers, the ones who can’t sing or write but are chosen because they’re cute looking.

          But whatever, no regrets!

          We haven’t picked our next show yet. What to do?

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            1. You had me at Kim Hee-ae! However I don’t see a place to stream it here in the US. Not via Viki or Netflix, at least.

              We’re going to bed but I’ll look around for other options on that one tomorrow. Thanks.

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              1. Just butting in to say that I thought the show didn’t showcase Kim Hee Ae’s talent like she deserves. It was a weekend drama, and the overall style is much more exaggerated than the restraint in SLA. She was directed to overact, I feel, and I personally didn’t enjoy the show so much. No shade on Sean or anyone else who enjoyed the show; I just thought some context might be useful. 😛😅

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                  1. Lol. I think I had high expectations as well, coz I love both leads. The weekender OTT style is not my thing, and I was, uh, taken by surprise. 😅 Which is why I thought I’d offer some context to MeriJ, for expectation management. 😁😉

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                1. We only skipped episodes 1314 and 15 based on something you said. So thanks for that advice!

                  On another subject, how does anyone come out here using their cell phone? I’m attempting it for the first time right now but I can’t even read other peoples comments if they’re nested possible replace down because the box narrows to only two letters across.

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                  1. @merij1 As to using your phone, when the text begins to do that, hit the 3 dots in the upper far right corner and select “desktop mode”. Then be patient for 2 seconds. It will flash to the top of the blog but then take you back to where you were trying to read. 👍

                    I must say, I think you may miss out my skipping things based on reviews. Although I do agree the latter episodes of Personal Taste were lacking. And as much as I respect the original recappers at Dramabeans and especially Kfangurl, you’ll find you won’t always agree with all their/her reviews. I’m just sayin’.
                    (Or maybe misery loves company and I just want y’all to suffer like the rest of us had to and take the good with the bad.) *queue evil laughter* muhawahwaaaa
                    Correction: the good with the mawdlin’. I would never, ever, want someone to waste time with a really, out and out, bad show.

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                    1. As for DramaBeans, I don’t go there for reviews, but rather for blow by blows episode recaps when I’m already open to skipping episodes or portions therefore.

                      Thanks for the cell phone tips. I also have trouble staying logged in to WordPress on phone, even if I’ve just logged in moments earlier.

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                    2. @merij1 – Yeah, I meant the recaps since back in the day, they did tend to interject their personal feelings about the episodes into them (which it’s what made their recaps interesting whether I agreed with them or not) 😊, and the intro paragraph and the last paragraph trended to be a review of the episode.

                      About your cell phone – that’s weird.

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            2. @Sean – I totally struggled to finish Second to Last Love. It was so booooring. I would sit it aside and come back months later and still not finish it. I only finally finished because leaving stuff hanging bothers me AND I kept hoping Kim Seulgi’s role would be bigger than it was.

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              1. Well, Beez I have been known to watch paint dry – but that’s not the case here. For my mind, the experience of the actors really shone through regarding a mature relationship that many of the younger actors would (and have) struggled to deliver. There were many elements that appealed to me: how it compared to the original version, the issues in the respective work environments (so the local government issues were a big factor), the mature choices people make, the scene settings, the sound track – very well done with the integration with the music cafe. And I must say, Kim Seulgi really did shine, as she does in so many shows (imagine Find Me In Your Memory or Splash, Splash Love without her!).

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          1. @merij1 Awwwww. Sorry you didn’t like it. One of my favorite episodes had FL start her period while they were attending some event and she sent ML to the convenience store to buy tampons. It was worth it to see his discomfort as some teenaged girls stood by and watched him try to select a brand/type. And then the fact that he sat by FL all night to rub her tummy. .. sooo very sweet.

            Did you guys see that part or was it in one of the episodes you skipped?

            I’m still out on whether LMO is a decent actor or not. I think what he does, he does well. But they’ve never given him a role that requires anything more than looking good and playing tsundere for us to see if he can do more.

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            1. We did see the tampon-buying scene!

              To be clear, we enjoyed much of it. And that ML is indeded very attractive, so this wasn’t like the response we had to the ML in My Love From Another Star.

              What’s funny about those non-acting but attractive MLs is that the director has them just stare blankly into space most of the time. This guy’s signature move is to stare to the side while the FL talks, and turn his head and/or body dramatically to face her and at the end of the scene, but with the same blank stare.

              A school teacher friend of mine uses that same blank look with kids who are acting out. She just frees her mind of all thoughts and pretty like they aren’t even there.

              When you see a blank canvass like that your imagination chooses to interpret what it means. The misbehaving elementary school kid sees coldness, which is far scarier than anger. Whereas a fangirl sees a man whose heart is locked away in a dungeon, waiting for her love to free it.

              The other thing is that when a person never smiles or looks caring, the few occasions when they do will feel like the sun has finally come out after weeks of rain . . . and you can’t help but adore them. Ha.

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              1. @merij;@beez: I ended up liking Personal Taste for the most part though I thought the last few episodes were weaker than the beginning or middle. I thought LMH was okay in this role, this is my first exposure to him; in fact, I compared him favourably to Rain in Full House though that may not be totally fair given the different time periods.

                @merij: If you want a short, light diversion, check out The Art of Seduction with SYJ. Requires a 2 hour time investment or so and if you go in with minimal expectations, it’s light, silly fare. A 20 something SYJ plays a femme fatale of sorts, a female “player” who runs into her male counterpart. Not to be taken too seriously, everything is played for laughs though I don’t think it’s a great comedy, lol.

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                1. Geo, I was away from home all day and tried responding to you using my iPhone, but only half successfully. It ended up higher in the chain of replies.

                  We did many parts of the show and the parts we skipped were the one you’d mentioned as not being so great near the end. I read the recaps on them and was grateful to have been forewarned, since those are exactly the type of lame twists that annoy me with some of these shows.

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                2. @Geo – I did see Art of Seduction. I just remember thinking that “what’s the point of this movie because she’s definitely got no player moves?” I felt it lacked because of the very nature of Korean culture that won’t allow us to root for the “loose” or “fast” girl. Granted, I think I watched that movie before I ever discovered Kdrama so maybe I would like it now, with that understanding, if I ever get around to watching it again. I’m interested in what I would think now that I actually know who the actress is.

                  As to LMO, and Rain ❤, I’m offended at the comparison. 😆 I’m assuming LMO has wanted to become an actor from his youth and has probably studied acting. Rain (who has a true rags to riches story), was a Kpop sta that they let star in a couple of dramas, as they tend to do. But he showed great comedic timing and no overflated ego so he wasn’t afraid as coming off looking silly. His drama, A Love to Kill, while an early role, you could see his ability to handle melodrama, as well. Probably from having lived and experienced a life of hardship. It’s ultra melo and ridiculous but that’s how melos were back in 2005 (I looked it up). Anyway, I’ve seen hints in other dramas that LMO MIGHT be able to emote but, again, the roles don’t call for all that much so…

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                  1. @merij1;@beez: I have the same difficulty responding on my mobile phone so I don’t bother, I just wait until I get to my computer. It’s difficult to keep track of all the topics and side topics being discussed on the mobile phone. Memories of the Alhambra is in my top 5 list but the romance is very much a side issue here. Glad you enjoyed Personal Taste for the most part. The Art of Seduction is as Beez says, very lacking but only worth a watch because it’s just a movie, it’s light, illogical and silly but it has SYJ. Beez, I agree with you this was a difficult movie to make properly in 2005 or whenever it was and it would be even difficult today given Korean mores and culture. Imagine, a movie about a female “player” without the FL in one seduction scene except with the ML while the ML does have such a scene very early on. As Beez says, there’s no illustration of SYJ’s seductiveness and appeal and there’s no explanation as to what does the FL lead want from her prey, money? Love? Sex?

                    Beez, I know Rain fans would be mortified by my comparison to LMH but I was talking about Rain’s performance in Full House vs LMH in Personal Taste, all Rain did in Full House was look startled and confused and was guilty of serious over-acting. I’ll put Rain’s other shows on my list and give him a chance to redeem himself. I know he’s a big Kpop performer but I’m not really into Kpop, at least not yet but who knows?

                    Thanks to Sean, I’ve started Second to Last Love. I don’t know any of the actors but it’s going pretty good so far, episode 3. I need something light after The Tree With Deep Roots and SLA fits the bill. The Tree with… was quite a good show but a little intense and heavy and again, draggy at the end. I don’t think they needed 24 episodes, could have reduced by at least 4 episodes. I suspect the show was well received so the writers/producers milked it for all they could. I was impressed with Jung Hyuk, I’ve heard him discussed glowingly on this blog by KFG and others and I can see why, he was excellent in the action/martial arts scenes and delivered a very convincing performance.

                    Beez, I started Arthdal Chronicles but stopped halfway through episode 2, I don’t think I was in the mood for it (as KFG would say, I had the wrong lens on). I may go back to it at a future date but I don’t know. I think I was turned off by the difficulty of following the plot and the different characters through the sub-titles, it just required too much work for me at that time.

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                    1. @Geo – if you do get a chance to check out Rain – check out Come Back Ahjusshi (Mister). Although the ending isn’t great. It’s worth the laughs. Also check him out in the movie Ninja Assassin which is on Netflix and was produced by the Wachowski Brothers (Sisters?). You know, the trans women (who were men at the time) who created The Matrix. Although Rain was still really young and green, I really enjoyed him in it. Although my love of martial arts films and my bias for Rain probably greatly influence that opinion.

                      BTW, you mention Jang Hyuk’s action scenes in Tree. He studies martial Arts in real life so that’s all him. In fact, in his dramas, the producers usually leave the choreography to him for his fight scenes. (I swear the man has hands as fast as Muhammed Ali.) Although I don’t know if he did his own fight choreography in the case with Tree, since that involves sword fighting.

                      Er, have you heard us discussing Secret Love Affair? It’s anything but “light”. 😁

                      When you feel ready to return to the saga of Tree, Six Flying Dragons is long but I never felt like it was too long. In fact as it began to wrap up, I felt a panic of what was I going to do without it?! (It does take patience to get through the early episodes of Bang Won’s childhood but those episodes are important because Six Flying Dragons informs what caused and created his personality. And I felt the ending was very satisfying.

                      As to Tree being stretched in episodes, I didn’t feel that way but, it’s not usually the writers or producers responsible for that. It’s the networks and advertisers that will inform a show at the last minute to stretch it out for the bucks. The rom-com drama The Producers shows how these things happen and even shows examples of writers being told to weave into the story product placements that make zero sense to the plot. (That’s the only reason I watched The Producers is I’d heard of it’s insights into making dramas. It was a good show but not one that springs to mind when I’m recommending dramas. Likewise, I plan on watching The King of Dramas as I’ve always heard it’s informative to the process. Just gotta find the time to squeeze it in. I wish I had @seankfletcher superwatch abilities!

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                    2. SLA usually refers to Secret Love Affair, so you might want to add another letter for Second to Last Love — StLA?

                      We’ll probably watch The Art of Seduction and knowing that flaw in advance will probably discount it for us.

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                    3. @Geo – I think I watched Second to Last Love on Viki as well. I don’t know if they will have it.

                      FYI – We usually only use initials/abbreviations for those shows that are HUGELY popular so everyone knows instantly what you’re talking about. Although, we probably were talking about Second to Last Love already so it was probably just my memory and the fact that by responding through the email notifications, I can’t see (or always remember) the previous conversations.

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                    4. @Beez: Viki doesn’t carry Second to Last Love currently, hence my exploration of other options. Not to worry, there are other shows I can watch in the interim.

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                    5. @Geo – I, personally, don’t think you’re missing much with Second to Last Love but if you’re a fan of the actress, I get it.

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                1. @beez: I’ve finished Second To Last Love now, helped by 3-4 episodes being corrupted or whatever so they didn’t stream properly. I liked both leads, I didn’t realize FL, Kim Hee-ae, was such a big deal and I know why you said if I was a fan of the actress, you’d get it. I’m now a fan. However, I agree with you that the show was sloooow, I was actually not upset at all that I was forced to miss a few episodes! Nevertheless, a good show worth watching with generally excellent supporting cast but boy, did they stretch the show to get 20 episodes.

                  My Kdrama watching may suffer going forward with more live sports now being televised. Not sure what to look at but might line up Secret Love Affair to continue the Kim Hee-ae trend.

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                    1. @Seankfletcher – This is true. But I’ve never seen her cast in anything that would require her to drop that poised elegance (which I imagine that part is just really her). When I see actors who are really good in certain roles, I like to see them in a wide array of roles to see if it was just good casting or can they bring something different to a variety of roles. I know I won’t find time to look through her resume (My viewing is “abs” busy.) But I do have Herstory on my list. I think Kim Hee-ae is portraying a lawyer.

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                    2. Kim Hee-Ae does play a wide range of roles. I started watching her in Mrs Cop, but put it on hold, not for any reason in particular though. I’m not sure I will get to World of the Married either – but, it does has some really good comments out there. I haven’t watched Her Story, but I will be, it’s an important film.

                      Keep watching those “abs” Beez.

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                    3. @seankfletcher – A few months ago I watched I Can Speak – another movie on the same subject. I also watched a documentary about the real “Comfort” Women. But I don’t recall if I watched it on YouTube or PBS or where. It features the few remaining women (I believe I heard the last one has recently passed on now). But to hear them tell their tale is heart rendering.

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                    4. Yes, I watched I Can Speak when it came out. Kfangurl did a review as well. After the plight of Korean women was revealed in 1992, an Australian woman wrote her memoirs in 1994 documenting the same ordeal and became a leading advocate. She was highly decorated by the Australian Government and the Prime Minister as a result of her advocacy and was part of the deputation to the US Congress in 2007 re Comfort Women.

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              2. I just thought about we never recommended Memories of the Alhambra nor Arthdal Chronicles to you guys! Both are available on Netflix only.
                Memories of Alhambra is about characters being trapped in a virtual game and I think Hyun Bin’s character is possibly the worse ML in Kdrama history as far as the romance goes, but his acting is awesome for everything else in the series.
                As to Arthdal Chronicles, it hasn’t been recommended because nobody knows what the heck was happening in it. 😆 But it is an experiment in Kdrama. It’s about ancient Koreans. Not the typical saeguk that are based on the last 1500 years or so. This is a set a bit later than cave men (think Game of Thrones as far as time period).

                It has been cleared for a second season although due to Covid 19 it’s been put on hold. I didn’t understand a thing about it and yet I think it’s worth watching just to see what they tried to do. And maybe once the second season airs, I’ll stop saying “they tried to do”. It has a bizillion characters so, of course, there lots of storylines hanging.

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                1. We knew about Hyun Bin in Memories of the Alhambra, but it’s not really a romance, so my wife nixed it. I might watch it on my own someday.

                  Tonight we watched the first episode of Into The Ring and loved it.

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                  1. I am at the halfway mark now re Into the Ring, and for me, episode 8 is the best episode of any kdrama I have ever seen. I couldn’t tell you how many times I fell off the couch laughing and the OTP’s interactions are superb. The parents, need I say anymore, delightful!

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                    1. @Sean – that finally convinced me. I’ve got to see what all the ruckus is about. Right after I watch ep2 of Lee Joon ki’s new drama, I’ll pop over to Ep1 of this Ring you guys are always talking about.

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                    2. *grumbling all the way*😬 Sean must be watching on some special fast forward streaming device while utilizing some type of Evelyn Wood Speed Reading method. That’s the only way…!😝

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                    3. Besides Into The Ring being fun, our 25-year old just got recruited to run for city council in our town. So it’s timely!

