I must say, I’m very much enjoying my adventures exploring KBS’s drama specials. I’m pretty excited to share my latest find with you guys.
If you’re looking for a quick spot of drama that’s down-to-earth and easy, yet full of heart and poignance, you need look no further than drama special After The Rain. At just a little over 2 hours of total screen time, Show sure manages to pack a punch, both in terms of story and feels.
Highly recommend. 🥰
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Bonggil (Kim Kang Woo) runs a small naengmyeon (cold noodle) eatery with his father (Shin Goo), and is sick and tired of Dad not being satisfied with his naengmyeon-making skills, despite his best efforts. One day, a mysterious woman by the name of Youngran (Lee Seol) enters their lives.
MANAGING EXPECTATIONS / THE VIEWING LENS
Here are a couple of things that I think would be helpful to keep in mind, during your watch:
1. The production values lean a little.. basic and rustic. This is in keeping with Show’s earthy nature, though, and I didn’t miss the shine or polish one bit.
2. Show’s got a rather broad sense of humor, which may or may not be your preference. There’s a lot of heart and poignance buried beneath the humor, though, and I found it an interesting blend of feels.
3. Our characters can be gruff and shouty, but don’t let the loud voices fool you; there is care and affection, beneath all the bickering.
STUFF I LIKED
Our story feels assured.
Even though our story is only 2 hours long, it feels like we cover a lot of ground in that time. Also, the writing feels assured, like writer-nim knows exactly what they’d like to do with our characters, and how to accomplish it.
The found family feels.
We soon get a nice amount of found family feels, with Youngran slipping easily into life at the restaurant with Dad and Bonggil. This was very pleasant to witness.
Kim Kang Woo as Bonggil.
I personally think Kim Kang Woo is a very handsome man, and it was amusing to see him all mussed up and being the complete opposite of suave, in this story. I thought that he made Bonggil very down-to-earth and relatable, despite his comic leanings.
Lee Seol as Youngran.
I’m now convinced that Lee Seol is made for playing pure-hearted characters, having seen her in 2019’s When The Devil Calls Your Name, and now this drama special. I think she’s wonderful and completely believable as Youngran, who’s both strong and shy, and open-hearted yet secretive, all at the same time. Really well done.
THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]
Given how bad things look in Show’s last few minutes, I wasn’t sure how Show would manage a good ending, if it managed one at all. Color me impressed, that Show not only turns things around in our last few minutes, it even manages to do so in a manner that feels surprising, and yet satisfying and organic at the same time. That’s pretty amazing.
With the way Youngran’s been so nervous about staying in a single place for an extended period of time, and struggling with nightmares about being caught while on the run, it doesn’t come as a surprise to me that she’s a North Korean defector who’s hiding from the Korean-Chinese thugs that she’d run away from.
When Youngran gets kidnapped while on her way to her date with Bonggil, I was so afraid that this story would end on a tragically poetic note, with Bonggil taking over the restaurant from his dad, and just waiting for his Youngran to return one day, the way Dad’s always waited for his Okran.
I’m sad that Dad dies at the end of our story, but Show handles his passing with such hope and warmth, that I can’t even muster up a stink-eye to throw at Show. It’s a moving thought, that Dad had held out for as long as he did, so that Bonggil would never be alone, and it’s a heartwarming sight, to see Dad finally reunite with his Okran, with a huge smile on his face, after waiting for her his entire life. It’s also a comforting thought, that Dad continues to watch over Bonggil and Youngran, pleased with how well they’re doing.
And, even though we don’t get to see Bonggil redeem Youngran’s freedom for her, the fact that we close on a scene of them happily pregnant together, while Bonggil comes up with new naengmyeon recipes to serve up in their restaurant, is more than enough evidence, that Bonggil managed to save Youngran, and she’s finally in a place where she no longer has to worry about being found.
That’s such a satisfying note on which to leave our characters, and I’m only sorry that we don’t get to spend more time with this earthy, sweet couple. ❤️
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Earthy, heartfelt and poignant, underneath its funny facade.
FINAL GRADE: B++
WHERE TO WATCH:
You can find both episodes of this drama special on YouTube here: