If you’re a fan of this show, let me apologize in advance; I.. did not end up loving this one.
I mean, I did like this one at first, and quite a lot too, and that’s why I kept on watching. Sadly, though, try as I might, I didn’t manage to sustain my initial good feelings towards this show.
It’s taken me the entire series to come to a conclusion as to exactly why this one didn’t work for me, which I’ll tell you about shortly.
So.. at least I tried, and at least I learned something from it? 😅
OST ALBUM: FOR YOUR LISTENING PLEASURE
Here’s the OST album, in case you’d like to listen to it while you read the review.
I do have to say that the OST is very pleasant. It’s mostly populated with moodsy ballads that I enjoyed quite well. I’d count the soundtrack as one of the plus points of my watch.
PROMISING EARLY BEGINNINGS
Like I mentioned earlier, I really liked Show’s early episodes. In particular, I found episode 1 very enjoyable, like an oxymoronic quiet rollercoaster, with burgeoning feels that lean melancholic, but with sparky lashings that hint of electric promise.
Show presents two timelines interspersed, one of the past, where our young leads Jae Hyun and Ji Soo (Park Jin Young and Jeon So Nee) are passionate and idealistic about fighting for a better world, and one of the present, where their adult counterparts (Yoo Ji Tae and Lee Bo Young) live very differently from what they each imagined.
The contrast between our leads’ brighter, younger selves, and their present, more jaded selves, is quite stark, and that in itself carries a kind of pathos, knowing that these young people’s lives didn’t turn out at all like they’d expected. I found it all quite poignant and thought-provoking.
Even though Show lays on the idea of destiny pretty thick, I liked the way Show brings present day Jae Hyun and Ji Soo back into each other’s orbits, and found the way everything was executed, nicely affecting.
I legit had a lump in my throat by the time I reached the end of episode 1.
The moment that gets me the most this first hour, is the burgeoning emotion – particularly in Jae Hyun – as the two of them finally come face to face at the train tracks.
It literally looks like years of repressed emotion is finally finding a small channel of release, and all the feelings – hope, affection, yearning, wondering, regret – are finally rising to the surface and finding expression in the tears that well up in Jae Hyun’s eyes.
I find Jae Hyun’s reaction in this moment most affecting. Ji Soo reacts with significant emotion too, and from her eyes, I can feel that there is much contained in those tears that remain unspoken. But it’s Jae Hyun’s response that really grabs me by the heart.
The imagery in the moment is not lost on me; their younger selves, as they stand and face each other, are rained on by cherry blossoms, as they stand in the sunny Spring warmth, and here, in the present, as they face each other again, they are rained on by snow, as they stand in the dark, cold wintry night.
It’s not very subtle, but it’s quite poetic. I rather like it.
I also liked that Jae Hyun can recognize Ji Soo through her piano playing. That feels true to me, because the way someone plays, is like a voice; an extension of themselves. I can believe that he’d respond to that.
I also like the detail, that he recognized her voice right away. These are things that stay true over time, and I like the idea that he never forgot what she sounded like, whether on the piano, or in her voice.
Generally speaking, I also enjoyed the way Show intersplices the backstory with our present day story, instead of presenting us with just one at a time. This made our story feel like a journey of discovery, as layers of meaning get unveiled and peeled back.
Lastly, on a shallow note, I very much enjoyed just having Yoo Ji Tae on my screen; he’s possibly even schmexier than I remembered. 🤩
WHY THIS ONE TURNED OUT TO BE FUNDAMENTALLY PROBLEMATIC FOR ME [SPOILERS]
Before I talk about why Show didn’t work for me, let me just state for the record, that there are people who genuinely love this show. No shade on anyone; I do think that this is a case of individual context.
Show is pretty clear in its positioning of Jae Hyun and Ji Soo’s connection as one of Destined Big Love, and Show’s hook, is that this Destined Big Love has to surmount many obstacles, in order to prevail.
Basically, Show’s message is that Jae Hyun has lost his way (and his love), and him reconnecting with Ji Soo is presented as him making his way back to a destiny that he’d lost.
Therefore, everything in his life – his marriage, his work ethic, and his mindset – is all a mistake, and he’s doing what’s needful, to make the wrong right, in his life.