                      We live in a super progressive 17,000 person “city” in an otherwise liberal Maryland county on the edge of Washington DC. It’s where you would move to if you were looking for your tribe and you were like that.

                      But lately people with lots more money and more conventional views have been moving in. They want what we had, but want to make it more like what they left in their prior communities. And they have taken over the mayor and city council seats. So now you can’t post a photo of your lost cat on telephone poles, because they consider that unsightly. Not to mention other more significant political differences.

                      Which is why our Bernie Sanders-supporting child has been recruited by the old guard to run against the pro-development woman who represents our ward. It should be interesting!

                      Liked by 2 people

                    4. I wish your 25 year old all the very best with their campaign. What you describe Merij is not uncommon re evolving communities across the world. Your child is certainly going to learn a lot in a very short period of time. And although it might not seem like it, Into The Ring is certainly across many issues at the local level (Writer Nim has done their homework). Exciting times ahead for you and yours!

                      Liked by 2 people

                    1. IRL, you don’t expect to de-throne an incumbent on your first-ever run for office. But they do hope to influence the debate on the issues and to learn all manner of new skill.

                      … and who knows, maybe win! Crazier things have happened.

                      I’ve been kidding them, saying that when the woman currently in the seat accuses them of being a twenty-something still living in their mom’s basement, they can retort with: “Not true!! . . . I live upstairs.”

                      BTW, if you found those paragraphs difficult to follow, imagine how hard it’s going to be for their opponent to manage non-binary pronouns in live debates, struggling to remember to refer to her opponent as they/them and not she/her. I almost feel sorry for her.

                      We’ve had years to work on it and we still fail on a regular basis.

                      Liked by 3 people

                2. @Beez: I can’t reply directly to your comment so I’m just adding it here for you and anyone else interested, @merij1@sean

                  Thanks for the referrals to Come Back Mister and Ninja Assassin to view Rain in other vehicles. I’ve put them on my list. I’m not surprised to hear that Jung Hyuk is a martial artist because his action scenes are very convincing and well done, looks like I need more time to do some more research on Kdramas and you guys have provided a lot of direction. For instance, I hadn’t even heard about Dramabeans before. I’ve run into a problem which may affect my Kdrama viewing, I think my internet provider is throttling certain sites because I’m suddenly having problems viewing SLA, I’m stuck on the 3rd episode and it’s unwatchable, buffering every second! I’m watching it on ** which maybe the issue. Netflix is fine, no buffering, but SLA is not on Netflix. Oh well, may have to switch shows.

                  Beez, I saw the praise and comments for Secret Love Affair and it’s on my list when my lens is adjusted and ready for heavier fare. Looks like heavy, intense stuff.

                  I agree with you that it’s probably the networks, with financial incentives from the advertisers, who stretch shows out and give it to the writers/director/producers to implement. On Tree…I thought there was too much detail on the formation of the words, maybe because I don’t have the same feel for the history and culture. And there was a huge red herring in one of the later episodes when it was getting pretty tense, ML pretends to still want to kill the King, hoping to penetrate Milbon and learn who the leader is. This is developed and goes on for a while, then suddenly Milbon discovers the ML is pretending to still hate the King and this whole scenario falls away without any real development of the story or any of the characters. I remember this example distinctly because show was getting really interesting and tense at the time. Having said this, it’s still a show I would recommend.

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                  1. @Geo – Crap! I don’t remember that. I did remember that ML stopped hating the King but I don’t remember him continuing the pretense of it. (And I’ve watched Tree 3 times.) I do read up (Wikipedia) on the true history of shows like this and it really helps with understanding what’s going on.

                    You might want to try Secret Love Affair on Viki.com (they also have an app for IOS, Android, and most of the set top boxes like Roku and Amazon Firestick. It’s free (with ads) and it’s legit so no viruses.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. @beez: Yes, in The Tree…the network milked the idea of ML pretending to still want to kill the King and they got probably a whole episode out of it. It’s easy to mix up sequence of events and even different shows, I got confused by a show I had watched a week earlier. You can avoid this trap only if you have Sean’s super-power.

                      I think I’ve been mixing up SLA and Second To Last Love, I’m trying to watch the latter as I need something light after The Tree… SLA sounds a little too intense for me right now. STLL is the show I had problems with my ISP and I don’t think it’s available on viki and just when I was getting into it.

                      @merij1: good luck to your kid, the longest journey begins with a single step.

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                    2. @Geo – I was having problems with buffering every 30 seconds on the illegit sites, too, lately. So much so, that I’ve been watching certain Korean dramas on the Chinese drama app, iQIYI (no buffering at all). I have always suspected that the main illegit streaming sites that are must popular are run by the same people. I’m grateful to them that they have the content, and for free, but those ads… first that they’re X-rated and I have to watch my show with the pop up partially covering the show letting me know that scantily dressed Sarah has sent me a message containing a video and wants to date me. And second, it’s too much of a coincidence that all of the sites get the same ads or types of ads, at the same time, and they appear in the same locations on the screen.

                      I got some improvement when I called my ISP. They claim they “sent a reset signal” and it has been a little better but still not really watchable. But something I’ve noticed is the older shows will play on those sites without all the delays which makes me wonder if the sites are using larger files (or something) that makes the new shows need more speed? Somebody with real computer knowledge can maybe give us insight?

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                    3. @beez: Actually, Second to last Love (STLL) is on Viki but not available in Canada. This has me reluctant to subscribe as it”s the second such exclusion I’ve run across. I note that you were so booored by it but I found it okay, another gender bias?

                      I actually ended up finishing Because This Is My First Life, I liked it a lot but stopped at episode 11 or so after reading about the lame ending but I forced myself to finish it because it was quite a good show up until I stopped. Now, having completed it, I agree the ending is pretty lame but I loved the FL, very convincing in her role. Despite ending episodes, still worth watching overall. May get into Coffee Prince next, I know KFG is a big fan and I actually like Gong Woo from Goblin so we’ll see.

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                    1. @Beez: I wonder why I can’t reply to some posts so this response is to an earlier post. I’m surprised at the ads on these streaming sites since they are all geared to younger males, judging from the adult and video game ads. I suspected the main audience for Kdramas is female so it doesn’t seem like good marketing but we may be wrong in that assumption. Once you can manoeuvre through the pop ups and other distracting ads, I go to full screen mode and all the distractions disappear.

                      I did not know the Wachowski brothers are now sisters, wow! I loved the Matrix movies but never went beyond that to looking into the creators. I’m learning a lot on this blog and it’s not only about Kdramas.

                      Liked by 2 people

      1. @ sean: I’ve actually watched about 14 shows now that I did an accurate count, not including the 4-5 that I dropped after 1-2 episodes. As a latecomer to Kdramas, I’ve had the benefit of the knowledge resident in this blog which has allowed me to zero in on the best shows. When I look at those that didn’t make my top 5, I’m still surprised how good they were, eg OSN, My Love…,Goblin

        In another comment, you said you watch 16+ shows simultaneously which I find amazing, not only for keeping them all straight in your mind but in terms of finding the time to watch that many. I watch 2 shows simultaneously and I often have trouble finding the time to fit them in with the western shows I watch, the music I listen to plus other activities, even in this covid-19 semi-isolation. All power to you. If you’re interested in political thrillers, I would recommend Borgen, if you haven’t seen it yet. It’s a Danish show with a female lead and very well done. There are three seasons but the first season is the best, there aren’t too many episodes a season so you would blow through it in no time.

        @merij: Personal Taste is shaping up to be exactly what I sort of expected. It’s charming, funny at times, light and fun to watch. It’s overdone in parts (portrayal of SYJ character as a passive, cheerful, optimistic “loser” is a bit much) but entertaining enough. I like the developing chemistry between SYJ and Lee Min-Ho, he’s actually quite good in this show.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. We started Personal Taste too! Only one episode in, but it looks good so far. I like the male lead. Also fun to see Son Ye-jin not looking glam, as Beez had warned me.

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          1. That’s Lee Min ho. The main attraction in Boys Over Flowers and also the lead in The King Eternal Monarch that someone was asking about the other day. (Sorry, I can’t remember who.) He’s the “it” boy in Hallyu. Think Beatles, Elvis… as far as fandom is concerned.
            The King Eternal Monarch is quite ambitious and didn’t quite pull off what it was attempting to do (too many logic gaps) but it had enough by way of trying something different (touch of fantasy) to make it worth watching, imo.

            Liked by 2 people

            1. Beez – I think the overall fascination with Min Ho are his looks. I often wonder how he got so lucky in the gene pool. I watched King Eternal Monarch as well.

              Please be safe. I know you are in a super CV hot spot right now. Stay in and drama watch!

              Liked by 2 people

              1. Thanks for the well wishes, phl1rxd. I only go out for physical therapy. I hate going out for that even but I put it off back in March but as we see things aren’t getting any better so I couldn’t put it off any longer.

                Liked by 1 person

        2. @Geo – are these older westerns? I’m asking because I haven’t heard (or paid attention) to any new westerns getting made except for the remake a couple years ago of The Magnificent Seven. A few months ago, I went to great lengths to find and watch The Unforgiven (not Clint Eastwood although that is stellar) but the one starring Burt Lancaster and Audrey Hepburn. I found it soooo romantic although I suppose that’s not what you watch westerns for? lol

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          1. Sorry, Beez, I think I misled you, when I said “western” shows, I was referring to North American or European shows. Two I’ve watched recently are Bodyguard (English thriller/action – one season) and Borgen (Danish political thriller – three seasons). Haven’t seen too many westerns recently, last one I saw was a sort of comedy, A Million Ways to Die in the West, with Seth Macfarlane from Family Guy and Charlize Theron and this was probably more than a year ago. I really liked The Unforgiven with Clint Eastwood, don’t think I recall the earlier movie with Burt Lancaster. I do like romantic movies as well, Love, Actually is still one of my all-time favourites but I like pretty much well done shows or movies of all genres except horror.

            I have Line of Duty and Money Heist lined up to view, both strongly recommended by a friend, but I’m currently watching The Tree With Deep Roots (episode 10 and going very well) and just about finished Personal Taste. I quite enjoyed Personal Taste through the middle episodes but it seems to be flattening out towards the last few episodes. I can now appreciate more what the fuss is about Lee Min Ho. Phi mentions his looks but I think he also turns in a good performance in this show.

            It’s a real challenge though, now that I’ve discovered Kdramas, to fit everything into my days, guess what, sleep is being sacrificed but fortunately I’ve always been able to manage with less sleep than most people.

            Liked by 2 people

            1. Hahaha! I’m laughing so hard at myself. I don’t know why my brain jumped to “westerns” as in cowboys and horses. lololol

              I agree that Lee Min ho gives solid performances. He seems to be more than “just another pretty face”. Although, I haven’t seen him play anything that involves a lot of range (or maybe he’s good enough that I haven’t caught him acting). I’d love to see him in something more challenging to get more of a feel for his acting ability. I do look out for his shows even though he’s not one of my biases. A little eye candy never hurt anybody. 😉

              Liked by 1 person

        3. Hello Geo, my “dropped” rate is 27%. So, with some shows I don’t even get to the 15 minute mark 😂 Then in comparison, there are those shows that have just started like Chip In, where I was captivated within not even a minute. Yes, the knowledge in the KFG blog by the amazing person herself and the experience and thoughts of others is awesome 😎 And yes, there are many more great finds out there for you.

          As for my simultaneous watching ability, thank you for your kind words. My brain is well utilised, and ordered. Even with the training I deliver I can impart certain scenes from kdramas when relevant to emphasise a certain point. It always gets a bemused response. Anyway, it makes it more interesting for me 😝

          Finding a good western drama is a challenge. I have watched, and enjoyed, Borgen and other similar Danish shows. There’s a lot to be said for shows that have a shorter episode run. Mind you we watched Washington last week and at three episodes it was brilliant, but I could have watched another six episodes, easy, because that is what it really needed. We tried to watch Cursed last night – what a travesty of the Arthurian legend that show is. Anyway, as I have mentioned elsewhere on this blog, my family do take the remote control off me when they don’t like my choices, which is often!

          Liked by 1 person

    2. @Geo – I’ve started The Pirates several times and can’t get beyond the first halfway point. It may be the lack of any male eye candy that would appeal to me.

      For the record, I liked Full House well enough for what it was. I just didn’t feel a lot of romantic chemistry but lots of cutesy immature chemistry. I mean, I never imagined those two having any type of “adult” relationship. Most rom-coms, while fairly innocent, we all know what the couple is working toward and there are hints and innuendo aplenty. Full House wasn’t about that. I think it’s the first show I heard the Three Bears Song and that sums up the entire show for me and is what I think of whenever it’s mentioned. Cute!

      I think the My Sassy Girl that you and I were talking about is the classic movie (starring Gianna Gun). I’m not sure, but I think the one on Sean’s list is the drama that’s set in Joseon times?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. @beez: I felt pretty much how you felt about Full House, I think I referred in a previous post to earlier Kdramas like Full House as being “immature” but unlike you, I was more turned off. It seemed too cutesy and, forgive me, teenage girl-ish for me. I plan to look at The Pirates soon, it helps that it’s a movie and not a 16 episode show. I remember KFG, who I don’t think is a big fan of SYJ, commenting how she appreciated SYJ more after seeing her do her own stunts in The Pirates.

        @sean: I started the My Sassy Girl show after being somewhat disappointed by the movie of the same name. The show is on your list and I may go back to it one day, I dropped it after a few episodes, maybe due to exhaustion of the “sassy” shtick. Idid like the female lead but not the male lead so much (gender bias much?) and I wasn’t feeling the chemistry in the few episodes I watched.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. @sean: I’ve put 3 Days on the list, read the synopsis on wikipedia, sounds good. My drop rate is similar to your 27%, I’m closer to 25% though I dropped a few before really getting into this blog. Since then, my selections have gone really well, for the most part.

            Liked by 1 person

    3. So here’s a question absolutely no one wants to hear. Are Koreans actually incessant liars — white lies, that is, supposedly to protect the other person from discomfort — or is this primarily a K-drama thing?

      Americans are perhaps too forthcoming, so I realize it might just be a cultural difference.

      But I have to say it makes it harder for me to enjoy these scripts. Show after show, where the protagonist either lies to or allows the other person to be misled about something incredibly important while convincing him- or herself that it’s for the best. And then, of course, far greater damage occurs to that other person as a result.

      Is it just a plot tool/trope to prolong tension to get to 16 episodes, or are Koreans really like this? Because if they aren’t like this IRL, I’d say it’s a disservice for K-drama to so regularly broadcast such a negative impression of SK to the world. Especially with Netflix all in now, these show serve as cultural ambassadors.

      OK, I’m ready to be flamed.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I did sort of weigh in on this with MeriJ on Patreon, but thought I’d say it again here, for anyone else reading who might be interested.

        No flaming necessary; I do think it’s a valid question, and I believe it’s a cultural thing (not just Korean, but in many Asian cultures as well) to use white lies to avoid hurting people’s feelings or confrontation, though it’s probably exaggerated for drama. In this case, MeriJ’s referring to Personal Taste, where the male lead pretends to be gay for much of the story. I definitely think this was exaggerated for drama, and then dragged out to maximize said drama.

        That said, we might want to cut the show a bit of slack, as it’s a pretty old drama (2010), and hopefully the more recent dramas have less tendency to lean so hard on old tropes. 😅

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I just realized I didn’t finish explaining the “don’t leave the house” trope. The protagonist never says “you’re in danger because…” thus giving their loved one the mental tools to make a decision and be aware to protect themselves.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. In Personal Taste, while its wrong to deceive a person, it does make sense for that drama’s story as LMO would never be allowed to live in the house with SYJ if he admitted he was straight. And it was her mistaken perception that started the whole mess. lol

          Although, I never understood how an architect would need to live in the house in the first place to understand how the home was designed (and I don’t think Show ever explained it because maybe Koreans understand without needing to be told?) but then, I’m not an architect and I definitely have even less knowledge about traditional Korean houses which is the subject of the storyline.

