To be honest, everywhere I’ve looked, I’ve seen a fondness for this show, which is why I’ve been patiently trying to get into the zone of loving this show, with each episode that I’ve watched.
Sadly, try as I might, I just couldn’t find the “love zone” with this one. This doesn’t mean I hated it, though. I just didn’t love it as much as everyone else seems to.
Also, just because I didn’t love it, doesn’t mean you won’t. Different strokes for different folks after all, right? I hope this quick review will help give you an idea of where you might land with this one. And if you happen to land in the love zone with this show, give it a little extra love for me, please?
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Yoo Jung (Park Jung Yeon) is an aspiring singer-songwriter. One day, she accidentally summons Park Yeon (Kang Chan Hee / Chani), a famous musician from the Joseon Dynasty, who time-travels 600 years to the present, right smack into her life. What does Destiny have in store for these two souls?
STUFF I LIKED
1. Everything is quite prettily filmed.
This is one of my big reasons for being interested to check out this show. A lot of Show is prettily filmed, and the Joseon scenes, like the one above, are particularly lovely to look at.
2. The music’s breezy and quite enjoyable.
There’s a good amount of music in this show, and most of it is pleasant and even a little ear-wormy. I randomly found one of the main tracks swirling in my head, while I was busy doing something else. That’s testament to its sticking power?
3. The story from the Joseon timeline
I found that I enjoyed the story from the Joseon timeline quite a bit more than the story from the present day. The story’s efficiently told and poignant, and as a bonus, everything’s extra pretty to look at.
4. The early showcase of traditional musical instruments is quite nice
I found it interesting that, in Show’s initial episodes at least, traditional instruments like the haegeum and the gayageum are showcased.
I liked the idea that our female lead, besides being a hardworking Candy who’s working at a convenience store trying to make rent, also appears to be well-versed in the haegeum, gayageum and the guitar. Unfortunately, the haegeum and gayageum take a backseat once we get past episode 2, but it felt refreshing, while it lasted.
STUFF THAT WAS OK
1. Our leads’ delivery
Overall, I found our leads’ delivery of their roles pretty alright.
I didn’t think either of them were particularly outstanding, but neither were they overly green. I actually found Yoo Jung quite natural and winsome in the day-to-day scenes, but I did feel like Park Jung Yeon’s delivery hit a bit of a wall, when Yoo Jung was required to show deeper, more complicated emotions. I did not find her angst very believably portrayed, unfortunately.
Chemistry-wise, I found the OTP connection reasonably decent; it’s not amazing, but it’s enough for a short-format show like this, I think.
2. The general concept of our story
Probably because I’ve had some pleasant experiences with time-slip romances, like with 2012’s Queen In-hyun’s Man and 2015’s Splash Splash Love, I liked the idea of this love story that joins two souls across hundreds of years.
STUFF I DIDN’T LIKE SO MUCH
1. The execution of our story
Unfortunately, I did find quite a bit lacking, in Show’s execution of our story. Granted, this is a short-format drama with a lot less screen time than a regular drama, so I did make a conscious effort to dial down my expectations with regard to things like answers, plot holes and context building.
However, it did feel like Show could have made better use of the screen time that it did have.
For example, I felt like our story was too meandering in vibe, for a little show that only has 4 hours of screen time in order to build an epic love story. In short, I don’t think Show is very successful at creating the emotional heft that’s needed to support an epic love story. Ultimately, I felt that the angst and emotion that Show works to build up, lands pretty paper-thin, because of the lack of sufficient appropriate context.
[SPOILER] I felt that the strong feelings that Yoo Jung suddenly feels for Park Yeon was insufficiently teased out or supported, and therefore felt like they came out of left field. I think it would have been better, if Show had allowed her character to remember her feelings from her past life, even if only viscerally. That would have made the quick-growing feelings easier to accept. As it stands, I found all the skinship milestones quite sudden and shoehorned in. [END SPOILER]
2. Our second leads
I didn’t think Show made very good use of its second leads either, unfortunately.
For one thing, since Do Young (Jian) is the one who tricks Yoo Jung into summoning Park Yeon, and claims that she’s been waiting 600 years to see him again, I’m quite surprised that Show doesn’t have her do more, and earlier, in our story. I thought this was weird.