Jae Hyun’s marriage
I get the idea that Jae Hyun’s marriage is a mistake, and he needs to find his way back to Ji Soo in order to be happy, but I conclude that the way that Show goes about executing this idea doesn’t sit well with me.
My problem with this is that Jae Hyun is married, and not only that, his marriage isn’t even one of those “pure business arrangement” type of things. In fact, Show takes pains to show us via flashback how his heart had softened towards his wife Seo Kyung (Park Si Yeon).
Plus, through pretty much our entire story, Seo Kyung nurses real feelings for Jae Hyun, which, for me, makes it even harder to deal with Jae Hyun’s feelings for Ji Soo. Granted, Seo Kyung is a problematic character who doesn’t really know how to love, but she does love Jae Hyun, in her limited and misinformed capacity.
And, in our final episode, Jae Hyun is shown telling Seo Kyung that he hadn’t married her purely out of pity, that she’d made him smile, and he’d hoped that, with time and effort, love would grow.
The fact that this marriage was rooted in sincere intention is one of the big problems I have with our premise. If there had been any kind of sincerity in how the marriage started, then it makes sense to me that a similar kind of sincerity be accorded to the marriage, in ending it.
And, it’s problematic to my eyes, that Jae Hyun starts pursuing Ji Soo, while still married to Seo Kyung.
In contrast, I had no issue with the infidelity portrayed in Secret Love Affair. In Secret Love Affair, Hye Won does cheat on her husband, but it’s clear that their marriage is nothing but a business arrangement and there are no feelings involved.
In my head, if the marriage is a business arrangement with no feelings involved, then Hye Won doesn’t need to feel guilty towards her husband, because she continues to uphold her end of the business bargain, even though she invests her feelings elsewhere.
Ji Soo’s character trajectory
It took me some time to figure this out, but there’s a secondary layer of our story that bothered me as well.
In recent drama Love Affairs in the Afternoon, which I didn’t watch, but which my friend Michele did, I understand that there’s a character who we meet in episode 1, who regularly cheats on her husband without a shred of remorse.
She basically doesn’t feel any guilt about anything or towards anyone, and it’s only when she meets her soulmate that she starts to want something different and does something about it; in this case, she divorces her husband to be with said soulmate.
In contrast, in this show, Ji Soo is the one character who’s presented as never having changed since the time we meet in her in her college days. Even when Jae Hyun decides to become a different person, she stays the same, and continues to stand by her beliefs and live according to her principles, even at high cost to herself.
And so, to have Ji Soo then make the decision to be with Jae Hyun in episode 12, effectively making her and Jae Hyun adulterers, it just doesn’t sit right, for me. To my eyes, this didn’t feel like progress (which is something we expect, especially as late as episode 12); it felt like she’d compromised on her values, and this niggled at me, making my watch experience even more uncomfortable than it already was.
What would’ve made it work better for me
I asked myself what would’ve made this story work for me, and it essentially boils down to these two options.
1. Make Jae Hyun’s marriage to Seo Kyung a business arrangement to begin with, so that there are no emotions involved; or
2. Have Jae Hyun sort out his marriage issues and get that divorce, before being with Ji Soo. This could be driven by either Jae Hyun or Ji Soo; I think I’d be ok with it either way.
Some people might say that this is old fashioned thinking, but this is an old fashioned story in the spirit of classic Hallyu, so I figure that this “old fashioned thinking” meshes nicely.
OTHER THINGS THAT DIDN’T HELP
Aside from my main issue with Show, there were other things in the mix that just didn’t help. Here they are, for the record.
Show gets heavy-handed
I admit that in the beginning, I rather enjoyed Show’s use of parallels between the past and the present, and I also didn’t mind the way Show emphasized the idea of destiny. By Show’s mid-point, however, this all started to feel very heavy-handed, to my eyes.
There’s such a thing as too much of a good thing, and I do think Show went there.
It seems that in this show, everything has to have a parallel. Here are some examples from episode 8:
Besides the mirrored conversation between Jae Hyun and Se Hoon, and Ji Soo and Seo Kyung, we have mirrored plants, and mirrored meet-ups in the church.
In the beginning of the show, these parallels between the past and present had seemed poetic, but honestly, Show inserts parallels into every single episode.
More than one, in each episode. I felt like, 1, Show was hitting me on the head with this, and 2, Show didn’t have more than this one trick.