          But sometimes you just go along with the nonsense for the sake of having a story. I know I enjoyed Personal Taste and I really thought the story treated the character that was supposedly really gay with dignity and sensitivity and for the time the drama was made, and in the societal climate, it was well done. In fact, I wanted to slap female lead for constantly “defending” male lead when no one had asked if he were gay or not and she would loudly announce it even though she knew he was “closeted”.

          Personal Taste. Good times. ☺

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Wow Beez, your memory of Personal Taste is so clear and detailed, I’m impressed! I agree with what you said; oftentimes as drama fans we just go along with the nonsense for the sake of enjoying the show. Like, sure, it might not make sense, but if the show can deliver feels outside of that lapse in logic, many drama fans would be willing to look past the show’s flaws, to enjoy the feels.

            I do vaguely remember feeling annoyed with Son Ye Jin’s character in Personal Taste, and what you described could well be part of the reason why!

            Another show that I thought did a nice job of handling a gay character (and his loveline) sensitively, is family drama Life is Beautiful. Wonderful drama that I highly recommend to everyone! ❤

            Liked by 2 people

            1. Ha. This is another of those male vs. female viewer disconnects.

              You two found Son Ye jin’s character annoying for being clueless or clumsy, even though her motivations were pure and her missteps mostly due to the bad intel she had been fed. (She’s thinks he’s gay because her friend misinterpreted a situation and then his friend started deliberately playing an act to sustain that impression.)

              Whereas I find him annoying for allowing her to continue to be misled for soooo long, despite knowing that it will come out sooner or later and will be more harmful to her the longer the deceit goes on. Especially if it’s his business rival — her ex-bf! — who tells her.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. It’s true that female viewers tend to expect more from female characters, and likewise male viewers with male characters.. at least, I’ve noticed that anecdotally.

                In terms of SYJ’s character, for me personally, I didn’t find her annoying for being clueless per se; it was the insensitive behavior that Beez described that I think I found annoying. If it had been true that he was gay, then her loud “announcements” would have potentially embarrassed him, or outed him when he preferred to be in the closet. I didn’t think that was ok, even if it wasn’t malicious.

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                1. @KFG, @merij,@beez: My view is more aligned with merij in that I think the female lead’s naivete and lack of a full social filter in Personal Taste are part of her character, growing out of a lack of a female role model with her mother’s early death while LMH’s character let the deception go on too long. I thought for sure he would do the big reveal when he suddenly kisses SYJ’s character but he didn’t and let the farce continue for a while more (hope I remembered accurately, it’s bad that I just finished Personal taste and I’m not sure I recall the sequence of events accurately – I attribute this to too much Kdramas!)

                  Nevertheless, it was an enjoyable show, not quite top tier but light and a lot of fun. I liked the chemistry between the leads and thought the supporting cast was okay, except for the irritating girl who had a big crush on LMH’s character. Beez, I agree the treatment of the really gay character was sensitive and well done, especially given it was produced ten years ago.

                  On another issue, which I think merij raised, it’s interesting that there’s a lot of male semi-nudity but very little of the female actresses. Now, I really appreciate the fact that Kdramas can produce good shows and movies without gratuitous sex, violence and nudity (well, there is gratuitous male semi-nudity, the standard shower scenes, lol) but I’m wondering whether that is cultural too? I’m not asking for more exposure as I do appreciate SYJ’s and JJH’s appeal without any skin showing but just wondering? Is it cultural or is it just because most viewers are female?

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. @Geo – my guess is it’s both. Do you remember when a shirtless man meant nothing at all? Or maybe I just thought so in my younger years? Or maybe men weren’t typically six pack ripped? 😆 But I recall a time when on hot summer days boys and men took their shirts off outside and it was nothing. No big deal. There were no signs in neighborhood store windows about “no shirts/ no service”. And in that light, I think with K-censorship the way that it is, you’ll never see a FL shower scene. I’m always surprised when I see a couple in bed with bare shoulders peeking out of the covers; and that usually turns out to be cable shows. Look at the penalties the drama Backstreet Rookie has received for just the THOUGHT of what MIGHT be innuendo in viewer’s minds because they know it’s based on an “adult” manga.

                    Now that being said, I’ve saved some screen shots that to me prove that Kdramas are a woman dominated thing. 😆

                    https://1drv.ms/f/s!AvE2-hpAQD16ljTfAiXdDICtyZHn

                    https://1drv.ms/f/s!AvE2-hpAQD16rFhbhwc-pMDg8PeL

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                    1. @beezrtp: I think you’re on to something when you say that Kdramas are female dominated. I’ve noticed the strong representation of female writers and they’ve been responsible for many of the great shows. More power to them, I remember I was surprised to learn the writer of Memories Of The Alhambra is female and I’ve since heard about the Hong sisters and their major contributions as well.

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                    2. Due to my curiosity and wanting to understand what I’m looking at so I’ve sought out info on Korean culture. There is a group called AsianBoss (YouTubers) that conducts man-on-the-street interviews and from what I’ve seen of those interviews, much like here (with soap operas), the guys aren’t as involved in watching Kdramas as women are.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    3. Beez – love Asian Boss interviews! I follow them on FB and watch all their interviews. My favorite is Hiroko who reports from Japan. What a sweetheart. They had a great set of videos on CV which was very helpful. They tackle a lot of different, sometimes hard issues. Interesting to hear from real people on the street. I love them.

                      Liked by 1 person

                2. The show is almost a decade old, we shouldn’t evaluate it using today’s norm. People have evolved a lot in the last few years – I would venture to say that we have evolved at warp speed.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. @A Reviewer – I totally agree. But the comments I made about Personal Taste is how I felt about FL’s behavior back when it aired, and I’ve rewatched this show recently and my opinion hasn’t changed.

                    Liked by 1 person

                3. @kfangurl, The show is almost a decade old, we shouldn’t evaluate it using today’s norm. People have evolved a lot in the last few years – I would venture to say that we have evolved at warp speed

                  (Somehow the response is not showing up where it should)

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              2. But merij1 – she thinks he’s gay in a society that has no tolerance for gays. (Even less when this show was made than they do now. I only know of 2 openly gay celebrities on Korea and the older one’s career suffered greatly when he first came out.) Yet she keeps announcing to people that he’s gay. He could lose everything from his career to his family. Maybe because S.K. has had less experience with gay people and the rights they should be afforded that her behavior is played for laughs. Knowing the ramifications he could face, I didn’t see it that way. And I’m not usually a stick on the mud. I admit I laughed (a lot) at the over- the-top effeminate character in Strong Girl Park Bo soo while others found it problematic. But to me that character was obviously a clownish buffoon whereas in Personal Taste the gay characters seem like more “real” people to be taken seriously.

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            2. I may not remember details most times, but my memory is stamped by things that make me feel strong emotions. The details will sometimes come back as someone begins to describe something and then it all comes back in a rush.

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              1. > but my memory is stamped by things that make me feel strong emotions

                I too wondered about your detailed memory for a show you haven’t seen recently. Interesting nuance there.

                I agree that she was stupid to blurt out that he was gay, even though she thought she was being helpful at the moment. But bear in mind that she was nearly black-out drunk that one time in the restaurant.

                Whereas that wonderfully portrayed actually-gay-in-the-script character is another grudge I have against the ML. Even after that man confessed his love, our ML continued to allow him to think he was gay also. He was clear that the attraction was not mutual, so that was honest.

                But would it have been that hard to say, “I’m so sorry. I’m not actually gay but I haven’t figured out how to tell her that yet. Even so, I’m still deeply flattered that you find me attractive.”

                I can’t count the number of times I’ve said that last part to gay acquaintances who risk putting up a trial balloon with me. It’s no more awkward than the exact same conversation with someone of the opposite sex.

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                1. I also will revisit scenes that I find funny and/or romantic. 😉
                  I remember at the time rewinding and rewinding the scene where FL scares ML with a chainsaw in the middle of the night. 😆

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      2. Haha. In Kdrama lingo that’s called the “noble idiocy” trope. But I see this all the time in a slightly different form in American tv. It shows up as a known felon has escaped whom you or your family caused to be sent away to prison. Instead of warning your loved one that this person is out and seeking to harm them, the protagonist calls the loved one and says “promise me you won’t leave the house”. And inevitably the loved one gets an important phone call that they must go out for (and, also because, you know, saying “Yes, I promise” is about as important as saying “I’ll think about it”…

        But there is also the built in vagueness in the Korean language that Kfangurl and I discussed (I think in this thread?) And maybe that’s only in our rookie learning that we think it’s vague. Maybe it’s not vague to Native speakers and maybe as we learn more, it won’t be to us either. But many times pronouns are left out and who you’re speaking of is assumed. And this is why the dialogue can come off as a witty exchange or sounds stupidly repetitive. The boy says “Pretty”. The girl preens. And the boys says “I was talking about the flowers”. But it’s not translated as he only said “pretty”. It’s translated by adding in the pronoun “you’re”. So many times I used to be like “But you just SAID she was pretty!”

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        1. Beez, your noble idiocy trope is a perfect example of a variation on what I was complaining about.

          In our house we call that the “don’t share misformation!” trope. You say: “Promise me you won’t leave the house” in a non-urgent tone of voice, instead of sharing that the guy you put in prison who vowed to murder your wife in revenge just escaped and may be nearby.

          Because why would you SHARE INFORMATION?! Keep that stuff to yourself. And count on her to do the same, so both of you are making important decisions based on totally false assumptions the other person could easily correct.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. But the noble idiocy description doesn’t explain this other kind of situation, which I’ll call the “growing coward” trope.

            Here the initial motivation is corrupt, but the jerk then grows as a human from exposure to a more innocent person, learns to love and care about another, yet can’t bring them to admit to the initial deceit. Or start to several but allows interruptions to get in the way and then waits days before trying again.

            Even when they realize their rival or enemy has figured it out and will surely expose them to the innocent person, thereby shattering his or her trust and causing deep harm to the one person they are supposedly trying to protect.

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                1. Sean, first of all – I just noticed your new profile pic. You guys look great, like you’re enjoying life. ☺

                  As to Mom Has An Affair – I enjoy how relaxing the show is to watch. No one talks fast so the subs are relaxing. No need to reach for the remote to constantly rewind. I think the ML is sorely miscast because of his age. He looks every bit of his real life age of 44 (and then some) so to have him acting so clingy over his dog while sending him away to college, and then his petulance over the dog with the little girl when he should be glad the lost dog is alive and being loved and well taken care of – all seems ridiculous. But my main issue with believing him a miserable human being is, while he moved into the home of a single mom who is struggling so much that she keeps a garden of vegetables for food – he demands things that she can’t afford like the air conditioner and bidet – things the family live without themselves. His actions would be a bit more believable if he were younger. I know it won’t happen but I wish she would end up with the handsome silver-fox doctor. And I rarely, rarely suffer from second lead syndrome but in this instance… I just wish.

                  As to the Dad, he’s so foolish. Partly for marrying a shrew in the first place, but turning her from shrew to an even worse harridan. (I have no doubt Mom was a witch when he married her, but I’m sure his stupidity has ripened her to the bitter ol’ biddy that she is now.)

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                  1. Hello Beez, thank you so much and very appreciated. We make the most of what we can. That’s us with Famous Sharron on the way to the opening of an Art Exhibition.

                    With Mom Has An Affair, I save up the episodes each week and then watch it. I agree with you re the ML. His behaviour over his demands did irritate me no end. Also, why couldn’t he ever just tell the truth. The same re the father – big let down.

                    The things I do like are the step mother and son. They are good together and hamming it up beautifully. I like the pizza shop couple. The second FL always plays a good part and she is doing really well here. I thought the silver fox and the bed shop manager (when she was a school nurse) might get together. I like the principal as well and how she is finding out about the pizza business.

                    Overall, it’s better than most dailies. In fact, it could be very good if they had, just, written the ML better.

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                    1. I, too, really like the actor playing the ML’s half brother. I’ve seen him in a lot of shows in supporting roles. And I’ve always liked the FL in the small parts that I’ve seen her in. I think she was in a Kpop group. I’m glad to see her getting a lead role.

                      I’ve never seen the second FL (the villainess) in anything else but she’s doing a great job at making me detest her. lol

                      The Pizza Guy’s mom is a piece of work. If I had to choose mother in laws between her and Rich Mom, I’d take Rich Mom because I’d at least stand a chance of pleasing her if I did things exactly her way. Pizza Mom is unbearable.

                      But one thing this show has proven to me is – remember when I asked you how do you decide what to watch? I now know you watch everything! 😆😂

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                    2. Yes, the FL was in a Kpop group. I think Pizza Mum is coming around. I like how you can read on Rich Mum’s face exactly what she is thinking.

                      That’s right, Beez re my watching prowess. No stone left unturned 😂🤣😜

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          2. Typo: We call that first type the “DON”T SHARE INFORMATION!” trope.

            Because that’s what we’re sarcastically shouting at the protagonist at that moment. lol.

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            1. In Western shows and sometimes in K-Drama, there’s also the “Only I can do this!” trope, where a man (usually it’s a guy) acts under the grandiose delusion that they are the lone hero who is meant to take on some monumental task to save everyone else and therefore shares none of the crucial info he has learned.

              He just keeps it all to himself, since those other people barely exist in his mind as fellow human beings. He’s doing it all to protect them and he loves them, of course. But evidently in much the same way I love my dog.

              That one, to me, is a personality disorder. Which fits in a larger umbrella of the psychiatric disease I associate with having a Y chromosome. Here in the US, we like to elect people like that to higher office. Because “leaders.”

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  4. Having watched this show a couple more times, I noticed the following easter eggs or references to Son Ye-jin’s past work:

    One is the umbrella in the rain scene shown in the epilogue of episode 15. It was definitely made to look similar to the posters of Something in the Rain.

    Another is the dream sequence of Seri towards the end of episode 15 (again). While in comatose in a hospital bed, she dreamt about her decisions made in the past would have been the same knowing the challenges and hardships that are to come, just to be with Capt Ri. Quite similar to the dream sequence of her character in the movie Be With You, which turned out to be the main plot twist in the movie actually, where she also was lying comatose in a hospital bed, dreaming about the future, yet deciding to go through the bad things that are to come just for the chance to be happy with her love.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I just finished the movie The Pirates, another Son Ye-jin movie. And guess what, it has a scene where Son Yejin’s character and her love interest were showing off their huge battle scars! In CLOY, only Capt Ri was doing it being a soldier, but in the Pirates both she and the guy were at it. (And only K dramas can pull off a brag-about-your-scars scene without showing some skin at least! ;p)

      I’m thinking this one could be a coincidence, but then again maybe not.. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. @ Steven: what did you think of The Pirates? It’s on my list and thinking whether I should look at it before taking on another 16 episode show.

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  5. Beez would say it too. You truly can’t miss with Healer.

    We just finished Secret Garden and enjoyed it a lot. 20 episodes was four too many, but otherwise it was very well done.

    If you have access to a channel like Viki that streams K-Drama, I Hear Your Voice and Kill Me Heal Me are two shows we liked that mix action or drama well with romance. However, Healer is top tier so start with that, for sure.

    Last night we watched the first episode of A Piece of Your Mind but switched this evening to Fantastic. (Nice twist: the lead actress plays the role of a K-Drama writer.)