As for Won (Lee Seung Hyub), I’d actually found him rather intriguing in episode 1, as the superstar who seems to have a big soft spot for Yoo Jung. My interest in Won quickly disintegrated, however, the more he showed up in our story.
I thought that generally speaking, Won is portrayed as way too insensitive and dumb, to really represent any meaningful rivalry for Park Yeon. For example, why would he take her to a party in episode 6, then leave her on her own? The most facepalming thing is, he continues to leave her on her own, even after noticing that she’s alone and looking awkward and uncomfortable. 🤦🏻♀️ How does he expect to win her heart, if this is the best he can do? If he’d just taken more care to ensure that she was comfortable and having a reasonably good time at the party, he probably wouldn’t have had to see her kissing Park Yeon outside.
It also didn’t help that Won gets more angry and wild-eyed as our story progresses, and Lee Seung Hyub doesn’t yet have the acting range to make those scenes land with nuance.
3. A lot of suspension of disbelief is required
Like I mentioned earlier, some plot holes are almost a given, with Show having such short running time to tell its story. That said, I do think that Show could have handled some of it better. Here’s a quick handful of times when I found myself rolling my eyes a bit, at the suspension of disbelief required.
E4. The truck of doom is so stupidly applied at the end of this episode, seriously. There’s so much time for everyone to react, including the driver, but no, he has to keep driving and horning at Yoo Jung in the middle of the road. This is one of the most eyeroll-worthy iterations of the Truck of Doom in recent memory. 😆
E5. There is a lot of suspension of disbelief required, where the music is concerned. First, that Park Yeon can just sing a duet with Yoo Jung just like that, during the audition, no less, when this isn’t even a song that he’s heard her sing before.
Also, the performance while busking at Hongdae just leaves me with question marks in my eyes. All he did was sing the exact same song in the exact same way, and she was the one who switched it up by changing the way she played the song on the guitar, and everyone goes nuts, raving about his performance? Was there no better way to demonstrate his musical prowess? And, everyone seems more into his looks than his music, which is perplexing as well. 🙄
E6. The whole conversation about destiny makes no sense to me. One minute they’re talking about Park Yeon staying away from Yoo Jung in order to change her destiny, and the next, Park Yeon is saying that if her destiny has the potential to change, so can his, and vows to stay with her forever. That made no sense to me whatsoever.
THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]
In Show’s final stretch, we are introduced to the idea that Yoo Jung is destined to die because of Park Yeon, regardless of how many reincarnations they go through. Well, that’s dark, for a breezy-looking short drama like this, isn’t it?
Because of this, the general mood dips into the emotional and angsty side of things. Adding on to this, Park Yeon also grapples with the realization that he will have to leave the present, whether he wants to or not. This is a sudden piece of information, to be sure, but I decided to just roll with it, since this is a fantasy world where the rules haven’t ever been that clear anyway.
Execution-wise, I thought it was rather weird that the goodbye scene is played as if Park Yeon knows exactly when he’s going to dissipate; that doesn’t gel very well with the idea that he has no control over whether to stay or leave. And, Park Jung Yeon’s delivery of Yoo Jung’s anguish at Park Yeon’s departure, is, uh.. not very good and not very convincing, unfortunately.
I do rather like the idea that Yoo Jung’s time with Park Yeon unlocks a depth of emotion and insight in her, that results in a breakthrough in her songwriting, and therefore her singer-songwriter career aspirations. The idea, of something positive rising up from the ashes of her sorrow, appeals to me a lot.
One day, as Yoo Jung’s running towards another appointment, she drops the norigae that Park Yeon had given her, and as she runs back to retrieve it, we see that someone else is also stooping down to pick it up. We don’t see his face, but from his voice, and Yoo Jung’s slightly stunned, happy expression, it’s safe to say that this is Park Yeon, now reincarnated, because he’d had a chance to go back to Joseon to continue living his life.
We aren’t given any indication that the “curse” has been lifted, ie, that Yoo Jung won’t now have to face death because she’s met an incarnation of Park Yeon, but I do think that Show’s leaning towards a happy ending, where somehow, Yoo Jung and Park Yeon can finally be together, after meeting in their present incarnations in the now. It’s a sweet idea – y’know, as long as you don’t think about it too hard. 😉
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Gappy in logic, execution and delivery, but at least Show’s pretty.
FINAL GRADE: B-
WHERE TO WATCH:
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