Everyone tries to interfere with Ji Soo’s life
By Show’s mid-point, every man in Ji Soo’s life has tried or is trying to interfere with how she lives her life. Her father (Jang Kwang), her ex-husband Se Hoon (Kim Young Hoon), ex-schoolmate Young Woo (Lee Tae Sung) who’s had a crush on her for yeeaarss, and Jae Hyun too.
Their reasons differ; some are more benevolent than others, but the core remains the same: they are interfering with her life, despite her (mostly mild) resistance, for her own good.
Sigh. Not appealing at all, really.
The angst won’t die, and it doesn’t pop either
The angst in this show feels very old school, like melodramas from the early days of Hallyu. The whole premise, about star-crossed lovers who continually face obstacles to their love, whether in the past or in the present, smacks of Classic Hallyu.
Some people would find it romantic, because the love in question endures everything and never dies, despite the multiple efforts from all sides, to snuff it out.
But, I gotta say, the never-ending angst, where everything that could go wrong, did, was not fun to watch.
The reason for this, and the bigger problem for me, is that despite Show trying to mimic the appeal of old school, classic Hallyu, somehow, Show only manages to feel old school in form; it doesn’t seem to manage to capture the soul of old school Hallyu dramas.
All of the angst feels quite hollow to me; it doesn’t land with much weight, nor does it pop with much life. Bummer.
Show is an angsty sloth
Like I mentioned above, it consistently feels like Show is always amping up the angst like there’s no tomorrow, and trying to squeeze as much emotional turmoil and pain as possible, into its story. In that sense, it feels like Show’s on angst steroids.
BUT, it also feels like Show is, at its heart, a sloth.
Even amped up on angst steroids, Show still crawls at an unbelievably slow pace. I found it hard-going, getting through the middle and late episodes, because everything felt so excruciatingly slow.
And, it felt like we weren’t really getting anywhere either, most of the time.
You must be wondering by now, what kept me going, if there were so many things that didn’t work for me, in this show? Here’s a quick look at my silver linings.
Jin Young and Jeon So Nee as our young OTP
I very much enjoyed Jin Young and Jeon So Nee as our younger OTP.
I thought both of them were very well cast. Not only do they kinda-sorta look like their older adult counterparts, I felt that both of them managed to deliver very similar vibes to their older counterparts as well, and this made it easy for me to believe that I was watching the same characters, just at different life stages.
Additionally, a lot of the early flashbacks, around how Jae Hyun and Ji Soo first get to know each other, lean sweet, with dashes of cute.
This gave a nice amount of balance to the adult melancholy, at least in Show’s first half. In Show’s second half, there’s angst in both timelines, so although the angst makes narrative sense, the balance is kinda lost in Show’s second half, unfortunately.
Yoo Ji Tae and Lee Bo Young as our adult OTP
Even though I often didn’t enjoy Show’s execution of Jae Hyun and Ji Soo’s arc, I did appreciate both actors’ performances.
Yoo Ji Tae and Lee Bo Young are two of my big reasons for being interested to check out this drama in the first place.
Both of them are excellent actors, and I think that they both do a great job with the material that they’re given, in this show. Plus, on a shallow note, I do find Yoo Ji Tae quite lovely to look at, heh.
As characters, I did find the idea behind Jae Hyun and Ji Soo’s characters interesting and thought-provoking.
Ji Soo’s lived by her ideals, at a great price, while Jae Hyun’s abandoned his ideals, also at a great price. I found it intriguing to think that neither of them are living happy lives, despite their very different choices.
I also found the idea of them revisiting their past, and thereby re-evaluating their present and their future, an interesting one, and in principle, I did want them to find their way to a life path that made them truly happy and fulfilled.
Kang Young Seok as Secretary Kang
My one consistent bright spot during my watch, was Secretary Kang.
He’s upbeat, cheery and loyal, and when he’s happy, I don’t automatically feel an accompanying sense of dread that something is going to go wrong soon – which is how I mostly felt, when Show depicted any of our main characters being happy.
On top of that, he’s sometimes quite funny as well.
I loved the scene in episode 6, when he gives the bicycle to Ji Soo, under Jae Hyun’s orders. He feels cornered and stressed by Ji Soo’s reluctance to accept it, and the way he begs Ji Soo to take it before literally running away, is really quite cute and amusing.