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    1. @Joe – I’ll tell you what I tell all newbies – watch Healer next. Although the danger is after CLOY (Crash Landing…), then Healer, you’ll be spoiled and want all Kdramas to be equally as good. Enjoy.

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      1. Except he can’t watch Healer on Netflix. He’d need to subscribe to Viki.com or put up with the commercial popups on their free site, (A buzzkill I myself can’t endure.) On the other hand, Joe, it’s only $5/month for their basic plan and if you continue with K-drama, you’ll need a service like that to follow up on the recommendations people give you here.

        That said, I strongly second Beez’s endorsement of Healer, as would about everyone else here who’s seen it. It combines action and romance quite seamlessly. My wife and I both loved it , so it definitely a great choice for anyone who liked Crash Landing.

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        1. It is one of the few shows with English subtitles at OnDemandKorea.com. They have ads but they’re not prolific (maybe 1 or 2 breaks per episode, at most 3 and not 3-4 ads at once). I found watching it there most tolerable.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. Ok, between kfangurl and you, you two have convinced me that I now have to watch Healer. We just finished watching What is wrong with… and was impressed by Park Young-min’s performance. We were looking for next kdrama to watch. To date we watched, CLOY, SiTR, SON, My Halo Love, Secret Garden, What is wrong with sec Kim, and The King:Eternal Monarch. SiTR and SON were not at the top of our list, as they were pure romance shows, so between Her Private Life and Healer, we will watch Healer next.

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            1. We on episode 8 of Healer, on viki, subscribed to watch Secret Garden, $5 is turning out to be money well spent. Thank you for recommending Healer, we are enjoying it very much. Btw, did you watch The King:Eternal… ? We liked that too.

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                1. @merij1 – I can’t remember, did you say you watched Boys Over Flowers? If you did, you’ll recognize the King Eternal Monarch as the ML from Boys Over Flowers. (If you didn’t watch BOF, it’s absolutely terrible (but addictive) BUT you can’t consider yourself truly initiated into Kdrama without having seen it.) 😆

                  By the way, your fav K-actress, Song Yoon-A, is starring in an ensemble show right now called Graceful Friends aka Elegant Friends. So far 4 episodes are out (only available illegit as far as I know). I wasn’t caught by the first episode but then her storyline was upped in Episodes 2 and 3. Wow. It’s rated with a warning “not for ages under 19”.

                  (I have to watch because my ultimate bias Kim Sung oh, who belongs to me and me alone (besides his wife and family 😆) and who I don’t have to share with other fans is also part of the cast.)

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. Please let me know how Graceful/Elegant Friends works out.

                    We haven’t seen BOF and never will, so I guess we’re destined to uninitiated for life. So sad.

                    I do have DOS on my “B list” of shows to check out, but have not really done so yet. Which is to say, I’ve looked at the description but have not watched any clips yet.

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                    1. I’ve learned to ignore the descriptions of shows because the lackluster description of Healer is how I ended up not watching it when it aired. The discussion almost broke Dramabeans with over 3,000 posts per episode! And I missed it all 😥

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                  2. Hi beezrtp: I just have to respond to your comment on Boys Over Flowers. It’s almost considered a rite of passage to view this show before you can call yourself a fan of Kdramas, as you noted, so I tried it shortly after Mr. Sunshine and CLOY (think it was the 4th Kdrama I watched) and I lasted all of 1 1/2 episodes, in fact I can’t believe I finished the first episode! I really don’t know if I have the courage to pick it up in the future so maybe I’ll never be a “true” fan of Kdramas, lol.

                    Liked by 3 people

                    1. From what you and merij1 have said, we may have to amend that saying for female fans only. It’s probably the Lee Min ho factor that keeps fans watching episode after episode until the end. 😆

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                    2. @Sean Aren’t you curious about what all the fervor was about? lol

                      But seriously, I do think it’s a show for absolute newbies. I think that’s the only reason it holds anybody’s interest. The newness of seeing adult women pouring buckets of salt on each other. Oh boy, I can’t even remember what struck me as new and interesting back then. 🤔

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                    3. Hello Beez, no – lololol. When I was undertaking my initial research into what I should watch, reading about BOF was enough for me. Many have made a comment similar to yours Beez, and that BOF was their entry point into kdramas. Mine was “Falling for Innocence” and it took me a little while to find something as good.

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                    4. @Seakkfletcher – ohhh, that show. Kim So-Yeon is really beautiful but I’m not a fan of the ML and I’ve seen my fair share of “new heart-new attitude/personality” dramas.

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                    5. Without doubt KSY is a standout in this show. I can appreciate what you are saying about the ML, but he is good in this, and I think it’s the best of the body part/change in personality type dramas, which I think have now morphed into the current run of AI and Robot shows.

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                  3. Hi Beez – Appreciate your comment on BOF and initiation. Your paragraph on Kim Sung Oh really made me laugh out loud. I just know you are watching I-LAND with Rain so let me know how it is. I might check it out if out if you say it is worth it. Thanks Beez.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. @phl1rxd – I’m actually not watching Rain in iland. I actually can’t believe I’m not. I’m also not watching him in his latest group with Joo Jae suk and Hyori. I did watch the video of the song they released but I didn’t care for it very much. I’m glad it’s a big success for their sakes but it’s hard to watch an artist have their entire image change so much. 😥 I get it, Rain has to change with the times, but the new group just seems like some sort of joke parody to me 😥

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                2. @merin1 – I forgot to mention that King Eternal Monarch is the same writer as Mr. Sunshine, Secret Garden, Goblin, and Descendants of the Son.

                  Speaking of DOTS have you checked out any clips or anything to see if you think your wife might like it?

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                  1. @beezrtp, @sean, @merij, @phl and anyone else who would like to weigh in. I feel like i’m hijacking this thread a bit but I wanted to get feedback on another show considered one of the foundation shows of the Kdrama wave (according to my very limited research), Full House with the Kpop star, Rain and Song Hye-Kyo (SHK) as the female lead. This was better than BOF but I struggled to get to episode 8 or so and just skimmed the remaining episodes. Again, I must be in a minority on this, I just didn’t get into the show or the chemistry between the leads; I liked SHK for the most part but Rain was hard to take as an actor and his character as drawn was so unrealistic for a supposed movie star (he’s like a simple farmboy who doesn’t know how to relate to women or people in general, really? a movie star with many hit movies?). What did i miss here? Anyway, after BOF and Full House plus another couple of forgettable shows I started and dropped, I began to seriously question whether I should continue watching Kdramas. Fortunately I did and with the assistance of this blog, I encountered some very good shows, eg Healer, Stranger, Memories of the Alhambra.

                    I’ve just started The Tree with Deep Roots, courtesy of Beezrtp’s recommendation, and it looks promising.

                    My apologies if I should have posted this elsewhere.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. Geo, this is a perfectly good time and place to initiate continue dialogue on other shows, if you ask me. People will still post up top on CLOY, but they’re not going to bothered by extended threads on other topics lower down.

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                    2. It’s okay, Geo. I haven’t even felt compelled to watch Full House. For the record, I have tried to watch a few Rain dramas now, and I can’t complete them. Thats not his fault, because he does have good screen presence.

                      There are so many kdramas out there that finding the gems will either come in waves or you end up going through a dry spell. Some of my favourites include, apart from those already mentioned above, (please don’t hold me to this, as some people do question my choices):

                      3 Days (Political thriller)
                      A Beautiful Mind
                      Arang and the Magistrate (A true classic)
                      Because This Is My First Life (I think you will find this will leave Full House for dead)
                      City Hall
                      Diary of a Prosecutor
                      Dr Romantic (Awesome performances)
                      Emergency Couple (this is one of those shows there is divided opinion over)
                      Good Doctor
                      Hot Stove League
                      Hotel King
                      I Hear Your Voice
                      I’m Not A Robot
                      Jealousy Incarnate (Fabulous performances all round)
                      King2Hearts (A CLOY precursor)
                      Lawless Attorney
                      Live Up To Your Name (I was very taken with this)
                      Lovers in Bloom (This is a daily, so it is very long…)
                      Man to Man (A good laugh)
                      Misty (Veteran actors at their best and riveting to boot)
                      Money Flower (Awesome)
                      Mr Sunshine
                      Ms Temper & Nam Jung Gi (really, really like this)
                      My Lawyer, Mr Jo (Season 2 was a real dive)
                      My Mister (My all time favourite drama)
                      My Sassy Girl
                      Noble My Love (A bit wacky)
                      Queen In Hyun’s Man (A must watch)
                      Romance Blue
                      Romance is a Bonus Book (Very special in my view)
                      Second to Last Love (So special)
                      Stranger (This is one that everyone should watch)
                      Terius Behind Me(The best of the spy type dramas)
                      That Fool
                      The K2 (not a popular choice)
                      The King of Dramas
                      The Master’s Sun
                      The Princess’s Man
                      Tomorrow With You (Thought provoking and mature)
                      Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo (One of my special mentions)
                      Witch’s Romance
                      You Who Came From The Stars (Merij and his wife needed CPR with this one).

                      This was the perfect place to post!

                      Liked by 2 people

                    3. @Sean – Like that list. I’ve seen must of those.
                      One really good ❤ Rain ❤ vehicle is Come Back Ahjusshi. The only reason I don’t usually recommend it is – it’s great for 13-14- 15 episodes (out of 16; honestly I don’t remember where it lost it but it was in the late eps) but it’s as if the writers had this great concept of two middle-aged ahjusshis dying and coming back in two 30-somethings – a man and a woman. It’s really funny but somewhere toward the end you could see the writers had no way to figure out how wrap up this story (and based on the storyline, you knew they couldn’t stay).

                      I still consider it worth the watch because of how good the majority of the series is. Heck, there’s tons of shows that I’ve loved right up until Ep14, but been let down by the ending so \_(ツ)_/¯ I feel good about recommending this one.

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                    4. The K2! Ha. Sean, here were you when Beez and I were defending it as awful only in some ways but worth it for others?

                      I’m so glad you posted this longer list. Im going to save it somewhere.

                      We’ve down to the last 2 and 1/2 episodes of Fantastic, btw. You and KFG had recommended it to me. Great call. Quite a few endearing character portrayals, including the male lead who really surprised us, initially appearing to be merely a vain buffoon but turns out to be incredibly decent and lovable.

                      And, of course, Kim Hyun-joo is another prickly noona for me to crush on. And Kim Tae-hoon, the guy who played her wonderful doctor. And her assistant writer, and her two childhood friends (including Park Si-yeon) and on and on. Great cast.

                      Lest Geo worry, I can even tie it to this post, since one of lead characters is the guy who played “the Rat” on CLOY. So there, any lurking comment fascists. You’ve got nothing on me!

                      Liked by 2 people

                    5. @Geo – I must admit that I watched Full House (and BOF) and many more “classics” just because I really wanted to know what everyone was talking about. Back in 2014 when I first got into Kdramas and Dramabeans was THE place to be. The Dramabeans reviewers and viewers would drop references left and right to older shows and they all knew from quoting one line or describing a scene exactly what the others were talking about.
                      I enjoyed Full House for what it was – a show about two really childish people. And probably a vehicle for Rain ❤ who was a huge star back then. But chemistry? Not much by way of romance but I did like their childish bickering. I think a lot of Kdramas were similar in tone and innocence back then. And, it was enough to be very entertaining to me. I had just come off of watching Sparatcus (2010 series). I loved it but felt like I’d seen everything good (and bad) there was to see on American tv. Everything in Kdrama interested me because I had no idea what was going on (like how could Song Hye kyo’s friend sell her house?, etc.) 😆

                      But you’ll notice that even though I ❤ Rain ❤, I did not recommend Full House. I never recommend shows unless I think they’re really good.

                      So let me know whether you like Tree With Deep Roots or not. And if you do, be sure to add the prequel to Tree – Six Flying Dragons – to your list. It’s even better. 👍

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                    6. Hi Geo – For all Rain references Beez is the person you want to hear from. Rain’s shows are electric and he is a consummate performer on stage. I have only seen him in one drama and in his own variety show. On stage he is unstoppable.

                      Sean has posted an excellent KDrama list for you to look at. I have seen most of his listed shows and the ones I have not are in my queue. I would just add Kill Me Heal Me (listed as a comedy but was really not one although there were some iconic comedy scenes) to the list due its story and the acting. Queen Hyun’s Man is in my Top 3 and it is a love story. I have watched it twice and even watched the CDrama version (that required a lot of FF’ing). I also loved Rooftop Prince and have seen that twice as well. It depends on your preferred genre.

                      I methodically went through Fangurl’s list of all A rated shows and watched every one over the years. Check it out under Index/Full Reviews on the main menu. You cannot go wrong with this list.

                      My personal number one drama of all time is Nirvana in Fire which is a Chinese political drama of 50+ episodes. File this for the future when you are ready to expand your option to include CDramas. It is an epic visual masterpiece. Sigh!

                      Liked by 1 person

                    7. Beez, we talked about this before — whether the ending to Fantastic is sad. I’m pretty sure the answer is no, and will know for sure by the time I go to bed tonight.

                      But the uncertainty and fear of a cancer diagnosis does run throughout the show, so I can certainly see why someone with their own serious issues might not want to watch someone else dealing with theirs.

                      Mostly we’re finding it uplifting.

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                    8. @merij1 – I do know those darn descriptions of shows can be very deceiving but the minute I read “has one year to live…” or anything similar – I’m out. 😆 I’ll wait to hear from you how it went. 👍

                      Liked by 1 person

                    9. Beez, we finished it. I don’t want to spoil you, but it was not sad. There is sadness a few episodes earlier, but even that was uplifting. I think you’d like this show.

                      The actress doesn’t look at all like Han Ji-min (One Spring Night, Familiar Wife, etc.), but nonetheless I got the same vibe. And her character is a K-Drama writer, so that’s cool.

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        3. Yes, Merij, I really enjoyed the banter between you and Beez re the K2. For the record I enjoyed the Ramen scene 😉.

          I’m glad you enjoyed Fantastic, because it is a special show in terms of how they handle such a topic. And the cast was a stand out. The ML (JSW) is a delight in this, as he is in many shows, but of late his choices have been a bit off the mark (e.g. Grand Prince and Fates & Furies – the latter should have been awesome. I thoroughly enjoyed Touch though, but it got hammered re the age gap issue).

          May the comment fascists admire your comprehensive input into any worthwhile drama debate and become their role model in years to come – lol!

          Liked by 3 people

  6. Wow what a review! And if I feel like re-watching some scenes, I can just go read the sequence of events right here! 🙂
    CLOY was my first and only K-drama (so far) and I’d say what an experience it was!! And the fact that I stumbled upon this blog meant I haven’t moved on. Haha!

    Just wanted to add an item though — no mention of Seri’s executive assistant (the chubby guy) in the review? He’s one of my fave goofy characters in the series, and one of the few that truly cared for Seri’s safety. And his main indicator that the voice he’s hearing in the captured radio transmission and upon seeing Seri again in the flesh was if his usual allergic reaction flared up — that for me was one of the wittiest jokes in the whole series. 🙂

    Now I’ve lined up Son Ye-jin’s other works in my list. Thank God I chanced upon Personal Taste in one of your comments below. It seems more interesting that Something in the Rain. Too bad it ain’t on Netflix so I have to look further where to watch it. Hehe!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Because Personal Taste is an older drama, you can watch it for free on Viki.com or the Viki app. Although the commercials might inspire you to sign up for its ad-free subscription.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Hi: CLOY was my 2nd Kdrama (a benefit of the pandemic lockdown) and like you, my first exposure to Son Ye Jin. I followed her to Something In The Rain (SITR) and was quite disappointed in it; I found the first 8 episodes or so to be an almost perfect rom-com but the last half was really hard to take so I would focus on the first half (it’s really good) or so and drop the show after that or fast forward the rest. I had read good reviews of SITR so I went looking for someone who I felt had a more balanced view and I found this blog which I can say is exceptional in terms of insight, quality and detail. You will not be disappointed following KFG and the very knowledgeable community here.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes I did catch SITR recently and despite the much lower expectations, (I’m aware of the not-so-good reviews and know that it would be hard to top CLOY), I was still quite disappointed afterwards. What kept me hooked til the end was of course Son Ye-jin. 🙂 I posted some comments on the SITR thread but it immediately got deleted. My guess was that it contained so much spoilers! Hehe! Yes I mentioned there that this blog is now part of my K drama routine, that I won’t consider having completed a K drama until I’ve finished reading the review here as well.

