Major shout-out to dear Beez, who took the time to write, to suggest this little drama special to me.
I’d really liked drama special Let Us Meet, but Beez hadn’t liked it as much as I had, and she said that this drama special, was everything she’d hoped Let Us Meet could have been, but wasn’t.
Of course, that really intrigued me, because if I’d already really enjoyed Let Us Meet, mightn’t this mean that I would possibly enjoy this show even more?
..And that’s exactly what happened, you guys. I did like this even more than Let Us Meet, and I hope you will too. 😋
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
It’s the year 1926. When Deoksun (Kim So Hye) is told by her betrothed, Seoksam (Oh Seung Yun), that he’s leaving their little village to go to Gyeongseong, to achieve bigger things by dedicating his life to fight for their country’s independence, she soon makes her way to Gyeongseong too, in hopes of seeing him.
Little does she anticipate the kind of life-changing experiences that await her, when she gets there.
MANAGING EXPECTATIONS / THE VIEWING LENS
I think it’d be helpful to think of this as a story of Deoksun’s personal journey, rather than a romance.
As Show establishes very early, Seoksam really isn’t for the idea of marrying Deoksun, so this isn’t an unreasonable direction for our story to take.
STUFF I LIKED
1. Our story feels assured
I’m very pleasantly surprised by how much ground our story covers in just over an hour of screen time. This felt like a full story with developed characters, and that’s always a plus, in a short little drama special.
On top of this, I often felt like I didn’t know where Show was going, even though it definitely felt like Show knew where it wanted to go, and what it wanted to be. This made for a watch that felt quite refreshing.
2. Kim So Hye as Deoksun
Not being a kpop fan, I’d had no idea that Kim So Hye had been a member of kpop group I.O.I., or that this was her first proper drama outing. Credit to her for approaching the role without any vanity, and embracing a character who isn’t supposed to be pretty.
I liked Kim So Hye in this role, and feel that she does a very solid job of the role, in bringing out Deoksun’s earnestness and naïveté.
3. Personal growth and blossoming friendships
Without being too spoilery, I just wanted to say that I found it heartwarming, to see Deoksun growing as a person, among the new friends that she makes in Gyeongseong.
THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]
I love the idea that Deoksun really comes into her own, by the time we finish our story.
Not only does she learn to read (which I’d already thought was a great plot point, and life-changing enough on its own), she learns to put herself before Seoksam (that beat, where Gukhui (Park Seo Yeon) teaches her to read her own name instead of Seoksam’s, is great), and she even finds her purpose, as she inadvertently gets involved in the independence movement.
Suddenly, Deoksun finds herself looking beyond herself and her small world, and seeing things from a larger perspective.
I love how fully Deoksun throws herself into her new purpose, when she finds it, and the way she manages to get a warning to Aehyang (Park Gyu Young), about the change in escape route, via a note in her lipstick casing, is both quick-thinking and brave.
As a bonus, Deoksun even gets to galvanize Seoksam into a complete change in worldview, when she runs into him outside the location of the secret mission.
I love the way she saves him and his baby, and inspires him to see things differently, all while showing that she’s no longer hung up on him. Attagirl! 🤩
I’m glad that in the end, Deoksun chooses a future for herself based on what she wants, and what she’s passionate about.
I think it’s perfect, that she continues to stay at the tavern with Heesoon (Kim Yeo Jin), ready to take other girls under her wing. Plus, I’m relieved and pleased that Deoksun makes sure to keep her parents updated on her journey, with letters that she’s now able to write.
It’s such a cute touch, that she includes drawings in her letters, because she knows that her parents aren’t yet able to read.
It’s so great, that Deoksun’s come such a long way, and it’s even better, that she’s eager to help others along the same journey of growth and self-discovery. ❤️
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Empowering and wholesome.
FINAL GRADE: A-
WHERE TO WATCH:
Hi Fangurl, i’ve been a silence reader for a long time in this blog but i would like to recommend you one of the kbs drama special from 2020. the title is modern girl, would like to see your review on that drama 🙂
Hi there blablah, it’s nice to meet you! I’ve taken a look, and Modern Girl does sound like it could be interesting. I’ll make some time to check it out soonish! Thanks for the recommendation. ❤️
Thanks kfangurl for showing this precious little show some love. ☺ Although I thought it would’ve been nice to have Seoksam and his wife both there and saved (I hate to think of the child growing up motherless), I must give Show props for providing a realistic scene instead. After all, Seoksam’s wife would be perceived as “the enemy” during that time.
I did love that while Seoksam talked big about his moving to the big city to fight for his country (which at first I thought maybe he did have those aspirations but found life as an independence fighter too hard) but then I remembered that he had already fallen for the Japanese (commander? sympathizer?)’s daughter, so that was just gibberish he spouted so that he didn’t have to tell Deoksun that he was dumping her for another girl (and one of the enemy at that); yet Deoksun became a true hero.
Thanks for recommending this drama special, Beez! It really is excellent! ❤️ And you’re right, Seoksam was just trying to pull a fast one on Deoksun; he never actually intended to join the independence fighters. Such a coward, to not even man up and tell Deoksun the truth. 😪
A perfect vignette, the opening scene one of those terrific rural scenes in K drama and film, just lovely to watch, and whole drama, especially considering its brevity, packs an emotional punch; some of the supporting cast is quite accomplished and familiar from big time shows, the writer one of the co writers of Tale of the Nokdu. A gem, my only complaint really was main character’s parents seemed a little over the top in the initial scenes, which threw me off a bit. A particularly sad time in Korean history, but one in which stories of heroic courage by everyday people could well provide a stream of such stories.
Thanks KFG, beez.
Ooh, glad that you enjoyed this one, BE!! It really does manage to do a lot, in just an hour of screen time! ❤️
@KFG: I love how she appears at the end–that pose, fist on her hips, big boned adolescent girl, so competent, as if Kim So Hye in that pose perfectly sums up Deoksun’s entire essence and character arc.
Sounds wonderful–beez and KFG…the one-two of disarming punches.
I want to check this one too!
I have a feeling that you’d like this one, Snow Flower!! Enjoy your watch! ❤️
Hi Fangurl – I am going to check this one out! I see it is on You Tube so easy-peasy to watch.
YAY that you’ll check this one out, phl!! I feel that this one is pretty underrated (the rating on MDL is a little low).. definitely deserving of more love than it gets. I hope you’ll enjoy! ❤️