WHO MIGHT LIKE THIS
Despite everything that I’ve said to the effect that I just did not enjoy this one, I just wanted to reiterate that this show has its fans, and so, just because I didn’t like it, doesn’t mean that you won’t like it either.
I think you might like this show if:
1. You like / are in the mood for old-school style melodramatic angst;
2. You aren’t fussed about the fact that our male lead is married when he starts pursuing our female lead;
3. You’re in the mood for something slow and atmospheric;
4. You like / don’t mind lots of symbolism and parallels between your timelines;
5. You like / don’t mind the heavy-handed execution of the idea of a Big Destined Love;
6. You’re a fan of the leads and just want to see them on your screen.
THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]
To be brutally honest with you guys, I didn’t love this finale, even though Show serves up lots of happy milestones in our final hour.
Basically, it seems to me that our angsty sloth of a show took some magic potion, and for this finale, behaved like a happy woodpecker on steroids, who had a list of happy plot points to accomplish, before the closing credits.
Here is said list:
1. The EGM where Chairman Dad and Seo Kyung are dismissed from their positions, and Jae Hyun resigns;
2. Chairman Dad and his minions facing trial for their evil deeds and going to jail;
3. Seo Kyung granting Jae Hyun’s divorce petition;
4. Clarity on why Jae Hyun had married Seo Kyung (she’d made him smile, and he’d hoped to love her, with time and effort);
5. Se Hoon feels so guilty for being forgiven for his misdeeds, that he turns over a new leaf;
6. Se Hoon vows to be a better father to Young Min;
7. Jae Hyun makes peace with Joon Seo;
8. Jae Hyun gathers the gang and celebrates Ji Soo’s birthday, and Ji Soo sees her mother and sister waving to her in her dreams, thus helping Ji Soo get over her birthday trauma;
9. A flashback showing us that Jae Hyun had actually noticed Ji Soo first, and liked her first;
10. Jae Hyun and Ji Soo finally have a long walk that vibes happy instead of sad;
11. Ji Soo does well with her piano studio, and in school too, where she zooms through her undergrad studies to become a graduate student – and gets a reputation for being the belle of her batch, no less;
12. Jae Hyun pours himself into doing charity work, with Secretary Kang still by his side;
13. Young Woo meets a girl at the park, where she seems to fall for him right away.
It’s.. a lot, to fit into an hour, and Show is relentless in serving up the happy milestones, to the point where it feels like Show is trying to make up for 15 episodes worth of angst in a single finale.
It all feels overly neat to my eyes, with a lot of scene transitions &/or plot points being interwoven in the name of coincidence.
Like how Dong Jin is seen exiting the courthouse after a case, for example, only to see Se Hoon doing pro bono work with a divorce client, and telling her that he doesn’t deserve the thanks she gives him, because he’s sinned too much.
Pretty heavy-handed, yes? Coz, coincidence. And also, who talks to a client like that?
On top of it all, Show does two more things which I don’t personally care for.
The first one is how Show has our younger and older OTP characters face each other, and tell each other that they’ve done well. Now, I get the metaphor, and I appreciate the sentiment of having older Ji Soo and Jae Hyun make peace with their younger selves.
But some metaphors really don’t benefit from being expanded and extended, and so, I felt it was overkill, to have both sets of the OTP walking along the same path, chatting with one another as if they’re on some kind of double date. This was rather too weird, for me.
The second thing is, I was not pleased with how Show tries to go for a clever twist, by showing us flashbacks indicating that Jae Hyun had noticed Ji Soo first, and liked her first.
This was problematic and completely unnecessary, to my eyes.
The main reason I find it problematic, is because we’ve seen how aloof, distant and cold Jae Hyun had been, when Ji Soo approached him in school.
Granted, it had taken Ji Soo time and effort, but Jae Hyun had eventually fallen for her, and when he did fall for her, he fell hard. We’ve seen multiple flashbacks attesting to that.
To me, that’s more than enough to balance out the fact that she’d had to pursue him so much, to begin with, and convince me that they liked each other equally.
And yet, now Show is trying to tell me that while Jae Hyun had been treating her with disdain and coldness, he’d actually liked her? That doesn’t add up.