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    3. Both Dan (Seo Ji Hye and Seri’s executive assistant (Go Gy Pil) from CLOY are in Dinner Mate. In fact this show has made nods to CLOY in episodes one (Seo Ji Hye is reunited with KJH – he plays her scumbag boyfriend) and eight (a dream sequence where Seo Ji Hye meets up with her North Korean soldier. She looks rather Dan like!).

      Go Gy Pil is popping up in a lot of shows now, playing all types of roles – he is one of my favourite support actors. Search on Son Ye-Jin’s movies as she as an extremely versatile actress (You will note she was in a recent movie with Hyun Bin too – The Negotiation).

      Enjoy your kdrama journey 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes after CLOY, I’ve watched The Negotiation, Something in the Rain, and The Last Princess — all Son Ye-jin starrers. And also realized she was in Be With You which I’ve watched 3 years ago.

        Also chanced upon Go Kyu-Pil in On Your Wedding Day where he played one of the student friends of the guy lead. I was a bit shocked seeing him play a student considering On Your Wedding Day was a very recent movie 2018). LOL!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The Last Princess is one of my all time favourite films. Yes, it’s always amazing what you find when going back through shows or movies and realise that’s where you have seen an actor before.

          I think Go Kyu Pil is 38! Have a look at Investigation Couple (Partners for Justice) seasons 1 & 2. He plays a great role as a long term suffering forensic investigator.

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          1. I think we have a small Son Ye-Jin fan club here between us and Steven. I recently viewed My Love From The Star and SYJ has competition in Jun Ji-Hyun, she plays a Korean superstar actress who enters into a relationship with an alien (I know, sounds ridiculous but it works) and is redeemed by that relationship. This is an older show though new for Kdrama newbies and I was referred to it through this blog and it lived up to all the hype…and JJH is gorgeous.

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              1. Legend of the Blue Sea is on my list but I’ll probably get to My Sassy Girl (movie) first. While both feature Jun Ji-Hyun, I think I’m in between Stage 2 and Stage 3 of ‘Is the K-Bloom off the Rose”, meaning I won’t follow Son Ye Jin or Jun Ji Hyun blindly but I’ll put their shows on my list and prioritize based on the reviews. I like what KFG does in her review, she provides a brief overall comment without any major spoilers which helps my decision making, and if I do view the show, I’ll read her full review after. I learn so much more about the show after reading her review!

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                  1. @beezrtp – your take on My Sassy Girl is interesting; I put it fairly high on my list as Wikipedia noted it was the highest grossing comedic film in SK of all time as of 2001 (don’t know if it has been displaced as yet) and received critical acclaim as well. I’ll bear your warning in mind as I watch it.

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                  2. @beezrtp: I have to respond to your comment on My Sassy Girl (movie) and say I was disappointed in such a popular and widely acclaimed movie, a B- for me. I agree with you the JJH character was off-putting and I didn’t feel the chemistry between the leads. I guess we’re in a distinct minority on our views.

                    I also started to view My Sassy Girl (TV Series) and I liked the historical setting, the female lead but haven’t finished it, dropped it fairly early, again didn’t feel the chemistry between the leads, wasn’t positive on the male lead and maybe after watching the movie version, I had enough of this theme.

                    I just finished Stranger (I know I’m late to the party again) and that’s a tremendous show, very engrossing and overall so well done. Looking now for a lighter show, maybe Coffee Prince or Personal Taste (Son Ye Jin vehicle), but I’m catching up on some western shows right now.

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                    1. Coffee Prince is really really good. If you watch Personal Taste, let me know what you think!

                      We’re on Ep 11 of Secret Garden at the moment.

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                    2. @Geo – Yay for camaraderie! lol. I haven’t watched Stranger yet. Like you, I have to spaced out the heavier stuff. But also I don’t care for actress Bae Doo-Na. For no good reason other than she’s hyped so much and I’m unimpressed (so far). I also have this problem if I wait too long to see a movie or show that’s really uber hyped up by everyone else, inevitably, once I watch it never lives up to the hype.
                      I can only think of a few things that have:
                      Star Wars #1 (I will never call it whatever number they want me to call the first movie now) (although I was only a year late
                      1977)
                      ET (not sure but it wasn’t when it opened)
                      Black Panther (6 months to a year)
                      Healer (6 months late)
                      Signal (3 years late)
                      Hamilton (just now and I must say, for somebody who HATES rap with a passion, I love, love, loved it!)

                      Liked by 1 person

              2. She is fantastic in this. I know kfangurl was a bit “iffy” about The Legend of the Blue Sea, but what a performance. And, I am always up for a good mermaid story but not the “sirens” type nonsense that seems to the flavour of the month at the moment.

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                  1. Both Tidelands and Siren. Tidelands has been described as tailor made for a nude beer drinking game (so, it’s bad – lol 😂 ). As for Siren, I can see why many find it gripping, but it hasn’t appealed to me, which is no indication of whether a show is good, bad or otherwise. There’s quite a few recent movies too and others on the way to show the more murderous side of mermaids.

                    Liked by 1 person

                1. About Legend of the Deep Blue Sea – In the scene where Jianna Gun and Lee Min ho are running and fighting (and she is kicking butt but LMH doesn’t realize it) did you see the clips of Bruce Lee intercut with Jianna’s moves? I’m asking because I know I saw it but when I went back to watch that scene again a few days later those clips were removed, leaving me questioning my sanity. lol

                  Liked by 1 person

                    1. Thanks, Sean. I rewatched that fight scene when it was on DramaFever but couldn’t find the Bruce Lee clips so I assumed (wrongly apparently) that they’d been removed over some copyright issue or something.

                      I enjoyed that scene immensely.

                      Liked by 2 people

            1. Hello Geo, yes, we probably do have a small fan club developing 😊

              My Love From A Star is one of my all time favourites. I have tried to watch the other versions, but they are not a patch on the k-version. When I was watching it, I found it to be the type of magical story I really like. In any case, JJH is truly marvellous and looks like she has a new drama lined up for next year.

              Liked by 3 people

          2. Hi Sean – I read this when you posted and I found The Last Princess and watched it that day. It was really a good movie and quite sad. Acting was superb. Thanks for the recommendation!

            Also, I agree that Go Kyu Pil’s role in Partners for Justice (favorites of mine) was imho his best role to date. He really was a natural in that role.

            Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow! What a wonderful review… you can almost shoot the whole show reading your review.

    As you did, I watched this a second time, because for me there were some things that did not make sense in one pass.

    When exactly did Se Ri arrange the books? Looks to me like Jung Hyuk is watching her do this, hence he is able to decipher.

    Mom/Se Ri relationship (till mom has coffee with HJ) was confusing to me. I thought it was because something was lost in translation. Good to know others felt the same way. Same with what her father was doing on a business trip… some document was shown. I was left wondering if Se Ri was adopted, child of her father with someone else etc.

    I still haven’t answered my questions above.

    I agree completely with you on the fate/desitiny stuff… the story would have worked ( and more realistic ) w/o that as the two fall in love step by step with time.

    ” it’s true that wherever she is, Jung Hyuk will always find her” – this is a core concept of this drama (even if we take the destiny/fate out ;)) – wouldn’t you agree?

    Thank you for the in depth review, this would now be my go to place to read K-Drama reviews.

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    1. Ah, so pleased that you enjoyed this review, Reviewer! 😀 And hi5, that we both watched this twice! 😆 Show isn’t clear on when Se Ri arranged the books. I believe Jung Hyuk doesn’t actually watch her do it; what he’s seeing is how she probably did it, in his mind’s eye, and Show’s using that to also show us the flashback of her doing it, at the same time. I hope that makes sense?

      As for Se Ri’s parentage, Show is quite vague about it, but I believe she was her father’s child, born outside the marriage, which is why Mom struggled so much, with her relationship with Se Ri.

      YES, Show didn’t need the fate/destiny stuff, but I guess Show wanted to go ham on the drama tropes, since it was reveling in them, after all. I don’t mind that Show had it; I did feel it was rather heavy-handed though.

      I’m glad you plan to hang out here, Reviewer! 😀 WELCOME! I guess I should give you a heads-up that not all of my reviews are this long, especially if they’re reviews I wrote when I first started blogging. Those tend to be a lot briefer, while more recent reviews have tended on the longer side. You can browse my full list of drama posts here. 🙂

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  8. Having only recently discovered Kdramas and even more recently, your website, I thought I would share some of my views on CLOY:

    1. I agree with your analysis and final rating of B++; as always your insight and detailed analysis are superb
    2. Performance by the 4 leads was excellent, the chemistry between Hyun Bin and Son Ye Jin was incredible, so much so that you really felt for them despite the improbable scenarios
    3. Son Ye-Jin and Hyun-Bin convey so much with their facial expressions, her eyes and face are very expressive in both comedic and dramatic moments and he was stolid, as he was meant to be, but his face reveals so much when he looks at her in unguarded moments
    4. Seo Dan was excellent and convincing as the haughty ice princess coming to care for someone she never thought she would; Seung Joon was okay but I thought the weakest of the 4 leads
    5. Best supporting actor must surely go to Seo Dan’s mom, a larger than life character providing some of the best comedic moments with her brother, yet demonstrating her gravitas and understanding of the situation when she tells Jeong Hyeok’s Dad that Seo Dan has to call off the engagement to Jeong Hyeok (JH)
    6. The contrast between the two Koreas. The director seems to be saying that NK’s government is evil and riddled with infighting and back-stabbing while the people are kind and caring of each other and their families. In contrast, SK’s government, as represented by the intelligence service, is humane (eg. their treatment of the captured JH and his men, allowing JH to look over the seriously ill Se-ri in hospital) while the SK people and society are grasping, back-stabbing and dysfunctional as represented by Se-Ri’s family, eg, Se-Hyung’s willingness to leave Se-Ri in NK and ultimately to accept Se-ri’s death to cement his position. Mirror images of each other?
    7. I have seen some comments about the many unrealistic scenarios (eg. billionaire heiress and handsome NK soldier, the Swiss interactions) but these work if they allow for the development of the human emotions and the relationship, which I think they mostly do here
    8. There was a bit too much filler and the show dragged at times. I almost stopped watching at times during episodes 2-5 as I was getting a little bored by the depiction of North Korean everyday life, guess it didn’t mean as much to me as to South Koreans. I agree with you the show also dragged during the acclimation of the puppies to South Korea; I found myself fast forwarding. I guess this is the price when you have to provide a minimum number of hours of product, the few Kdramas I have watched have varying amounts of filler.
    9. The ending was expected and natural; the director and writer did a good job of ending the show in a way that reflected the journey they had brought the audience along. It may not be realistic but it fits with the tone and is consistent with the show’s themes.

    As a side note, Son Ye-Jin’s performance here led me to seek out her other shows which led to SITR and you know how that went. However, she has so much capital with me that I will look past SITR to other shows by her.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I believe the filler is because of the shooting schedule which is so hard on the leads that second lead couples and supporting characters are there so the leads can get a break (and sleep). Sadly this accounts for sometimes a great filler plot that we viewers are totally invested in gets dropped by the writer and we’re all left going “Wait! I love the OTP but what happened to [inert characters or story line]” That’s very frustrating.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Hi Geo! Glad you enjoyed this drama despite the spots of drag, and that we pretty much agree on its final grade! 😀

      That’s a very interesting observation of the depiction of the 2 Koreas being mirror images of each other. I do wonder if that was the intention of the show.. it isn’t typical of mainstream dramas to critique general Korean society, so I was under the assumption that the criticism was only for the elite class, since we do see that kind of dog-eat-dog in-fighting among the elite class in many kdramas.

      Also, YES, I thought Seo Dan’s mom was great! So OTT comedic, and yet, so dignified at the right time. Loved her! ❤ As for Son Ye Jin, this was hands down my favorite outing of hers that I have watched (I haven't seen all that many of her shows, I think), and this effectively washed away the dissatisfaction that SITR left me, with regards to her as an actress! 😉

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  9. Crash Landing On You is my first Korean drama and I really love it. In my opinion, it has a perfect balance of humor, romance, action and drama. Each episode is more compelling than the last and while I found the ending a bit lackluster, it was still satisfying. I’ll move on to Itaewon Class next.

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    1. @Grace Jones – I personally would not recommend Itaewon Class as your second Kdrama. I think knowing more about Korean culture/Kdramas will help you enjoy Itaewon Class more later; or there will be things about it that you’ll think “what’s the big deal about that?”. Just a suggestion, but maybe checking out Secret Garden with Hyun Bin (male lead in Crash Landing) and maybe Personal Taste with Son Ye-Jin (the female lead in Crash Landing). After you see the things that are big deals in conservative South Korea (or more specifically Kdramas), then you’ll have a better appreciation for the things that we other cultures take for granted. For example, I watched a show where the family freaked out about two brothers that wanted to marry two girls that were friends and the girls were in-laws to each other through their siblings being married. Me and all the westerners that watched with me, couldn’t figure out what the problem was until it was explained that Korean families hate “double in laws” because 1) of you don’t like your in-laws, usually you can hang out with your other in laws but in this case, they were stuck with the same in laws for every function/holidays/ birthdays and getaway trips 😆 2) they felt that there would be no secrets about what happened in the immediate family because everybody would know everybody else’s business.

      Of course, you’ll watch what you want. This is just my un-asked for advice. 😊

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Hey there Grace jones!! Welcome to the interesting world of Korean dramas. Once you get into it there is no looking back. Trust me on this. 😊😊 Itaewon class is a great pick but before that there some other dramas that are light-hearted. I really think right now with so much of negativities around us (covid-19 and lockdown) it is important to check some easy peasy dramas. Isn’t it? You can definitely check out touch your heart, still 17 , Healer , fight for my way, her private life, what is wrong with secretary kim for a comforting feel.

      These are just my pick that I recommend every newbie but if you want you can definitely check out whatever you feel like watching. Happy watching!! 😊😊

      Liked by 1 person

    3. I’d also like to suggest Healer, Grace! It’s also got humor, romance, action and drama. I consider it one of my all-time favorite kdramas, and I hope you’ll love it like I do! 😀 Congrats on completing your first kdrama, by the way! May it be the first of many! 😀

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  10. Hey fangirl! I did watch crash landing on you and the first thing that comes to my mind is definitely Hyun Bin. Oh my my he is so so so Hawwtttt! 😀 He is just so so handsome. Regarding the show, I did love it and had to dig deeper into North Korea and south Korea conflict to get the show better. No wonder it helped me improve my history knowledge. 🤣 The story was good and it kept me hooked at around 12 episodes. But, later to that I started losing interest sometime or the other. The ending didn’t feel satisfying to me I don’t know why. I felt two weeks in a year without any contact of the other for the rest of the year is way too dramatic. Isn’t it?