And then, Show wants me to believe that even after they’d started dating, he’d never told her that he’d liked her to begin with? That feels withholding and messed up, and makes me think poorly of Jae Hyun.
I personally think Show should’ve left well enough alone. A flashback to their youthful romance as a note on which to end our story is fine; just don’t try to make it into a clever twist, because that does more harm than good, from where I’m standing.
Ultimately, I have to admit that I’m quite disappointed and underwhelmed by this show. I guess I’m not part of Show’s target audience, after all.
Oh well. But at least Jae Hyun and Ji Soo’s long walks will now be happy, contented walks instead of sad and melancholic walks..?
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Starts well and ends happy, but is, in essence, very angsty and very slow, and – in my opinion anyway – possesses a problematic premise, to boot.
FINAL GRADE: C+
I couldn’t disagree more about anyone placing blame on HJH and Ji Soo for their relationship. His marriage to YJS was never solid right from the beginning. He basically relented and married her hoping he would “get some comfort” from her after years of longing and searching for his one epic true love. There is absolutely no chance that a couple that connected, that much in love, having gone through so many hardships and being brutally torn apart wouldn’t fall into each others arms.
AND how is it that some of these righteous opinions are conveniently forgetting the wife was cheating on him long before Ji Soo came into the picture AND continued that affair with a man she clearly had disdain for. She ended up being a much happier woman when she finally divorced him.
This drama was a slow burn to be sure but their love was cemented years ago and when they found each other again they simply picked up where they left off. This was not a lurid affair (like the wife’s) – these were two people so in love so undeniably connected you would have had to place each of them in chains to keep them apart.
I believe in true love and I believe that people make mistakes, i.e. marrying for the wrong reasons and settling. The ending was happy for all.
I’m doing a group watch of this one and we are at episode 12, so I skipped your parts on the ending, But the problem you had with HJH starting with Ji Soo right away might have made me stop if I was on my own, except that I was too curious about how/why he had changed so much. And I was desperately hoping that it had been a kind of arranged marriage or just out of pity. I loved your suggestions on what would have made it better – waiting to settle with his wife first. Fine to talk and reminisce after finally finding Ji Soo, but all his stalkerish doings, and throwing of money in her direction, was a big no to begin with. Then, on top of that, when he asks about their Day 1 and later makes a bigger declaration about their future together, it left a bad taste in my mouth.
Just discovered this blog while searching for a review of Do You Like Brahms? So glad I did!
“The fact that this marriage was rooted in sincere intention is one of the big problems I have with our premise. If there had been any kind of sincerity in how the marriage started, then it makes sense to me that a similar kind of sincerity be accorded to the marriage, in ending it. And, it’s problematic to my eyes, that Jae Hyun starts pursuing Ji Soo, while still married to Seo Kyung.”
This really get me. I am watching it now, and still cannot figure out the essential thing that make Jae Hyun really cold to his wife and cheating on her. I just cannot fit well with the sake of good old day reason only. I think I am going to drop it as well, but let me see episode 16 first hahaha.
This was a huge disappointment for me kfangurl. I watched it at the time. I loved the first few episodes and thought we were in for something special. However, I dropped it at the halfway point and tried again at episode 11 to see if there was something I was missing. Alas, no. I couldn’t get through that episode quick enough.
The show for me had way too many long flashbacks (which is a growing trend ala Private Lives). Our young couple were fabulous, but I found myself wishing they continued and the older versions of themselves faded away into the mist of time.
The show became soup for me.
I did enjoy the various performances. However, the story at key points failed to deliver. The ladies protesting outside the main headquarters was a case in point – a run of the mill nothingness. Perhaps, it was deliberate to show how washed up our hero was. However, in my experience, there is always one more roll of the dice. I realise he was playing the long game, but even so, he could have fought back and really give his FIL something to think about.
The whole wife storyline and her view on life – as you point out, a bit like the scorpion crossing the river with the frog really. That type of persona never sits well with me. Neither does the story’s self justification of our hero to try and find his way back to what had gone before.
I don’t mind slow storytelling and When My Love Blooms fits in this category. However, it didn’t bloom for me. It was like waiting for a passion fruit to appear on the vine – and we all know how fickle they can be. My rating in the end was the same as yours.