    If you are in love with someone but you just can’t even get news of their well being whenever you want is just so so devastating. I still wonder how would they manage for the rest of the year? 😒😒

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hehe, yes indeed, this drama’s biggest draw is swoony Hyun Bin as our beloved Captain Ri. 😍😍😍 Honestly, when the going got heavy in the mid-to-late stretch, it was my desire for Captain Ri on my screen, that helped me to keep going. 😆😆 It’s true that 2 weeks in a year is very little.. but considering that they thought they’d never see each other again, I could rationalize that it was much better than what they’d expected. That definitely helped me feel better about it! 🙂

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  11. I enjoyed reading this detailed review. We have the same feelings with cloy. It is indeed little bit bloated up😊 but that “kilig” factor was served well. I’ve watched something in the rain after cloy and ended up loving it more, i literally laugh out loud when you mentioned that you hate it. It is really a hit or miss drama. I’ll read your sitr review later.

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    1. Lol. How funny, that we feel so similarly about this show, and yet have opposite reactions to SITR! 😆 But that’s what makes us such an interesting bunch, I think, as drama fans. We might be super in sync on one show, and then have completely different feelings about another show. I’m curious to hear your thoughts about SITR! 😉

      Like

    1. If you do a word search on this page for “B++” you’ll find the answer she gave in reply to my March 7 comment.

      (Ctrl+F brings up the search box, at least for Windows OS.)

      Liked by 1 person

  12. What an incredibly well-written review, my comments are not suffice to describe HOW MUCH I LOVED IT the review and also the show. Thank you so much for writing this. I loveit, it gives me so much comfort. Thank you so much 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. The 2020 drama season has already gifted us with 3 event dramas (by highest cable TV rating): Crash Landing (No. 2), The Couple’s World (No. 3 post Ep. 6!) and Itaewon Class (No. 6), with a potential fourth in Hospital Playlist (currently at No. 13). Interesting times.

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  14. Hello, Kfangurl!

    I composed a little piano lullaby inspired by Crash Landing on You. It is called Evening Star: A Lullaby for Twins. I am sharing it with you and the readers of your blog. Enjoy!

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Thank you Sean. In a fan fiction piece I wrote I imagined a birthday party for Seri’s and Jung Hyuk’s twins, in which JH plays a piano lullaby for the babies/toddlers. Now I have written a sort of music fan fiction! I see my musical piece as a companion to JH’s composition for his brother.

        Liked by 4 people

  15. Hey there KFG! I didn’t watch much Kdramas for a while cos life got busy but after a work event concluded I promptly started on CLOY. I couldn’t miss it – it was one of THE event Kdramas, felt like DOTS in its popularity where even guys and people who don’t normally watch Kdramas were talking about it. It was FOMO that got me started but I was pleasantly surprised by it. I didn’t expect much – tbh when I first heard the premise of this show I thought it sounded so stupid. A SK heiress paragliding and landing in NK? Just sounded too stupid. But yet so much of it was so well-done. The acting, the writing, the puppies! The ahjummas! The colours and cinematography. The humour was well-done too. I really enjoyed most part of it. And Hyun Bin! I have never been attracted to him but woah Capt Ri is way too charming. All of the actresses and actors did so well. And I love love love Seo-dan and Seung-joon, at times I liked them more than the main couple haha. I fully agree with you about the “ridiculous yet swoony” aspect of this show.

    I think I’m in the minority but I didn’t like the ending of the show. Seung-joon dying was so sad since I loved him so much. But what annoyed me most was the final parting at the Demarcated Line (that yellow line, I forgot the name). It was such a solemn, important affair that got hijacked by Seri running, Capt Ri running back to SK (!!) just to say goodbye. I know it’s a romance and our couple had to say goodbye but these are countries who are technically at war!! And that stand off could’ve turned ugly just for… a goodbye. I was so turned off that it took me out of the romantic grand moment. And when Capt Ri’s dad appeared and shot the Military Director… felt so unrealistic. He should’ve gone to trial and to jail or something, I always felt he was the smart cunning Director so I didn’t feel that it was in character for him to shoot him directly. And I was quite sure they wouldn’t let the show end on a sad note so I figured they would reunite in Switzerland so the second half felt like the plot moving the pieces to make them “coincidentally” end up in Switzerland, it felt too obvious for me. And her paragliding into him was a bit roll-eyes but since this show is so much fantasy, I was still ok with it. I wish they showed more of Seo-dan’s revenge though that would’ve been great. I loved her in her ice princess mode, she would have been awesome taking revenge.

    All in all it was a good watch but I didn’t like the ending! Still I felt it was well done, and quite like YFAS in that it is rather a complete Kdrama package – sweeping grand epic romance, funny, action-packed, heartfelt. Well done to the team!

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    1. Hey there MC!! Always great to see ya! ❤ And, I agree, this is one of those Event Dramas that everyone talks about, even if they don't watch dramas, so it's practically mandatory to check in, at least, to see what the fuss is about! 😀 Like you, when I first heard the premise, I thought it sounded ridiculous, and I was really thinking of just giving it a miss. But in the end, all the positive comments and FOMO got me to check it out, and I was so pleasantly surprised! 😀 They really did make all the ridiculous work, and make it fun, AND make it melty too. Waow. 😀 Plus, like you, I wasn't actually feeling the Hyun Bin love all that much (though I did get quite mesmerized back in 2010 when I watched Secret Garden), but BOY did I fall for Captain Ri! 😍😍

      Ahaha! I get what you mean, about the goodbye at the Military Demarcation Line! The whole time, I was like, Oh no, oh no, are they going to get shot??? 😱😱 But even so, I think I was better able to feel the feels of the moment than you were! 😅 And I agree, Jung Hyuk's father just coming out and shooting the military director was not very in character, and wasn't as satisfying, as if he'd been punished under the law.

      And OMG YES, that thing about her paragliding into him was just too much. I rolled my eyes so hard! 🙄😆 I do agree that seeing the details of Dan's revenge would've made the finale more satisfying to watch. But, as you rightly point out, this show is still an excellent watch overall; a great tribute to all the things that make kdramas as inexplicably addictive as they are. 😀

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  16. So happy to have come across this site. I am a K drama virgin until CLOY. No.Turning.Back. It must be a combination of these pandemic times, school moving online and not being able to work from home created the perfect coping/distraction mechanism for me. I have seen the series at least twice, ok, 5 times! Love the OST. The melodies, those first wistful and hopeful notes dropping at the perfect moments just stir me up. I truly enjoyed your review and I made sure I played the OST as you recommended while reading and enjoying every word. I agree the acting is amazing. Se-ri with her mood and sleep disorders but somehow managing to fall asleep easily when Captain Ri is around. The subtle facial, non verbal cues Captain Ri can convey across the screen. I can tell the actors feed off each other in an “iron sharpens iron” kind of way – they help each other be better at their craft. It’s great that it showed the positive portrayal of the people of NK both in the countryside and urban Pyongyang. The cinematography is amazing. I never thought I’d find myself getting the feels like I’m 13 again over Captain Ri and Se-ri’s interactions lol. Not since Keanu Reeves in “Speed” had I fan girled this much until Hyun Bin. So much so that when I recognized the spot on the hiking trail in Switzerland where Se-ri took a pic of Jeong Hyuk and Dan as the same spot I had my photo taken many years ago, that I even amused myself by thinking, “Hyun Bin have been standing on the same ground as I was, I just missed him by a decade. Our paths will cross someday…” In my mind, post Covid-19 apocalypse, I already have a costume for myself and my husband for halloween – lol – Sariwon Hospital where Captain Ri was his hospital gown, complete with a sling and Seri in her oversized brown coat (although I may end up looking like a cow but who is judging?). I am starting to branch out from CLOY, I am trying to slowly acclimate myself to other Kdrama production may it be TV or movies but pathetically, turbo’d through 4 Hyun Bin movies instead. I just finished Something in the Rain though. Saw your review on that too. Thank you for the wonderful review and website. Looking forward to revisiting this site.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi there Zinnia, welcome to the weird and wonderful world of kdramas! 😀 I’m glad you found me! 🙂

      We all have a huge soft spot for our gateway dramas, and I do think CLOY’s a fantastic pick for gateway drama, so it’s really cool that CLOY was your first! It’s perfectly natural for you to rewatch CLOY multiple times; I’ve rewatched my gateway drama (Goong, also known as Princess Hours) about 6 or 7 times now! 😆 And, it’s also very natural for you to seek our Hyun Bin shows.. For more rom-com Hyun Bin, you might want to try Secret Garden. I don’t think it’s as enjoyable as CLOY, but it was all the rage when it came out in 2010, and it’s Hyun Bin as romantic leading man. Though I’ll warn in advance, that so far, none of his characters is as appealing as Captain Ri. 😍😍

      When you’re in the mood to check out other dramas, you might find my Full List of posts a useful resource. I hope that helps, and happy drama watching! ❤

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      1. Thank you so much for your very nice and detailed review, as always. I rush writing my own review (for CLOY, it’s this one http://misisbrightside.blogspot.com/2020/04/k-drama-review-crash-landing-on-you.html) because I can’t wait to read what you had to say about the show. I love how detailed and spot on your reviews are. For the life of me, I can never write something as detailed, comprehensive, accurate, and honest as what you do with your entries. So, thank you. You are part of why I’m into K dramas. And I’m glad to know that we have the same gateway drama, Princess Hours. Thanks for reminding me, I might just re-watch it again. Much love to you from the Philippines! Stay safe. 🙂

        Liked by 3 people

        1. TM, I read your review to supplement the one Kfangurl wrote. Well said and thanks for all the Tagalog you just added to my slang!

          What strikes me several shows later is how strong the swoony moments in CLOY continue to hold in my memory. I can’t quite put my finger on the reasons, but it really hit a romantic nerve.

          We’re loving Coffee Prince right now, which is a classic feel-good show. And before that we watched Familiar Wife, always quite nice. But neither affects me in the same way. I’d say Healer is as good a show overall — better, actually — but for slightly different reasons and without quite the same romantic impact.

          Is part of it that once we understood the likely consequences for Captain Ri’s parents, we always knew Se-ri and Captain Ri’s were doomed not to end up living together?

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          1. Thanks, merij1 for reading my post. 🙂 And happy to add Tagalog to your slang. 😀

            Oh, you are so right. I’ve been having a hard time moving on from the swoony moments in CLOY. My husband might hate me if I start imposing Capt. Ri standards on him. I’ve never been this affected by a K drama. Can’t say that I’ve watched a lot though. I was hooked with Park Hyung Sik last year but might be leaning more towards Hyun Bin this time, probably because he’s nearer my age. 🙂

            Yes, I totally agree with your last paragraph. I guess the fear that Capt. Ri and Se-ri won’t end up together made us really appreciate every moment they spent together. They were all like stolen moments for us. So I was really, really relieved to know that they found a way to work around their situation.

            Still undecided if I love Hyun Bin, Capt. Ri, RiRi, or all of them. But thank you so much for engaging me. I honestly need a debriefing from all of this. Take care! 🙂

            Liked by 2 people

        2. Hi there TM, thanks for sharing your review! 🙂 I enjoyed reading it; you infused it with so much heart; it’s clear that you loved this show and its characters. ❤ Aw, what an honor, that I'm part of the reason you're into kdramas! Thank you! 🥰 Also, wow, hi5, that we have the same gateway drama!! 😀 I've rewatched it about 6 times now, and it's always brought back those early kdrama feels for me. Enjoy your rewatch, when you do get to it! ❤

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  17. Wow…. a lengthy review, but I was happily gobbled it up until the last drop of your words hahaha….. so on point, as usual! I just finished watching CLOY two days ago (yeah, a bit late, I know. sigh.), and nodding every now and then on your review here. And guess what? Another amazing thing happened. At some part of your review, I have teary eyes! Your description of them, and they way you added beautiful words to it, just reminded me of the way those scenes had stolen and touched my heart. Probably because it still fresh in my memory. Or probably because it is as THAT good.

    One thing I like to add here is about the EPILOGUE at the end of each episode. Those are the sweetest epilogues I’ve ever seen in kdramaland! I think several scenes that you love came from the epilogue, including when our Capt. Ri had to take his time when he was about to say ‘piano’ to the tomato plant. I melted then. Such simple word. Such heart-wrenching feeling. And it told so much about our captain when we were only warming up to his character.

    And those NK puppy soldiers!!!! Oh boy, I looooooove them!!! My kdrama buddies and I called them ‘minions’ affectionately haha… them and those village ahjumma were the highlights in every scenes they’re in. And they’re also badasses in their own way. When our minions backed up Seri and marched forward to meet the gang of kidnappers…. whoaaaa… that’s elite troops in action!

    It is also rare of me, but I kinda think to re-watch CLOY, just to look for tiny details I know I’d love but might miss on the first round . After all, this WFH thing is not too far from my routine of being a teacher. With the campus closed down, and my students had their unexpected mid-semester break, I think I can spare some quality time for CLOY haha

    I am currently watching WHEN THE WEATHER IS FINE (it’s on epi 10 rn). It’s such a refreshing tone down after the hyped-up CLOY, with its slow-burn and snail-paced unfolding of events. I guess it will be another underdog drama that I love. It is very poetic in more ways than one. Its narrative is poetic, its cinematography is poetic, their voice over is poetic. When CLOY has epilogues, WTWIF has some kind of note (a secret blog post, actually) at the end of each episode, which is equally touching. The setting is at the dead of a freezing winter, but the terms warm, warmth, and warming are bound to be found all over the place. The beautiful scenery of mountains, forests, village, and the small city of Hyecheon is an added bonus I would not want to miss. I can’t wait for more of their story next week!

    PS: Seo Kang Joon mostly acts with his eyes. And it is swoooooooney……

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aw, thanks for gobbling up this very lengthy review, Widya!! 😀 I’m so glad that we feel similarly about this show, and that this review helped you relive some of the feels too! ❤ And yes, I agree, some of the epilogues were very precious. I think my favorite is the one of Jung Hyuk trying to talk to his tomato plant. That was so heart-pinching and so poignant. I felt so much for him, in that moment. ❤ And I agree, the puppies and the ahjummas were a lovely addition; the show wouldn't be the same without them. 😍

      I did watch this twice, and I did pick up more details the second time around, so I think you'd probably enjoy your second watch quite well! I still found the later episodes draggy though, but you can always FF through those! 😉

      When the Weather is Fine sounds lovely indeed.. It's on my list, and I plan to start on it when I've cleared some space on my current drama plate. I do enjoy Seo Kang Joon – loved him in Are You Human Too, and also, The Third Charm – so I'm curious to see him deliver in Weather as well! Plus, swoony is always welcome! 😍😉

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    1. Hi there Gabrielle! Sorry this reply is slightly delayed. 😛 If I had to pick one for myself, I’d pick Dae Jang Geum, because I personally can’t bear to watch BOF anymore. 😝 But, if you’re in the mood for something nonsensical and light, BOF might be a good fit, over Dae Jang Geum. 😉

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    2. Anytime I finish watching a drama, I come to your blog to check your review and often times, we have similar feelings about the drama. On this drama however, our opinion differs. I have to be the only person on earth who doesn’t like this drama. I just don’t get the hype, it bored me to death.

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  18. Dear Fangirl,

    After being in bed with the flu ( It’s thankfully not covid-19!) and stumbling upon this kdrama golden nugget on Netflix after finishing my second Kdrama (DOTS), and finishing it in three days – I needed your review to tie the marvellous 30 hour feels I’ve just gone through. This review has given me closure for lack of better wording. Your words are so very wholesome and beautifully express all key characters, scenes and ideologies so very beautifully it’s made me want to watch the show again. I’m sure this must have taken so much time for you to write this and I sincerely want to say a massive thank you for your time, energy and eloquent way of narrating this show that I won’t be able to move on for a while. I genuinely struggled watching the last episode as I was so sad that it was coming to an end but your review has made it ok for me move on. I think I was more sad that I wouldn’t be able to discuss this with friends as none of my friends have watched it so it genuinely felt like we were conversing through this review and u don’t know how much that means.