Now, with Private Lives: loved the first two episodes, hated the third, found the fourth okay and now at the halfway point I’m like – hmmm it’s turning out rather well. Normally, I wouldn’t last this long, but there is something about it 😎
Oh. this show…. I confess I feel a bit guilty coz I was telling you how much I liked it (that was at the start) but towards the middle and end I was not enjoying it much but didn’t update you then. I actually dropped it for a few weeks but then my completist streak appeared so I went back to finish it. So clearly I too didn’t enjoy this one as much as others did. Hope it was still worth your time to watch!
Seems like we had similar trajectories and issues with this show! Which is unfortunate because it was really lovely, moody and atmospheric at the start. And I also loved the young couple. You know I liked Yoo Ji Tae but I discovered Lee Bo Young – she was amazing and also so so beautiful in this show!!
My main gripes are similar to yours – the amount of angst, the pacing (that ending was too rushed, too happy and neat and the rest of the show was too slow and too angsty) and that cheating part. Maybe I’m not into the big destined love thing because the whole time i was thinking what about Seo Kyung and feeling sorry for her, that her husband was off chasing another woman. And honestly the angst was wayyyy too much – Ji a Soo’s life was just too depressing. I could have accepted maybe half or 3/4 of the bad things that happened to her but did they really need to throw in every single possible bad thing? Even being slapped by the other mothers and having coffee thrown on her? etc. All the angst kind of took me out of the show.
And another gripe – the writing is a bit strange. They would introduce the kids and have them drop off conveniently at times. It felt as if Ji Soo and Jae Hyun weren’t very good parents cos they were always thinking about their love for each other and the past and not spending much time with their kids. And Young Min dropped out of school on his own accord and that… was ok? No repercussions? Perhaps I’ve forgotten but it felt strange. And I understand that Ji Soo was very principled and willing to lose to keep her stand but it felt weird that she pretty much didn’t have a steady income but could live in a nice house and help other people – how would she and Young Min survive? So all these thoughts came to mind and took me out of the show., sadly, when I’m sure I was supposed to be swooning over their love.
I was initially ok with the ending of them talking to their younger selves and the fact that Jae Hyun liked Ji Soo first, cos I’d forgotten that he was cold and rude to her. But now that you mention it, that feels weird and not nice at all. Another gripe! Haha. I think ALSB did it best.
Ah well. What a shame, I really liked this show so much at the start. At least I could enjoy YJT and have now found LBY! Thank you anyway for taking the time to describe how you felt about this show – resonated so much with me!
I think that if you liked the drama, you liked the drama! Lots of my favourite dramas are written far worse and have bigger plot holes than When My Love Blooms, and this drama wasn’t really a bad drama per se. It had some nice points! Most dramas do. Now that you mention it, Jae Hyun and Ji Soo kind of Ross-and-Racheled their kids (you’ll miss this reference if you haven’t watched Friends, but towards the end of the show Rosschel’s respective children got ignored to the point where one kid disappeared for three whole seasons and the second kid was mentioned like once in passing while her mom was moving a whole continent) And my Asian mother would tear up the turf if I even mentioned dropping out of school. Seo Kyung definitely deserved to get throw some well-deserved punches at her philandering husband. Really, how hard would it have been for Jae Hyun to at least say ‘Can we please get a divorce’ before running off to snog his long-lost lover? (I’m going to put Ji Soo’s above-her-means lifestyle to typical K-drama logic.)
@bubblebathdaisies – “Rosschel’s respective children”? Hmmm. I thought I watched almost all of Friends but maybe I didn’t. Did Rachel and Ross have more than one child?
@beez : I think I worded this wrongly, oops. Ross and Rachel had just the one kid. I meant Ben and Emma as separate kids, and looking back Ross and Rachel, the only parents of the group right up until the last season, didn’t do a great job of parenting the kids they did have (although this is realistically just a lapse in writing the show, I use Rosschel as an example of nice people being kind of sucky at parenting. I’m really not sure there is a K-drama equivalent for Rosschel, though, since drama parents are either dead, extremely evil I’ll-give-you-a-million-dollars-to-leave-my-chaebol-son types, or lovely sweet angels who can do no wrong. If there are, please inform me!)