    Thank you fangirl – I’m seriously a fan ♥️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I finished it last week and I still can’t get over it! It’s so beautiful – the filming, the people, the story…. sigh. What I wouldn’t give for a Captain Ri in my own life ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Right! I literally went back and rewatched it again, skipping the evil and the second couple scenes. I don’t know how long it will take for me to actually get over this and I don’t know whether I should laugh or cry!

        I need a Captain Ri in my life too! I *love* how he picked up on the little things which could be seen as a nuisance such as the body wash, shampoo, making hand dripped coffee, the candle scene, buying her a blanket, corn and potatoes and even stocking up her kitchen! He’s single handedly made me respect men who tend to be quiet and in the background. They are clearly observant and I love it!

        One thing that I forgot to mention is how much I loved and appreciated how comfortable and unintimidated Captain Ri felt in SK. I had to remind myself that he was already familiar with the glamour, or as Pyo Chi Su (my fave character after the OTP) would put it, the capitalism of a 1st world economy as he’d studied in Switzerland and even got to perform at a sold out prestigious symphony hall . He wasn’t thrown off by her beautiful and spacious flat with 5 rooms to herself, her high tech equipment and fancy Mac, her massive store and empire in its entirety and the power she had overall. He gently but confidently allowed her to do her thing whilst spurring her on. Never showing a sign that he felt inferior. He knew that she held the love for him higher above all the material things she owned and also knew that unlike her own family, she’d found a home in him. S-W-O-O-N!

        And I agree on the beauty of it all! It even made me want to visit the NK village! Might well do so if I ever make my way to SK.
        I’ve been to Switzerland but didn’t get to visit those sights, now it’s definitely on the cards. Not sure about paragliding though! x_x

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Girl, I did the same thing! Watched it twice without the bad guy and second couple and I LOVE that man… the quiet confidence, the way he observes the small things and is just attentive and caring, everything you said. Even the part where he snuffs the candle out when she feels self conscious when crying.

          I also really liked Se Ri’s character. She wasn’t some helpless damsel in distress where the guy has to do everything and she just takes. She puts him front and center in her life in SK even though she’s clearly very wealthy and doesn’t treat him like a village boy from an old fling.

          The last scenes were so pretty and I dont care what anyone or reality says, I think they made a long term home for themselves in switzerland, not just a fortnight a year!

          I’m so emotionally attached I’m not ready to watch another kdrama yet because it feels like I’m cheating! Lol
          Please God, hear my prayer… give me a Capt Ri!

          Liked by 1 person

        2. P.S: I was legit going to find a way to visit NK until I watched a video where they asked a NK defector whether they had guys like Capt Ri up there. She said if they did, she wouldn’t have tried so hard to escape!
          Cancelled all my NK plans immediately

          Liked by 1 person

          1. O my gosh Hana you’re officially my internet sis! You made me laugh so hard about cancelling your plans to NK! hahaha! And do you know what – i’m sincerely going to pray that God will bring us both our very own Captain Ri! I have faith that he’ll do it! Can’t believe we both watched it again skipping the exact same parts! Twinsies for real <3!

            I loveee your analysis on how Se Ri didn't treat him like a village boy! That is SO true! She could have easily been patronising but she really wasn't! I loved how she left instructions at home for him to use the coffee machine – that was more considerate than patronising. She allowed him to stay at home whilst she was working and fully trusted that he'd be ok even though he nearly went out to fight with desperate effort lol! She definitely gave him the same respect that he deserved and that's taught me a valuable lesson on so many levels – everyone should and can be respected in their own way no matter their class, intellect or background. Amazing stuff.

            Ohhh I forgot about that candle scene and the way he was being considerate by snuffing it out! I loved it! That scene also reminds me of the scene where she's crying and doesn't want him to see her as she's a mess (she still looked gorgeous) and so he hugged her from behind. *grabs chest and faint! *

            What was your ultimate favourite scene?

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Favorite scene? How can I possibly pick??!
              Lol… it would be Capt Ri’s gaming scene where he gets soundly beaten, tries to fight at exit 3 Cheognam station and being deflated and stymied by Se Ri. I found his facial expressions hilarious! In the prior NK episodes I was thinking about how amazing it was that there was such a fantastic man who didn’t play video games… and then when presented with the temptation, yes, he turns out to be just like any regular gamer we’ve met in real life.
              Sigh.
              Minor flaws. Very minor.

              Omg yes! Please pray for both of us. That would truly be wish fulfillment ❤

              I'm about one and a half years into kdrama and I am such a fan; I visited S Korea last year. My korean colleague is at her wits' end with me because she keeps saying kdramas are make believe and was scared I would actually go to N Korea!

              You must try paragliding in Switzerland. It's an amazing experience esp the one at Interlaken that they show in the drama. The take off is a bit scary but once you're up in the air, the surroundings take your breath away!

              I wish we could meet up and discuss our kdrama experiences. I'm guessing your British?

              Like

            2. PS: I went back and watched the coffee machine scene again after your comment and you’re right!
              Also I absolutely LOVE Flower by Yoon Mi Rae! My neighbors are sick of it. lol

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Hahah I know right! How dare I ask such a hard question! That was a really lovely scene I agree. The well polished, well behaved and well mannered Captain Ri playing a computer game was just delightful to see – the stereotype lives on! They really showed different layers to him and this was a great side of him to explore in addition to his sulky/jealous side lol.

                My favourite scene has to be the final goodbye at the demarcation line. My goodness! I was not ready to be hit with the feels like that. Se Ri’s run, her desperate gasp for air in between her hysterical breakdown as she realises that it’s truly the last time she’s most likely to see him, her total honesty about how she basically won’t be able to function anymore without him by her side in front of 20+ people with guns lol. The way Captain Ri worries about her well being and asks her to stop running, then the way he looks at her whilst trying to calm her down even though his heart was breaking seeing her in that state and possibly remembering how he caused her to nearly die again as a result of the stone cold face to face interview and the gentle and reassuring words he used to somehow make the situation ok and slightly bare-able. All of that topped off by IU’s give you my heart sound track with her raspy, gentle voice in the background – I googled the lyrics and the tears! lol. I’ve actually decided to learn the song – got the first paragraph down, 5 or so more to go lol! How have I become so obsessed with a series? This has never happened before.

                Oh yes Flower is BEAUTIFUL! The instruments, the arrangement, the meaning and the mix between English and Korean – Here. For. It! Tell your neighbours to get in on the action. You’ll be listening to it for a while lol

                Yes I am British! Where are you from? I’ve only been watching Kdrama for a month. My friend forced me and here we are lol. I’ve watched Strong Girl Do Bong Soon which was my intro the Kdrama and I absolutely fell in love with it. I was so sad moving on from it thinking there couldn’t be anything better but here we are lol. After that I watched DOTS. It was good but definitely shipped the second couple harder than the leads.

                You’ve been to SK! Wow! How was it? I can’t wait to visit. I’m SUCH a foodie so you can only imagine what was running through my mind every time I saw the scrumptious meals they were consuming. Especially the BBQ chicken shop. Guess which cuisine I’ll be eating when we’re no longer on lockdown ? lol – Thanking God you didn’t go NK hahaha. We might not have had this convo otherwise!

                Ps. YOU’VE PARAGLIDED THERE BEFORE? SO COOL! Was it scary and did you do it on your own or with an instructor? I might actually just give it a try you know. I’m not down with bungee jumping or sky diving but I think I can stomach this.

                Defo wish we could meet up to discuss this! Skype is always a good alternative plan!

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                1. Oh gosh… you really are my internet kdrama twin! My friend was going on about kdramas and I was like what’s so great about korean dramas?? Oh foolish, naive days of yore…

                  I LOVED Strong Girl Bong Soon and I thought nothing could beat it until Crash Landing came along and rocked my world. Tbh that piano kiss in Strong Girl is the best I’ve seen on screen so far.
                  Be still my beating heart! ❤

                  I started off my experience with Hello My Twenties (also on Netflix) and it was a slow burn. But once I got into it, I really really liked it. If you're into emotional rollercoasters, I would also recommend Secret Affair. Nothing light about it, but very deep and profound.

                  Honestly, I can't remember the last time I watched a hollywood movie. Kdramas are just so uplifting and so darn pretty! I find the cultural aspect of it more relatable as well.

                  With all the passion of a new convert I have embraced all things Korean with a vengeance. I actually started learning Korean and was able to get by when I visited there. If you're bilingual in general, I think it's pretty easy to pick up. Yes, the food was wonderful! Very heavy on the seafood which I loved!
                  I visited the museums a lot and I am ashamed to say I didn't know much about Korean history. But I learned so much and developed so much respect for the country and its people after reading up about the Japanese occupation, civil war, US-Russia proxy wars and everything they've been through. Now their biggest issue seem to be finding the best plastic surgeon. lol

                  Paragliding was absolutely exhilarating! At Interlaken you get these professional paragliders whom you go with. So they handle the equipment, adjust the height etc while you just hang on and enjoy the ride. You must do it Ella!
                  Yeah, hard no for me on bungee jumping and sky diving but this was truly a great experience! The take off is the scariest, because you run and jump off a mountain side to launch yourself into the air. There were some people who freaked out at the last moment but I think they finally did it.

                  I live in the US, coincidentally in the heart of Koreatown and I am surrounded by korean restaurants. In fact when Parasite won the Oscar this year, the team celebrated in Ktown because the food is supposed to be pretty authentic. Skype we must!

                  Like

                  1. Yep! It’s official. I’ve found my Kdrama twin <3! I've gone back and told my friend how great of a friend she is haha!

                    YES! My sentiments exactly! I watched DOTS and thought it was good but doesn't come anywhere close to CLOY but SGBS will always have a special place in my heart as it was my intro into this amazing world. YES! That scene! I LOVE IT! I think that was the first time so openly reciprocated the love and gesture's MinMin had shown her. I loved it! My favourite scene is when they're lying on the couch together and he asks her to "Please love me" – I have lost count of how many times i've watched it. My heart actually skipped a whole beat! Thanks for the recommendations. Will add them to my list. Since we're twinsies I'll take your word for it.

                    Wow – can't believe you've actually been and that you even speak it! I'm learning the language on Duolingo and I'm not going to lie – its not the easiest! My brain is trying to remember the symbols but whew chile … it's not easy! So well done to you! Your trip sounded EPIC! I definitely know who to speak to when it's time to visit. I also knew nada about the country until I started watching it so really happy i'm enlightened now. Glad they've managed to sort through their major problems so much so that plastic surgeon is on top of the list lol. A notable distance as to where NK stands!

                    So after our conversation I jumped on Tripadvisor and have bookmarked some companies! I'll definitely do it now that you've given me the pep talk! It looks incredible.

                    God clearly wanted you to be part of the Korean culture and was sending massive hints all along! Well done for answering the call! Amazing fact about the Parasite cast celebrating on your doorstep! And you're so right – I actually havent watched any of my US or UK programmes since I started watching Kdrama. I'm so much happier with the clean and heartfelt material Kdrama brings forth.

                    Also thank you for the North Korean tour guide company. On the list!

                    Like

                  1. N.K. tour groups! Wow. That shows don’t believe everything you see in the media! Everything I’ve seen and read says outs a completely closed off country. (Learn something new every day.)😶

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. I know right! I too assumed there wouldn’t be anything like that but there we are! Looks like we might be able to visit after all! Would definitely do lots and lots of reading on it before I do so though.

                      Liked by 1 person

        3. @EllaSims – I’m on board with everything you said except… I don’t think you can just join a tour to North Korea even if you’re in South Korea (which was kind of the point of our semi-sad ending. lol) 😄

          Liked by 1 person

    2. Hi there Ella, welcome to the blog! 😀 I’m so glad that you enjoyed this review, and that it helped to give you a sense of closure.. And YAY that reading this made you feel like we were talking about the drama together! That was a big reason I started to write about dramas in the first place; so that I could talk to likeminded fans about it. So do feel free to pop by whenever you feel like it, and I’m so happy to see that you and Hana have been chatting about this drama and have hit it off! 😀 Do feel free to chat here, anytime you ladies feel like it!

      When you’re ready to try out more dramas, you might find my Full List useful. It’s not a comprehensive list of dramas out there, but it’s a list of dramas that I’ve written about on this blog. I hope you’ll find it helpful! ❤

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      1. Ahh thank you so much for taking the time out to respond! I really appreciate it <3!

        I'm so excited to go through your full list. Knowing that your review will be there for me to enjoy after each drama fills me with much joy so thank you very much. I've just started Another Miss Oh and already have your review at the ready for when i'm done so thank you! You're doing a phenomenal job and I'm super excited to be on this kdrama journey with you :). Sending lots of virtual hugs ! ❤

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        1. Aw! I’m glad that you’re joining me on this drama journey too Ella! 😀 HUGS BACK. ❤

          Ah, I'm excited that you've started on Another Miss Oh, Ella! I liked that one a lot! 😀 I do think a lot of people were disillusioned by the show because they were expecting a rom-com, so allow me to alert you now, if you don't already know, that Show benefits from being viewed as a melodrama than a rom-com. I thought the writers demonstrated a deep understanding of pain and how people respond to and process pain, and I often found it quite poetic and thought-provoking. I hope you'll enjoy it! ❤

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Thanks for the heads up! It makes sense why I’ve been confused for the most parts of it! I’m at a point where it’s all so very messy and I just can’t see how there will be a happy ending! 4 more episodes to go so i’m excited but also nervous to see how it all plays out! I now totally understand the point you made in the CLOY review about how there is a quick resolve when something angsty happens. In AMO I just feel like it keeps spiralling and spiralling and I feel sad and sorry for pretty much everyone!

            So, I’m not familiar with some terms. What does melo drama actually mean? And I assume that OTP is an abbreviation which refers to the main lead couple right? Do you know what it stands for? Please feel free to school me on any thing else haha!

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            1. I had to look up those terms as well.

              OTP = One true pairing (So yes, the lead couple)

              Since rom com = romantic comedy, if you exclude the “com” part you get a straight romance drama

              Whereas melodramas are much heavy-handed on playing your emotions.

              Here is a glossary she posted, which you can always find at the very top of the screen on the right:

              https://thefangirlverdict.com/glossary/

              Like

              1. Haha! I haven’t looked at Kfangurl’s glossary in years (I’d forgotten about it). But since MeriJ1 mentioned it, I gave it a quick peruse and I have to say it tickles me that Hyun Bin was on it even back in the day to explain who “Binnie” is. Makes me smile ear to ear because I have long felt he was overlooked or didn’t get credit. I mean, for me personally – who needs the over hyped Won Bin when you’ve got Binnie?

                BTW, Kfangurl, I haven’t seen Sean Fletcher around lately. SF, I hope all is well?

                Liked by 1 person

                1. Hi there beez, Sean’s doing fine. 😀 He’s been on a few of the more recent posts; he shared a nice update on my Stove League review, so you can get an idea of how he’s doing by visiting the review here. 🙂

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                  1. Ahhhh. Thanks Kfangurl. I haven’t watched nor plan to so that’s why I didn’t see his comments under Stove League. Funny thing though is Sean must’ve been thinking of me to because a few days before I aired about him, I received notice that was sitting in my email that he’s following my WordPress account (but I only use it to comment on others’ posts and I couldn’t figure out how to follow him back. lol)

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. Hello Beez, I am alive and well 🙂 I was going through my WordPress list the otherday and your account was sitting there, so I clicked on it. It’s always good to see your comments on kfangurl’s blog.