@bubblebathdaisies – nope. I wracked my brain and can’t think of any well-adjusted fleshed out “gray” parents in kdrama. Maybe the older parents in Five Children except the dad was pretty perfect so that rules them out. ☺
@bubblebathdaisies – love the use of the word ‘snog’. You got a chuckle out of me today – thanks! 😘
Hi MC! It’s great to see you – and I am so impressed that you’re so coherent at 4am!! 😱 Thank you for taking time to chat dramas with me, in the middle of the night, most likely while taking care of your baby!
Hi5 that we felt so similarly about this, from beginning to end! 😆 I really liked the thoughtful, atmospheric beginning, but it all began to disintegrate slowly but surely, as I progressed deeper into the show. 😝
I don’t think you’re necessarily NOT into Big Destined Love.. I think this show didn’t do a good job of selling it, because it was all muddied by Seo Kyung’s feelings for Jae Hyun, and his sincere intentions towards the marriage. I’ve loved shows about Big Destined Loves before, and I think you probably would too, if Show did it right. For example, I really loved Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms, which took the Big Destined Love idea and multiplied it by a millennium – or ten. If you haven’t seen it, I do recommend it. Mark Chao is 🤩😍❤️.
YES. There were a lot of things that didn’t make sense in this show, and the thing with Young Min dropping out of school was very weird indeed. I kept thinking someone would say something about him starting over at a new school, but no one ever did, and that was so unrealistic and strange. Also, the scene where Jae Hyun and Ji Soo are talking to their respective offspring about their first loves felt really weird too, like their first loves were more important than their sons. 😬 That scene didn’t work for me.
Also, I completely agree that ALSB did it best, with the “Guess what, he totally liked her even though he said he didn’t” thing. For one thing, ALSB is a rom-com, so that kind of thing tends to land better, I think. Also, I feel like Jiang Chen wasn’t as standoffish as Jae Hyun was. He was mostly just reticent and his actions to keep Xiaoxi away from him were small petty things. In this show, however, Jae Hyun was very clear and very cold in his response to Ji Soo’s affection. So to my eyes, the whole clever twist thing at the end just didn’t work, in that context.
Ah, since you now like Lee Bo Young, allow me to recommend I Hear Your Voice, if you haven’t already seen it. She’s excellent in that, and I love the theme of unconditional love, so much. I’ve also heard excellent things about Mother, though I haven’t seen that myself yet. 😄
Haha yes mother duties hence the 4am comment! You do get used to the up at weird hours life! I should thank you for replying me despite having a million comments to catch up on! (oops adding to your list)
Yes the adultery thing and the angst really killed my love for this show. How unfortunate! But it goes to show that our tastes really are very similar. I’ve realised like you I don’t really jive with k-humour – I tried to watch Pegasus Market but dropped it coz it was just too wacky.
Oo thanks for the recommendations. I’ve not watched ten miles of peach blossoms, I’ll add it to the list! And yes you recommended me I Hear Your Voice twice and you are also the third unrelated person to recommend it to me. So it’s high high up the list!
Haha, not at all, my dear, I’m just thrilled that you’re still able to pop by and chat dramas with us, because I can imagine how busy you must be, with your baby! ❤️
Thanks for the heads-up on Pegasus Market.. I’ve been recommended that show several times, but have been wary because k-humor and I don’t often get along. I’m fairly certain that if it didn’t work for you, it’s unlikely to work for me! 😅
Ooh, YAY that you’ve put Peaches on your list. I was told that I would love Mark Chao in it, and everyone was so right! It take me a while to get really into it though. I think it was around the early teen episodes. So hang in there, the slow burn will be worth it! 😉
Those darn peaches! I can’t get away from people raving about how good it is. I may have to surrender and watch it. I mean, I did really, really like Nirvanna in Fire once I gave in and watched it.
@beez – I’ve been recommended NIF many times too! I tried to watch but was so confused in the first episode that I gave up… haha but I shall go back to it one day!
@KFG for Pegasus Market I hear that it’s heartwarming just.. that the humour was quite OTT. Perhaps I wasn’t in the mood! And yes to Peaches… I shall remember that it’s a slow burn! Also on a separate note, I just wanted to let you know that I’m now watching I Hear Your Voice! Very slowly in the free pockets of time I have but I’m enjoying it so far! (not the creepy serial killer part, but the Lee Bo Young and especially Lee Jong Suk bits). I’ll comment on that review once I’m done with the show!