                      We are in what we call Stage 3 of the lockdown process over here, although my home state is now cut off from the rest of the world. No one is allowed in, even if you wish to return home. I can travel to some parts of the state because of the work I do, whereas most must stay within their respective regions.

                      We have our main memorial day for fallen soldiers coming up soon, Anzac Day. All public ceremonies have been cancelled. However, there is a suggestion going around for people to consider standing at the end of their driveways at 6:00AM instead and commemorate such an important day. I think it’s a nice touch – we will be able to wave at our neighbours, from a distance, too.

                      The film my daughter was working on has now been put back a year because of the restrictions implemented regarding the locations being used and so on. The cats are happy with everyone being at home. Minnie (Roundy to the rest of the family or Madam Paw Print as I call her, tends to make her presence known whenever I am video conferencing. She has a tendency to walk in front of the screen etc).

                      I know it’s not easy in the US either at the moment. I hope you do stay safe and well.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    2. Sean, I’m sure you’ve mentioned it before but where on our planet are you?

                      I’m in Florida. Yesterday my brother-in-law unexpectedly passed away (not from COV19) and my sister is trying to figure out a way to hold a funeral without holding a funeral. I’ve suggested skyping or a group chat. This is a very weird situation.

                      On another note, maybe I can stop watching Kdrama long enough to figure out my WordPress account. I’d gone years without creating an account when one day, while trying to reply to someone, WordPress would not allow me to unless I created an account. I wish I had taken the time to think of a creative name but at the time, I was more annoyed that it was keeping me from commenting. lol

                      I hope all of our Kdrama community can stay safe. I see that now that Netflix is utilizing Kdrama as their safety net to fall back on since Disney and CBSAllAccess has or will be pulling their content – I see our community is expanding!

                      Liked by 2 people

                    3. > Sean, I’m sure you’ve mentioned it before but where on our planet are you?

                      Down Under, evidently. Either NZ or Oz, but I’m guessing New Zealand, since they’re addressing the virus more aggressively.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    4. Hello Again Beez and Merij

                      I am unable to respond directly below, so, I can make comment here though. I have finally been able to surface today for a breather and yes, I am still in my pyjamas! I need to change shortly for an on-line video link up.

                      As to where I am, well its Perth, Western Australia. So, yes I am in Oz and Aussie through and through, although I tend to work in extremely well with Kiwis (they are in the main quite forward thinking :))

                      My home state, at this point, does have the strongest pandemic measures in place re Australia. And, I do have a role to play in all that, which is keeping me busier than usual.

                      Beez, I am so sorry to hear about your brother-in-law. Your poor sister. I think your suggestions to her are quite good. A very good colleague of mine passed away last weekend. She was a wonderful lady. Her husband has said that he will hold a memorial for her once we can all move around once more (which is a long, long, way off).

                      My advice re WordPress, I think watching kdramas instead is far more enjoyable than working out the inner workings of a your account – lololol 🙂

                      Our community is expanding, which is wonderful. Some great comments and insights are being shared. Yes, the uploading of kdramas on Netflix is happening thick and fast. There is a new kdrama coming up: The King – Eternal Monarch. The description is: “A modern-day Korean emperor passes through a mysterious portal and into a parallel world, where he encounters a fiesty police detective.” Well, if it lives up to the description, this is going to be right up my alley.

                      Here is to everyone staying safe and well…

                      Liked by 3 people

                    5. Ah, Perth. Well in my scar-laden experience, it’s far more hazardous to mistake a Kiwi for an Aussie than the other way around. Get it wrong and you might have to buy a bloke a beer!

                      We live in the Washington DC suburbs of Maryland. I’m able to work from home, so long walks in the evening followed by K-drama has become our evening routine after being cooped up all day.

                      FYI, Beez, I’m feeling guilty I haven’t yet elaborated on our joy in watching Healer. You were sooo right to feel smug in the accuracy of your recommendation. lol

                      Right now we’re two episodes into Familiar Wife. Thus far that one is quite interesting for a couple like us, who are divorced from the spouses each of us had our children with. Not fun yet, but spot-on in conveying how much easier it is to be fun and light when you don’t have toddlers to take care of.

                      And, kfangurl, it features one of the main characters from Chocolate — the lead guy’s best friend in Wife, who plays the lead guy’s troubled cousin in Choco. (In case it’s not clear, I’m just joking, at this point, with the incessant call-backs to Chocolate. I’m like that.)

                      Liked by 2 people

                    6. @merij1 Take your time. I know that the “afterwatch” feels from Healer take time to marinate. lol In fact, you might want to consider a rewatch right away. I rewatch it constantly because I’m always catching something new. In fact, I had begun to worry that if I watched it too many times I’d begin to find flaws and plotholes (which is my specialty of complaining and picking apart stories that are supposed to be mysteries or crime procedurals. Otherwise, I’m pretty easy and let my brain relax with fluffy rom-coms but shows that have a story to tell, it better be tight.) I’m more than pleased to say Healer holds up better the more you watch it. (I paid much more attention to the back stories from the past in my subsequent watches.) I’d also like to recommend that after reading Kfangurl’s excellent review, then during a rewatch, read Dramabeans.com episodic reviews immediately after you watch each episode because there are things you might go back to that episode to watch again (in case you didn’t notice it). For example SPOILERS FOR OTHERS WHO HAVEN’T WATCHED – one of the episode’s cliffhangers ends with Healer having invaded Moonshik’s home to threaten him to give up the real killer and as he leaves he runs into Myeong hee (the wheelchair-bound lady) and she thinks Healer is his dad, her long lost deceased friend, and the episode ends. In the opening of the next episode we see the same scene – but what I didn’t notice and don’t think I ever would’ve noticed without Dramabeans mentioning it – is that in this episode, from Myeong hee’s point of view, Show did substitute the actor playing Healer’s dad in Ji Chang wook (Healer)’s place for a brief second. Then it flashed to Healer’s face again.

                      For myself, I know that reading subtitles can make me miss the very small but meaningful things and reading Dramabeans reviews, which they are Korean-Americans so they’re watching without subtitles serving as a distraction.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    7. Merij, it’s hard not to smile at your description re Aussies and Kiwis. It would be a beer and then some 🙂 As much as we have been in the thick of things together, we tend to get a bit serious when it comes to the many sporting competitions we have against each other.

                      That’s a nice routine you have happening there and a great way to beat the cooped up feeling. Tomorrow is Good Friday here and the plan is (or so our children tell me) playing Dungeons and Dragons for the five of us. In other words, a board game and not on-line etc. Normally, subject to me being around, we would spend the day eating hot cross buns and other things at a friend’s place with about 20 or so of us (and maybe our offspring).

                      Liked by 1 person

                    8. beezrtp, somehow I missed the part about your BIL. I’m so sorry. My own BIL’s death still haunts me. What did your sister ending up doing?

                      Another person I know reported that her 94 year-old mom just died of heartbreak (not technically, but in terms of no longer having the will to live) in assisted living because none of her daughters were allowed to visit. Such strange times…

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                    9. @merji1 – Yes, these are trying times. Regarding my brother-in-law, we can do nothing but wait. They still live in Detroit and the county medical examiner is always backed up so you can imagine what it’s like right now when Detroit’s numbers are why Michigan is one of the state’s with the highest number of Covid 19 outbreaks. We’ve been told 6 weeks before a death certificate can be issued – which knowing the county as I do, I would translate into double that amount of time.

                      It’s horrific that people in nursing homes are even more isolated from their loved ones right now. 😢

                      Liked by 1 person

            2. Aw, I hope it’s not too late to adjust your viewing lens and expectations with the show! 😅😝 I find the expectations can make or break a watch, and because lots of people were expecting rom-com fun with Another Miss Oh, they were really not happy with the show overall. I often provide a bit of spoiler-free remarks about a show at the beginning of a review, and that usually includes any lens adjustment that would help the watch. Maybe try that for future dramas? 🙂

              I see that MeriJ’s already provided you a link to my glossary, so I hope that helps you get your bearings a little bit. If you have any other questions, let me know! 🙂

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              1. You’re totally right! I’ll definitely put the correct viewing lens on. I think i’ve assumed that every drama will be similar to all the cute and relatively smooth sailing shows I’ve watched so far which obviously isn’t realistic so lesson learned! Will also check your spoiler free remarks first before I hop onto a new show. Thank you so much!

                Yes, noticed MeriJ’s helpful link so will make it a point to read through so i’m up to speed.

                Thanks again!

                Liked by 1 person

                1. That’s perfectly understandable! Thinking back, I went through the same thing as you, back when I first got into kdramas. I thought all kdramas would be cute &/or romantic like the first 2 I’d watched (Goong and Save Your Last Dance For Me), and I also did the thing of following actors from drama to drama, and landed on All In, which is SO NOT a rom-com, and I hated every second of that show, I think! 😝 I also didn’t know how to drop a show, so I watched it to the bitter end, even though I wasn’t having a good time. 😆😆 I’ve learned to manage my expectations better, but I just wanted to let you know that you’re not alone, and that a few early drama journey missteps are perfectly normal! 😉

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. Really relieved to know its ok to drop a show! But spot on – I’m definitely in the early stages so thanks for helping me manage my expectations! Have written a review on Another Miss Oh. On to the next drama. Think it will be Clean with Passion and Cinderella and 4 knights. Are you planning on watching those at some point?

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                    1. WARNING! DANGER WILL ROBINSON! Or @EllaSims. I love the actors in Clean with Passion but, unfortunately, the show is a dud. And I’m easily entertained, especially if actors I like are in a show I’m just happy to see them on my screen so if a show can’t grab me, it’s pretty lame. And I watched it all the way through just cause I’m a bit compulsive about things being incomplete.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    2. @EllaSims – let me suggest if you like the American show The Good Doctor then maybe you’d liked to watch the original Kdrama that it’s based on?

                      Forgive me but I have short-term memory issues so I can recall of you’d mentioned whether or not you’ve seen Descendants of the Sun? (epic romance, adventure, humor and romance) Or Goblin (hilarious). Fight My Way (childhood friends to lovers).

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                    3. Thank you ! I’m not familiar with The Good Doctor but will check it out. Yes I have have watched Descendants of the sun. Cute couple indeed! With Goblin i’ll need to find the right platform to watch it as its not on Netflix.

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                    4. Then maybe you’re ready for saeguk (historical)? Mr. Sunshine is on Netflix. It’s written by the same writer as Descendants of the Sun. (It also starts an actor you may be familiar with – Lee Byung hun. He starred in the recent Denzel Washington remake of Magnificent Seven and he was the Terminator in one of those sequels. He also played Storm Shadow in the GI Joe movies (revealing my inner nerd here). Anyway, Mr. Sunshine has a slower pace but if you stick it out, you’ll find it’s epically good.

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                    5. I discovered Kdramas when I was flat on my back from an illness in 2014 and NOTHing was on regular tv. But as you now know, they’re addicting! I’m just so glad to see other people starting to get hooked too! lol I’m hoping my family and friends try one so they can get hooked then they can stop looking at me like I’m crazy and keep asking me why I’d want to watch something with subtitles. lol

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                    6. Hope you’re totally ok now ! Yes they are SO addicting! I’m finding it really hard to tune into non Korean series now! I’ve succesfully managed to persuade quite a few friends to join so i’m really happy about that!

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          2. Ha. OK, let’s get real. If you liked Another Miss Oh, you will definitely like Chocolate.

            Same deal with the woman needing to wait the entire show for the emotionally-closed guy to catch up. Same degree of satisfaction for us when he finally does, except it’s also got that insanely awesome epiphany in the penultimate episode that I’ve mentioned before. (Also, if memory serves, the same in that the actor is a former boy band singer.)

            While it’s true the woman is more passive than I prefer, it’s for a solid reason: she is seriously traumatized by events in her childhood. Events that are intimately connected to his emotional damage as well, although neither of them realize that until the end.

            So although it’s definitely a romance drama, it’s not a rom-com at all. Mostly it’s about an entire cast of seriously damaged people learning to support one another at a hospice facility. (Also not a medical drama, which you might assume from the first ep or two.)

            Finally — and maybe this won’t matter to you but it’s worth major bonus points in this household — it’s a show about food and cooking!

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            1. I really did like Another Miss Oh, so your case for Chocolate is definitely rather persuasive. I will give it another try one of these days. I personally prefer the actress in Another Miss Oh to the one in Chocolate, to be honest, so I struggled more than the average viewer I think, with the female lead, when I watched E1. But, I’ve heard a fair amount of good stuff about Chocolate, so I think I ought to at least attempt E2. 😉

              Since you enjoy food-related shows, you might like to check out Let’s Eat Season 1 (a little patchy on the writing, but the food is glorious), Fermentation Family, also known as Kimchi Family (I think you’d like this one, it’s thoughtful and the food is so pretty), and perhaps Jewel in the Palace (Dae Jang Geum) because it features so much food and Korean culture. 😋

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              1. Speaking of Another Miss Oh, I was happy to see the actress who played her mom as a much more likeable character in Healer. (She plays Healer’s hacker boss.)

                And as a minor bonus, so-called “pretty Miss Oh” showed up at the end as the whistle blower researcher who traveled from China with a sample of the bacterial weapon.

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                1. Oh, I LOVED Kim Mi Kyung as our hacker ahjumma! She was awesome. ❤ She's become really popular; I've been seeing her in so many dramas, and many of the roles are likable. It occurs to me that you and your wife would enjoy Go Back Couple, which is a do-over sort of drama, where an estranged husband and wife go back in time to relive their lives. Kim Mi Kyung plays our female lead's mom, and it's a very heartwarming show overall, despite a slightly uneven start (I found the animosity between the leads in the past timeline too childish for my taste). I hope you guys give it a try! 🙂

                  And yes, how fun, when you start being able to recognize actors making cameos in dramas! (Also, that's a milestone for you guys!) 😀

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  19. Wow applause! I love your write-up a lot! Your words just amazed me, exactly to the point what the director wants to achieve and send out the viewers *I think :). Keep it up.

    This CLOY is best Korean series I have ever watched so far! Links to the OST are great! Thanks

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  20. Omg…. I’m on episode 12 and I can’t describe how much I love this show!!! I feel like I need to watch the rest of it with an ice pack on my head from the sheer sun surface of hotness that is Hyun Bin. 😍🥰
    I had never heard of this guy until this show and he looks amazing in his military uniform and all those suits! I just can’t….
    Son Ye Jin really redeemed herself after the terrible Something in the Rain horror. I can’t wait to watch the rest!
    P.S: I don’t think I’ve ever used so many !s in anything I’ve written before! Lol

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    1. Tee hee. I know I’m late to reply, but your comment made me giggle, Hana! 😆 I love your Hyun Bin love! And I can totally understand why you would be completely smitten; he’s so very appealing in this. It’s my favorite role of his to date (though admittedly I haven’t seen all his works). If you’d like to see more of Hyun Bin, you might be interested in My Name is Kim Sam Soon and Secret Garden. However I must say again, that neither of those shows features a nicer, sweeter male lead than our Captain Ri, so manage your expectations accordingly! 😉 For a shorter dose of Hyun Bin in a romance, you might want to check out his movie Late Autumn. If you don’t mind little to no romance, I thought Hyun Bin did well in Memories of the Alhambra. But, that does require a specific management of your expectations, so you might want to check out at least the first part of my review for that. I hope that helps! ❤

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