@MC – NIF was only my second C drama. So TOTALLY worth it. And I had been stumped by the first episode so that I dropped Show twice over the years! I finally pushed through it and, taking the advice of phl1rxd (commenter on this site), she said that “everything that’s said has meaning”. So I actually took notes of who’s who and any lines that seemed they might be significant. It was a wonderful experience.
LOL Beez – Peaches is so very good. You would not regret it.
Hi FG – I agree that you may not like Pegasus Market 🤔. It is heavy on the zany and light on the romance. I loved it but I love zany. I laughed throughout the entire drama. This one is not for everyone. 😉
I did not see this drama, but you mentioning the older Hallyu melodrama made me think of Lie After Lie. It has the vibe of a classic melodrama, but does not feel heavy-handed. The emotional core of the drama feels very real and relatable. I still need to watch the last 3 episodes, and things may fall apart in the end, but so far it has been a refreshingly old-fashioned watch.
Thanks Snow Flower!! I’ve got Lie After Lie on my list, but have been hearing somewhat mixed reactions, especially in Show’s mid-to-late stretch. It’s good to know that even 13 eps in, you’re still enjoying it well! I also like what you said, about the emotional core of the drama being real and relatable – that sounds very promising indeed! I will keep it on my list, and try to check it out soonish! 😃
Completely agree. The synopsis gave me Will it Snow this Christmas and melodrama of yesteryear vibes, which I loved. But I ended up sleepy and fast forwarding. And to my surprise, I much preferred the younger generation story. But it can’t make it up.
Overall, not my type, despite my love for melodrama.
That’s so funny that this one made you sleepy, Erica! Coz I legit fell asleep while watching a couple of the later episodes. 😂 Show is really so slow and meandering! 😝 I think this one tries to be like the Classic Hallyu melodrama, but somehow falls short. I think actually rewatching a classic kdrama would be more satisfying! 😉
Great write up, as always, Kfangurl!
I wanted to like this drama! I really, really did. I watched it because it was on Netflix where I live, and also because I like Jinyoung and didn’t have anything better to do with my time. But I dropped it the minute Jae Hyun and Ji Soo started having an affair. I really wish he and Seo Kyung had at least agreed to some kind of divorce or separation or something before he started his thing with Ji Soo, but since Jae Hyun couldn’t keep it in his pants I suppose this is the way Show had to go. Since I had invested way too much time in this drama, I skipped straight to the last episode, which, like you, I didn’t find myself liking any better. Young Jae Hyun liking Ji Soo first but still being a big jerk to her reminded me uncomfortably of Dao Ming Si in Meteor Garden, and I’m far past that ‘Oppa can do no wrong because he loved her all along’ drama phase I was in at fourteen. Really, how hard would it have been for Jae Hyun to at least be somewhat nice to Ji Soo? And that double-date-walking thing where they’re talking…I mean, I get that the intention Show had was to say ‘OH LOOK HOW THEY HAVE GROWN’ but I agree with you, it felt so weird. A Love So Beautiful did this best in my opinion, with that shot of adult Xiaoxi and Jiang Chen morphing into their teenage counterparts holding hands (my description makes it sound far creepier than it actually was)
P.S: this was more of a me thing but I frankly don’t get this obsession everyone in dramaland has with long walks. What’s so great about walking, anyways? It’s very boring and bad for your knees. Roller-skating is far more superior in every way imaginable and more efficient and fun to boot. If Jae Hyun and Ji Soo were roller-skating towards their bright dramaland future in that last episode I really would have liked this drama a lot better.
Hi there bubblebathdaisies!! I feel you, I really wanted to like this one too. I felt more dismayed, the more I felt disappointed by this show. 😅 You did the right thing dropping out, and I wish I’d done the same! 😝 But I was curious to see if Show would manage to mitigate the delicate situation of Jae Hyun being married, and how, which is why I hung in there. In the end, Show didn’t do a great job of it, imo, and that made the show harder to watch. Oh well. At least now I know? 😜 And yes, I agree that ALSB did it better, with the adult characters morphing into their teenaged selves. That was nicely done, and got a similar message across without the weirdness of the double date. 😆
I giggled at your remark about rollerskating, but I’m gonna hafta say that as boring as the long walks are (particularly in this show), I’m sure rollerskating is worse for the knees than walking..! 😆😉